Thursday, April 30, 2009

Open Letter to the Guy Who Complained About Me Bringing a Baby to the Computer Center

Dear Mr. Hat,

While I understand that it might be a little bit distracting for someone to bring a baby to a place where people are supposed to be able to study quietly, I also understand that we live in a society where parenthood is seen as an inconvenience at best. If there was some way I could have come to campus to finish my homework without bringing my four month old nursing baby, I would have done that. For one, it would be much easier for me to focus on the assignment without wrangling an infant. For two, the professor requested that the format be in Excel so I had to do the problem on a campus computer. I do hope that you will note, that I did come to campus early in the day so that I would be bothering less people. I also would like for you to notice that I sat as far away from you as possible, so as to not be a hindrance or distraction if he needed to be fed. And more specifically, I also hope you noticed that if he so much as made a peep, I took him out of the room. Perhaps you put too much starch on your bow tie this morning, but I found it highly unnecessary for you to go and complain to the office personnel that "you couldn't get anything done" with "that baby" in there.

The facts are this, sir. Motherhood is the highest calling there is. Many cultures in the world recognize this. Ours does not. If a woman quits her job to stay home with her children, she is looked upon as not living up to her potential. If a woman chooses to work she is passed over for promotions and not taken seriously as an employee because of her "other priorities". Working parents are seen as a liability, and on site daycare is found few and far between. The only place I have ever seen family or maternity parking is at Babies R Us and that's sort of their thing. Public breastfeeding is still scandalous to many and nursing sit-ins are still sometimes a necessary occurrence. In our culture children are often treated as something to be dealt with in the course of getting on with the rest of ones life. In some countries families get up to a year of maternity leave, paid! I don't see any American company doing that.

And so, Mr. Hat, I would love to hear your suggestions of what I can do with my nursing infant while I come to the computer center. What's that? A sitter, you say. Okay, do you know anyone who is available? I didn't think so. Leave him at home? Okay, I'll just add another two hours of time to my day (broken up in ten minute increments) so I can pump enough milk to leave him for that long. Do the assignment at home? Okay, are you going to pay for the Excel download for our computer? I didn't think so.

Next time, sir, I think I would prefer that you had spoken directly to me. No, I take that back. That would not have been pretty. If you are indeed so bothered then there is no solution, no detail that could be shifted to change your outlook. That, I'm afraid, will have to be up to you, and unfortunately the general populous as well.

Gothgirl and her Infant Spawn.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lentil Bread Recipe

So by popular demand... okay one person, but you take what you can get. Here is the recipe. This is a combination of a few recipes I got off the internet and I didn't record the sources. First I will put the real ingredients, and then I will put what I did. Here goes.

1 1/3 cup water
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup cooked lentils rinsed
2 Tblspns Olive Oil
2 Tblespns Honey
1 Teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast. 2 1/2 teaspoons

Oh, and the lentils can be used from left over lentil soup, which traditionally has curry in it but in my case did not. It had ham. So first I put the warm water in a bowl with the yeast and set aside. Then I mixed everything else except the flour into a large mixing bowl. Instead of olive oil I used canola. Instead of honey I used sugar and water mixed together. And instead of wheat flour I used 4 cups of white all purpose flour. So call the recipe police. Anyway, the last step is to mix as much flour in as possible, then knead the dough for a bit. I usually do this step in the bowl still. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for twenty minutes.

Next, heat some oil in the frying pan. Once the dough is done setting take a wad and roll it into a golf ball sized ball and then gently smash it flat. Dredge it in some more flour and place into the hot oil. Cook both sides till golden and crisp. The bread will puff up while cooking. Drain onto a plate with a few paper towels.

This is really yummy when fresh but can easily be refridgerated and reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds each. Also, the bread does have some official fancy authentic Indian name but I can't bring myself to call it that since I changed all of the ingredients.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Host, halfway through.

