Friday, November 30, 2007

100% Chance of snow

Just a quick post as I dive into a working from home frenzy.

According to NOAA it's 4°F (-16°C) out there right now with a wind chill of BRRRR!!! Well, -10°F (-23°C) wind chill, actually. But they're roughly the same. NOAA's also saying we've got a 100% chance of snow for tomorrow. Guaranteed. You betcha!

The rats all seem to be on the mend today. Hardly any sneezes from Dureena and Talia, and Delenn sounds a lot better. Keeping the humidifier running all the time isn't bad for the humans in the house either. The ratties are getting canned pumpkin and other moist treats, too, which is quite popular with all of them.

Well, break's over. Back to work.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quick post on my break

We had flurries last night, but no snow accumulation. Just those nifty ghostlike snow patterns blowing around on the road. Today it's 16°F (-9°C) with a wind chill of 4°F (-16°C). But sunny and calm. Not that I'm out roaming around outside today. I'm working from home for a few days on a big project.

But I wanted to take a few minutes over my lunch break to post my photos from the Anthony Bourdain book signing at the Mall of America the other night. You can see the rest of the set here

Went to the vet for the lady rats yesterday, because they've got the sneezes. Fortunately it looks like a little upper respiratory irritation is all they're dealing with, so they're on some baby Benadryl now, and we've got the humidifier cranked up. Seems to be helping. Now if only my cold would just go away...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rest in peace, Little Dude

Rest in peace, Little Dude
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
19°F (-7°C) / wind chill 7°F (-14°C) according to NOAA. The wind outside is rattling in the chimney.

Today was a mixed day for us. I'm about half over my cold, which is a plus.

Our little Ambassador passed away during his neutering surgery. The vet says she's never lost a rat during a neuter before. My Honey and I are both very sad, as he'd really endeared himself to us in the short time he was with us. The University of MN will do rat autopsies, so we'll be able to find out what happened.

On the up side today we got to meet Tony Bourdain at a book signing at the Mall of America. (I'll post photos of that soon.)

A huge owl flew across the road in front of me on the way home from the book signing, close enough I was a afraid he'd smack into my windscreen. Startled the heck out of me. But it was really lovely.

Then the guild had a really good run through Mechanar in WoW...

More ups than downs. But the ups are still touched by the sad part.

Sleep well, sweet little G'Kar... you will be missed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The mummy speaks

29°F (-2°C) According to NOAA.

Working from home today. Thank goodness for the vpn.

I managed to catch one of the colds that was being shared all over the airplane, either on the trip out or a fast pouncing one on the way back. I can talk, but my voice sounds like a mummy recently risen from the tomb. Hmm... no, wait. Boris Karloff had a lovely voice as Im-ho-tep (dba Ardath Bey) in my favorite mummy film of all times: The Mummy (1932).

At any rate, I sound lousy. And I'm sick enough that the other denizens of our cube farm would really rather I didn't come in today.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home again

My cousin and Cassie
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
We got back from our North Carolina trip this afternoon to weather at home around 40°F (4°C) and windy, but bright and sunny.

There was a layover in Atlanta, GA, where we had breakfast and saw someone on a segue, apparently patrolling the corridors. Well, I spotted it, but my Honey missed it. He was disappointed because he's never seen a segue out "in the wild". Only on tv and the interweb.

On the plane out of Atlanta we found ourselves seated in front of a small boy (maybe 4?) named Miah his mom and a slightly older brother. Miah started off the flight by telling his brother-- in one of those child voices that can carry even over airplane engine noise-- a story about a talking penis. His mother stopped that story short, but not before its subject had been announced to everyone sitting within several rows in either direction. Miah fussed, yelled, cried, whined, sneezed, made random hooting noises, kicked my seat, and kept up a constant stream of high-volume 4-year old chatter for the whole 2+ hour flight. His mom tried to quiet him about once every 5 minutes, to little effect.

