The freedom to read

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grapes of wrath burningThis photo shows The Grapes of Wrath burning burned in a crop-picking town in California in the early 1940s.

As you may or may not already know, this week is the American Library Association's Annual Banned Books Week. Every year during the last week of September, the ALA does events and outreach to fight book bannings and promote freedom of information. What WINOW reader can't get behind that? As a little banned books week exercise, I thought I'd take a look at the list of 2007's most challenged books and see how many of them I've read (the ones I've read are in bold):


  1. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

  2. "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

  3. "Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

  4. "The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

  5. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain
    Reasons: Racism

  6. "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

  7. "TTYL," by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

  8. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit

  9. "It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris
    Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

  10. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Guess I'm going to have to try harder. I do slightly better on most challenged books of the 21st century list, though:

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier
  3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck
  5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
  6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers
  7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris
  8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
  9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

How about you? Have you read a banned book lately? This week would be an excellent time to pick one up!

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Our house, 10pm, Monday

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It is their world, we just live in it.

mark with the boys

mark with the boys 4

mark with the boys 2

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Vintage Thingies Thursdays

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Vintage Thingies Thursday badge

Today I bring you another vintage thingie mystery.

Mosa Maastricht small plates

What you see here is a set of five tiny (2" square maybe) plates I picked up the Bins for I think $0.15 each. They are stamped on the back with "Mosa Maastricht Plateel." While I have been able to confirm that Mosa is a Dutch ceramics manufacturer (and they made some really cute stuff, check out the Wilma design on this page), I haven't been able to find out what year these plates are from, or even what they are intended for. The look more than anything like a children's tea party set.

So once again, I bring the question to Vintage Thingee Thursdays participants--what are these? Are they vintage, or are they just cute?

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What I'm reading

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Once again, I am compelled to share some of the blogs I'm reading. There are really a lot of great blogs out there. Go us!

I'm always amused by the garage sale sagas of The Queen of Fifty Cents, but this week's story, which includes both a duck and a Basset hound, was exceptional.

I am recently loving Apron Queen for her Vintage Thingie Thursdays (watch for a new one from me tomorrow!), but the rest of her site is smashing as well. On Monday, she took us on a journey through her local antique mall. I'm jealous!

The Pioneer Woman has posted a new installment of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story. Always worth reading.

Sarahlynn at Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips has written a great three-part series comparing the presidential candidates on disability issues. The first segment is here, the second here, the third here. You should read them all. A fourth segment, focusing on Sarah Palin, should be forthcoming. I'm interested as to what Sarahlynn will have to say about her.

I love craft blogs. You knew this. One I am particularly loving right now is Whip Up, which features amazing tutorials from various crafties. Yesterday, Whip Up provided a link to this tutorial on how to make a "Ruby Doll," from One Red Robin. It looks doable by hand, so I am thinking of trying it. Another tutorial I found at Whip Up that I can't imagine won't come in handy is this one from Capture the Moment. Christmas wrapping, perhaps?

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Women's book meme

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Got this over at Frog's. These are 75 must-read books, as per Jezebel. The ones in bold are the ones I've read. The ones in bold italics are the ones I actually liked.


