Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

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Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: origamifreak
(File created on: April 12 2008)
Current BMI: 45.67
Still pushing it down – although this weekend had trouble with

motivation keeping track of intake and exercise.  Currently 1.6 up from

recent minimum on Oct 23.  It’s hard when the house is so cold (55F). 

I need to crank the heat up more (at least 65F).

I spent part of the weekend and all of Monday in bed, after eating something (dairy?) that did not agree with me.  Now that I’m home from work today, all my muscles ache, especially the big ones, like my quads.  I wonder if I’m coming down with something?  I couldn’t possibly be sore after only a few days laid up? Needless to say, I am NOT working out, while feeling like this.

Baking a whole heap of squash again tonight.  This time I saved the seeds.  I must say it’s quite difficult getting the slimy strands off buttercup seeds.  Acorn and butternut are much easier.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 11 2007 at 8:07 pm
Current BMI: 45.92
Well, I’ve pushed it down some more.  As of this morning I’m 3.2 above my recent minimum.  Looks like I’m back on track.

I’ve been doing my PT routine at the local college’s weight room during lunch.  It’s amazing to see how much stronger I am than I was back in October.  Just
the sheer difference in weight lifted, and the elliptical duration and intensity.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 04 2007 at 8:25 pm
Jewels in the Sand
Went to NYC yesterday with Kathie, her mom, Deb, and her kids.  We split up in the morning (K & her mom went to Chinatown, D and her kids went to Macy’s; I went straight to the museum), and all met at the Met at 5pm. 

Saw lots of lovely Asian pottery, European tapestries, Egyptian and Hellenic relics, Dutch drawings and watercolors, and fascinating modern photography.  Kathie and I particularly liked the Ptolmeic Period bronze cat.  This item must be a perennial favorite, because it’s even featured in an illustration in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

The city was mobbed downtown, especially where the bus picked us up across the street from RCMH where, Kathie and I figured out later, a TV broadcast celebrating their 75th  Anniversary was going on.

During dinner we played Jewels in the Sand, which is sort of like Zendo with words.  Here are some of the rules we used:

  • Jewels are words with exactly two double letters
  • Jewels are words with a silent “g”
  • Jewels describe objects with teeth (sharks, saws, not babies)
  • Jewels are words with the word “ring” in them
  • Jewels are palatable (edible in the sense you’d WANT to eat them)
  • Jewels are items that consume electricity
  • Jewels are words that are both a noun and a verb (drop, grip)
  • Jewels are words that have at least two pronunciations, each with a

    separate meaning (tear, lead)

I also figured out a good use for the pedometer, similar to the way I use the car’s trip meter.  I know I can go about 350 miles before needing to fill up the gas tank.  Now I know I can go about 7,000 steps before the arthritic knee starts to complain.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 02 2007 at 5:49 pm
Cats like squash?!
So I’ve been getting a lot of winter squash lately from the CSA, and tonight decided to fill up the oven and bake a whole batch of them at once so I can use them in various ways.

Tonight it was butternut, carnival, delicata, and I think kabocha.  I just whacked them in half, scooped out the seeds and strings (didn’t save the seeds for toasting this time), put them cut-side-down in pyrex dishes and baked at 375 F for 90 minutes.

Anyway, when they came out of the oven and started to cool, I was curious how they all tasted.  The butternut won this time, hands-down.  It had the sweetest, flakiest, orangest flesh.  I brought a dish with a sample of each over to the computer so I could compare with the descriptions of them online.

I’m holding one of the carnival squashes, after having scooped the kabocha empty, and I hear this weird sound.  “Num, num, num, num, crunch, crunch, lick, lick, lick.”  I look over, and there’s Sunny, EATING the squash skin, and looking like he’s expecting me to say “no.”  I finished the carnival, and he promptly started eating that skin too.

He didn’t finish them, but he definitely ate some.  I guess he was full, because now he’s walked off and pushed some books out so he can hide behind them in the bookcase.

It figures he’d decide he likes something weird.  Miaumoto likes beans, after all.

Maybe I should have named him “pumpkin.”

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 27 2007 at 10:09 pm
One comment:

Maybe he has to keep his color strong?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 29 / 2007 at 2:57 pm

Deborah’s website:

Current BMI: 46.58

Thank God for setpoints.  Despite a month of travelling and laziness, I have only gone up 1.16 in the BMI (7.4 pounds).  I have not been exercising regularly, especially this past week, when the PT prescription ran out, I didn’t go to Geneva Th or F, and the H2O aerobics pool was closed on Tu.  Even worse, I have not been tracking my intake.  Which, if you’ve read the past few entries, has been considerable, lately.  And having tasty leftovers in the fridge tempting one late at night doesn’t help.

Well, I know what to do and how to do it, so here we go, back to the Program.  As PQ has pointed out, when you do the work, you get the results.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 25 2007 at 8:28 am
Turning 42

I love 4-day weekends.  Especially when they coincide with my birthday.  ๐Ÿ™‚

On Thursday Kathie and her mom brought a lovely stewed duck and the DVD of Some Like it Hot.  I made 3 kinds of squash (acorn, carnival, delicata – the delicata won), rice, and tomato aspic.  For dessert we cut up a bunch of different kinds of apples and made pies with a store-bought bottom crust and a crumble upper.  There was vanilla ice cream to eat it with ala-mode.

We watched the movie, snacked on toasted squash seeds, and played Zendo.

Then the next day I slept in and then drove to see Deb, where she provided a lovely lunch and dinner featuring squash soup, a beautiful salad with coldframe greens, more homemade pepitos, veggies with dip, tea, and a wonderful, giant carrot cake with pineapple, raisins, coconut, cream cheese frosting, and nonpareils of both the non-metallic and metallic kinds (oh, excuse medragรฉes). 

Lest you think from the title of this post that we were in danger of setting the house on fire, I will point out that only 17 candles were deployed, in the appropriate Arabic shape.  I suppose she could have laid them down and done Roman numerals…  ๐Ÿ™‚

I got to see Jay briefly between work emergencies and deer processing, Isaac when he got home from work, and even Suz came over to say “hi!”

As Deb has mentioned, I brought the new member of the household, who was surprisingly well-behaved for a 7-month-old who is not accustomed to visiting.  Isabelle spent a lot of time babysitting and taking him on a leash around the inside and outside of the house, and even trained him to jump through a hula-hoop.  I think he misses her already.

We played lots of games of Zendo, colored masks, and tried origami.

The fun!  The laughter!  (my abs are still recovering) The handmade cards I forgot to bring home with me!  The many games of Zendo!  The kitten cuteness!  The kitten exhaustion!  The kitten’s questionable digestion of dog food!  (incomplete – he’s a bit gassy today)

…And my alternative POB books arrived!  (The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore)

It has been a wonderful weekend already.  One of the nicest birthdays among the 42 I’ve experienced.  ๐Ÿ™‚

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 24 2007 at 8:54 pm
Happy Birthday!! You’re so YOUNG! Wish I’d been there for the festivities and the food, and to see the kitty jump through a hoop.

I’ve read those two books, after going through the mourning that comes with the end of Vol 20 of the big series…it was fun to read The Unknown Shore, especially, and to meet the proto-Jack and the proto-Stephen. At least, that was my impression.

Happy Birthday once again!

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 11 / 25 / 2007 at 2:19 PM

Thanks! It was very fun and relaxed, and your company would have been most enjoyable.

I finished TGO yesterday, and already like TUS even more. The way Byron locates and captures Barrow in London is hysterical. They are very reminiscent of Aubrey and Maturin. Even to their physical descriptions, although Barrow has pale green eyes, while I believe Maturin’s are pale blue.

Those books also add a richness to the big series in helping one imagine the stories from a mid’s point of view. (I’m listening to them in order on the Zen; just started TFSotW.)

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 25 / 2007 at 10:40 PM

Yeah, I liked TUS better, as well. It would be cool to hear O’Brien explain how he sorted through the characteristics of the young pair of friends to decide what to build into Aubrey and Maturin, individually, and into their relationship, which I think is the most fascinating friendship I’ve come across in books.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 11 / 26 / 2007 at 11:57 AM

Time Travel

Sometimes I just want to eat something familiar, something that reminds me of home.  Even if that thing is pretty much universally reviled.

My thing today is tomato aspic.  My mom used to make it as the first course salad for holiday dinners.  I suspect this recipe came from a Campbell Soup cookbook.  She really relied on that cookbook.  I don’t believe I ate a single meal growing up that didn’t have canned soup in there somewhere: tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of chicken, etc.

So, although Kathie and her mom will show up with a lovely duck for roasting, and we will have steamed rice and squash baked with craisins and marmalade, and a homemade apple pie for dessert, I felt the urge to make my mom’s aspic.

It’s chilling in the fridge, right now.  I tasted the mixture left in the pan after transferring to the Pyrex and had two reactions. 

First, my tastebuds said, “OMG that’s sweet – no wonder you liked it as a child!”  And then somewhere from far back in the recesses of my memory, my brain said, “Yep, you got it right. That’s the stuff.  It tastes exactly right.”  And I was temporarily transported back 27 years, and 2,760 miles to the dining room of a house that has changed hands twice, and of the three occupants I’m the only one still living.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 22 2007 at 9:40 am
Weak in the Knees
I had a follow-up appointment with the orthopedic guy this week and they burned a CD for me with my X-rays on it.  I managed to get screencaps of them after fiddling with it for a while (the files were in a weird proprietary format and software came on the disc that was supposed to load automatically but didn’t).

So now I submit for your viewing pleasure (?) my poor arthritic knee.

We’ll start with the left (good) one.  Notice the nice comfortable gap between the bones.  That’s where the cartilage is:

Notice also how smooth all the bones are, around the joint.

OK, now we’ll look at my right knee:

Notice how there isn’t much space at all between the bones.  That’s the part deep inside that hurts when I spend too much time on my feet.  It’s almost, but not quite bone grinding on bone.  Notice also how rough and uneven the bones are in that vicinity.  There’s pitting and spurs forming.

OK, this is something I didn’t know about.  My kneecap is also having problems.  Here’s the left one:

See how it nestles nicely in its little spot?  That’s what it should look like.

Here’s the right kneecap:

Yikes.  That doesn’t look good, at all!

Yessir, deep water aerobics and no-impact exercise is a Very Good Idea, at this point.

The surgeon said that at some point I might want him to go in there arthroscopically and shave off any rough or degraded cartilage.  Eventually I’ll probably have to replace the joint entirely.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 22 2007 at 9:16 am

Over at the LOLcat site, an honest-to-Gawd theological discussion has broken out over a picture.

This includes such gems as:

  • Akshully, I fink God does has hyoomurs, since we is maed in Hees lyknus an we has hewmurs, den he muss too! )
    Dun be puts off Flartus, I is lookin fourwid to Hebins, I finks isgunna be grate! Is allwais Caturday an teh cheezburgers nebah runs owt!^_^
  • God is komedian playing 2 a room โ€˜fraid 2 laugh.

And if this wasn’t enough, there’s even a  bible translated into cat pidgin.

Who would have thought?  Not me!

Answer to Deb, since Upsaid won’t let me post this as a comment:

Yes, Ma’am, it is.  Even the FAQ.

It’s officially called “LOLspeak,” “kitty pidgin,” or “Kitteh” and there’s a dictionary and a LSL (LOLspeak as a Second Language) page.

There’s even a special in-depth analysis of it, tracing its history and influences, and an explanation of how to use the grammar properly.


…and lest you think people are writing like that because they don’t know better, observe this comment on the analysis, in which the writer complains about the misuse of an apostrophe:

Oh hai, I haz onlie wun pikki – iz da dangd greengrozerz postrofeein da fraze: โ€œbut the etymologyโ€™s of its terms and symbolsโ€โ€ฆ. it shudbe โ€œthe etymologies of its terms and symbolsโ€โ€ฆ. nawt pozessuv, k.

And dat iz kuz I iz teh รผberpikki abowt dem greengrozerz poztrofeez. I hateses dem wif passhinz, kthx.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 10 2007 at 8:25 am
That picture is a hoot!

Is the whole site written in colloquial ignoramus-speak?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 10 / 2007 at 2:15 PM

Deborah’s website:

See comment appended to original message.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 10 / 2007 at 5:29 PM


A few weeks ago at work they gave away all-you-can-pick apples.  I picked several bags of Cortlands, but didn’t manage to eat them all before they started getting a little mealy.

So today I made a gallon of applesauce with them.  MMM.

I did something similar to this, where I steamed quartered, cored, unpeeled apples with whole cloves and stick cinnamon and ran them through the food mill.

I love how cloves make anything sweet, without sugar!

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 03 2007 at 11:49 pm
When my mom used to make applesauce, instead of using cinnamon, she would melt redhots into the mush. It was really yummy.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 11 / 04 / 2007 at 5:12 PM

That Cthulu (spelling error alert) art site is bizarrely funny.

It knocks the story’s idea down to their proper size.

I read Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” for Halloween. Another story I can not recommend.

Our Cortlands never made the mealy stage. Thanks.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 05 / 2007 at 2:21 PM

Deborah’s website:

New cat pics
Certain people have asked for more recent kitten photos, so here is one, by popular demand, fresh off the camera (tonight) and the green-eye GIMPed out:

I’m sure he’s thinking, “Does that thing you’re pointing at me taste good?  I’ll have to dig it out of its bag and gnaw on it some, when you’re at work tomorrow, to find out.”


Entry posted by origamifreak on November 01 2007 at 10:08 pm
I immediately thought: “You are a sly dog, aren’t you?”

Even though he obviously is a sly cat.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 02 / 2007 at 11:55 AM

Deborah’s website:

‘sokay. My cats are trained like dogs anyway, so I doubt they know any better!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 02 / 2007 at 9:58 PM

At Least yours doesn’t eat needles.

Darn, I see that you found the ticker. I was going to send it to you.

Comment posted by rab (ip: on 11 / 06 / 2007 at 6:47 PM

rab’s website: http://[url=][img]

beets! baked!
They’ve been giving away free produce again where I work.  This time it’s beets.

I already know I like beets in soups, in salads, in cakes, and Harvard-style as my mom used to make it – as a Radcliffe grad, I suppose she knew how they were supposed to be, too!  ๐Ÿ˜‰

This time I tried baking them.  MMM.  The natural sweetness and flavor really comes out.  It’s not as cloying as what you get with sweet potatoes or butternut squash, but it is very, very good.  I highly recommend this treatment of them.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 27 2007 at 7:49 pm
Wow. I don’t go online for ten days and look what happens!

Baked beets sound good, but I have resisted the impulse to heat the oven only for beets. Maybe if I could coordinate with bread or something else…

Like the fitness room. Let me see if I understand: the bike will run a computer?

Glad you are feeling better.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 30 / 2007 at 7:48 PM

Deborah’s website:

The bike has a little computer that snaps on and keeps track of speed, mileage, cadence, etc. It takes a little watch battery, that I need to buy.

In fact I’ve got a bunch of batteries needed: 9V for the downstairs smoke detector, AA for the clock in my bedroom that stopped, and the little watch one for my bike computer.

It’s that Lazy Monster that makes me forget whenever I’m out somewhere that sells them.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 30 / 2007 at 8:28 PM

Make sure you get the smoke detector batteries angela! Or is it that you are getting so hot you keep setting the detector off?!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 10 / 31 / 2007 at 9:22 AM

home fitness center

I’m probably the last person who would have ever thought this would happen, but I’ve actually dedicated a spot in my house for exercise.  There is even a computer and powered speakers with a subwoofer so I can stream podcasts like Selected Shorts, Words at Large, Writer’s Block, etc. 

There are over a thousand radio-based English language podcasts listed at  I lean toward these because the production values tend to be higher than the options listed in generic podcast directories.

Posters have gone up since this pic was taken – it’s not quite as dreary as it looks – although I really don’t notice because I’m usually focused on technique and actively listening to whatever is on.

To this I have added a free workout chart and a magnetic whiteboard I got from Staples for 20% off because it was dented and scratched.  I used adhesive business card-sized magnets to make little labels for each exercise.  It will help me track the weight used and reps (and encourage me to make progress in the first place).  It is situatuated such that it will confront me when I go past, and guilt me into doing my thing.

I even used it tonight, although I was feeling tired and oogey,* and didn’t get home until around 8pm.  I won’t be doing exercises 4-6 or 26-27 from now on because my knee doesn’t like them. 