On the up-side, there was an in-flight movie. We didn't use the headphones, and missed the title, so we had to figure out the plot from whatever clues the visuals gave us. Looked like some kind of Thanksgiving special you might see produced by Hallmark.

Near as we could tell, there was a were-pigeon living on some blond woman's windowsill. Said pigeon was possibly also Blond's therapist in disguise. There seemed to be some fisherman guy in the Pacific North West who missed the Blond Lady, but she was in New York, and neither was willing to move to the other's city.

Someone managed to ruin a roasted turkey at Blond Lady's apartment by squirting it with a broken kitchen faucet, so they had to eat burgers for Thanksgiving. There was a mysterious woman in the burger restaurant who we suspect was the therapist/pigeon in human form.

There was another lady at a more traditional holiday dinner who didn't get any pumpkin pie. Her pielessness seemed to be the last straw, because she left the dinner table in a huff even though two folks offered to share their pie with her. We never managed to figure out what No-pie-for-me Lady was doing in Blond Lady's story.

Long story short, Blond Lady eventually put the were-pigeon in a shoe box and dropped it off in Central Park. The scene changed to show some new brunette lady showing up at Pacific North West Boyfriend's house. Her appearance seemed to perplex him. I think he was expecting Blond Lady. But maybe he was expecting the were-pigeon?

The movie ended there, without showing us where Blond Lady went, or why PNW Boyfriend wasn't happy to see Brunette Lady. We suspect that the were-pigeon hurried back from the park to Blond Lady's apartment and talked her out of a hair-brained scheme. But that's just a guess on our part. At any rate, the pigeon really should have had more screen time, but I guess it was meant to be a small but pivotal role.

Edited to fix some really lousy grammar. From now on maybe I'll just let it stay as a reminder to me to proofread?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Caution Hot Surface

Caution Hot Surface
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
We flew out to North Carolina for Thanksgiving this year to spend it with my cousins. The weather was lovely, the food was splendid, and everyone had a wonderful time.

We're still here (visiting) until day after tomorrow. One of my cousins has been back from an extended army deployment for only a few months, and I hadn't seen him in nearly a decade when he came back. So it's been great getting to introduce him and my other cousins to my husband, and having time to relax and get to know one another again.

We used a Char-Broil Big Easy infrared cooker to cook the turkey. The rim of the cooker was stamped "Caution Hot Surface."

There are more photos from the visit on my flickr page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sunrise commute on I 494

Sunrise commute on I 494
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
There was a beautiful sky for me to enjoy on my way in to work this morning. Got out the door a bit late, so the sunrise was already well under way as I drove.

This is a blind cellphone capture, but the traffic was also quite slow when I took this. I promise I had my eyes on the road, not the cameraphone.

It was a cool 30-something °F on the ride in, but looks to be shaping up to another 40-something day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Call me Scrooge

Gray, foggy, drizzly day. NOAA says it's a 42°F (6°C) outside right now. But it's likely to get cold in a day or two.

Sometimes I'm reminded that I'll never be mistaken for a Minnesota native. I got an invitation through my employer to be in the Holidazzle parade as:
... a Jingle Elf, Toy Soldier, Holiday Light Bulb or one of many other storybook characters!
I know a lot of folks here are really excited by the Holidazzle tradition. And it does look (from what I've seen on TV) like an especially good parade. But I have just never been excited enough about any parade to sit outside on a December night in Minnesota to watch a parade go by. So I don't see myself dressing up as a giant light bulb to hike along with one any time soon.

Besides, when I figure in how excited I was yesterday to be able to go grocery shopping without pain, marching beside a float doesn't seem like a great idea.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Relaxing weekend

38°F (3°C)
We had big fluffy snowflakes this afternoon, while it was a bit cooler than it is now, but it was still too warm for them to stick. And still warm enough for Joe to make dinner on the grill.

Spent much of the day playing World of Warcraft with my Joe after running errands in the morning. We decided to try out a pair of Tauren Druids for a change of pace. Played up to level 11 before logging off.