  • The Lottery (and Other Stories), Shirley Jackson

  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

  • The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton

  • White Teeth, Zadie Smith

  • The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allenden

  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion

  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym

  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

  • Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

  • The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

  • Beloved, Toni Morrison

  • Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

  • Like Life, Lorrie Moore

  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

  • The Delta of Venus, Anais Nin

  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley

  • A Good Man Is Hard To Find (and Other Stories), Flannery O'Connor

  • The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx

  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

  • Fear of Flying, Erica Jong

  • Earthly Paradise, Colette

  • Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt

  • Property, Valerie Martin

  • Middlemarch, George Eliot

  • Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid

  • The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir

  • Runaway, Alice Munro

  • The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

  • The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston

  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

  • You Must Remember This, Joyce Carol Oates

  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

  • Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill

  • The Liars' Club, Mary Karr

  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith

  • And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

  • Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison

  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt

  • The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley

  • The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker

  • The Group, Mary McCarthy

  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

  • The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

  • The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank

  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

  • Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag

  • In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez

  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck

  • Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

  • Three Junes, Julia Glass

  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft

  • Sophie's Choice, William Styron

  • Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann

  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford

  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin

  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

  • The Face of War, Martha Gellhorn

  • My Antonia, Willa Cather

  • Love In The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • The Harsh Voice, Rebecca West

  • Spending, Mary Gordon

  • The Lover, Marguerite Duras

  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

  • Tell Me a Riddle, Tillie Olsen

  • Nightwood, Djuna Barnes

  • Three Lives, Gertrude Stein

  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

  • I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

  • Possession, A.S. Byatt

Yikes. Not terribly well-read, am I?

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Our newest boarder

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So we have too many dogs. It's a fact. Our current crew includes our two and two foster beagles.

And now, number 5.

This is her:

stray rott mix

rott mix 2

Hopefully she'll be a very short term addition. Mark found her running down the street this morning. We're betting she's a neighborhood dog that escaped her yard, and have put up some signs and contacted our animal shelter. She's got a Home Again tag, but it's registered to our local animal control, implying that she was adopted there and it was never re-registered. We'd hoped they would be able to tell us to whom she was adopted, but so far they aren't returning phone calls.

So, until we find her family, she's hanging out with us. Luckily she's got a great personality--very sweet, mellow, and loving. The only big problem is that she can't be trusted in the yard. She tries to swim in the pond.

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How to: make your house stink less

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To those who have never been to my house: imagine, if you will, a household in which seven of the nine members are covered in fur, unable to turn shower nobs (and likely afraid of water anyway) and unable to use a toilet.

Which is to say, to those who have been to my house: I'm sorry about the smell. I know it smells sometimes. We do try to handle that as best we can, but see above re: number of non butt-wipers among us.

Yesterday, Mark and I had a bit of a disagreement about the smell in our house. We both agree it smells, but Mark's solution is often to spray Febreeze all over everything. To my mind, that just makes it smell like dog butt+chemicals, which doesn't improve anything. My best air freshening solution thus far has been judicious use of reed dispensers. When I posted this out to Mark, he told me those don't work.

Which got me to thinking. They do work. At least, the one in my office works swimmingly. It makes the air smell nice without giving me the impression I am inside a fabric softener bottle. So why don't the ones in the house work so well?

What it must come down to, I decided, is volume. There were two mostly-empty bottles in my entire 1000+ square foot house, as opposed to one nearly full bottle in my small office. We don't need something different, I declared--we need something more!

The obvious answer would be to run over to the conveniently located Ross and buy a half dozen of the little things, complete with their unnecessary packaging, probable chemical ingredients, and steep price tags. However, it seemed to me that there was another way.

What you see here is what I started with. Two mostly-empty dispensers (formerly lavender and jasmine, I believe) and one new, full one that I didn't ever use because the "wild berry" scent makes me want to retch.

old diffusers

The first step, if I am going to reuse these, is to wash them out. So I poured the nasty berry one down the sink, filled the sink up with hot and soapy, and got scrubbing. For the bottles that still had labels on them, a little rubbing alcohol mixed with hot water did the de-stickying trick. Realizing I was going to need more bottles to fill every room in my house with these suckers than just these, I dug into my thrift supplies and found some similar small bottles and stuck them in to wash too.

washing the bottles

After everything was washed up, I found I had seven little bottles ready to fill--just enough to fill every room! I was, however, going to need some more reeds for my diffusers, so I found a package of bamboo skewers that Mark will never miss and added them to my supplies.