*I didn’t feel oogey afterward, so I suspect this was due to not having exercised earlier, although the Lazy Monster inside did not want to believe this.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 26 2007 at 10:37 pm
One comment:
The lazy monster lol…damn monster lives here too!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 10 / 28 / 2007 at 1:38 pm

New BMI: 45.42

H2O aerobics is good.  I like ending the day with it, and also the efficiency of getting my evening shower done.  Also, I find I’m much less hungry if I’ve exercised recently, which really puts a stopper on the urge to eat at night.  Last Thursday I got home and simply craved a salad.  It is weird how that works.

Got the bike back today, and started setting up my little home fitness center in the basement (2 & 5lb ankle and wrist weights, Nordic Track, and bike on rollers).  Set up the oscillating fans and speakers, too.  The only thing left is to clamp the bike onto the rollers and test it out and get a battery for the bike computer.  Very glad about switching to propane last year – there would be no room for this if that #$^&^% oil tank were still down there!

The knee hurts a little bit tonight, but I really pushed it this evening.  I wonder if it’s been feeling better lately not because of the exercise, but because of that cortisone shot I got on the 11th?  Ick.  I really don’t want to make a habit of that.  At least I haven’t had to take any more celebrex or tramadol.

PT is going to end in mid-November.  I have been investigating ways to continue with the strength training.  It looks like I’ll be able to use the HWS fitness center.  They have an arrangement with CU.  It also looks like they have a “spinning” class – that’s stationary bicycling, not twisting yarn, for my fiber-oriented readers – and a friend at work recommends it, so maybe I’ll look into that, too.

I’ll miss the consultation, though. A PT is like a medical-oriented personal trainer, which is a nice thing to have.  Yesterday we were discussing Public Enemy songs.  I told him that the easy listening music they had on wasn’t nearly so good at getting me through reps as “Fight the Power” which had shuffled up on my MP3 player.  He agreed, said he really liked their “greatest hits” album, but pointed out that perhaps the other clients might not appreciate it…  ๐Ÿ™‚

When we’re not discussing music or popular culture (I tease him that he’s too little to remember Hans and Frans on SNL, and he says he isn’t), he does a good job of adding exercises, reps, and weights to my routine.  They’ve usually got a lot of clients cycling through, so I made up a little sheet that he can just fill out when I come in so I’ll know what to do that day and not have to wait around between one exercise and another for instructions. 

It’s kind of neat to see the progress I’ve already made in only 5 visits, and good to have a record to take with me so I’ll know what machines to use, and how, and at what weights.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 23 2007 at 9:35 pm
fun and games

The PT and H2O aerobics have been really good, so far.  I think I’m actually exercising MORE, now that I have them going on, than I was by walking, in the first place.

My knee is quite happy, now that I’m not walking on it for exercise.  I’m also getting more flexible and stronger.

Today I planted a bunch of bulbs in the garden:

two kinds of lilies
spring crocus

I also spread newspaper in the daffodil/crocus bed and two bags of mulch on top of that, and wet it down, to kill the weeds currently growing there.  I need to do more of this.  Maybe 10 more bags.  There are A Lot Of Weeds.

When I ran across Password and Blockhead at the library sale and bought them so Deb and I could play with her kids, I started reading up on board games and abstract strategy games.  In the process I ran across one that sounded so fun I had to assemble a set so I could try it.  It’s called Zendo, and it’s a bit like open-ended sculptural Mastermind.

Last night Kathie, Noel, and Dean came over for a “goodbye Dean” party, since he’s leaving the US.  I inflicted Zendo on them, and they didn’t seem to mind too much.  With the pieces we also tried Martian Coasters and Treehouse, but they weren’t as fun. 

In keeping with the Looney Labs theme, Noel brought a deck of Fluxx and we played a few hands of that, too.  I didn’t like it as much as Zendo, but maybe after a while it would grow on me.  Zendo is a keeper, though.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 20 2007 at 11:18 am
The point of Fluxx, I feel, isn’t so much about the winning, but figuring out the optimal sequence of cards that best messes up other players.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 10 / 21 / 2007 at 11:08 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

I thought the point of Flux was to let Noel win without him making the winning move ๐Ÿ˜›
Comment posted by Deano (ip: on 10 / 24 / 2007 at 6:31 PM

Deano’s website:

Hmm. Well, I’d say that ending the game by making someone win pretty well messes up the other players!

Notice I didn’t say I *let* Noel win, but rather *caused* him to win…


Gollum, gollum!


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 25 / 2007 at 12:59 AM

New BMI: 45.55, and a New Goal

OK, I’ve been thinking about my knee some, and I’ve been coming to the conclusion that the less weight on it, the better.

My original goal when I started this was to get to the upper limit of “normal” in terms of BMI (24.9).  In fact, “normal” BMI goes from 18.5 to 24.9.  I think now it would be better to aim for the middle of the “normal” range (21.7), and when I get there, see if I can drop even more, or not.  The less weight on this poor joint, the better.  The less damage, the more I’ll be able to continue using it without requiring a replacement.

My first H2O aerobics class was tonight.  It was a bit chaotic and a short (45 min).  I couldn’t hear very well what we were supposed to be doing (the room echoes), and the women leading it were in the pool with us, so there wasn’t much visual guidance, either. 

I asked the people next to me, and did my best to push myself hard.  I was often told, “technique doesn’t matter, just make sure you keep moving.”  Compared to a class I used to take at a health club near my apartment in Las Vegas, this is frustrating. There I paid an arm and a leg, but the instructor stood on the side of the pool and pushed us and showed us what muscles we were supposed to be using, and did generally what you expect an exercise instructor to do.  This was more like facilitation.

It didn’t look like the other people were pushing themselves.  A lot of them kind-of hung out and paddled around less than earnestly.  Maybe that’s what happens when you get to be in your 60’s and 70’s?  I hope that doesn’t happen to me; if it does, I don’t think I’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight, because it’s a lot of effort now, and I can’t imagine it’ll get easier as I get older.

I couldn’t help thinking that I’d get a better cardiovascular workout if I’d just spent the 45 minutes swimming.  On the other hand, I’m feeling it now, so I know it used new muscles, which is good.

Dropped the bike off at the shop today for its overhaul in preparation for putting it on the rollers for the winter.  I guess I’ll just have to rely on the Nordic Trak and the bike for the cardio aspects of my program.  My basement is turning into a little gym.  I even put the ankle and wrist weights down there.  It’s where the router is, so I can stream music and podcasts down there to keep myself entertained, without even bothering with wireless.

Tomorrow I have PT again.  Maybe he’ll let me go more than 5 minutes on the elliptical machine; I liked it; it felt a lot like running, in a nice way, but without any of the impact.  Maybe that’s the point.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 16 2007 at 9:39 pm
Other Options

Well, the swelling DID go down, and I had my first PT appointment this morning.  The PT confirmed that my knee will normally swell after an injection.

Lots of explanations about  the injury, bought a cane ($10) in anticipation of future Cortisone Torture, and even got to try a couple of new leg lift exercises. 

He has this neat little bio feedback device that sticks electrodes to the side of my knee like a little EKG patch, and measures the electrical output of my muscles when I clench them.

Using it, I learned how to isolate the little muscle on the side of my knee and flex it.  That’s another of my exercises.  I can use the strap-on weights I’ve had since the mid 90’s (in fact, I bet they’re from Caldor, which is long gone, but was like a Target or Walmart).  I’ll start with the 2 pounder.

He said that cycling is fine, so I’ll drag my bike out of the garage and up to the store in Geneva that a triathelete colleague in the next-door office swears by.  (The movers did something weird to the handlebars, and I don’t have the right wrenches for that.  Besides, the chain probably needs to be replaced, and the gears and bearings lubed.)  I’ll also drag out my magnetic resistance rollers – I’ve probably put as many miles on that bike on rollers as I have on the road.

It sounds like the Nordic Trak will also be an acceptable alternative, because I won’t be lifting my feet up.  I’ll wait on that, though, until my knee feels a bit more stable.

Another friend at work suggested the local Chiropractic College as a place to do water aerobics, and it is considerably cheaper (and apparently a much nicer facility) than the Y near work

They have a 12-week “water walking” class in the evening where you do everything while floating, which the woman on the phone recommended over the “aquacize” class which involves standing in the shallow end.  (Zero impact being preferable to low impact)

Classes started in September, but there are still openings, and she said they could pro-rate the charge.  I don’t even have to join, so this will work out to something like $38 for 7 weeks of classes 2x per week.  It also doesn’t interfere with my glassblowing class, which is nice. 

At the Y you have to pay a $55 joining fee, just to get started, and even with my group discount from work, it’s $40/month, or $480/year, which is still $100 more than an annual membership at the CC.  Also, the only classes the Y had outside working hours were from 6:30-7:30am, and my experience from lap swimming at lunchtime in CT was that my eyes were basically useless afterwards, due to the chlorine. 

This way I’ll be able to do it in the evening, and if I can’t see, so what; I’ll be at home, anyway.  I’ll start next Tuesday.

When I got home tonight my solar house numbers had arrived!  A couple of years ago I had the flashing around the garage door replaced, and never got around to putting numbers back up.  These are quite visible, both during the day and at night.  I put them up, and they look pretty nice, if I say so, myself!  A pretty decent price, too, compared with some of the other sets I’ve seen online.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 12 2007 at 7:26 pm
One comment:
Oh Angela– Sorry to hear that your knee has deteriorated so far. Exercise is good for keeping arthritis at bay, is it not? But only if you do not re-injure the knee again.

Jay has the one wrist he injured at 17 and just strapped it up and kept lifting weights. And then the ton plus of silage a day for years… He has learned to be very careful of what weight he lifts and how he rotates that hand.

So, isolate those muscles and let them do the work!

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 15 / 2007 at 3:55 pm

Deborah’s website:


Well, the verdict is in.  At the tender age of 41 I have “pretty bad” arthritis in my right knee, according to the bone and joint doctor I was referred to today.

Based on the X-rays, I’m pretty much grinding bone-on-bone in there, and there are lovely little bone spurs beginning on the side. The left knee apparently doesn’t look very good either in that the joint is opening, but at least there’s some cartilage in there still, keeping the bones apart.  It hardly ever bothers me.

So the PA shot my knee full of cortisone, and they prescribed physical therapy.  This shot is no joke.  Damn, it hurt when he did it.  And all I could do was sit there and try not to flinch while the needle was in there.  Now, 3 hours later, it is really swollen and stiff and throbbing.  So I took two Tramadol, and am waiting for it to stop.  It better stop.  Right now it feels just about as bad as it ever has, after being jammed.

The Celebrex my primary care physician prescribed has been borderline bothering my stomach, so I’m going to stop taking it and see what happens.  Maybe he can come up with an alternative.

The first PT appointment is tomorrow morning, so I hope the swelling has gone down by then.  If not I suppose I can go back around to the other side and complain (they’re in the same building).

A moderately annoying thing about this is that I’d been keeping off my knee (not walking for exercise), so it really wasn’t bothering me that much today, UNTIL the shot.

A more annoying thing about this is that the reason my cartilage is missing is because my father did not believe in doctors.  I injured the knee when 17 and he refused to take me to get it looked at, so I kept reinjuring it, until several months later when I matriculated at college and friends dragged me to the health center. 

I was fairly sure my dad would not approve of my having talked to doctors, and I was right.  The diagnosis was torn cartilage, and arthroscopic surgery suggested.  My dad yelled at me for injuring the knee in the first place, and then yelled at me for the $2000 the operation cost (keep in mind I was still covered on his comprehensive BC/BS health plan, so he only had to pay the deductible).  If my mother had been alive at the time, it would have been taken care of when it first happened.  She had Leverage with him.

(He was so adamant about doctors, that I recall one morning waking up with a bad fever, taking my temperature, finding it to be 102, and having him tell me to just go to school.  He refused to take me to the doctor, and said he was busy – gardening – I’d had to go out to the backyard in the cold rain to ask him, because he wasn’t going to be bothered to come in.  I ended up asking a neighbor to take me, which she did.)

The surgeon who did the arthroscopy was also the official orthopedic guy for the football team.  According to him, by the time he got to my knee, it had turned into “one of the worst knee injuries” he’d ever seen.  And that includes college football.  He removed most of the cartilage on the inside, and half of it on the outside, and told me things would never be the same again.

He was right.  And now my knee has degenerated to the point that the doctors looked back and forth between me and the X-ray and asked, “HOW old did you say you are, again?”  And looked surprised when I told them.


So now it’s a race.  Can I lose the weight before I lose the joint?

I suppose it would be a good idea to investigate other forms of exercise besides walking, that do not involve using my knee under pressure.  My eyes hate the chlorine fumes at indoor pools, but the Y near work has H2O aerobics 3x/week from 6:30am – 7:30am… 

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 11 2007 at 6:50 pm
New BMI: 46.17
Sigh.  This has not been a good week, control-wise.  My knee has been bothering me (doctor appointment is tomorrow), and I’ve had the urge to eat everything in sight. 

This would not be so bad, except I made the mistake of going to the store this week and pausing by the cheese display at the deli.  A wedge of Stilton and another of Jarlesberg, and a block of farmer’s cheese later, I checked out (with other things).  They are, of course, all gone, now.  Yikes. 

The farmer’s cheese disappeared first, with a T of maple syrup mixed in – reminiscent of the sweet ricotta filling of a cannoli. The next day the Stilton was extinguished.  The Jarlesberg hung in there a few days longer before disappearing.

It’s a miracle (and probably just a vagary of the whole weight measurement process) that the numbers haven’t gone UP this week…

Ok, back to the Program.  It’s not about not falling off, but rather jumping right back on – and trying to stay there.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 08 2007 at 7:48 am
Naples Open Studio Trail
In answer to Deb’s blog whereshe mentioned the upcoming IthacaArt Trail, I feel honor-bound to describe the NaplesOpen Studio Trail, since that’s what I did today with my friendand neighbor Linda.

Here’s what we saw, in order. We startedat about 10am and got home about 5:30pm.


  • 2    BLUE HERON GLASSWORKS, Ben Bennett produces Christmas ornaments    using 14th century Venetian techniques adapted to modern materials    and equipment. He also makes special order corporate gifts and home    decorating items. This    guy was really nice. We chatted about glass for a while. His    ornaments are all really similar, using the optic mold, with just    different shapes (round, teardrop, etc.)



    A collaborative effort consisting of contemporary and elegant    glasssculptures. Kurt does the hot sculpting and glass blowing;    Lynda adds detailed designs by sandblasting, handpainting with    enamels and firing.
    Very    Cirque du Soliel – really showcased what you can do with enamels,    etc.


  • 18 S&G    IMAGING,    Digitization and printing of high fidelity reproductions of fine art    and commercial products, and our designers have extensive experience    in developing web-based and printed publicity materials. This    involved photography with a lot of Photoshop effects. I was sadly    not so impressed with the photographs, and felt the Photoshop did    not enhance them.


  • 1    STUDIO OF DARRYL ABRAHAM,    In both sculpture and illustration, I portray the everyday life of    the ‘unsung heroes’ in rural Americana. Using wood, clay, metal and    soil, Iadd a little humor and compassion to the struggles and joys    of ordinary folk. Funky    line art watercolors, primitive dioramas, and cool funky furniture    with fish painted on it.



  • 11    FRAZER STUDIOS,    Paul and Suzanne Frazer have been creating unique ceramic sculpture    and pottery for over twenty years.  The studio showcases a    diverse selection of modern utilitarian forms and classically    inspired sculpture. Turns    out the guy had one of our other neighbors as an art teacher back in    middle school, and remembered her very fondly!



  • We    had lunch in Naples: Greek salad, and of course, grape pie ala mode!



  • 17    ME & MY SHADOWS,    “My traditional style of paper cutting continues to be    influenced by everyday observations and events such as a bird song,    a poem, a beautiful day shared with a friend, or a special    celebration.” Lovely,    intricate papercuts. Not so many were symmetrical, although the    picture in the brochure was.



  • 19    PETER SECREST, Peter makes colorful blown glass vases, vessels and    bowls. His murrini vases are created from decorative cross sections    of canes. The fused sculptures are formed from larger murrini.    Beautiful    use of transparent red. One of the most crowded studios, and good    view of the lake.



  • 8    LACEY KOTLIK, I create oil paintings and woodcut prints through the    use of figures and portraits. My work is influenced by the lights    and shadows of thenatural world around me. This    was the most lovely studio on the tour. I wanted to move right in.    Linda wasn’t impressed with the figures and woodcuts, but she was an    art teacher for years, so she’s entitled to that opinion.