I'm in the middle of Stephanie Meyer's non-Twilight Saga book, called the Host. It's pretty basic on the sci-fi angle: invasion of the body snatcher's, that sort of thing. I can't help noticing some bizarre similiarities between this book and some of the theme's from the Twilight Saga. Here is a girl, an outsider, becoming apart of a family like unit to which she doesn't belong. Two men, both good guys, are vying for the affection of one girl, for lack of a better term. Also, two beings sharing one mind. This part seemed to happen in Twilight ALOT. This time around they are actually sharing one mind, physically. Even the supposed romantic overtures of the guys comes accross as the wierdly protective possessiveness that showed up with Edward Cullen. Even some minor details are shared, like the big epic sports game in the middle of the story, and the reflective eyes which the invaded humans get is an echo of the reflective skin that the vampires get in the Twilight Saga. Currently Wanda, as she is called by the surviving humans, is sharing a brain with Melanie, who the body technically belongs to. She has found the human enclave and is living with them. Melanie has no control over the body as Wanda does. When Melanie was still considered "wild" she lived on the run with her little brother Jamie and her betrothed, Jared. Now that Melanie is dormant but still very aware, Wanda is receiving significant glances from Ian. He and Jared have just had the Talk about whose intentions are leading to what. Ian says that Wanda deserves a chance at life and love, because she has turned her back on her own kind, and has repeatedly proven that she is not a threat to the enclave. Jared maintains that the body belongs to Melanie and she is still alive and therefore Ian must respect the bond that they once shared. It is an interesting situation, and I am curious to see how it is resolved.

In other news, I can't help but be slightly chagrined that New Moon is being filmed. While I am wildly excited to see the movie, it means that I am going to have to relive all the emotional treachery of the Jacob situation. New Moon was probably the most difficult to read as it accurately captures the heartbreak of rejection. And shows a different side to Bella Swan. She is a much more rounded out character in the second book than in the first. I have to give it up the Stephanie Meyer in that she skillfully weaves these situations which seem to have no satisfying resolution and yet she manages to find a way to tie things up. I could go on about the ending to the Saga but I didn't put up a spoiler warning and I know some of you readers out there have not read all of them yet. None the less, I am extremely excited to see the next movie and can't wait to see how it looks on screen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I love Susan Boyle.

Here is an object lesson. This humble woman who has lived most of her life in a small village in Scotland decided that she wanted to be a professional singer and went to audition for Britain's got Talent. She didn't say I'm not pretty enough, I'm not young enough, I'm past my prime. No, she stepped onto that stage and gave the audience what they had coming to them, a good solid metaphorical kick in the pants! They judged her by her appearance at first. Sure, she doesn't look like a singing star. Where is the gangly thin physique, or the glittery midriff? Where is the bleach blond hair and choreographed dance routine? Here is a woman who presents ridiculous talent unapologetic with no agenda towards being made over. Nor should she. And what peaks my feminist victories is not that no one cares what she looks like. It is that everyone I have spoken with does care what she looks like and celebrates it. The consensus seems to be that she should pursue her singing career without plucking or dyeing a single hair on her head. She has released a statement that she does not intend to be made over, that that would be dishonest. I can only say good for her. We should take the lesson to heart. Instead of scrutinizing hairline wrinkles, or cellulite which only our husbands will see (and I guarentee they don't care) we should take a good solid look at ourselves and embrace our talents, our strengths, and more importantly we should act on them, regardless of what preconception is being thrown our way from the world at large.

Friday, April 17, 2009


So we officially sleep in the living room and G is in a crib. We shall see how that goes. Of course the office computer desk is in the same room so it's not officially G's room. Poor little guy. As he get's older we will probably make it more his room, or move. Hopefully the latter. But currenlty we are all making do with the space we have, and stretching our money as much as possible. (Anybody need a facial?) Speaking of, I need to find something to do with the leftover ham bone that K's dad brought us. That should be interesting. There is still a LOT of meat on it because there was a second bone apart from the center bone and we couldn't cut the ham slices off on one side.