bottles to be filled

Next came figuring out what to put in these little guys. Clearly the commercially prepared ones include some sort of scent agent (maybe EO, probably perfume) and some sort of carrier oil. But is that all? Commercial air deodorizers are usually alcohol based--should I include alcohol as well? How will alcohol mix with the carrier oil? Finally, I decided to try some oil-only versions and some alcohol and oil mixture versions and see which ones worked better. I still only needed a few easily accessible and inexpensive ingredients:

supplies

What you see here is a isopropyl alcohol and mineral oil, both available at any drugstore or supermarket (probably for less than a buck a bottle), and essential oils. Since my aim isn't flowers and bunnies, but rather making my house smell less like the great hairy unwashed, I wanted to go with something simple and air clearing, so I choose a mixture of lavender and rosemary EOs.

For the alcohol and oil combination, I did about 1/2 and 1/2, with a really generous amount of EO added. For the oil only one, it was just the mineral oil and EOs, again with a generous amount (several dozen drops in about a cup of total oil).

Since the mouths on these little bottles are tiny, I went with funnel to distribute the mixture. The whitish liquid in this picture is the alcohol and oil blend--it's not as pretty as the straight oil.

filling the bottles

Finally, you see my completed project. The clear jars in the front are the just-oil mixture, the ones in the back contain alcohol. I've distributed them around the house and I will let you know if one variety seems to work markedly better than the other.

finished products

Obviously doing this saved resources over buying a new ones, but what about money? A conservative estimate would put these at about $4 each, or $28 for the seven of them I made. The bottles I used that were thrifted were at most $0.25 each, so if I had thrifted them all, that would be $2.75 max. Maybe $0.50 for the skewers. If I used a half bottle of alcohol and mineral oil total, that's another $1or so. I used maybe $1.50 worth of EOs. That totals $5.75. Savings of $22.25.

Not bad.

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Netflix

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I just got a bunch of one month free trial coupons from Netflix in the mail, so if anybody doesn't already have Netflix and wants a month for free, drop me an email and I will send you a code.

I recommend you do not use your new Netflix power to rent "Four Brothers." I watched it on TV last night and I want those hours back.

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Vintage Thingies Thursdays

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Vintage Thingies Thursday badge

It's Vintage Thingies Thursday again, hosted by the Apron Queen!

angels

Today I give you "Imported Novelty Angels." I have no idea how old these are--the box isn't dated--but they are old enough for "imported" to be a good thing. They are incredibly cute, hand-carved and hand-painted, and though the box is worn, the angels themselves are in great shape (most of them were wrapped in what I take to be original tissue paper when I got them). The angels are another Goodwill find, and I believe they were $0.99. I actually bought them a couple of years ago and they have been hanging around amusing me since then.

If you have any idea what these are or from when, please leave a comment, I'd love to know!

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Vignettes, September 15 and 16, 2008

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...I am driving home and for several blocks follow a large truck. The entire back end of the truck is covered by a huge picture of a bloody quarter with a tiny, translucent baby hand in the middle of it, and the words say something about a 10 week-old fetus. I am neither swayed nor disgusted by the picture, but I am damn well disgusted by the truck's driver...

...I am sitting in the vet's office, listening to him run down the list of health problems plaguing my current foster dog. "This dog never would have been adopted from the pound," he days. "Your rescue was this dog's only chance," he says. What he does not, what I do not say, is that with the money and time the rescue will put into this dog, we could have saved 5 or 10 others. I am glad we do not say these things. He is with us now...

...I am standing around at Starbucks, waiting for the barista to call out my order, people-watching. Random business people 1586 and 1587 pass, then a woman whose presence calls to me. She's a mid-40s to early-50s dyke, with a gorgeous silver spiky pixie cut, tan legs, sensible hiking shoes, and a flowered skirt with a visible crinoline under it. For a few moments, I am in love with her...