  • 21    WEST HOLLOW BOAT COMPANY,    I create my boats from carefully selected trees, each with its own    character. Every boat is approached as a unique piece of art.     These    canoes were gorgeous.  If they weren’t so heavy, I’d be very    tempted.  He was selling visitors on the idea of  boat    workshops where couples go together and leave at the end of the week    with a boat.


  • 9    BRENT GILLETTE, Neon is luminous energy produced by creating a    plasma stream withinflame bent glass tubing and it continually    fascinates me with each newpiece. Brent uses neon along with wood,    metal, paint and gold leaf to produce signage and displays.     Lots of    people at this one.  Had a chance to chat with his wife, who    said she’d learned more about the process in the past 2 days    watching demos, than she had known before!  Very cool signs.



  • 16    STEPHANIE MARSHALL, Stephanie’s love of ceramics and Chinese    painting come together in the creation of exquisite, functional    pottery.  Pretty    and functional stuff.  I bought a salad bowl with dragonflies    on it. Tried to interest her in making beer can chicken roasters.     People at this one were fascinated by Linda’s Newf, Agnus.



  • 7    BOB FLADD’S CREATIVE STONE,    The use of stone and wood create both figurative sculpture and    benches which explore the connection of humanity with the natural    world. Bob’spastel drawings portray a love of nature.  We    tried to go here at 4:56pm, but they’d already closed up shop.     (The art trail was supposed to end a 5pm.)

It was a lovely, entertaining day with gorgeous scenery (their leavesare already turning), and mysterious, misty fogs.  It was nice to putter around an area I haven’t explored much of, before.  11 studios in 6 hours ain’t bad, either!

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 07 2007 at 8:18 pm
crock potage

Now that it’s autumn, I’ve pulled out and dusted off the crock pot for various uses.  I like to cover it with a towel to keep in the heat and control any potential splatters.  In the past 7 days I’ve made the following things with it:

  • Wheat porridge (1 c whole wheat berries courtesy of a friend per 4 c water, set on low for a few hours.  Refridgerate in containers for rewarming as quick breakfasts.  Note: 8 hours is WAY too long.  Will need to experiment to determine the proper time.  Perhaps 4 hrs on low?)
  • Bean stew (1 lb sorted and washed pinto beans, 2 bell peppers, 3 large leeks, a can of crushed tomatoes, the rest of the celery, a large bunch of chard, a couple of bay leaves, a couple of dried cayennes, and water up to 1 inch from the rim.  After it’s cooked for several hours, add powdered cumin, chimayo chile, and chile powder.  Refridgerate in containers for lunches.)
  • Dulce de Leche (5 unopened cans of sweetened, condensed milk, and water up to the top.  Start on high to get the temperature up, and then set to low and leave for 6-8 hours, depending on how dark you like it.  Good on the wheat porridge, above.  In fact, good on just about anything, as long as you watch the quantities!  It’s not a low-calorie item.)
Entry posted by origamifreak on October 01 2007 at 10:47 pm
P.S. Listen to the podcast where they discuss chiles.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 04 / 2007 at 5:24 PM

Sure, dulce de leche will keep a long time, since it’s still in the original can.

About Chimayo chiles, see Kitchen Window from September 19, 2007.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 04 / 2007 at 5:23 PM

I think the wheat cooks faster when it is fresh and unparched.

The stew sounds wonderful. What distinguishes chimayo chiles?

And will the dulce de leche keep for awhile? That sounds like a lot of it.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 03 / 2007 at 1:54 PM

Deborah’s website:

P.P.S. I guess I didn’t really answer your question. I like the flavor. It’s warm and rich and not so hot as to get in the way of the taste. I love it in bean chiles.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 04 / 2007 at 5:26 PM

New BMI: 46.23, 40# removed

Using the crock pot more lately.  More on that in another post.

Also, for some reason my knee is starting to bother me, although I’m walking the same amount as the past month or so.  ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Just in time for the month of October, when work is having a walking contest, and I got myself a brand-new, ultra-accurate pedometer, just for the occasion.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 01 2007 at 12:47 pm
One comment:

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 01 / 2007 at 1:50 pm

Deborah’s website:

johari window


(known to self and others)

independent, ingenious, intelligent, sensible

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, bold, caring, cheerful, clever, dependable, friendly, giving, helpful, knowledgeable, logical, reflective, trustworthy, witty


(known only to self)



(known to nobody)

accepting, adaptable, brave, calm, complex, confident, dignified, energetic, extroverted, happy, idealistic, introverted, kind, loving, mature, modest, nervous, observant, organised, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self-assertive, sentimental, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, warm, wise

Dominant Traits

75% of people think that origamifreak is logical

All Percentages

able (25%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (25%) brave (0%) calm (0%) caring (25%) cheerful (25%) clever (25%) complex (0%) confident (0%) dependable (50%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (25%) giving (25%) happy (0%) helpful (50%) idealistic (0%) independent (25%) ingenious (25%) intelligent (25%) introverted (0%) kind (0%) knowledgeable (25%) logical (75%) loving (0%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (0%) organised (0%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (25%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (0%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (25%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (25%) warm (0%) wise (0%) witty (50%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 30.9.2007, using data from 4 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window.


Entry posted by origamifreak on September 30 2007 at 7:13 pm
Microwave popcorn labelling is misleading

Wow.  It really pays to read the fine print.  It turns out that microwave popcorn is a LOT less fattening than a casual persusal of the label might imply.

Here’s an example.  This time of year Boy Scouts are taking orders for Trail’s End popcorn.  Let’s look at the Butter Light sold in my part of the country.

The label has two forms of the popcorn listed; unpopped and popped.  One serving is defined as 2T unpopped, or 1c popped.  That sounds about right, given the amount of volume increase.

If you simply go by the large print, it looks like one serving is 120 calories, 4g fat, and 3g fiber.  Using the WW magic formula, this works out to a little over 2 points per serving, or a little over 5 points for the whole bag (2.5 servings).  OK, well, we knew popcorn was loaded with bad stuff, and it is starch after all, so perhaps that’s not surprising, and anyway, eating a Whole Bag would be just greedy.  Right?

Now look more closely at the calories.  Unpopped, a serving is 120 calories.  Popped, a serving is 20 calories.  Huh?  What’s going on here?

Now look at “Total Fat.”  Notice there is an asterisk next to the “4g.”

Underneath the place where it says “Not a significant source of vitamin A” etc. there is a box that says in tiny print: “Amount in unpopped.  As popped 1 cup provides 0.5g total fat […] less than 1g of dietary fiber…”

What?  This means that the cup one actually eats has one sixth of the calories and one eighth of the fat that we thought?  Okay then, maybe it isn’t 5 points for a bag after all, is it?

Lessee…  20 calories, .5g fat, 0 fiber.  That’s less than half a point per serving.  Multiplied by 2.5, that means a whole bag is only slightly over one point!

Yippee.  This means microwave popcorn is definitely back on the menu.  Which is a good thing, because it really has a lot of filling-up power for those PMS-y, munchy days.  And, by the way, there is also less than one sixth of the sodium in an actual popped serving than compared with the more obvious label.

According to FDA rules, the large print reports the data as if you were to eat the popcorn in a chunk, carving out your share of the solid fat/sodium puck.  When popped, that flavoring block melts and spatters all over the inside of the bag, and little of it actually ends up on the popcorn.  See an excellent and thorough Jolly Time explanation for details.

This means I don’t need to buy the special Orville Redenbacher “94% Fat Free Smart Pop 100 calorie mini bag” packages anymore either.  It turns out that one of those “mini bags” is 2 points!  It is counter-intuitive that a 35g mini bag would be worth twice as many points as a 70g bag of Butter Light, but there it is.  In fact, an entire 85g bag of Unbelievable Butter popped is only 2 points

Let me make this clearer.   Per popped bag:

Brand              fat g    total g   ratio
OR mini bags       1.5        35      0.043
TE butter light    1.5        70      0.017
TE un. butt.       3.75       85      0.044

Someone over there in Orville Redenbacher’s marketing department is a genius, to have figured out how to sell tiny bags of extra fattening popcorn to consumers as if it were healthier than the normal kind.

So go out and order bunches of Boy Scout popcorn, eat it with impunity, and when looking at packages, read the fine print, because it might actually be good news.  ๐Ÿ™‚

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 27 2007 at 9:16 pm
Current BMI: 46.80
Well, it could be worse.

Last week I had:

1 birthday party to attend
1 invitation to someone else's house for dinnr
1 dinner at my house
1 day of eating leftovers including almost a whole carton of ice cream (!)
1 culinary tour of NYC including half a piece of cheesecake
(which was actually the least of the issues. The fried calamari did me in. but I was HUNGRY, and it hit the spot.)

Considering all of the above, it's actually a miracle I haven't gained more.
I've found over the past few months that I need to have an average daily deficit of about 500 calories in order to maintain my mass. This week the deficit was only 352 calories daily, on average, so I gained.

This is the sort of thing that shows that while basal metabolic rate estimators are pretty good, individuals are different, and this is an art, not a science. I use Mifflin-St Jeor and being off by about 500 cal per day over 7 days is pretty close.

Anyway, I know what works because it's been working since the end of May, so regardless, it's back to the grindstone!

I am pleased to report, along the lines of grindstones, that although there was a going-away party today, AND I chose to have some of the cake, I managed to stay well within my points, with a calorie deficit of 914. Which means the will and the means are there.

In a lot of ways the ability to control the situation when I choose is as rewarding as the actual mass reduction itself.
Entry posted by origamifreak on September 25 2007 at 9:44 pm
You might be surprised what calorie information is available online. Much of the process is guesswork, and the most accurate way to figure it out is from raw ingredients, anyway.

It IS a lot of work, keeping track of everything I eat, drink, and physically do. But this is the only method that has ever worked for me.

This is a long-term Project that requires fair amounts of time and energy and commitment. I probably spend about an hour a day (in little increments), looking up what I’m eating, and logging it and the walking and the weight, etc. in a little journal I’ve created to facilitate the process. This is in addition to the 2 hours a day of walking. It’s simply what I have to do, if I’m going to have a healthy BMI.

Not making the necessary 3 hours or so per day a priority is how I got into this predicament in the first place…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 26 / 2007 at 10:11 PM

The website is interesting. I have no clue how much I eat calorie-wise in a day.

And I do not have the inclination to put the time in to figure it out. So much of what we eat would be speculative, calorie-wise. Part of a grouse breast. A Canada goose liver. Oneida plums. Made up casseroles. Sugar coated pecans made in the microwave. Too much work!

Hope you had a great time in NYC with your friend.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 09 / 26 / 2007 at 2:37 PM

Deborah’s website:

steam juicers

Today Kathie brought some surplus tomatoes to my house, and along with the quarts of them from my CSA that I haven’t kept up with, we made sauce.  The hard way.

(rinse, boil until the skins split, peel, chop, run through a food mill, and simmer the drainage to reduce the liquid)

We ended up with 12 cups.  The food mill was one of the few objects scavenged from my parents’ house before we sold it.  It works much more smoothly than the one I bought myself in the 90s.

Deb has described an easier way, with a steam juicer.  After the work from this evening, I decided to look it up and see how it works.

The main brand is Finnish, and it is called a “Mehu-Liisa.”  (The one Deb uses is older, and called “Mehu-Maija.”)  After some hunting around I found a diagram of how it works.  There are detailed instructions here, and a cookbook with recipes here.

She’s got the right idea, sharing one with a friend; decent ones (steel, not aluminum) can’t be had for less than $80, most of the time, and usually go for more like $150-$200.  It would be nice to have access to one at this time of year, though.  At work so far this year we’ve had available for the taking: little peaches the size of apricots, melons, and apples.  At self-serve roadside stands there are quarts of Concord grapes, and between my neighbors and my CSA I’m drowning in tomatoes.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 23 2007 at 12:52 am
I am sure Suzanne would let you borrow hers!

I am having a very difficult time choosing just six words for your chart.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 09 / 23 / 2007 at 4:56 PM

Deborah’s website:

Yeah, I bet Suz would lend it, too – the problem is that there’s little warning of when I’d need it, and it’s a little farther away for me to coordinate collecting and returning it than it is for you… ๐Ÿ™‚

When I get a couple more responses I’ll post the Johari Window results. Wanna try it? Go ahead and start one

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 23 / 2007 at 8:03 PM

You should have scored the skins of the tomatoes before blanching, to make them easier to peel. Boiling them until the skins split on their own tends to lose some of the tomatoey goodness.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 09 / 24 / 2007 at 4:43 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

New BMI: 46.45

Well.  After hovering around the same number for a couple of weeks, it looks like we’re moving again.  For the first time since I started this project, the official number starts with a 2!  (It’s gone there a few times during the past several weeks, but never on the Day of Reckoning.)

I’ve been walking consistently every day.  Most days at least 2, some 2+2 (morning + evening), and yesterday, 4 all at once.  I was limping a bit because being on my feet all Saturday was tough on my knee, and it took an extra half-hour, but I did it.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 17 2007 at 8:49 am
My assignment was to wander around and take photographs of federal activities. You probably were wherever I wasn’t, at the moment! (Sometimes out at the farm tours, sometimes at the main site.)

Did you have fun? What did you see?

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2007 at 7:47 PM


Were you there Saturday? If so, we never saw you–and we looked.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2007 at 7:08 PM

Deborah’s website:

Question 37

A graphical representation of my answer to question 37:

create your own visited country map

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 15 2007 at 11:00 am
I expect to be going to Pucon, Chile next March for work. Does that count? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2007 at 7:45 PM

You still have to get to South America!
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2007 at 7:07 PM

Deborah’s website:

39 Questions
I have received another one of those email quizzes. Rather than send it around, here are my answers along with those of the two who sent it to me…




Friend 1

Friend  2



What time is it? 






7:10 pm


What’s your full Name? 


C. L. W. F.


D. S. M.




What are you most afraid of?   


Pure evil and snakes


my children not having a relationship with God




What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a  Theater?


Bourne Ultimatum


Bourne Ultimatum




Place of birth? 


Baltimore, MD


Rochester, NY


San Francisco


Favorite food?  




whatever is freshest in the garden




What’s your natural hair color?


color?  dirty blonde with gray strands- I earned the gray, every strand!



darkening blonde with gray        


Brown with gray


Ever been to Alaska? 








Ever been toilet paper rolling?








Love someone so much it made you cry? 








Been in a car accident?      




Yes. bus accident, too





Croutons or bacon bits?               









Favorite day of the week?        


Any day I can sleep in




Sunday on a 3-day weekend


Favorite restaurant?


Italian (The real stuff!)




Favorite Flower?


Zinnia or hydrangea


nope. they are favorites as they come into bloom




Favorite sport to watch?      


This is totally gay, but I love the Olympic ice skaters/doubles and skiers



rugby, live


Skating โ€“ with Kathie so we can do the snarky comments.


Favorite drink?   


water w/a slice of lime and crushed ice


rhubarb wine




Favorite ice cream? 


I like gelato (the Italian ice cream) fell in love with tiramisu on my mission until someone told me it was coffee ice cream.  I had to quit then, but eat  it now… it was a matter of principle.


The original Purity Mocha chip (no longer to be had)


Skinny Cow mint-flavored ice cream sandwiches


Disney or Warner Brothers?                



Neither… Michelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci


The old Warner Bros cartoons


Sure.  But what I really love is Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli).


Ever been on a ship? 






yes, several, but they were docked.


What color is your bedroom carpet?


wooden floor



wooden floor


beige with hairballs


Before this one, from whom did you get your last email?


don’t remember




At which account?


  What do you do when you are bored?      


We’re not allowed to say that word in our home!  I try to keep the boys from saying it… I hate the word. Being a mom of 4 kids I never get bored; kids shouldn’t either.



  bored?, what’s that?


I go for a walk.


  What is your bedtime? 


I usually make it to bed at midnight


10PM or before




  Who will respond to this email the quickest?


Leanna or Anja




no one, because it’s being blogged, not sent


Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond?



don’t know




the Blogosphere


Who is the person that you are most curious to see their                responses?






If I get any responses I’ll be surprised.


Favorite TV show?


Don’t have time to watch TV


ยญFirefly, or MASH


Blackadder, the WWII era


Last person you went to dinner with?     


G. and the kids in Annapolis, MD


Anita, Nita and two friends of theirs




What is your favorite vacation spot?


Italy (without extended family- don’t tell G. I said that.   That’s not completely true. His cousins in Rome are really cool.)


Austin, Texas 


New Zealand


What are your favorite colors?


I love greens – spring green is a favorite & butter yellow   (we’re void of sunshine in this part of the country for too many months)


Greens, of all hues and infinite variety, and whatever other  color sets them off



Blues, greens, purples


  How many tattoos do you have?