As far as the protesters I see on the news every night, I wonder why they are JUST NOW protesting government spending. Where was this outrage before? Where was it when an election was stolen out from under us? Or when we sat idly by as the government led us into a war based on nothing more than a pack of lies and a personal vendetta? Where is the outrage about a healthcare system that picks and chooses who gets a proper diagnosis verses an increasing attempt towards increasing monetary kickbacks? Seriously, the spending problem does not come from this admistration. It comes from a history of not looking into it and not keeping our government accountable. The spending bill is presented for people to see and I wonder just how many of the tea laden protesters have actually read it. That being said, I'm going to go have a cup of tea!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Viking Chicken

Take one whole chicken.
Rub with butter, margarine or cooking spray.
Rub chicken all over with a cut garlic clove.
Sprinkle with spices, italian or otherwise.
With a medium sized spoon, separate the skin above the breast of the chicken. Stuff the cut up garlic clove under the skin.

Pour about 3/4 a cup of coke over the chicken. Pour some under the seperated skin and also into the cavity of the chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why I like Jane and the Dragon

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sourcerer's Stone

The first book in the Harry Potter series is a nice comforting pallet cleanser after finishing the Twilight Saga. More on that later. It's quite comforting to be able to window shop in Diacon Alley, anticipate the sorting ceremony and meet again for the first time Nearly Headless Nick. I do not envy them the every flavored jelly beans however.

On to Jane and the Dragon. I'm a little miffed right now because they have rearranged the cartoon schedule for spring and I can no longer find this show in the Qubo line up. I have also decided to remove The Emperors New School from our Saturday viewing. I don't like how the main character (Kuzco) refers to the main girl character (who's name escapes me at the moment) as "Hotty hot hotty," every time her name is mentioned. Jane and the Dragon, however is a fine show about a young girl who shuns her life as a lady-in-waiting and decides to be trained as a knight. When she runs off to slay the dragon for the purpose of proving her mettle, she somehow ends up becoming best friends with said dragon. So the show encourages girls to step out of the status quo and challenge themselves to follow their own passions regardless of societal expectations. I give it an A+! Of course it is set in mid-evil times so it has lots of fun costumy looking characters. The humor is brilliant and intelligent, and the characters are all multi-faceted. Now to find it...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And finally...

Spoiler Warning: The following entry may contain spoilers for all books in the Twilight Saga, including Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. If you have not read this series run, do not walk to your nearest bookstore or library and sign up to get them because in all likelihood the books will be on back order or on a waiting list.

Now, I have enjoyed reading this series as much as the next person, and there is a great deal to like about the story. It has a strong and well written female lead character, a well rounded cast so to speak, plenty of dramatic tension and surprising plot twists. I must admit I have not been so riveted by a series since Stephen King's Dark Tower series. That being said there are some quite disturbing elements to this particular set of books, and I don't mean all the vampires and killing and such. The first book seems fairly straight forward: girl meets vampire, girl loves vampire, yadda yadda yadda. But even so I began to detect a few tendencies towards something deeper. I could not help but notice that most of the main vampires became so at the brink of death and were turned for the sake of saving their lives. What I found interesting was the pattern of having to be in a death like stupor for three days and then emerging as a new and reborn creature. Hm. Who else in history was dead for three days and came back all shiny-like? Related to this the vampires also have intentionally chosen a life against their nature in that they have committed themselves not to harm or take the life of any human. So even though they are constantly craving human blood, they sustain themselves on large wildlife like mountain lions and elk and what not. I found it mildly amusing that they also choose to live in areas with animal population control problems, so they don't mess up the eco system. So not only are they good vampires, they are eco friendly environmentally conscious vampires. He he. I digress. But the lifestyle choice seemed to be a parallel to persons of faith, who are choosing to deny their human or "sinful" nature and strive to be a better, more enlightened person. It is later revealed that this lifestyle choice permits the vampire family to create stronger relationship ties being more like a family than other groups of vampires. I also couldn't help but notice that the main character, an ordinary girl with a tendency towards clumsiness, has the name of Bella Swan, Bella being the Italian word for "beautiful". As the books progressed I did begin to see a bit of an 'ugly duckling' parallel in the arc of the overall story. I am curious to compare the meanings of the other names involved, specifically Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.