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When you cross a beagle with a porpoise

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You get Huey.

huey 2

huey p long

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Vintage Thingies Thursdays

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The Apron Queen has a great meme called "Vintage Thingies Thursdays." Since I just thrifted some awesome vintage stuff, I thought I'd participate this week. I'm only going to show you one of my finds, in the hopes that I can use the others in future weeks:

pencil by number set

This is a Transogram Great Moments in American History pencil-by-number set, complete and still wrapped in plastic. I haven't been able to find it anywhere online, so I'm not sure what year it is from, but it looks like Transogram stopped operating in the early 1970s, so I'm thinking maybe mid-late 60s? Anyway, it is very cool. I'm tempted to rip it open to see the pencil-by-numbers inside, but have so far resisted. I got it for $.50 at the bins.

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Ooh, fun toy!

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Thanks to the future spinster librarian for pointing the way to this one.

This is a wordle of my blog. Go here to make your own.

wordle

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Grandma update

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First, a big thank you to all of those who sent their prayers and thoughts out to my Grandmother. I really appreciate it.

Secondly, she's doing great. Came through the surgery flawlessly and is recovering ahead of schedule. They moved her out of the ICU a day early and she's slated to come home on Friday if nothing goes amiss. She'll have round the clock care from her daughters for 7-14 days, and then the slow rehabilitation process will begin. Her doctors are quite sure that as long as she follows the exercise and diet guidelines, her first heart surgery will be her last.

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Power outage

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Wake up to the certain knowledge that something is wrong. Mentally inventory your limbs--all there. Fingers and toes movable. No pain anywhere. After your body systems check, move outside yourself and evaluate the room around you. Don't notice the dark first--it is supposed to be dark--but notice the sounds, the ones you can't hear and the ones you can. No fan swoosh above you, but the regular breathing of two dogs and a cat. No air conditioner buzz. No low electric sound in the air. The refrigerator is not running. The sounds that separate your "Developed" world from the one other one, the one with the names people are embarrassed about--all your technology sounds--quiet.

In the organic quiet thoughts are much too loud. Draw promises to yourself out of your skull. A simpler life, fewer of the toys this storm has muted. In general, less, not more. You promise, if only you can get back to sleep.

Waking in the morning to the orchestra to which you've become accustomed, the clock radio, the fan's whir. Forgetting all about your promises.

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White wine in review: Root:1 Sauvignon Blanc

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Root:1 sauvignon blanc is another lovely wine out of Chile. I think it costs around $12. It has a gorgeous label, and it is very drinkable, especially with food. It's got a bit of an astringent element, so it's a little bit rough by itself, but with anything fatty or cream-based it's awesome, and it works well with spicy stuff as well. It's 13% alcohol by volume.

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White wine in review: 35 South Sauvignon Blanc

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35 South is Whole Foods' house brand wine, on sale for $8.99/bottle at my store this weekend. The bottle I bought is a sauvignon blanc out of Chile, and it's very good. We drank it with salad nicoise, and it paired very well. It's got a little bit of a tropical taste and a little bit of fizz, which is very nice. I don't know what Whole Foods' regular price on this is, but it is under $13 or so a bottle, I'd buy it when it's not on sale.

It's 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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This is a go-to wine. It's a 2006 pinot grigio coming out of Monterey County, California, made by the generally proficient Big House label, costing about $12 or so. It has a nice, light, easy to drink flavor and a cute label. I'd definitely drink it with spicy food or seafood, but it's done OK with other things in our house as well. It's 13% alcohol by volume.

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White wine in review: Monarchia Cellars Pinot Grigio

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Heed my words:


  1. Do not let Mark pick out your cheap white wine.

  2. Do not buy pinot grigio from Hungary.

Monarchia Cellars' 2007 Pinot Grigio, purchased for I think $8 by Mark, is not worth what he paid for it. Imagine what a white wine made in the stereotypical, gray, depressing Soviet Union would taste like. Soviet architecture white wine. Stalin's white wine. Got it in your mind? That's what this stuff tastes like.