  How many pets do you have?


2 cats and a kitten


2.5-3 depending on if you count the squirrel (.5 is the half  of Cherry we own)


2 cats, but they’re in charge.



  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?               


This question is for G!


The egg




What do you want to do before you die?        


That’s a loaded question… gotta
think about it!



Many, many more things than would fit here


cruise around the world on a freighter,
live with a Newfy, get back into shape in time to enjoy it


  Have you ever been to Hawaii?






yep.  but NZ is better.


  Have you been to countries outside the US?


Canada, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland and the airport in France (does that count? hee hee)


Yes. Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, England, Australia, Panama



Yep.  Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Ivory Coast, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands (for a plane change)


  How many people are you sending this email to?


More than want to receive it!!


6, and C. who sent it




Type the first word that comes to mind to describe                yourself.       







Entry posted by origamifreak on September 13 2007 at 8:57 pm
One comment:
NYOB…only you would make a graph out of this! I haven’t laughed so hard since David Sadaris (sp). You need to write your book!


Comment posted by C.L.W.F. (ip: on 09 / 13 / 2007 at 10:56 pm

Current BMI: 47.11
I’m walking every day again, now.  Today I went 2 mi at lunch and 2 after work.
Don’t know what happened to the entries from Sept 3 and 8.  I think Upsaid is having Issues.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 13 2007 at 8:42 pm
Newfy trials II

Here’s Odin jumping off the boat to “save” Jackie, as one of the senior exercises.

JR “saving” Nancy…  (I love how it looks like he’s pouncing)


…and Salty “saving” Sally.  Landseers are much easier to photograph!

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 13 2007 at 8:41 pm
Newfy Trials I

Here’s a dog towing a boat for a task in the junior trials.  She went on to complete all the tasks, and was awarded the title of “Water Dog.”

I helped by being a “decoy” swimmer in the senior (WRD) trials, where they have 3 people in the water and only one calling for “help.”

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 08 2007 at 11:14 pm
New BMI: 47.08

Amazingly, the current point is holding. 

Considering the lack of walking this week (difficulty finding time at lunch and the back still twingy), and the Hungry Munchies I’ve been fighting, and the Scarey Restaurant Math I failed at on Tuesday (what?  those points were for 2 potato skins, not 6?!), I’m reasonably pleased.

After all, I did walk when I could, and hosted two barbeques featuring ribs – which I adore – without going overboard, and mostly managed to keep the night eating down to a dull roar.

I need to start walking regularly again, though, now that the back is mostly normal again.  Bizarrely, I have found that the excercise actually decreases my appetite.

Today I’m looking forward to some more Newfy training, in preparation for the water trials in Sampson next week.  If you’re around, you might enjoy coming down and watching them “rescue” people!  Someday, when I can travel less for work, I’m getting me one of those big, cute, calm dogs.  They’re all nice, but I’m particularly partial to Landseers.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 03 2007 at 8:35 am
walk & more walk!

on the way home from the barge area (eat too much=barge, not bay) from the reno wedding of Fred’s brother Bobby & Laura I found a white polar fleece vest like ra’s landsend one at ebauer. I indulged, since it cost less than 20, and now i can layer, IF IT EVER GETS COLD.

we have been out walking in the am’s and it is difficult when the air and humidity are the same number-80.

the total eclipse of the moon in late august was perfect, and we got to see the moon getting undigested as we walked.

Comment posted by ll (ip: on 09 / 08 / 2007 at 10:31 AM


After lugging the yak back up the hill this afternoon after playing with it and helping get rescued from “drowning” umpteen times, I weighed myself just out of curiosity, and I guess the dehydration did its work, because it was 3 lbs less than this morning, and for the first time in a long time, the number started with a TWO!

Woo-hoo. Maybe my “official” weight next week willl look like that…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 03 / 2007 at 2:26 PM

Fun with Inkscape
There are these cute little people that someone named Juliane Krug contributed to the open source clipart library.

With Inkscape it is pretty easy to customize them:

Voila!  A mini-me!

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 31 2007 at 9:34 pm
August readings
This month’s selections (heard)

This month’s selections (read)

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 31 2007 at 7:37 pm
One comment:
I read Lovecraft last year after watching LOTR at your home and Noel’s comment about the creature outside mines of Moria reminding him of Cthulu.

He must have been a tormented man.

We are going round and round about whether to show up Monday–someone wants to work on wood that day…maybe we will come for a very short (2 hour) span of time.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 09 / 01 / 2007 at 8:51 am

Deb’s website:

New BMI: 47.27 (10% removed total)
Lordy.  I got there.  Barely, but I got there.  10% total removed.  Yay.

I have had back spasms all week, which prevented me from walking any of the days (or even going to work two of them).  I don’t even know what caused this, as I can’t recall doing anything unusual on Monday other than walking 3 miles in the evening.

I did a little swimming on Saturday after the doctor prescribed me muscle relaxants and told me to take more tramadol if necessary.

Pills are good.

Fortunately they actually seem to be working.  Hope to be walking again soon.  Maybe short distances.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 27 2007 at 7:34 am
No updates except on Monday. That’s my weekly check-in day. It’s Monday to encourage controlled weekend eating.

Throw away those peanuts. Or make the skinny boy lock them up. Feel free to call, but if it’s really late I might not wake up…

Good on the walking! 25 miles over how many days?

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 31 / 2007 at 7:19 PM

Got a new update? I’m on a plateau as well, this is due to the late night peanut crunching munchies. I may call you when I get that urge although you may not appreciate a call at midnight your time.

Got to kick some butt. Got my 25 miles as of today. Decreased the time by 5 minutes and dragged the skinny boy along for the hike.


Comment posted by rab (ip: on 08 / 31 / 2007 at 1:42 PM

New BMI: 47.36 (5% net removed 2x)

The BMI was 47.74 this morning, and I figured I might have found that plateau I was expecting.  But I was pretty happy that I’d been mostly doing everything I am supposed to this past week, including walking 4 miles on Wednesday.

Walked 2 miles today at lunch and 3 more when I got home from work – that’s 5 total today.  Rose, eat my dust!  Hehe.  Just kidding.  I guess that made the difference, though. 

I actually enjoyed the evening 3 miles, rain and all, wearing my new twisty rain hat and listening to J.A. figure out how to sail the pushme-pullyou Polycrest.  That O’Brian was a pretty funny guy.  I’m glad no one else was out in the state park, to hear me laughing out loud all by myself!

I’ve removed 5% of my mass twice, now.  In order to get to a normal BMI I need to do that 12 more times.  (95% of 95% of 95%… you get the idea)  It’s a war won in small increments, so I’ve parceled out the milestones in manageable chunks.  In my past experience (having done this before, *sigh*) it’s about as difficult to lose 5% of your  weight, no matter what your actual weight is.  Based on the time it took to remove the first 5%, I’d projected getting here next week.

I’m less than half a pound from having removed 10% total of my starting mass.  Unless something untoward happens, I should get there next week…

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 20 2007 at 5:05 pm
Ah yes, the plateau…. I’ve heard of those. In my case it’s standing really still in pointe shoes because the body is going “you want to dance in this? Haaaharrrr!!!” At any rate, that’s awesome Anja.
Comment posted by Kat (ip: on 08 / 24 / 2007 at 3:15 PM

They’re sort-of greenish-blue already. But my hair is not turning yellow, and I’d be happy indeed to only weigh 16 stone. :-p

The most likely explanation is that O’Brian’s humor is rubbing off on me. Listening to the books rather than reading them allows the jokes to work better because of the pacing.

For example, in the first book it is mentioned at one point that S.M. comes aboard with a leg wrapped in canvas. Then it is explained that this is a nice, fresh leg, recently amputated, a present from Dr. Florey.

I read so fast I would never have even noticed the first implication, but the amusement upon hearing the explanation hit me full force in the audio version.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 22 / 2007 at 5:53 PM

Ha, ha. Aubrey would like that joke. Are your eyes turning blue?
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2007 at 6:33 PM

Deb’s website:

The rain hat has a 15in brim. The sun hat has a 18in brim. I’m thinking of getting more of them, if you want to share the shipping.

Yes, I’d say Caspian’s days must be numbered. Butt of lamb is much preferable on a plate rather than in the thigh!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2007 at 12:33 PM

What size brimmed hat did you buy?

You are one book ahead–you listen more than I have time to read.

Was considering how the first pirates mentioned (Dillon recounting a ship he helped) were dealt with and wondering how much more serene a world it might be if we dealt still with behavior the same way. Then again, the second mentioned pirates were protected from the outraged crew because they gave up.

Caspian butted me, hard, this morning in the thigh for no reason. His days are numbered. Especially after Jay sees this doozy of a bruise.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2007 at 11:13 AM

Deb’s website:

peanut sauce = ketchup?

Has it ever occurred to anyone else that Thai peanut sauce bears a remarkable resemblance to ketchup?  Aside from the different base, both are sharply acidic and sweet.

When I was growing up, ketchup was as exotic in my house as peanut sauce is in whitebread America.  I remember when I first discovered ketchup (a visitor must have brought us a bottle), and would beg my mother to set aside my dinner vegetables and let me eat them raw so that I could dip them in it.  When the bottle ran out, we experimented with variations based on vinegar and tomatoes, but they were never as good as what had come from the store.

Wegmans sells a peanut sauce that is only 1 point per tablespoon, exactly the same as what you get in ketchup – except that some of those points are fat, which is probaby better glycemic index-wise than the purely sugar calories in the ketchup.

It is very tasty for dipping veggies into.

It is also good on chopped tomatoes, which I’m not sure would be the case with ketchup. 

I’m not sure I’d want to dip french fries into peanut sauce, but then I do not eat them very often, so that is an untested experiment.  I have had British friends who dip their fries into mayonnaise – which sounds disgusting, but actually tastes pretty good.  In fact, both mayonnaise and peanut sauce are popular fry condiments in the Netherlands, so at least someone must like it!

Perhaps the resemblance is not a coincidence, as ketchup originated as an Asian sauce made from pickled fish.  The similarities do not end there.  Peanut sauce was supposedly developed for satay, while ketchup is frequently used as a base for barbecue sauce.

The most striking similarity may be that both are successful examples of fusion cusine, as peanuts and tomatoes are both New World crops adapted to sauces from other continents.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 18 2007 at 2:20 pm
I’m not a huge fan of mustard, actually. I don’t like the way it goes up my nose. I especially used to dislike the homemade mustard Mom used to make with the dry powder. *achoo!*

So I’ll stick with my peanut sauce, thanks, and just eat less of it!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 31 / 2007 at 7:22 PM

Use Grey Poupon Mustard instead, very few calories, and more of a kick. Better yet use Dry Colemans Mustard and make your own kick.


Comment posted by rab (ip: on 08 / 31 / 2007 at 1:39 PM

I’ve had bad Pad Thai at a few restaurants, where the sauce tastes just like ketchup.

My mom grew up in Virginia putting vinegar on her fries.

I have to admit although I like all sorts of exotic foods, I really love ketchup.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 22 / 2007 at 6:05 PM

peanut sauce is not on my list. probablyhas to do with the peanut butter consumed at all meals as a kid. i still enjoy pb, but no sauce. it may be the consistancy though-kind of like a thich gluey and granular paste.

try sesame oil wiht a zip of hot sauce on those potatoes=nice hot salad.

Comment posted by llweeze (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2007 at 9:19 PM

Very interesting. I have only ever made peanut sauce for noodles. Is the boughten stuff opaque? With ground nuts I would assume so.

I used peanut oil on a potato salad this week. It was a very different flavor.

My Mom makes chili sauce from garden stuff. Very like homemade ketchup except not ground as fine. Sweet, spicy. Excellent on ground beef or venison. I have been meaning to get that recipe…

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2007 at 7:30 AM

Deb’s website:

Hidden Kitchens
I have a new favorite NPR podcast, hidden kitchens.  It’s all about food and culture and their connections in places you wouldn’t expect.  Lots of direct interviews with individuals. 

I highly recommend it.  Just don’t listen to it if you haven’t had lunch yet!

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 18 2007 at 1:29 pm
One comment:
These ARE great!

Started with the guy who forages and hunts–what an idea, huh?

And ended with the Farm Aid concerts and family farms via NASA, Mozart, Vienna, and biodiesal.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2007 at 3:27 pm

Deb’s website:

New BMI: 47.55 (30# removed)
The eating less and moving more routines are less effort now.  I’m dreading the next plateau, as things seem to be going so well at the moment!  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

If things keep going as they have been, I should hit the 10% removed mark next week.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 13 2007 at 5:26 pm
One comment:
Wow! Keep going! Great work so far.

I just spent a Christmas gift card at Dicks for a heart rate monitor to help jump start me back walking. And also to keep a history as ammunition the next time the Dr. tries to get me to take cholesterol meds.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 14 / 2007 at 11:55 am

Deb’s website:

Literary selections from the past few months
I’ve gotten behind in listing the things I’ve read lately.  Here are books past:

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 10 2007 at 7:23 pm
One comment:
I forgot to mention that I borrowed a copy of Harry Potter 7 from a friend, and to mark the occasion went back and re-read the rest starting from #1.

I am of the opinion that the first 3-4 books are the best, and that the remaining ones show a marked decrease in quality, especially as regards plot. This assesment includes #7.

I’m afraid Rowling may be a victim of her own success, in that her editors don’t blue-pencil her work as thoroughly as they used to.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 13 / 2007 at 5:29 pm

melons and audiobooks

This must have been a good year for canteloupe / muskmelon – type things.  For the last three days I have been enjoying wonderful locally grown melons for dessert.  They must like hot dry weather, or something!

Another thing I’ve been enjoying lately is listening to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey / Maturin novels.  Blackstone Audiobooks has a guy named Simon Vance reading them. 

Four years ago I complained about audiobook readers doing the voices, but it must depend on the reader, because this guy is actually really good.  Since I read much faster than I listen, I find myself noticing more subtle things this time than I did when I chain-read them as text.

The NYPL doesn’t have all of them available for download, so I got some of the CD sets from the local library system.  This poses more of a problem than I realized, since each CD is composed of multiple tracks, and yet all CDs have the same album title.  I’ve had to fudge when ripping them by giving each CD a sequential album title and then putting all the “albums” into a sequential playlist.  It’s not pretty, but I think it’ll work.

Another potential issue is that the CDs are not all from Blackstone with Vance reading them.  Some are from Borders / Recorded Books Unabridged, read by someone named Patrick Tull, which may or may not be OK, since I haven’t listened to his version of how the characters sound, yet.  I’ll let you know.

Update (8/9/07)

According to this review, Tull will be just fine.  Vance did a wonderful job on the way home from work today, doing Stephen pretending to ask the Cacafuego’s boat if they would come see the pretend plague, or at least send a surgeon to look at it.  It was laugh-out-loud funny.

Vance must read faster than Tull, as his versions seem to be almost half as many discs.

Here are profiles of Vance, Tull, Guidall, and the dreaded Paul Michael.

Another annoyance with ripping CDs compared with simply downloading audio books is the skipping tracks.  I can’t seem to rip Post Captain track 10 of disc 9, no matter what I do!

Update (8/10/07)

As I am still 8/10 in the queue for Post Captain at NYPL and the FLLS copy is unbelievably trashed (many dead tracks on several CDs), and because I’m already halfway through part 9 of 12 in Master and Commander, I broke down and used one of my free books (that came with the MP3 player) to download Vance’s version of Post Captain.  So I guess you’ll just have to wait for a while to hear my opinion of Tull’s reading…

The other CD sets from FLLS (LoM and 13GS) are much newer – so much so that I actually had to enter the CD information in by hand because it wasn’t in the online Gracenote database!)

Update (2/28/08)
I prefer Vance’s version, possibly because I’m just more used to it.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 08 2007 at 8:55 pm
That discussion about readers “doing voices” was 4 years ago?! Yikes.

Amazing that I remember it ๐Ÿ™‚


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 22 / 2007 at 6:10 PM

Yeah, no kidding. I couldn’t believe it was that long ago, either!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 22 / 2007 at 6:59 PM

Yes, the queasiness has subsided, only to be replaced with the uterine chicken liver dance. (See “perimenopause” if you don’t know what I’m talking about)
Comment posted by myself (ip: on 08 / 10 / 2007 at 7:18 PM

Are you feeling better?

Just finished reading the series again–had started in the middle after being given the one book I didn’t have (The Letter of Marque) for my birthday. So I am now on the first one and maybe will read only until the LoM. We will see.

