happy belated birthday montana

So, we celebrated Montana's birthday this weekend, two days early. And now I am posting the picture of the celebrations of his birthday two days late. :)
(He is holding Ada.)


richland washington

So my office has a job open in Richland Washington. We are thinking of applying...but don't know much about the place. Any of you readers out there know anything about the place?

It is only a three hour drive to Seattle or Portland, so that would be nice. And it is sunny 300 days a year...and Washington does not have state income tax...


a little humor

Our good friend Steve, who married us, is in Israel on a trip for work. He is a pastor after all. He and his colleague made this very funny, well I find it funny, video. Enjoy.



great article: how not to be a writer

A colleague in my writing class wrote this...here is the intro. Click anywhere in the paragraph to read the rest. Very fun!

THE WRITER'S EDITION: 5 Ways To Fail As A Writer
August 7, 2008 - 4:27PM


by Brent Kerrigan

My father, a farmer and a good man, believes that reading and writing are complete wastes of time. It's a belief he feels all men share, along with a predilection for backbreaking labor and animal husbandry. That's why I long ago perfected the art of hiding. When I was young, a typical day would consist of my father searching for me throughout the farm-groaning wagon of hay at the ready in the 35C heat-dreaming of new and complex beatings he could unleash. When he did find me, his punishments were rare, but the disappointed look on his face and his questions were more than any five-year-old should bear.

"All you ever do is sit up here and read all the time," he'd say, standing in the granary doorway, red in the face, manure dripping from his coveralls. "Where in the hell is that ever going to get you?"

I'd lie there, buried under a mound of corn with my copy of Remembrance of Times Past, and think about that question. Where was reading going to get me? Even then I knew I wanted to become a Serious Writer. A writer who would leave his mark on the world. A writer with my name on schools and parks dedicated in my honor. A writer who would influence millions of men to quote my words to millions of women of questionable intelligence. I wanted fame, fortune, and a ticket off that farm.

It was decided for me. My father was right, reading wasn't enough. I needed to do more. I put pen to paper and started to write.

Keeping the faith

Yet, here I am at age 35, sitting on this park bench with my notebook and wondering why my life as a Serious Writer is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Hundreds of first drafts coupled with countless outlines and I've yet to be published. Thankfully, this did not stop Peterborough Community College from hiring me on as a teacher in their Creative Writing program. It's a great job with many benefits. Nevertheless, as a teacher of Creative Writing, I always face the same question at the beginning of each semester.

"I can't find your writing in the library," a student will say. "Maybe they forgot to enter you into the card catalogue." At these moments I often stumble over my words. I say I'm currently working on a manuscript, expect it any time, and have agents at the ready.


diaper spelled backwards is repaid.
who knew?


dinner: West African Peanut Soup With Chicken

We are so into Mark Bittman from the New York Times. He is totally helping us learn how to cook.

Watch a video of Mark making West African Peanut Soup with Chicken by clicking anywhere. We modified the recipe by using chicken sausage and spinach...but it really tastes great.

New York Times, June 17, 2009
Recipe: West African Peanut Soup With Chicken

Time: About 45 minutes

3/4 cup roasted and shelled peanuts

2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 medium red or white onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken (about 2 thighs or breasts) cut into chunks

1 dry red chili, crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups stock or water

2 sweet potatoes or yams (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into thick slices

8 plum tomatoes, cored and halved (canned are fine; drain and reserve liquid for another use)

1/2 pound collards or kale, washed and cut into wide ribbons

1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth.

1. Chop peanuts, or crush them with the side of a knife, or pulse them in a food processor to chop roughly.

2. Put oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat; a minute later, add onion, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chicken and continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes, until just coloring. Add 1/2 cup peanuts and the chili and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Stir in the stock and the sweet potatoes, bring to a boil, and turn heat down to medium-low so soup bubbles gently. Partly cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes, collards and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Cover and cook until collards are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning (you may want to add more peanut butter at this point), and serve, garnished with remaining peanuts.

Yield: 4 servings.



This is how I want to feel about my work.

a friday joke

What's the difference between a Zen vacuum cleaner and a regular one?

A Zen vacuum cleaner doesn't come with attachments.


the stars

I have a good friend and reader of the blog who can read the stars...well she is Greek and knows a lot about astrology...but since she is Greek and can read Greek (have you ever looked at those characters: ελληνικά...that says Greek) and well that is where astrology comes from so I totally get that she believes. Another friend whose birthday is in the same month as mine sends me our horoscopes sometimes. I like to read those.

Well I am not one to go jumping completely into the astrology pool, but I do get that sometimes I am WAY more productive than others. I feel almost like I have come out of a fog. I wonder where my stars are, is all I am saying.

Today is clear!

I changed jobs at work, and the feng shui of my new desk is awesome. I have window cube with a view of a beautiful alley. I also have a family of birds that I can see! Anyway, the point is that today I:

* finally ordered Erica's graduation gift (see picture above)
* ordered pictures from our wedding photographer for my mother-in-law
* finished the lingering thank you notes (embarrassing that they are so late)
* and got caught up on my homework...
* did I mention I met a good friend for drinks after work?

Wow. I am tired now.


changing my mind about GM...one ad at a time?

Anytime any one says, "Let me be honest" or "To tell you the truth," I immediately think, oh, well they are lying most of the time. I miss whatever their next line is...and I kind of think they are liars from there on out. Anyway, the first video is the new GM ad, the second link is a spoof on the GM ad, which is very very funny.


be careful with the granola temp.

I said to roast the granola at 350 the other day...I made it Friday night and I think 315 or 325 might be better. Our oven runs a little hot though...

recipe: granola
Here's a little secret: making granola at home is EASY. I mean so easy it is kind of crazy to even think about buying it. We have been making it for three weeks now, to put in yogurt, or to just eat plain. Take a glass casserole, line with wax paper. In a bowl, mix 2 cups oats, some coconut flakes, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix in half a cup of honey or molasses or maple syrup. Then put it in the casserole and bake at 325 for 30 minutes. You should stir it once and check it at the end to make sure it does not get too dry.


Quick trip to CT

Just back from a whirlwind trip to Connecticut to see Nicole and Bob for their wedding shower. More tomorrow.


maps of the mississippi

How cool is this map? I feel like it looks like art. You can see more of the maps by clicking this link.

More Information:

Harold Fisk, 1944

Part of an otherwise technocratic report for the Army Corps of Engineers, Fisk’s maps of the historical traces of the Mississippi River are a wonderful surprise. Presented here are all fifteen maps, stretching from southern Illinois to southern Louisiana.