It's 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Prayers for Grandma Lou

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Grace and Grandma LouYou know how those times when you are really, really afraid about something make you wish you actually believed in a deity, so you could pray and feel like you were actually doing something? Yeah. This is one of those times.

My maternal grandmother, whom I flat-out adore (I've written about her here before), is currently having heart surgery. She had what they are calling a "heart incident" (small heart attack, I think) on Friday and is having a bypass today. While I know that neither of these things is uncommon for a woman her age (73, I think), knowing that doesn't make it any easier. I've spent my entire teenaged and adult life slowly losing grandparents (helps to have so many to start with--when I was born I had two full sets and two full sets of greats), and sometimes it's the right time. This is most definitely not the right time. This is not a sick woman. In fact, this woman is one of the most alive people I know. She certainly has increasing health problems (this heart thing isn't new, and she's been epileptic her entire life, has recently had serious blood sugar issues, and has a completely destroyed knee), but she's not done yet.

And if I knew God, I'd tell him that. But I don't, so I am telling you.

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High point of my Sunday

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I logged on this morning to find that someone on Flickr had added me as a contact. Hmm, thought, I wonder who that is? Then I clicked and learned that my new friend was a collector of pornographic pictures of fat women and wanted to add me to his collection (I do not, for the record, have any nude pictures on my Flickr photostream).

This is why I hate people.

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Weight loss simulator

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On today's travels through blogland, I landed upon the My Bento Diet blog, which in turn introduced me to the Prevention magazine weight loss simulator (basically the same deal as the virtual model you can use on some clothing websites). I am both in awe and in horror of this little gadget, so of course I had to share.

According to the tool, this is me at my starting weight (left), current weight (middle) and goal weight (right):
starting weightcurrent weightgoal weight

I hate to admit it, but I'm inspired.

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Does blogging expand your world?

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Pardon me while I get meta for a moment...

I've been active online for quite a while. What If No One's Watching? is five years old now (though for part of that time it was under the name I Used to be a Writer), and even before I started to blog here I was active on message boards, a voracious emailer and instant messaging chatterbox, and general online communicator. I have always really loved the medium. As I've mentioned here before, it allows someone like me, who sometimes has trouble communicating in person, to reach out in ways I otherwise likely wouldn't.

Recently, I've been thinking about how blogging and my other online activities have expanded my world. Conducting large parts of your social and/or intellectual life online is often looked down on as something that removes you from the "real world" and puts you out of touch. For me, I honestly think it does the opposite. Online, I can and do interact both with more people than I would otherwise, and with a wider variety of people. It isn't just that I read other viewpoints and they expand my knowledge, but the interactions are often dynamic. I get to talk to people with whom I disagree, or people who have very different experiences than I do, in a format that is less intense than in person, where I feel more free to let my curiosity show, and really try to learn something. Online, I am drawn out of my own head and into communities much more easily than I am in person, and I believe that is to my benefit.

What about you? Does time spent online expand or constrict your world? I know a lot of people are ashamed of/concerned about the amount of time they spend online, are you one of them? Why or why not?

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Sarah Palin

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I watched a bit of her speech, and had been thinking of posting about it. But Mocha Momma said everything I needed to say on the subject, so just go read her post instead.

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Shopping in my closet

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picture in thrifted dressToday, I have to post to share a victory. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out my closet. As usual, I had a huge garbage bag of stuff to give to Goodwill by the time I was done. Partially this is due to my having changed in size a bit since I started losing weight, but mostly it has to do with dumb purchasing decisions.

At the back of my closet, I found the dress you see here. It is (I think) vintage, and I thrifted it without trying it on a couple of years ago, for something like $2. At that time, it didn't quite fit--the lining was too tight across the hips and I was afraid I would split a seam if I tried to walk in it. When I came across the dress during my closet clean out, I put it in the "to wash" pile, rather than giving it away, in the hopes that a) I could get all of the dog hair off it (Ata sleeps in our closet) and b) it would fit now.