But this time through, since I am not reading as fast as possible and know the books will be here when I wish to peruse them, I, too am noticing lots more subtleties. That is an odd word to spell.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 09 / 2007 at 11:07 AM

Deb’s website:

New BMI: 48.27
I’ve been feeling queasy a lot this week.  I think there’s been stomach bugs going around, or something.  Not much walking going on at the moment, as a result.  ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 06 2007 at 9:27 pm
biopsy OK
Apparently it was just a lymph node.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 02 2007 at 6:55 pm
Hey, don’t taunt me with TJs!

I have terrible TJ withdrawal. It’s pathetic. Wegmans just doesn’t cut it. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Night eating has become less of a problem since my period started. I guess it’s a PMS symptom, munchies…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 08 / 2007 at 8:13 PM

Hey that is great news. If I don’t get my butt in gear, you will be walking farther than me by the next time I see you.

How is the night feasting going? That is my downfall as well. Last night I had an attack from the TJ boiled peanuts.

Comment posted by rab (ip: on 08 / 08 / 2007 at 4:34 PM

New BMI: 48.8
Had a biopsy done today.  Won’t find out the results until around Thursday or Friday.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 31 2007 at 6:45 pm
One comment:
Biopsy on what????
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 08 / 01 / 2007 at 1:29 pm

4.5 miles

Yep, I walked 4.5 miles today, and that’s not counting going up and down the aisles of Wegmans after work, looking for gazpacho and ratatouille ingredients.  Buying 22 roma tomatos in one trip is quite something.

0.25 miles each way between the car and my office
2 miles at lunchtime with Deb and Sherri
2 miles at home with Irene

And I’m feeling it, let me tell you!

It’s almost hard to believe I used to walk 4 miles every night with Nora when I lived in Henderson, NV.  At one time.  Yikes.

Of course, I wasn’t carrying around as much mass at the time, either…

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 27 2007 at 8:49 pm
Yeah, those nuts sure contain a lot of calories, don’t they?! At least they’re not empty calories like starchy foods…

I’ve been eating steel cut oats for breakfast the last couple of days, and I think it’s actually helping curb the late night cravings. Next I’m going to try whole groats – a neighbor told me how to cook them fast in the microwave.

I’m figure when it comes to oats, groats > steel cut > rolled > instant. I won’t even touch the last two. Those who read this and are related to me will understand why!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 28 / 2007 at 10:40 PM

I can vouch for the late night munchies. Even though I have allowed for my 8 oz of wine, the salt free peanuts (bought by you know who @TJ’s) are a once a week downfall. I would like to make it 2 lbs this week but it doesn’t seem to be happening with a party this evening. I’m bringing a vegie tray.
Comment posted by rab (ip: on 07 / 28 / 2007 at 10:50 AM

New BMI: 49.15 (as of this morning), 20# removed
I’m not supposed to weigh myself first thing in the morning, so we’ll see what happens when I do it when I’m supposed to, right after I get home from work today.

The night eating has Got To Stop.  I’ve been having trouble with that part this week.  You wouldn’t notice it from the poundage data, but the past five days I actually ate MORE than I need to maintain my current weight, if I were sedentary.

Since the eating has been kicking my butt, I’ve decided to push in other areas, since they seem to be easier at the moment.  I’ve started walking at work during lunch with a friend.  Yesterday I went a mile, and then 2 miles with a friend after work.  I hope to be doing 4 miles total per day soon.

To get a handle on the eating itself I am working on investing time in Healthy Eating Projects.  The current two recipes I’m going to actually shop for and prepare are this one, and this one.  I have an actual shopping list all printed out and ready to go for Wegmans tonight, after I pick up my CSA veggies and find out what I still need to get.


Well, as of 6pm, the scale says I still have the exact same mass as I reported this morning.  I hope I haven’t tripped over it too many times, and broken it!  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ  Let’s just hope it’s OK, shall we?

Once a month I check the other stats, so here they are.  I think hydration issues may be involved in these, because as you’ll see, some are suspicious…

  • fat: 50.8% (up 0.6% ?!)
  • water: 36.7% (down 0.5% ? It’s supposed to be between 45% and 60%)
  • visceral fat: 17 (which would be under 13 if I were healthy)
  • muscle mass: 146.6 (down 3.8% ?!)
  • physique rating 3 “Solidly-built: Large Frame Obese – high body fat % and high muscle mass”
  • bone mass: 7.8 (down 0.2? It’s supposed to be around 6.5 lbs.)
  • caloric intake to maintain: 3682 (down 90)
  • metabolic age: 50 (this is the maximum it estimates, so who *knows* how old it REALLY thinks I am?)
Entry posted by origamifreak on July 25 2007 at 9:17 am
CSA goodies this week:

yellow squash, zucchini, Japanese eggplant, tomatoes, raspyberries, lettuce, and I think there were other things but I can’t recall them now… We usually get lots of leafy greens of one kind or another.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 28 / 2007 at 10:42 PM

You are doing a good job for yourself!

Ah, the rat’s ratatouille…

What did you get in your CSA box this week?

From our plot: beets, carrots, swiss chard, lettuce, herbs, the first corn (tonight), small cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, potatoes, garlic, green peppers, green beans, onions

No eggplant this year. No cucumbers yet, either.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2007 at 6:55 PM

Deb’s website:

Current BMI: 49.68
I gained 0.4 pounds this week.  It was just too chaotic with the travelling, camping with kids, attending conferences, and getting stuck in airports to do a very good job of sticking with my eating and exercising routines.  In fact, I’m amazed the damage isn’t worse.  Probably I’ll be fighting a plateau next week because of it.

HOWEVER, I do have something VERY EXCITING to report.  On none of the flight legs of the trip (2 out, 3 back) did I require a seat belt extension!  Woo-hoo!  This means I can start asking for the exit row, again.  ๐Ÿ™‚  In fact, on some of the planes I actually had to TIGHTEN the seatbelt.  Amazing.  And Wonderful.

I DID walk between the hotel and the conference, but it was less than a mile each way, and I tried to make good food choices, but it’s hard to make sure you’ve got appropriate snacks available when going along with someone else’s schedule, and not having a kitchen and a fridge stocked with my designated Healthy Choices.

Fortunately I’m not due to travel any more this summer, so I should be able to get back on track fairly well.

I missed my last Tai Chi class due to getting stuck in ORD.  Oh well.  Hopefully the classes will start up again in a few weeks.  In the meantime I’ve got One-Inch Cheng on my Zen to coach me through any parts I’ve forgotten…

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 19 2007 at 8:37 pm
I hate Chicago.

Why the heck would anyone want to have an airport here?!  Every two times I fly through here, one of them ends up with an unscheduled overnight stay, last night being the latest installment of this pattern.

Maybe it’s just that I’m coast-centric or something, but I just can’t see why it’s necessary to have an airport in a location where no matter what time of year it is, there are bound to be numerous travel delays (thunderstorms, blizzards, etc.).

So, here I sit, with at least 3 hours to go before a possiblity of a standby flight out, or 9 hours to go before the flight that I have an actual seat on goes.

It took 45 minutes last night on my cell phone (which first required finding a free electrical outlet since the batteries were running low), to even get an Authorized Travel Rep to answer the phone, and then it took him something like 20 minutes more to find me a room 30 minutes away that was on perdiem. 

I guess I should be glad that I got a room at all; several people showed up at the same hotel to find that their airport vouchers were not going to be honored, despite having a “confirmed” reservation.

I should also be glad I HAVE a cell phone, because none of the payphones here in the B terminal even work (no dial tone).

The cab driver this time was civil and nice (unlike the truly scarey and threatening one last summer), but he charged me 1.5 times more than anyone else had paid.  Maybe they had vouchers for that, too?

Anyway, for the record, I DO try to fly through just about any airport rather than ORD.  I usually attempt to transfer in Atlanta, or Denver, or even Washington or NYC.  Unfortunately, sometimes this just isn’t an option, as with the current trip.  Same thing twice before last summer, and once the summer before that.


Entry posted by origamifreak on July 19 2007 at 10:34 am
Oi, glad you are out of there.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 21 / 2007 at 2:12 PM

Deb’s website:


I was the last of the three standbys to be called for the 1pm flight (which actually left at 2:30 pm). I have never been so happy to get a middle seat in front of an exit row, in my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

[the seats in front of an exit row do not recline]

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 19 / 2007 at 9:42 PM

Just got back from seeing this at the movie theater across the street from my hotel (the marquee shines in my window until late each night).

It is sweet and hysterically funny.  And the fur and hair are unbelievably realistic.  I might just have to get the DVD.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 17 2007 at 2:48 am
New BMI: 49.62, 5% net removed, 5% total removed
I went kayaking this weekend, as well as walking to dinner in Sampson State Park two nights in a row.  It was very satisfying.

A friend at work turned me onto Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.   2 points each, and you can’t beat that.

They are really really good, especially the chocolate ones (I could only find chocolate and vanilla at Wegman’s – apparently there are mint ones, which I would probably like – the Wal-mart in Canandaigua supposedly has them).  I was amused to discover they are made by Dreyer’s / Edy’s, which is from the same city I grew up in.

Figured out how to capture YouTube streams and put them on my MP3 player – so now I have a video of the Tai Chi routine, in case I’m ever practicing somewhere and forget what comes next.  Also started packing the device with NPR podcasts.

Now if I could only get that pesky (but cute) kitten to let me sleep nights…

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 11 2007 at 6:41 pm
can’t do the boat thing out here in the sand!

it was 111 today and about 13% humidity. just plain hot, and a good day to read and sew.

I’m working on little books using mso publisher and photos to make readers with things that interest Karis. Horses are a big item but at the fair they stood around bored and therefore there are no photos of ‘jump’, or the rest of the 220 dolch word list that we all had to learn before we could really jump into reading.

Sun looks like a good candidate for a small book. the combination of sight words and phonics will make the best reader. Home schooling is an incredible responsability!

Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 16 / 2007 at 12:10 AM


Some day please will you teach me the starting moves for Tai Chi? I realize I might be in my dotage before I can learn them all…

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 13 / 2007 at 10:28 AM

Deb’s website:

Kitten remote control
Miaumoto and Latte were too old to appreciate the kitty laser when I got it; Until the batteries ran out, I actually used it more for talks than I did tormenting felines.

With the exception of one.  Deb’s cat, Pounce, was young enough to want to chase the Red Dot everywhere.  Whenever I visited, I used to bring it, and he’d come over and squeak at me, demanding that it appear.  We’d make it go around in fast, tight circles that left him panting and staggering, and he’d still ask for more.

Now that I have a new baby to corrupt, I replaced the batteries and have begun training him to follow it.  This one is a bit of a challenge, because he spent a lot of his time outdoors and is used to how real prey behave.  It’s taking some time for him to figure out that the Red Dot does not behave this way.

We’re getting there, though.  This afternoon he was wandering around chirping, jumping on things, and generally expressing his boredom, so I got it out and leaned over the entryway balcony, and had him follow it up the stairs, and down the stairs, and up the stairs, and down the stairs, and… well you get the point.  Now he’s sacked out.  Heh, heh.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 08 2007 at 1:23 pm
sun is beyond cute. it is a very good thing he lives on the other side of the world htough because we wouldn’t tolerate him let alone each other.

we have a laser light too, but we know who is working it so we just sit and stare at her until she knows we’re not THAT stoo-pud.

Get real. interesting things:

lizzies and toads washing the big screen tv, wind up mice outside at night bouncing off the window. orioles and cactus wrens/gooonie birds banging on the glass, road runners looking in at us.

STRING TO drag around behind me(julie & DJ too)

Comment posted by socks & Julie (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2007 at 3:04 PM

Even without access to the Red Dot for a few years, Pounce retains his suspiciousness of any light on the ceiling and watches it with suspicion.

He had a real live chipmunk in a live trap that he spent most of the afternoon observing.

Am very glad Miaumoto likes his new pal.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 07 / 09 / 2007 at 8:37 PM

Deborah’s website:

g787OIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ==5 r
Comment posted by Sun (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2007 at 7:02 PM

Dude, you know he does read your comments… (and apparently writes answers – see above)

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2007 at 7:27 PM

By the way, Miaumoto seems to be getting inured to the idea. I think he has noticed that one of the benefits is access to kitten food, which he likes very much. I loaded up the treat ball with kitten chow, and he’s been busy showing Sun how to use it.

I haven’t heard any hissing in the past couple of days. They even sometimes play a little and stalk each other in and out and around the cardboard boxes I’ve purposely strewn around the living room.

This weekend Sun hasn’t been shut in his room at all, even when I’m out. He’s been spending his nights loose since last Saturday – I usually know exactly where he is, because he’s curled up next to my pillow, with his head on my arm.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2007 at 7:45 PM

New BMI: 49.96, dropped from class IV to class III
This means I’m officially no longer in the extra super scarey category, but in the just plain old morbidly obese category:

“Morbid obesity is a significant risk factor for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, respiratory problems and musculoskeletal disorders.”

I’ll be in this category until the BMI goes under 40, so it’ll be a while.  Still, it’s something.

The walking and staying under points have suffered this past week.  A lot of contributing factors are involved.  I’m keeping on keeping on, though.

Here’s the kind of Tai Chi I’ve been learning.  But 2 degrees of separation from the guy in the video (my teacher learned from a woman who learned from him).

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 06 2007 at 12:36 pm
Action Shots

Sun Mzu has been staying in the guest room at nights and when I’m not home, and coming out when I am. 

Miaumoto still hisses at him, and is getting annoyed because he’s starting to get bolder and come anyway.  They touched noses again yesterday.  This morning Miaumoto chased him partway down the stairs.  He’s a good kitten and knows to just sit down and chill out when Miaumoto growls.

He’s been playing with the turbo scratcher.  He really gets into it!

And he’s apparently already a little ham:

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 01 2007 at 8:22 am
Yeah. A very animated little toy who just LOVES to use his tiny, needle-little teeth and nails affectionately. OUCH! We’re working on that.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 07 / 2007 at 1:16 PM

too cute for fuzzing. looks like a little animated toy.
Comment posted by ll (ip: on 07 / 05 / 2007 at 12:33 AM

Very cute. Even at such a young age they’re ready to hunt, stalk, maim, and kill the dreadful orange ball! Glad to hear Miaumoto is getting along with his new baby brother.
Comment posted by Kat (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2007 at 10:18 AM

Miaumoto has a new pet

Dude has been driving me insane, ever since I got back from Michigan.  “Play with me!  Chase me!  Pat me!  I’m going to run all over the house and jump on you!”

So this evening Irene and I went to my friend Dawn’s house and she picked up a pastel calico for her husband, and I got this one.

I brought Miaumoto with me, and this one ran right over and they sniffed noses for a while until Miaumoto hissed, just, you know, to put him in his place.  I’d been having dreams earlier in the week that we’d end up with an orange one.

This was the only orange one in the litter of 7, and the only male.  They were born on Tax Day.

At the moment I can hear mumbling and meowing, as Miaumoto seems to be talking to him.  He’s quite well behaved, and seems to know his way around older cats (both the daddy and grandma were there when we got them).

I haven’t picked a name yet – I don’t think I know him well enough yet.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 29 2007 at 10:06 pm
Karis thinks Miaumoto’s new baby is really cute. Both kids are asking repeatedly what his name is but I can’t remember now that I’m on this page and not myspace… Congrats on the new addition. We are walking to the store for milk now… Love – us
Comment posted by Martha (ip: on 06 / 29 / 2007 at 11:49 PM

Sun Mzu (To continue the theme of Asian military strategists.)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go look up

The Book of Five Rings and The Art of War.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 29 / 2007 at 10:54 PM


yhhuuufdlxz \


Comment posted by comments from the kitten (ip: on 06 / 29 / 2007 at 10:19 PM

Ooooh, I missed what happened to Latte… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But I’m glad to see you’ve got a new buddy for Miaumoto (and yourself).

Liz and Gem, who says she didn’t know you could do anything fun with those laser pointers she sees in all those genetics meetings.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 07 / 10 / 2007 at 3:49 PM

New BMI: 50.06, 10# removed
I’m on the cusp of dropping out of the Extra Super Scarey BMI Category down to just the Super Scarey BMI Category.  More on that next week, when I get there.

AND…  I’ve reached the 5% mark!  Hooray!  I’m celebrating by getting myself that MP3 player I’ve been thinking about (Creative Zen Vision M, for $150, including a rebate).

Tried out my new scale.  It says I weigh 1.6 lbs less than I did on the doctor ‘s scale at lunchtime today.