Finally walking again without the leg cramps that made getting around so difficult last month. Haven't tried pushing my luck yet, but it's definitely getting better. That bodes well for a less complicated visit to my cousin's house for Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Discombobulated grocery list

Catrina in the window
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
Current temp outside: 36°F (2°C) overcast and calm.

Snowed a bit this morning. Just enough to make everything damp. The cats are flopped all over the floor, napping in the weak sun coming through the patio door. The exception is Catrina, who is watching the squirrel feeding station in case one of the chipmunks or squirrels should happen to come by. Of course, as soon as Catrina switches to a different window, one of the chipmunks starts raids on the seeds she'd just been watching.

Spent part of the morning figuring out the grocery list for our Thanksgiving in NC with relatives. My Joe and I are cooking the main dishes, and dessert is taken care of already. Keeping things uncomplicated, but yummy.

Here's what I ended up sending in my email.

2 medium onions. Sweet (i.e. Vidalia) onions if possible, else brown.

sage (dried)



2 eggs

butter (unsalted) at least a couple of sticks

1 bulb of fresh garlic

rosemary (fresh, only need a few sprigs)

mild Italian sausage (1/3 lb or about 2 sausages worth)

Bag or box of dried bread cubes (or a loaf of bread to be dried the night before if no plain cubes are available). NOT boxed pre-flavored stuffing mix.

A red apple. Prefer one of the crisper brands, not mealy like red delicious. Fuji, gala, honeycrisp, or whatever is good in your region.

Turkey or chicken broth as available. Preferably one of the boxed "natural" brands like Pacific. 2 of the 1 qt sized boxes or cans. Will be used in gravy and dressing.

Non-stick spray. Preferably the "Mazola Pure" brand. Doesn't matter which "flavor". We usually buy the "butter" one since it's a better multi-tasker.

1 small jar/can of chestnuts (not water chestnuts) if you like them in your dressing. They're spendy, so consider them optional.

A 1/4 cup or so all purpose flour (for the gravy)

Salad (?) - whatever you like in your salad. Especially tomatoes if they're still flavorful where you live. Salad dressing.

We like green beans, steamed and then lightly tossed with olive oil that has been infused with a bit of garlic and a bit of caramelized onion. So a bunch of fresh green beans, enough for 6 adults. If you are from the "must have green bean casserole" tradition instead, get whatever is usually used to make that instead and we'll figure it out.

A wisk for the gravy.

Bread rolls if you want them. Believe it or not, the Pillsbury frozen dinner rolls are quite tasty.

We planned on doing savory chipotle mashed sweet potatoes. For that we'd need enough whole, raw yams/sweet potatoes (whichever looks better in your grocery store) for the 6 adults, figuring a half of a large yam for each. We figured it's more kid-friendly than our other favorite yam dish.

Tobasco brand sauce, chipotle flavor. Small size is fine. (

I'm bringing frozen cranberry sauce in my luggage. Easier and tastier made ahead.

Potatoes for mashing if you want regular mashed potatoes along with the mashed yams. If we go this way, we may not need quite so many yams.

A strainer/colander for draining potatoes.

Either a bit of milk, or some half and half for the mashed potatoes, depending on how rich you like them.

Tupperware for leftovers =)

Turkey notes: I understand we'll be using an oil-free "fryer". Joe says this new fryer thing lets you collect the turkey drippings (?) That's good news for the gravy.

Needless to say, if you do any prep to the bird before we arrive, please make sure to save the neck and other bits inside for the gravy.

Joe would like to brine the turkey the night before. We'll bring the brining spices. He'll also need a clean, unscented plastic trash bag, an ice chest that the turkey will fit into, and about 10 lbs of ice cubes. For a more flavorful brine, a couple of extra quarts of broth would be a bonus.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hello World

Well, ok, I think my audience is likely to be one or two at most. But "hello" just the same.

High 42°F
Low: 27°F
They're starting to use the word "windchill" around here again. Winter must be on its way.