And it does. Ignore the dumb expression on my face in this photo and whatever is going on with my hair, and focus on that dress. How hot is that? I've loved this since I bought it, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be wearing it.

I am editing to add that if you are at all interested in clothes, you should read Kasmira at What I Wore Today. She's my new style icon. I absolutely love the stuff she puts together.

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Carrot cake

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carrot cakeToday is Mark's birthday. Mark likes carrot cake. Last night, I made him a carrot cake. I used a couple of different recipes with modifications to our tastes/what I had available, and the end product, I am told, is "perfect." So I thought I'd share the recipe.

In your mixer (or by hand) mix:
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla

Sift in:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Stir until mixed, then fold in:
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped pecan

Spread in a buttered and floured 9"X13" pan, bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

When cool, frost with a blended (or better yet, food processed) mixture of:
1/4 cup soft butter
8 oz cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Then sprinkle with another 3/4 cup or so of chopped pecans.

This is not for the faint of heart. I put it in WW and discovered it is like 14-18 pts per serving, depending on the serving size.

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What I'm reading today

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I have been pretty busy for the past few days and haven't spent my usual couple of hours a day reading blogs. Because of this, I have a backlog of over 1,000 posts in my blog reader. As I start to read them, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites with you. This, then, is a snapshot of my personal blog reading world:

On August 25, artsy-crafty babe showed off the scrap quilt she put together in just a few days. I shivered with jealousy. I so want to be able to quilt.

tiny happy always makes amazing stuff, which she sells on Etsy and showcases on her blog. Being an elephant freak, though, I am particularly gaga over the elephants she posted today (well, tomorrow, to me, but today in her time zone). I am keeping her Etsy shop bookmarked for the next birthday of my small friend living in Norway.

In another recent post, C10 over at 10 Cents wrote a Wednesday how-to on stopping unnecessary spending. Lots of a-ha for me there.

Bad Personal Ads is my new favorite blog. I laugh every day. My favorite so far? If You Date This Guy, Wear a Raincoat from August 29.

Big Fat Deal is a new addition to my blogroll, and I am loving it. Today mo pie introduces us to the "how not to shoot fat chicks" photography rules and why they are ridiculous, complete with Flickr pool. That's my kinda girl right there and I am totally going to add to that pool.

I love that Heather Anne has a beagle and talks about her at length. This post, though, from August 19, had me on the floor.

the park bench is another new addition to the blogs I read regularly. Even if I hated their content, I'd still read them on account of the tagline "a gathering place for nerdy women." On August 28, Liz wrote a great piece there about black holes, including this gem:

Of course, if some gigantic rift opens in the space-time continuum and scary dragons emerge, I'm pretty sure all we have to do is throw Sarah Michelle Gellar at it and things will be fine

Nothing gets me going like a Buffy reference...

I've told you before how much I love Pioneer Woman. The best thing about her blog, I think, is the amazing photos she takes and turns into photo-essay posts. More than once she has captured something that has viscerally made me miss the way I grew up. Her August 27 post about her suckling calf is the most recent example of the posts that induce my nostalgia.

It's no secret that Dooce is a good photographer. The picture she posted on August 19 of her dog Coco herding sheep, though, just killed me.

That's about it for my roundup. There are, of course, many many more posts I could include...but trying to read through 1,000+ entries has taught me a lesson for today about managability.

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They would run us oughtta Jesus Maria

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Seems that a "middle class neighborhood" in Lima, Peru, has passed an ordinance whereby apartment dwellers are only allowed to have one dog; detached home dwellers are allowed two. The reason? Barking dogs were decreasing quality of life in the neighborhood. And somehow, having fewer dogs in each home is going to fix that.

This would really piss me off if it didn't seem so patently ridiculous. I mean, I know there are various ways that people think it's OK for the government, at whatever level, to infringe on our lives, but this one seems particularly odd. Enough to turn a girl into a Libertarian.

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