Here are the other measurements and estimates:

  • fat: 50.2% (which makes sense, because I need to drop about half my mass)
  • water: 37.2% (I’m supposed to have a number between 45% and 60% – which means I’m dehydrated – no kidding; it’s the hottest, muggiest day of the year, so far, and I’m dripping sweat all over the place)
  • visceral fat: 17 (which would be under 13 if I were healthy)
  • muscle mass: 150.4 (This is supposed to equal the weight of muscle in my body.  I am sceptical.  Perhaps this has to do with my dehydration.)
  • physique rating 3 “Solidly-built: Large Frame Obese – high body fat % and high muscle mass”
  • bone mass: 8 (It’s supposed to be around 6.5 lbs.  Again, I suspect dehydration.)
  • caloric intake to maintain: 3772 (According to my BMI it would be 2685 if I were sedentary; not sure about this one.)
  • metabolic age: 50 (9 years older than I actually am.  Not as bad as I thought it might be.  Again, I suspect the estimates could be off.)
Entry posted by origamifreak on June 27 2007 at 7:16 pm
One comment:
I am very proud of your shrinkage!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 06 / 28 / 2007 at 9:07 am

Blenderized Berries and Wraps
My friend Chris turned me onto these great whole wheat low-carb wraps with flax in them that are available at BJ’s.  1 point for the whole thing, thanks to all the nice fiber in ’em.

We also got the aforementioned frozen strawberries and some frozen blueberries.  She showed me how to dump a bunch in the blender, leave ’em to thaw for 10 minutes, then add fruit juice (grape juice works well), and blend.  Tasty just like that, or to save for later in little popsicles.

I scored the Ice Tups when we cleaned out the house, so I’m using the ones I grew up with, and don’t have to shell out $20 for a new set.  Of course, you can always get the original style at EBay for less than that…

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 26 2007 at 10:06 pm
New Scale

I just ordered one of these.  It’ll give me other things to track besides mass.  Also, I’m kinda tweaked at my current primary care physician’s office and am in the process of switching to another one.  Having an accurate scale at home will obviate the need to go somewhere to weigh myself during working hours, and will mean that I won’t have to go THERE anymore.

Just got home today.  I was dragging on the walk with Irene this evening – it’s hard to keep snacking at the right intervals when flying and running to catch planes, etc.  As a result, I hadn’t eaten as much as I should have by noon, and even after having a sandwich when I got home at 5, still had managed to get down less than half of what I am supposed to eat.  I suppose I am a creature of habit.  Or this project just requires consistent routines to effectively manage metabolism and blood sugar levels, etc.

I ended up blenderizing fresh and frozen strawberries and juice around 9pm.  I drank a pint of it and froze the rest in those little popsicle containers.  Now I’m full.  Urgh.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 24 2007 at 10:16 pm
One comment:
‘Weigh’ to go, girl – you ROCK! Your salad sounds good. We’ve been eating salad for lunch (boxed, of course) and this week’s special was a crunchy salad of cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts, carrot (‘planed’), raw snow peas, defrosted frozen peas, a sprinkling of raw sunflower seeds and scallions. Red pepper and green pepper when we have ’em. This week I’ve been making a version of Wagamama’s salad dressing which involves rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger and oil. Super Yum. I add extra vinegar so cause I like it tart. Anyway, this tastes soooo good on raw vegetables. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve been doing the ‘salad thing’ for 3 months or so and does it ever feel great. Don’t skip breakfast, eh. I’ve just STARTED eating it (and a small snack at 11) and it helps a lot with the hunger pangs…)

Talk later. Take good care and keep up the walking.



Comment posted by Lisa Fagg (ip: on 06 / 26 / 2007 at 7:59 pm

Doing this while travelling is tough.

  • I brought my nice sandwich wrap with me to the airport and apples so I wouldn’t have to eat unhealthy airport crud for lunch
  • I’m staying in a hotel that’s about a mile from the conference venue so I automatically get my daily 2 miles in
  • My colleagues and friends are supportive and interested in this project, and now that they know to expect changes between now and the next conference in January, the pressure’s even more on to keep on track
  • I’ve been mostly able to make healthy choices (just salad with feta and no dressing for lunch, none of the pizza, none of the rice or cheesecake for dinner – and some of you KNOW how much I love cheesecake)


  • It’s hard to estimate the nutritional composition of the foods we’re being provided
  • I’ve been over my points every day (yesterday by 10 and today by 2)
  • I succumbed to the lure of a bagel during the morning break.  It’s disgusting to consider that the cream cheese is a drop in the bucket compared with all that starch, calorie-wise
  • No time to walk much on Thursday, just about a mile round trip to the Thai restaurant where I ate more shrimp & veggies than I probably should have
Entry posted by origamifreak on June 22 2007 at 10:59 pm
Thanks for the support.

Today I made better choices, but I still don’t have enough points left to risk going out to dinner. So I’ll stay in my room and eat a couple of apples.

(Who knew orange juice had so many calories?!) 100 per 8 oz. Blah.

I have a DVD of the Magnificent Seven that I have to watch and return to the library, anyway, so I’ll do that.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 23 / 2007 at 5:36 PM

Hurrah for you! Keep up the good work.

Hope Miaomoto has someone to keep him company.

I checked your field–no more bamboo there. But a very large and active woodchuck hole. And I notice the person in the house next to your field is putting up numerous metal fences to keep intruding varmints out. Lots of new plantings there.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 23 / 2007 at 8:21 AM

Deborah’s website:

New BMI: 51.09
Walked 2 miles every evening, and stayed well within my points (on average 3.5 under the max, every day).

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 20 2007 at 10:42 pm
One comment:
You are doing great! I just have to get going again…. At your rate, you will be able to do the 5miles with me the next time you visit. It is 103 but I still made the walk this am at 5:10 when it was 85.
Comment posted by rab (ip: on 06 / 25 / 2007 at 5:56 pm

New BMI: 51.37

New BMI: 51.37

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 14 2007 at 5:02 pm
One comment:
Oh, I notice (how long has it been there and me oblivious) you are reading The Four Loves. I should find my copy and read it, too.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 15 / 2007 at 2:59 pm

Deborah’s website:

Animatronic Latte

They just need to make one in a black/white van, and it would be almost a perfect Latte replacement!

(Sigh.  If it were only that easy.)

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 12 2007 at 6:19 pm
One comment:
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 14 / 2007 at 9:55 am

Deborah’s website:

New BMI: 51.53
Evening walks are now 2 miles.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 07 2007 at 5:09 pm
One comment:
Yahoo! Congratulations. Keep up the good work.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 09 / 2007 at 8:25 pm

Deborah’s website:

New BMI: 52.03

New BMI: 52.03

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 31 2007 at 7:04 pm
Woo HOO!!! .53 gone!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 05 / 31 / 2007 at 9:10 PM

Off topic. Am away–check this out:

There are larger ones, too.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 01 / 2007 at 2:29 PM

Deborah’s website:

Crunchy Summer Salad

This is a recipe I used to eat in grad school.  Bizarre or not, I love raw tofu.

  • A bunch of leafy greens (spinach, tat soi, collard, lettuce, etc.)
  • 2T roasted sunflower seeds
  • 2T balsamic vinaigrette (Wishbone used to make a really nice light red-wine vinaigrette in the 90s, but I can’t find it now)
  • 1/4 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes

Tonight I substituted 5 oz of microwaved salmon for the tofu.  Mmmm.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 28 2007 at 7:08 pm
Ugh, tofu. Soy jello.

Maybe you should take up fishing for your supper since you have a lake just down the road.

The salmon sounds nice.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 01 / 2007 at 11:17 AM

Deborah’s website:

Hey, by the way, I just discovered low-fat tofu today, and it’s not half bad! It is a bit more expensive, though…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 29 / 2007 at 8:59 PM

It turns out Wegmans has a fat-free red wine vinaigrette. I’ll keep you posted about whether it’s as good as the one I used to have…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 29 / 2007 at 9:01 PM

The scoop on Peter Abelard and Heloise

-Before I start the reading list for March-May, let me preface it by mentioning that I kept hearing about these two,and wondered what the fuss was all about. Then I went on Wikipedia andlooked them up, and ended up with more questions than answers.

For example, who the heck names their kid ‘Astrolabe?’ That’slike naming someone “Electron microscope” or “Particle accelerator.”And why are their letters from later in life famous (after he’s beencastrated and they’re each running a separate Abbey/Monastery)?

So I decided to do some research.

  • Heloise and Abelard (Moore, George)
  • Heloise and Abelard (Pernoud, Regine, 1909-)
  • Stealing heaven : the love story of Heloise and Abelard (Meade, Marion, 1934-)
  • Spider’s voice (Skurzynski, Gloria)
  • Abelard and Heloise (Robertson, Durant Waite)
  • The immortal lovers: Heloise and Abelard (Worthington, Marjorie (Muir) 1900-)

OK, here’s the scoop.  I read all but the one by Moore.  Why?  Because the second-to-last one I read (Robertson), gave me the context I was looking for and explained the others. 

The series of letters between them was written deliberately for educational purposes as a way to explain the origin of the Paraclete (the abbey that Heloise ran, presented to her by Peter Abelard), and motivate the nuns in their religious fervor by setting up both Peter and Heloise as “saved” souls, ala Augustine.  In that time letters were a common format for publishing treatises, rather than simply vehicles for correspondence.

Abelard himself, as an original thinker, made substantial contributions to the way Western thinkers grappled with concepts of religion and cosmology.  Yet because the letters were rediscovered (and reinterpreted and popularized) in the 1600’s, both of them are best known in this time for a “love” story which reflects more about us and our beliefs than them and theirs.  I highly recommend Robertson as a source.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 28 2007 at 4:44 pm
One comment:
They wrote letters to each other to justify their (latter) behavior with regard to the bestowing of a nunnery on Heloise? The letters were circulated amongst the occupants of the respective houses soon after they were written? That seems odd.

The reinterpretation at a later point in time happens all the time it seems. It is partly what keeps history PhD students in business.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 01 / 2007 at 11:14 am

Deborah’s website:

BMI Chasing

Ok, that’s it.  I’m done.

I don’t want to be in the Extra-Super-Scarey BMI category I’m currently in (52.6).  According to some websites:

Patients with this condition incur much greater weight-related health risks, including an increased risk of dying – estimated at 5-10 times greater than that of people of normal weight – as well as arthritis, breathing problems, cancer, depression, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux, heart disease, hypertension, infertility, loss of bowel/urinary control, menstrual problems, obstructive sleep apnea, swollen legs, and venous disorders.”

So I’ve pulled out all my old WW materials and started using the journals again to keep track and limit the intake.  And I’m walking 1.5 miles every day after work.  And I’m starting an 8-week Tai Chi class at work next Thursday.  I’m weighing myself once a week at my doctor’s office near work.  I set up a computer to email me a motivational quote on persistence every day.  I pulled out my copy of Make the Connection and started re-reading it.  I’m re-reading The Mastery of Love.  And I’m relying on several others at work for moral support who are dealing with similar challenges.  And I’ll post my progress here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 26 2007 at 10:14 am
One comment:
You go, girl!

I have never heard of the Toltec book. I recommend, in addition, The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2007 at 2:43 pm

Deborah’s website:

R.I.P. Latte 1993? – 2007

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 22 2007 at 8:26 am
I’ll miss Latte. He used to let me brush him. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
Comment posted by sarah otte (ip: on 05 / 22 / 2007 at 9:50 PM

He loved being brushed. It was one of his favorite things.

He also liked watching TV.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 22 / 2007 at 11:12 PM

There were youthful outbursts of shock and loud exclamations of grief here.

And then motherly explanations of old age and the inevitability of death.

How is Miamoto doing without his pal?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 23 / 2007 at 8:33 PM

Deborah’s website:

Yes, I was wondering about miaumoto myself, is he doing ok?
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 05 / 24 / 2007 at 12:07 AM

Moto seems to be enjoying the opportunity to monopolize my attention. He let me brush him for quite a while tonight before starting to bite.

When getting wet food treats he looked over his shoulder to see if anyone else was coming for them, and relaxed when there wasn’t.

He is getting ear issues on the other side, though, and I’m concerned about that.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 24 / 2007 at 5:09 AM

Sadly, our furry friends have to leave at some point in time. Their memory will never be lost. I have many happy memories of sleeping with the purring white rabbit fur fluff ball.
Comment posted by rab (ip: on 06 / 26 / 2007 at 8:21 PM

More Transplanting

In order to keep them out of the way of mowing and provide a nicer spot, some creeping phlox and triteleia from last year were moved this evening.  The ipheion have started blooming today.

Since my yard has late afternoon shade, if the existing phlox doesn’t succeed, next year I’ll try the woodland variety.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 07 2007 at 8:20 pm
Yeah, it IS supposed to be native around here… But I found that lovely “blue moon” variety advertised, which is quite appealing…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2007 at 10:24 PM

You could just dig the spring phlox up along the roadside. I am sure you could find some.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2007 at 9:48 PM

Deborah’s website:

plants, guitars, and egg beaters

The speedwell made it into the ground Friday with the thyme that arrived that day.  The mazus and phlox were on the doorstep when I arrived home yesterday and will go in this afternoon when the front of the house is in shade. 

There is a nice plant search feature at the Missouri Botanical Gardens website.  It’s fun to read about where all these things are native (Himalayas, Northern Europe, Caucausus, etc.)

For those of us trying to grow things in central NY, there’s a nice set of groundcovers tested in Ithaca and Riverhead, NY and Wooster, OH, here.  Their paper is here.

And finally, here is a nice site that lets people rate mail-order nurseries.

Friday I also bought and assembled a portable hose spool so that the hose will no longer take over the garage.  I feel so suburbian.  Or something.

Friday evening Deb and I went to see Leo Kottke perform at the high school auditorium in Ithaca.  It looked like he sold out the 800+ seats.  The concert was fantastic.  He was so into the whole thing that he played and tuned and amused us for a straight hour and a half and forgot to do an intermission.  At the curtain call he pleaded with us to make sure and buy all the snacks and beverages that had been waiting to sell during the intermission – he felt really bad for the people who must have been waiting out there for us!  I got a cookie and water on the way out, as by that time it had occurred to me that I’d forgottento eat both lunch and dinner.

Ever since my sister claimed the egg beater we grew up with, I have been on a minor hunt for one.  Yesterday in Ithaca I went to the kitchen store, and sure enough, they had not one, not two, but THREE kinds to try!  I ended up with this one (for 3 dollars less than listed on Amazon) and tested it on an egg white this morning.  Wow.  Much easier than spinning a whisk between my hands!  Plus, there’s just something so satisfying about turning that crank and making the little beaters go around…

Also saw Hot Fuzz on Saturday which was hysterical.  You could tell it was not an American production, because it started serious and went over the top, which is the opposite of how our comedies usually go.

Bought some gyoza, pork bao, and shu mai at a local Asian food store before heading back up north.  Mmmmm.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 06 2007 at 10:27 am
How annoying. I saw the same exact egg beater (but with black handle and knob) at a yard sale this weekend for a total of $3. I should have waited.


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 22 / 2007 at 11:20 PM

The egg beater looks like the one from my grandmother.

I guess a good design does not need to change.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2007 at 9:47 PM

Deborah’s website:

Plants, and more plants

It’s that time of year, again, and now that I have a fair number of perennial bulbs, it’s time to fill in around them with groundcovers.

SO, here’s what I’ve started planting today:
variegated vinca minor
reblooming day lillies (which involved transplanting some crocus)

Waiting to be planted tomorrow:
Turkish speedwell

Coming soon in the mail:
creeping thyme
MAZUS Reptans
PHLOX subulata Blue

Paid for, but coming in the autumn:

Tulipa greigii (variegated foliage)
Lilium - pardelinum
Lilium - Touching
Entry posted by origamifreak on May 03 2007 at 10:09 pm
Your home is the perfect place for the creeping veronica. Just yesterday I was contemplating ordering some Camassia.

Maybe I will. I am also getting more Frittilaria, of various sorts.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 04 / 2007 at 3:14 PM

Deborah’s website:

One of the perrineals I like here are brown eyed susans, they bloom for a long time and i like the groundcover they offer as well.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 05 / 03 / 2007 at 10:25 PM

lemon bars

Made some lime bars from a Krusteaz box yesterday, and started wondering where they came from.  I don’t remember lemon bars that well from childhood, and it seems like I first discovered them in the 80’s or so.  My 1975 edition (1985 printing) of Joy of Cooking lists them as ‘Lemon Curd Squares.’ 

