Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm interrupting my self-imposed moratorium on blogging while I'm trying to finish my book for two very important public service announcements.

My good friend Lu, voice of Speak and wonder dog/service dog-in-training Belle, is running a half marathon in January to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Here's a little bit of background:
As many of you know, my husband, Joe Finnegan died of complications from Crohn's Disease in January, 2004. My son, Ben was also recently diagnosed with Crohn's.

When those around you suffer, there's such a terrible feeling of helplessness. To combat that helplessness, I have joined the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) Team Challenge and will run the ING Miami Half Marathon in January, 2008. I am raising money for this very important cause and I'm asking you to help by making a contribution! Please use the link in this email to donate online quickly & securely. You will receive email confirmation of your donation and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation. I thank you in advance for your support, and really appreciate your generosity!!

I encourage you to become one of Joe and Ben's Crohn-ies! (Hey, that's Lu's joke, not mine!)

I also wanted to call your attention to another worthy cause, Robert's Snow. Just this past August, Grace Lin, children's author & illustrator, lost her dear husband Robert Mercer, to cancer.

When Robert was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, Grace was inspired to write and illustrate a book, Robert's Snow, about a mouse not allowed in the snow. After the book was published in 2004, Grace gathered childrens' book illustrators to create special snowflakes to be auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting sarcoma research at the Dana-Farber Institute. Since 2004, the Robert's Snow auction has raised over $200,000.

You can help fund cancer research AND buy some very cool artwork here.

We can't all run a half marathon or create works of art, but we can all do something to help fund research to help cure diseases that affect those people we know and love.


Now playing: The Cat Empire - Hello

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Your eyes were are bigger than your stomach!

...And don't bite off more than you can chew. Two phrases I heard often while growing up. An apt illustration, especially given the fact that the little fish was dead when discovered.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I've been squashed!

OK, an image to entertain you while I'm busy doing some real work. A neighbor left this squash on my doorstep this morning. According to my bathroom scale it weighs 7 pounds, but it seems heavier. The hand...well, that's a prop from a failed science experiment. caraf knows all about that one. I'll write about that someday when I recover from the trauma. But New Scientist SAID it worked!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ain't the internets great!?

Well, yes, they are. Sometimes the internets are pretty great, in fact. Case in point: I got to know Lu, aka Speaker, service dog trainer extraordinaire and terrific Mom, via my running buddy caraf. I'd met Lu, briefly, and not in any really meaningful way, at a local race years ago. But we really only got to know each other through reading each other's blogs.

This past week, Lu came to CU to visit her son, a student at the U.I. She took some time to see Gracie and me as well. My internet friend became my face to face friend in no time. Thanks, Lu.

This may be the final entry in my blog until the first or second week in November. Until then, I'm going to be focusing on my finishing my volcano scientists book. But I'm going to meet Tony in Rome for his 50th birthday the weekend of Nov. 9, and then after that I may have a body modification (no! Not plastic surgery!) to report... And that's all I'm going to say.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Think pink

If you have been inside a grocery store this month, you are probably aware the October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Now, I think that breast cancer awareness is a good thing, I really do. And while I do like the pink M&Ms...

...this just seems wrong:

Yes, that's 10 pink boxes of hamburger helper for $10! And one of the risk factors for breast cancer would be...a high fat diet.

I'm becoming tired of pink. The Pink for the Cure campaign not only trivializes an important issue, but it ties it into foods of dubious nutritional value.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Miss Pickerell!

I got a blast from the past in from a little throwaway comment in the Style section of today's New York Times. Bergdorf-Goodman in NYC is selling wallets and change purses made from vintage library-bound children's books. (I'm dying for one of these. But they're not cheap.)

"There's a lot of amazing drawings and imagery on old book covers," Ms. Cagle [one of the creators of the line] said, speaking of buckaroos, heroes in tricorn hats, bewigged kings, arkloads of animals and goofy titles like 'Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars.'"

I had completely forgotten about the Miss Pickerell books--and I LOVED them! Miss Pickerell goes out to her pasture to visit her pet cow one day (first reason I liked her) and finds a rocketship (second reason). Somehow, she boards the ship, which is headed to Mars. Science adventure ensues. The first book in the series came out sometime in the 1950s, and when the original author Ellen MacGregor died, Dora Pantell took over (keeping MacGregor's name on the book, however).

There are a bunch of other Miss Pickerell books, including Miss Pickerell on the Moon, Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter, and Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea. And although I do not remember this title (I did a little research on Amazon), I felt that Miss Pickerell may have jumped the shark with Miss Pickerell Tackles the Energy Crisis. My heart sank a little when I read that.

I realized that Miss Pickerell is Stella Brite's grandmother.

Chicago marathon

Well, it sounds as though the Chicago marathon was hellish this year. It was so hot (reaching 88 degrees) and humid that they closed the course around noon, although it sounds as though many runners kept on going anyway. Worse, it was so hot that the faster runners were using a lot more water and Gatorade than expected, leaving a couple of the early aid stations completely dry by the time the 4-4.5 hour marathoners came along. One guy died.

I think they did the right thing to close the course, but it seems to me that running out of water and Gatorade has got to be a huge black eye for the organizers. They knew it would be terribly hot and should have arranged for more fluids.

All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't run this year's marathon from hell. Instead, caraf and I ran 9 miles this morning, admired a couple of GINORMOUS pumpkins on display in a local community garden, and ate some yummy watermelon while we iced our respective sore spots afterwards. Here's to running buddies!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bumper sticker blogs?

OK, so you guys have pointed me in the direction of some great grammar police blogs, and for that I am thankful. Now I have another, perhaps greater challenge for you. Are equal to the task? I think you are.

I have a work-in-progress that's back of the burner right now, but I'm still in low-level in research mode for it. It's a road-trip novel, and I'm collecting interesting/funny/incongruous bumper stickers. Especially bumper sticker that seem to collide with others on the same vehicle/with the driver/with the car. At some point, I'm probably going to start taking pictures. Any leads?

One of my daughters pointed out that my car, a Prius, sports the trifecta in liberal commentary. I've got a rainbow strip across the back window, a Darwin fish, and a yellow "Support the troops/bring them home" magnetic ribbon positioned above my gas tank. Wait, wait, I'm not getting all sanctimonious on you, I know that bumper stickers are as much about the car driver you want to be as much as it is about the person you are. And I know that my too-big old house is an energy sinkhole. But I guess you could say that my car projects my ideal world. I think lots of people feel the same way.

Any bumper sticker anthropologists out there?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Seasonal spam

It's October, I just received a very important email from GhostControl, and I discovered that
Three houses in your neighborhood have had high amounts of spiritual activity. Our instruments show strange energy radiating directly from your home.
Woah! Fortunately for me, I can click on a link to find out if my house is haunted. Which I'll do...when...ah, never. Why not? Because I KNOW my house is haunted, man! It creaks at night, and there are lots of spiderwebs in the basement.

Come on, spammers! You can't get your Halloween act together before October 2? Does this mean I won't be receiving helpful messages about increasing Santa's penis size until December? Don't make me wait, spammers. It's October already. Get your acts together.