What disturbed me specifically about the first book, and became more apparent in the following books, was the tendency for Edward to be so very protective towards Bella. At the begining he wants nothing more than to stay away from her for the sake of saving her life. He seems to be over come with a pesky desire to kill her whenever she is around. Then out of the blue for some reason he decides then that he is in love with her, touching again on the theme of denying ones baser desires. As the story progresses, Edward exhibits behavior which would be nearly criminal in real life to the point of following Bella to another town when she goes shopping with some girlfriends. This of course is revealed when he swoops in to rescue her from a random group of thugs. His protectiveness teeters between sweet and cloying as the story continues. In later books he actually puts down an edict that she cannot be friends with certain people because they might be a danger to her, since they are werewolves and all. This coming from the vampire who is constantly struggling not to kill her. In one case, when Edward is out of town on a 'hunting trip' he even goes so far as to pay off his sister to kidnap Bella for a girls night sleepover, to prevent her from visiting said friends. All of this behavior is painted in such a way as to be a reflection of the great concern he has for her safety and evidence of how much he loves her. His affection for Bella is used as a way to justify the possessiveness and authoritative manner that he perpetually exhibits. Though, to the credit of Stephanie Meyer, Bella does stand up to Edward's behavior to the extent that she is able, but the result is usually that she is won over by his crooked smile, his smoldering gaze, and vampiric charm, which is described ad nauseum.

There are quite a few redeeming qualities in the story as a whole, and many points that I have been curious about for a while regarding vampire lore. For example, the question of what happens to a vampire's soul or what happens if they decide to try to live as a good vampire as the characters in this book do. I have been surprised that no writer has addressed these issues so far. (To answer my mother's inevitable question "Because I don't have time,"). Stephanie Meyer's take on the vampire legends is certainly unique. It is unfortunate to me at least that the characters have these questionable qualities, and I wonder now what effect the actions of the characters are having on the young female teen readership of these books. I heavily encourage parents of young girls (and boys for that matter) to read these books if your children are and be aware enough to discuss the actions with your children. My own daughter is only two but I am already hyper aware of societies brainwashing into what behavior she is supposed to exhibit. But that is fodder for a post on a different day... and I will continue my review of the Twilight Saga as well.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The same only different.

Quesidilla without the ques.

Peanut butter.
Chocolate syrup.

Mix well. Spread evenly over a tortilla and fold.

Bake at 375 for about five minutes. Enjoy.

It's gooeyer this way.

Being dairy free is officially starting to annoy me. I can't eat any lunch meat because it contains potassium lactate, or sodium lactate. The other day we made pizzas on tortilla's and I couldn't have any pepperoni because it contains a lactic acid starter culture! What is up with that! Why can't meat just be meat! And apparently some prepackaged meats also have this in it. So I can have cereal, vegetables, Ramen, and peanut butter. I might as well just become a vegan for the next 10 months. Aug! That would be like me stopping having green eyes.

I finally got the fourth book. A full review will follow as soon as I'm done with the series.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

dancing protesters and UK basketball

So currently the President is in London for the G20 summit. While watching the morning news showing coverage of the protesters, some of whom were dancing, I asked my husband what they were protesting and if they were good-guy protesters or bad-guy protesters. At just that moment the newscaster said that the prostesters were protesting capitalism. Then my husband said "I guess they are good-guy protesters," Yup.

Indeed I know I could use a little less capitalism in my life. Especially when it comes to health care. Plus, I'd also like to see more dancing protesters. Maybe next time I go to a protest I'll dance. Depends on the cause.

A few minutes after that the local news came on and said that there would be a live press conference at 9:00am to introduce the new basketball coach. I said "They are going to interrupt real, actual news for that?" Yeah, I said it. It seems absurd to me that this is what is preempting regular programing. Nobody died. Nobody went to space, and nobody cured anything. As far as I'm concerned those might be good reasons to inturrupt programing, but hey stop the presses!UK got a new coach! Whew doggie!

And I still haven't gotten the fourth book yet. *frown*