This was, by the way, the first cookbook I ever bought for myself, in college, when I  moved in with my then boyfriend, much to the annoyance and chagrin of my family; I didn’t draw well enough in the housing lottery that year to be eligible for on-campus housing, so what was I supposed to do?

Anyway, the internet is a wonderful thing.  Google [“lemon bars” history], and the second  link that comes up takes you here.  Apparently they were published in Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book in 1963.  A recipe showed up in Sunset magazine in 1970.

That would explain why I don’t remember them.  I was born in the mid-sixties and my folks weren’t much into sweets; if we got cookies at all, it was generally the spritz kind made with a Mirro press.  And yes, the main ingredient was Crisco, not butter, in case you’re wondering.

We did subscribe to Sunset, but most of the time used it for camping and outing suggestions; the recipes were just something to drool and dream over.

I kind-of miss Sunset.  At some point they started publishing different versions for different places – my sister in San Diego would get a different edition than my brother in Ft. Collins, which would be different from the edition my dad got in Oakland.  Turns out they actually have FIVE zones.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking it would be nice if they had an Eastern edition, but on reflection, I suppose that would sort-of miss the point of them being a “Magazine of Western Living.”

I guess that’s why the rest of us have Martha Stewart?  *sigh*

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 08 2007 at 9:22 am
Now that’s a thought–we could start a “Magazine of Northeastern Rural Living” and compete with Martha.

Oo–I feel a blog post coming on…

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 11:44 AM

Deborah’s website:

Lime bars! Lemon bars! I’m hungry!

Lemon bars were a huge part of my 70s childhood in Rockland County, New York. My mom can still be persuaded to make them occasionally. Lemon and lime are a couple of my favorite flavors. I seem to barely have time to cook meals for myself these days, forget about baking ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2007 at 11:39 PM

First Cane

Although I’ve watched Kurt set up twisty cane pulls a gazillion times, I’ve only ever been on the pulling end.  I’d never set one up myself, before.  Yesterday I gave it a shot.  I was happy with the construction, but I need to figure out how to keep it at a wider diameter…

Two weeks ago the same friend who pulled the other end of the above cane donated some dichroic glass to our furnace session.  I *do* so like sparkly things…  I might have to get me some of that dichro!

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 18 2007 at 9:59 am
One comment:
Yes, get the shimmery stuff. The Christmas ornament is fabulous. How did you get the yellow streak? The purpley-blue with yellow and all shimmery–very, very nice.

And what will you do with the lovely cane? Are those inch-square tiles it is sitting on?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 19 / 2007 at 8:43 pm

Deborah’s website:

Discussing the world

I did a little experiment today.

Out of 231 posts with comments, over 4.5 years, how many times are the following words used?

93 think
71 do
62 see
54 know
35 try
33 need
31 hear
31 take
29 want
22 smell
22 run
21 feel
19 walk
11 taste
10 give
7 desire
2 paddle
2 swim
1 fly

I’m not sure I realized I had such a strong desire to communicate thoughts.

Then I wondered what the distribution of words is for other people?  Here are some results:

The rings are, in order from outside to in:
this blog
Terminus Est
Book of Joe

It would be cool if someone wrote a real-time utility that could rank word occurence on blogs the way Amazon does in books, and then show you sites with similar distributions, rare words, etc.  I bet it could be done somehow with a Google mashup.

If I had the hacking chops to do something like this, here’s how I think I’d go about it:

  1. Collect the distribution of words/phrases found in the set of blogs already searched by the Google’s blogsearch utility.
  2. Get rid of the most common ones (pronouns, articles, etc.)
  3. Use an appropriate statistical threshold to determine the list of words that occur more frequently in a particular blog than in the entire set from step 1
  4. Index the blogs on their rare words
  5. Cluster blogs based on their word frequencies
  6. Write a nice graphical interface to display the results and invite further exploration

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 13 2007 at 11:39 pm
I think “go, read, write, watch, visit, help” would take pretty big chunks of your blog-word graph.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 03 / 15 / 2007 at 9:02 PM

I need to start thinking more than I give!
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 8:58 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

you “do” twice as much as you “try”, I think that is pretty damn impressive!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 3:11 PM

Deb: I just arbitrarily picked a bunch of action words – at first I did it with just the senses: smell, see, touch, taste, hear, and it was so interesting I expanded it.

Sharon, crack me up, you do. Very funny, you are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 8:53 PM

Very interesting. How did you cull/choose the verbs?

I notice there is no ‘fold’ or ‘notice’.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 12:22 PM

Deborah’s website:


It seems somehow peculiarly apropos to sip Frangelico while reading about Peter Abelard

Is it just me, or does anyone else think of Frangelico as the Aunt Jemima of liqueurs?  The two bottles reside on different shelves in the cupboard, just in case they get any ideas – I wouldn’t want to have to deal with a proliferation of little maple-flavored airplane-sized liqueurs – or tiny hazlenut-flavored syrup packets…

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 12 2007 at 10:06 pm
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 19 / 2007 at 8:38 PM

Deborah’s website:

Yeah, there MUST be an interesting back-story, if the man who proposed to your friend then became her WIFE!

Poor Astrolabe was raised by Abelard’s sister and ended up going into religion, himself. It’s not clear if he ever had any offspring to continue this tradition, or not…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 8:56 PM

And whatever happened to Astrolabe? Poor boy–parents off working all the time.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 12:36 PM

Deborah’s website:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,

Oops–try again.

A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I had an aquaintance who studied Abelard and Heloise. She was mad about Medieval history and A and H in particular.

When the man who became her wife proposed, it was in a suit of armor.

He eventually took a gov’t job, they moved to DC and had five kids.

There is another interesting part of this story, but will save it for when we see each other…

As for the people shaped bottles–you spend too much time alone in the evening, it seems! Proliferation of little packets, indeed.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2007 at 12:28 PM

Deborah’s website:

Snow Unicorns
Deb has mentioned seeing a Snow Unicorn in her area, and even posted photos.  I am impressed with this, and wondered if there have been other documented sightings.

Sure enough, there have been:

Chicago, IL?

New Jersey?

Ithaca, NY

Duvall, WA

Related species, Ice Unicorn

Ottawa, Canada

Sapporo, Japan

Brugge, Belgium

More distantly related species, Burning Man Unicorn
Black Rock City, NV

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 10 2007 at 10:17 pm
One comment:
The Unicorn girl here was not impressed until we got to the life sized one by the two women. (The one with the cat in the picture).

“It was beautiful!” she wanted to take a picture of it so she could possibly reproduce it here next year.

Our resident unicorn lost its head Saturday (before I read about your request for more photos, alas!) and spent today reducing even more in detail and bulk.

Snow unicorns have a very short life span.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 11 / 2007 at 8:34 pm

Deborah’s website:

Solo Punty

This probably won’t be as exciting to you as it is to me, but it’s MY blog, so you’ll just have to suffer.  ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent a few hours on Saturday working on attaching my own punties.  This is usually a two-person operation, to get a piece off the blowpipe so the neck/lip can be worked.

After many floor models (that’s the term for pieces that fall off) and a bunch where the punty stuck too well to the bottom (and either left a big chunk of glass or took a chunk of the bottom with it), I finally managed to get one that held, but broke off cleanly in the end.

A clean break-off is good, because it means little or no coldworking later to clean up the piece.

I suppose this could be used as an analogy for some things in life, as well.  ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s significant to me, because if I can get to the point of being able to do it consistently, it means I’ll be able to make all kinds of interesting vessels without help.  (At the moment this has been limited to mostly ornaments – which is good practice for inflating a bubble and using a blowhose extension, but doesn’t provide much practice in flattening bottoms and working necks/lips, puffing up with a soffietta, etc.)

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 06 2007 at 12:58 am
Well, they were sort-of poorly-formed juice glasses. I didn’t spend *much* time on them. On the other hand, I probably should, for practice.

When I look back at my old ornaments I begin to see the benefits of practicing… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 7:35 PM

So did you just transfer blobs of glass? Or had you put some effort into whatever wyou were trying to transfer so there was more pain at the (de)parting when they became floor models?

I look forward to your goblets and glasses some day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 11:31 AM

Deborah’s website:

February “books”

Of course, you can print out the PDFs, and then they ARE on paper.  Consider it “on demand” book printing.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 28 2007 at 8:31 pm
Is your Brain “Cross-Lateralized?”

Kas and Rose and I were discussing handedness this past weekend.  Kas mentioned a couple of “handedness” tests based on arm folding and hand clasping.  Of course this meant I had to go online and hunt for something related:

Here are my results:

Trait Lateral Orientation

Handedness RIGHT
Foot Dominance RIGHT
Arm Crossing Preference LEFT
Eye Dominance LEFT
Facial Recognition RIGHT
Hand Clasping LEFT
Handwriting Preference RIGHT
Hand Throwing Preference RIGHT
Chewing Preference LEFT
Ear Dominance LEFT

When I learn new motor skills, neither hand dominates until something like convention intervenes.  Usually the right hand eventually takes over, probably from watching the technique of others (most of whom are right-handed).

Certain activities persist with a left emphasis, such as using my left eye for microscopy and telescopy.  I learned to hunt with Deb, so I shoot left-handed.  I once had a glassblowing class where one of the other students was a lefty, and watching her cope made me exceedingly grateful that I can use the “usual” right-handed configuration.

There was an organic chemistry prof who often told the class that only lefties could think “spatially” (when it came to chirality of molecules, etc.)  I had to take a makeup exam and he seemed disappointed that I used my right hand.

I’m not sure what any of this means, if anything, but it’s fun.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 27 2007 at 11:11 pm
You might be intersted in this article about sidedness of dog tail wags:

I know someone who has the dissertation project of looking at “handedness” of dogs. She freezes Kongs full of treats, and presents them 100 times to each labrador, noting which paw they use to hold the yummy conglomeration each time.


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2007 at 11:51 PM

I was five left and five right…i must be even handed hehe
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 02 / 28 / 2007 at 7:26 PM

Everything for me was left sided except eye dominance.


It is true when Kathy and I had the knitting business I could “see” how to figure out design problems (spatial) using the machine that had her stumped.

I have been thinking of that box the young boy taught us in NY at Origami USA (years ago, now) to make which has the pleated fan flower/bow folded as part of its four-part top. I will look for directions.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 28 / 2007 at 12:54 PM

Deborah’s website:

Flame On

Just got back from a flameworking class last week.  The TA actually made this tree while I made the apples (both out of Moretti).  We both agreed that the tree was very Tim Burton-esque.  The apples are about 7mm in diameter.

Later, with help, I made a similar tree top and roots out of clear furnace glass (SP Batch).  They self-destructed because I gave them to a student in the Venetian class to use as goblet parts and shattered when the bowl and foot were introduced (the furnace heat was just too much for the poor things – not that they were particularly well-made in the first place, since they were my first try!).  I should probably have had him bring me the bowl and foot and flamed them on, to control the heat.  Next time.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 23 2007 at 8:42 am
Sarah LOVES Tim Burton and she would absolutely go wild for that tree! Awesome.
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 02 / 23 / 2007 at 9:39 PM

Very nice apples! Love the realistic coloring. The tree is a bit too much like Mirkwood for me. I wouldn’t eat one of those apples–the evil Queen may have put them there for Snow White–to mix tales altogether.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2007 at 12:57 PM

Deborah’s website:

Rats. You smelled my plot.

Back to the drawing board!

(or torch/furnace, actually)

hehe. >:-]

– when I showed it to my boss who is the curator for the apple collection, he said they looked like Granny Smiths that had been sunburnt by growing in a full southwest exposure – apparently the red spots are too dark! Bah.

Criticizing my horticultural technique in glass! Humph ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment posted by Evil Queen (ip: on 02 / 25 / 2007 at 11:29 PM

Evil Queen’s website:

You should do the White Tree of Gondor next.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 02 / 26 / 2007 at 1:34 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

Sparrow Details

In a previous post I listed birds recently seen at the feeder.

LL reminded me that I should be able to distinguish sparrows using the book she gave me.

So here they are:

American Tree Sparrow
House Sparrow (introduced)

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 04 2007 at 4:09 pm
From Texas: How much snow did you get up there?

There may be a recorn cold snap here tonight–down to a whole 20 degrees F. So we are not complaining.


Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 02 / 15 / 2007 at 12:15 PM

In Corning we got about 10 inches or so, by my reckoning.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 16 / 2007 at 12:31 AM

Met a friend of Jeni’s today who has 4 kilns at her home and has moved on from fused glass to lampworking. She makes beads, mostly. A physical chemist. Used to do award winning quilting. You would like her, too.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 02 / 16 / 2007 at 7:06 PM

January books
  • The Human Zoo: A Zoologist’s Study of the Urban Animal (Desmond Morris)
  • Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture (Marvin Harris)
  • 277 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know: A Cat-Alog of Unusual and Useful Information (Paulette Cooper, Paul Noble, Jack Fleming)
  • Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry (Owen Barfield)
  • The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal (Desmond Morris)
  • The Cat Who Robbed a Bank (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Smelled a Rat (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Went up the Creek (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Talked Turkey (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Went Bananas (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers (Lilian Jackson Braun)
  • How To Say It to Your Cat: Understanding and Communicating with Your Feline (Janine Adams)
  • Why Cats Do That: A Collection of Curious Kitty Quirks (Karen Anderson)
  • Catwatching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behaviour (Desmond Morris)
  • History in English Words (Owen Barfield)
  • The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun: A Parody (Robert Kaplow)
Entry posted by origamifreak on February 04 2007 at 11:14 am




Comment posted by miaumoto (ip: on 02 / 05 / 2007 at 11:02 PM

And, pray tell, what were five things the book said your cats wished you to know that you did not know already?
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 05 / 2007 at 9:28 PM

Deborah’s website:

Hmm. Some of the books said some wacky things, while some of the other things made some sense.

1) I might like having my eartips massaged. (Still not clear if this is true. Most likely not.)

2) I lick my sides after rubbing against your ankles so I can “taste” the smells transferred from you.

3) rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre4 (This one was typed directly by Miaumoto just now. I’m not sure what it actually means, but he must be trying to communicate.)

4) I chatter at birds because I’m fantacizing about the death bite to the backs of their crunchable little necks.

5) The edge of this book smells/feels good. Let me rub my chin on it some more.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 05 / 2007 at 10:52 PM

Polar fleece cowls

From Deb’s recipe:

A rectangle of polar fleece, roughly 24 inches long in the stretchy direction and 19 inches in the less stretchy direction, sewn into a toroid, makes a very warm and functional neckwarmer.

I’m putting this here so I don’t forget the dimensions…

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 03 2007 at 2:22 pm
Heh. I just bought some dark green fleece to make some. All the other colors were kind of lurid, or had sports team emblems on them.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 21 / 2007 at 1:22 PM

O, thank you. I have had a recent request for one or two in more interesting colors than black or dark green from a certain member of the household who plays outside a lot.

Hope you are keeping warm. Brr.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 03 / 2007 at 10:46 PM

Deborah’s website:

Skating Commentary Bingo

It’s skating season.  I made an exception to my TV-avoidance policy (It’s not yet Nielsen Week and so they’ll never know) and watched the US Nationals last night with Kathie.  Commentary for these things is notoriously bad, so I invented a game because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em:

1) Write down a list of all the trite commentary cliches you can remember
2) Generate bingo cards with these phrases
3) Print appropriate stickers (I used address labels)
4) Play!

It’s amazing how well this improves the viewing experience when you’re actually waiting for them to say, “Look at the height on that jump!” or “She’s just having so much fun out there!”

It’s gotten colder, so the birds are hungry.  Yesterday just within a 1/2 hour period the feeders got the following visitors:

1 downy woodpecker
1 nuthatch
2 titmice
2 chickadees
3 mourning doves
4 juncoes
4 cardinals (2 male, 2 female)
8 blue jays
numerous sparrows
numerous house finches
numerous goldfinches

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 28 2007 at 4:52 pm
One comment:
You are a hoot! Looks like you didn’t have quite a Bingo, yet.

Only one nuthatch? I love them. We have at least a pair of the white-breasted kind and at least one of the yellow-breasted. Those blue jays travel in packs here, too.

And there is this gray wingless furry fellow who comes 1-3x/day for a sunflower seed fix. He scoops them up with both paws into that face of his.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 28 / 2007 at 8:27 pm

Deborah’s website:

Oh, the irony.

I just fielded a call from the Nielsen ratings company.  Yeah.  THAT Nielsen company.  Who will send me a booklet for the week starting Feb 15 that I am supposed to fill out, listing all the TV I watch.

Which will be really easy, since I don’t watch TV.  I do happen to own a very nice 37in HD plasma monitor.  And I do happen to actually have digital cable at the moment, but I don’t actually *watch* TV.  The monitor is for DVDs, which I do watch.  And the cable is because some friends are staying here and they watch TV.  But I don’t, because I can’t stand the commercials, and among the 70+ channels available, there never seems to be anything worth watching.

But none of this apparently matters to the “Nielsen Family,” because they want to send this booklet anyway (with $5 for my time), and have me send it back saying “no TV watched,” because they want to represent “everyone” in their survey.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 20 2007 at 10:17 am
I wonder if it’s the latter – I joked that I was the 1/2 of 1% that didn’t watch TV, and he said I’d “be surprised” how many people said the same thing. When I asked how many people he’s ever talked to who say they don’t watch TV, he said he wasn’t sure he could “release that information.” I weasled it out of him – he estimated 4 in 10 people he calls say this. Can that be right?! It doesn’t seem possible, somehow…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 26 / 2007 at 3:44 PM

They must have changed the way they do surveys–or maybe the band of us who don’t watch TV is growing. We got that call a decade or more ago and when the caller found out we didn’t watch TV he didn’t want to talk to us anymore.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 25 / 2007 at 9:28 PM

Deborah’s website:

Brr and vehicles

OK, I concede that winter has Arrived.  After spending the past week in the PST timezone where all the impatiens froze, I was better prepared for the temperature here.  There’s even white stuff on the ground, now!

Thinking about eventually replacing the vehicle, once the rust really starts going.  It’s a 1991 Honda Civic hatch with 150K miles on it.  It is wonderful and trustworthy.  If they still made the Civic wagon, I’d be tempted to buy one.  Really.  But they got rid of the Civic hatch a while back, and there just isn’t anything really out there like it. &*^$#@!

Just about the only really interesting replacement option I’ve seen so far is the new Honda Fit.  Of course I haven’t seen one in person, just read reviews about it…

I want the following things:

  1. At least as good mileage as I’m getting now (37mpg, averaged over the entire year for 5 straight years)
  2. 4 passenger doors (the 2-door coupe arrangement was fine 16 years ago.  My friends and I don’t fold into human origami like we used to.)
  3. A real hatch.  None of these quasi sedan things.  It’s my only car, and I want it to hold stuff.  Of all sizes and shapes.
  4. A manual transmission.  With at least 5 speeds.
  5. Some zip.  Like my current car.

I recently drove a Prius, a manual Matrix and an Impreza.  I liked them in that order.  I suppose I’d also like to try a Mazda 3, but it probably won’t get the sort of mileage/reliability I want, and there aren’t any dealers around here.  Of course there’s always the Mazdaspeed 3, but, ahem, I don’t think I’ve quite hit that midlife crisis yet…

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 19 2007 at 1:19 am
Yeah, I’m probably going to wait anyway, too. My car is still running fine, and Fits are in such demand at the moment that people are paying over MRSP for them.

I just like to look ahead and figure out what’s around (you never know when a deer is going to run you over, or something). This is the time in a car’s life where you really get your $$ out of it, and I plan on continuing to do that and letting the car fund CD build until something really expensive crops up and necessitates replacement.

Another possibility is the Nissan Versa, which I haven’t driven, either.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 19 / 2007 at 8:18 PM

The Honda Fit’s are really cool. I actually thought about your car when Paul and I went to look at them. We decided that the Fit is a contender when we buy again. Right now ours is still running and I am unwilling to part with the money.

The lure of the Fit for me is that there is ample room for me to load it up with my yardsale and auction antics.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 01 / 19 / 2007 at 7:19 PM

13th Night

The tree came down, needles were vacuumed, and everything is mostly back the way it was.  The accoutrements almost fit in a big plastic bin I’d bought this autumn.  I picked a different couple of ornaments to hang in the window this year.

I also reorganized the pantry, as well as doing the usual weekend laundry.  Yep, it’s been a pretty productive day, all considered.  (Pretty productive weekend, considering the 11.5 hours I put in at work yesterday.)

Still not sure what to do with those pears, though.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 07 2007 at 5:36 pm
What can you make with pears?

At work emails will periodically arrive that say “Free X available.  Bring your own bag.”

Where, depending on the season, X can be: sweet corn, muskmelon, peaches, apples, beets, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, pumpkins, nectarines, zucchini, etc.

Today it was Bosc pears.  They’re not tree-ripened, but they’re not bad.  It’s just that there are quite a few of them, and I don’t have much experience doing things with them.

According to  this search, you can sort-of treat them like apples.

Any suggestions?

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 04 2007 at 11:25 pm
One comment:
I’ve put them in jam before–peeled. And pear butter is pretty good. And using them on coffe cake or upside down cake instead of other fruit works well, too.

Out of hand with cheese is nice, too.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 07 / 2007 at 5:50 pm

Deborah’s website:

On Leftovers
I love leftovers.  they make fantastic soup.  There are times they are a problem, however.

Take the refridgerator at work.  This past August it needed a spring cleaning.  Or perhaps a fall cleaning.  For example, there were strange, unclaimed pieces of meat in there.  Hog Maws, to be precise.

In case you didn’t know, Hog Maws is another name for pork tripe.  And it had been sitting in the work freezer for over 2 months.  Several packages of it.  Raw.  Uneaten.  And increasingly covered with freezer crystals.

A colleague and I suspected who the owner was, but didn’t know for sure.  One afternoon we saw Suspect A walk by and asked him about them, and then (oh so innocently and helpfully) offered to throw them away if they weren’t his, or if they were his but he didn’t want them.  They disappeared REALLY FAST.

Then there’s the fridge of a significant other, which is awkward because it has the power to offend without there being the prerogative to clean it out.

I had a boyfriend once who happened to be from Another Continent, who wasn’t good about purging his fridge.  Most of the time I couldn’t tell if things were supposed to look/smell the way they did, or not.  Whenever I offered to toss something suspicious, he’d say, “No!  That’s wasting food!  You can’t throw it away, we don’t know if it’s gone bad!”  Apparently the M.O. was to wait until he was *sure* something was inedible, so he wouldn’t have to worry about wasting food when he finally threw it out.

I estimate that the contents of his fridge were at any given time 25% edible, 25% inedible, and 50% not something you’d eat, but not yet Officially Inedible.

I could also mention the “leftovers” my 90+ year-old father hoarded, but on second thought, I don’t think I want to go there.

It’s good to have my own fridge.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 03 2007 at 10:35 pm
One comment:
We have friends who just left for a six-months stay overseas. A primary goal of my friend, the wife and mother of said family, was to leave a clean fridge behind. We both admired it the day they left.

It looked spanking clean; as it hadn’t since it was bought.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 04 / 2007 at 1:22 pm

Deborah’s website:

Token Entry

Certain people have commented that I haven’t written anything here recently, which is true.  Stuff has just gotten ahead of the recording, I guess.

The ancestral home closed, finally.  That’s one less loose thread, thankfully.  Lately I’ve been cooking.  I’ve also been getting movie recommendations and watching the corresponding DVDs and tapes from the library.  Last night I saw Ikiru, which was very good, despite the depressing premise.  With that kind of film on tap, I may never go to the theater again!

I’ve been playing the violin again recently, and discovered a nice repository of online choral scores which pointed me to a handy pdf booklet of Christmas carols.

This year the cats finally experienced a Solstice Shrub.  It didn’t take Miaumoto long to start using the lower ornaments (hand-blown, mind you) as punching balls. 

I don’t think he realizes he’s 15, or maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s supposed to be dignified and elderly (the equivalent of a 72-year-old human?).  I guess he figures I’m always bringing home those glass balls I make, so they must be toys.

I’ll be lucky to be as playful at 72.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 29 2006 at 2:29 am
Gems and Roses

Went to Texas for Thanksgiving and the day afterwards my hosts took us to the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we saw really neat gems and minerals (unfortunately the labels were being re-done and therefore missing) and the Houston Garden Center where there were roses still blooming…

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 25 2006 at 7:08 pm
Yeah, it was amazing to be able to wear a t-shirt on Thanksgiving! The weather is one of my favorite parts of Texas (I’m about 3 or 4 hours west of Houston). I’m glad you had a good time.

Comment posted by liz (ip: on 12 / 06 / 2006 at 1:56 PM

Those green stones are beauties.

How is Houston? Getting that cold weather?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 29 / 2006 at 10:46 PM

Deborah’s website:

Moravian Stars

It’s that time of year, again.  One fun thing to do is make Moravian Stars from strips of paper.  These are good tree ornaments.

You can go the easy route and use quilling strips, or you can go the crafty funky way and make your own with a quilting wheel and magazine covers.

Deb has even made them using birch bark, and they came out lovely.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 13 2006 at 11:55 pm

Hope you have a good one!

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 11 / 22 / 2006 at 11:53 PM

Old calendar pages are very nice bacause they have a heft magazine pages sometimes lack.

A used Jewish illumination art calendar still makes wonderful stars here. And that two-faced red/green mailing paper I found one year in a drug store.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 15 / 2006 at 11:58 AM

Deborah’s website:

verbarian activities
A way with words

On words with John Ciardi

Also, I have discovered a nice Open Source ascii Scrabble game

I’m waiting for them to package up Quackle for Ubuntu…  I’m too lazy to compile it, and the ascii game already kicks my butt on any level above 1.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 13 2006 at 2:20 am
One comment:
I must be improving – I’ve begun to win the ascii game at level 2…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 12 / 08 / 2006 at 4:52 am


This is what you get when the heat is kept at 60 F.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 29 2006 at 10:20 am

Other Typology Groups

Social Conservatives
Pro-Government Conservatives
Conservative Democrats
Disadvantaged Democrats

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 23 2006 at 11:34 pm
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 24 / 2006 at 10:28 AM

Deborah’s website:

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 10 / 24 / 2006 at 3:28 PM

soup, audio books and podcasts

Now that autumn is here, I am enjoying the dark leafy greens, leeks, and other winter veggies supplied by my CSA.  These work especially well when used in conjunction with bay leaves and other spices to heavily supplement a frozen soup kit.  The stock pot is then cooled and doled into freezer containers for future lunches and dinners.  Tonight was chicken with leeks, kale, and collard greens.  MMMMM.

In preparation for an upcoming 8-hour drive each way to Arlington, VA I have purchased an MP3 CD player that works with the car tape deck.   Next I had to find things to play in it.

First stop was the New York Public Library website, where anyone who lives in NY State can sign up for a branch library card and download audio books. 

Unfortunately, although their selection is pretty good, only some of the books can be burned to CD, and those have to be burned in audio format. Also, the download software only works for PC and Mac, which is annoying because of the 3 computers in my house, only one is not Linux.

This is fine if you want to haul around dozens of disks per unabridged title (each of which only holds less than 80 minutes of material).  It’s also fine if you have a Micro$oft-compatible portable music device, onto which these books can be downloaded.

I do not want to haul around dozens of disks, as the same disks with MP3 files on them typically hold almost 10 times as much.  I do not have a Micro$oft-compatible music device, nor is either of the computers I use for audio a PC.  Burning audio CDs in order to rip them and re-burn them as MP3 files is possible, but tedious.  It is also a waste of coasters.

So this required going back to the internet and looking for other options.  Via Google I found LibriVox,  a sort-of audio counterpart to Project Gutenberg.  The books are all in the public domain, which means they’re mostly 100 years old or government reports.  This is just fine with me, as some of my favorite authors include E. Nesbit, Charles Dodgson, Samuel Clemens, and Jane Austen.

LibriVox allows anyone to read and upload material, so as a test case to see what the production values were I listened to Dr. Dolittle, which had chapters read by a variety of people.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Not only were the chapters mostly well read and clearly recorded, but the enthusiasm and personality of the various speakers actually enhanced  the story.  It is refreshing to hear different voices.

For listening variety I also discovered NPR podcasts.   While This American Life (PRI) hasn’t yet put any podcasts online, there are a couple of similar options that are available from alt.npr; Love and Radio, and Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything

There are NPR podcasts available on words, books, music, science, and just about anything else I might want to hear about.  I burned three disks full of these and plan on randomizing them during playback.  That should help me get through those remote areas where there is nothing on the “real” radio besides Top 40 and Evangelists…

In the end I opted for only one audio CD book (burned before I discovered LibriVox and NPR podcasts), plus about 100 hours of other things to choose from, including some MP3s ripped from my own personal music CDs.

That should last me for a while, I hope!

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 16 2006 at 12:04 am

This American Life has just started podcasting! Woo-hoo!

I completely understand the audio format/Windoze thing. The public library I used in NYS had files that were in Windoze audio format. My MP3 player only works with MP3s because I have to run open source software (rockbox) on it so it will talk.

I have managed to convert music to MP3, but the audio books were somehow encrypted so that I couldn’t do that. Like you, I’m listening to a lot of NPR poscasts. (Can you believe they actually have NPR here in Texas? What a relief!)


Comment posted by liz (ip: on 11 / 07 / 2006 at 7:17 PM

The frozen soup kit idea will be a hit, I think, if Con-Agra can advertise it wisely. So you add to their basic soup?

I will check out the library books on tape. And we know about Librivox. And NPR stuff…

Oh, boy!

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 18 / 2006 at 1:13 PM

Deborah’s website:

This American Life won’t be podcasting any time soon. They have (nearly) all their episodes available via online streaming. They have downloads available via Audible, for a fee.

Hope you had a good trip.

Comment posted by Paul (ip: on 10 / 24 / 2006 at 4:32 AM

Paul’s website:

As it turns out, This American Life HAS begun making podcasts available each week, which is great.

There is also a lead on downloading other episodes as MP3 as well…

Comment posted by (ip: on 10 / 30 / 2006 at 1:05 AM



      the Prankster
      (14% dark, 26% spontaneous, 21% vulgar)    
      your humor style:

Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You’re not pretentious, but you’re not into what some would call ‘low humor’ either. You’ll laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it’s highly likely you’ve tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor because it’s smart without being mean-spirited.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O’Brian – Ashton Kutcher

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 27 2006 at 1:10 am
One comment:
I am the same humor type as you.

Thank you for yesterday’s voyage into Middle Earth. It was nice to see the extended version. Isaac got to his scout trash pick up on time and Banner came in the house OK, where he slept the night.

I have emailed R. asking if she wishes to come home and spend the night here on the Wed after Corning.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 09 / 2006 at 10:39 am

Deborah’s website:

Boats and Butterflies

Kathie and her mom and I went to Canada this past weekend, and saw more boats outside our balcony:

We also went to the Butterfly Conservatory where we saw butterflies

and more butterflies

…and they saw us!

This morning we woke to a lovely sunrise in the mist over the canal.

Boats seen this trip:

Canadian Miner (Toronto, ON)
Voyageur Independent (Ridgeville, ON)

BBC India (Bremen, Germany – flag Gibraltar)
BBC Singapore (Bremen, Germany – flag Gibraltar)
Federal Welland (Quebec, Canada)
S. Pacific (Jork, Germany)
Spar Ruby (Bergen, Norway)

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 17 2006 at 5:15 pm
One comment:
Great butterfly photos!

Fog here this morning, too, but no great sunrise.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2006 at 8:23 pm

Deborah’s website:

Big Boats

Earlier this week Nora, Yestyn (friends visiting from Vega$), and I went to Niagara Falls and the Welland Canal.  We got to see really big boats get lifted up and down over the Niagara Escarpment.

Here are some pictures Nora took from the Lock 3 viewing platform of the Canadian Progress heading toward Lake Erie:

It took about 3 hours for the boat to reach our hotel at Lock 7, where a couple of people got on, bringing with them 4 carboys of spring water.

Some other boats we saw:
Lady Hamilton
Ziemia Gnieznienska
Canadian Navigator
Catherine Desgagnes
English River
Atlantic Huron

You can track them, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 18 2006 at 6:10 pm
That is pretty cool. The best thing next to the Panama Canal, and much closer to home.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2006 at 9:30 AM

Deborah’s website:

While Panamax (965 feet in length, 106 feet wide) ships are bigger than “Seawaymax (740 feet in length, 78 feet wide), I would argue that the Welland Canal is *more* impressive than the Panama Canal, based on the height the ships are being raised ( 326.5 ft over 27 miles versus 43-64.5 ft over 48 miles).
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2006 at 2:32 PM

I’m not sure how many other naturally high features are crossed by canals with locks, but when complete the Three Gorges Dam in China will dwarf the Welland Canal in height, raising ships 575 ft (over less than 2 miles). The canal locks are designed to be 30 m longer than those on the St Lawrence Seaway, but half as deep.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2006 at 3:17 PM

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