Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Be a Star!

I don't know if any of you watch The Next Food Network Star. I do. It's sort of like the Apprentice with food. Eight contestants have to complete cooking challenges and each week one is eliminated. I haven't decided yet if I would actually tune in to watch any of them on a regular basis. Of the eight starters, only three have professional cooking experience and one of those guys had to quit his cook job to make more money. I suppose Third can relate to that. For one of their challenges they were told to present their culinary point of view. Or what I would have called their gimmick. So there was the ethnic focus, the regional focus, the fresh & healthy focus. But why not a cooking-for-your-pets focus? That is such a trend these days. Seems to be the first thing you ask a new dog friend is "what do you feed your dog?" Maybe they could have a show featuring meals you and your dog could share. Healthy for poochie, healthy for you. Separate plates, of course. But I digress.

Anyway, I started thinking we should all get our own cable shows. We could easily fill a day's programming with:

  • Zen Motorcycle Repair
  • the perennially favorite Reluctant Gardener (ha, a joke! perennial+gardener, get it?)
  • how about Metal Shop Magic
  • Reading to Clancy
  • The Computer Guy

...then there's home decorating, and the DIY crew. The Bargain Hunter. Understanding Art. And of course we need a pet show. I see endless possibilities.

Oh, a talk show, too. That would be fun. We could banter, girls. Everyone would tune in to listen to us banter for an hour. Wouldn't they?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Girls Only

I came across this blog in which the blogger chronicles her daily outfit and beauty routine, like this. When you first start reading, you think something is going to happen. That morphs into incredulity that someone can own the same Old Navy t-shirt in six different colors. You don't learn much about her day except for trips to Target, new cosmetic discoveries and coupon offers that come in the mail. Sometimes I don't agree with her purse choices. However, I do check in semi-regularly because I have learned some good product recommendations. So here is my version. I promise this is the only time I will do this. Today's outfit: Kohl's bootcut jeans in light blue with tear in left leg from Onchu at 3 months Collie Rescue pullover hoodie in light grey Durango waterproof lace up boots in tan with missing treads on left from Onchu at 5 months Marshall's Fleet Street microfiber jacket in light blue Ulta wrap around sunglasses in brown Beauty routine: Dove Essential Nutrients self foaming cleanser Dove Essential Nutrients day lotion Maybelline dream matte mousse in Natural Ivory Maybelline brow styling gel in Taupe Clinique glasswear for lips in Juicy Apple Since we all like things that are about us, as your payoff for enduring this ego-driven indulgence, here is a quiz What Color Is Your Aura?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dumbing it Down

Sorry, folks, but it's been a busy week. I just had to snag a few minutes, though, to share this with you. This was posted on another site. Maybe some of you have different opinions. If so, I would be interested to hear them. But in lieu of different information, I found this very convincing. Click on the link to check out Dumbing it Down.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Math Anxiety and a Quiz

Two years ago I took a math class, only it was called Quantitative Reasoning. I guess the point behind the name was to fool the math phobics. By calling it Reasoning people might think it's all about logic. Even the most irrational person believes they're logical. I struggled with the class, meaning I had to actually read the textbook and do the practice exercises. It seemed as if the objective of each unit became progressively more obscure: y2- yz + z2 + 2/yz = ?

Then I made an interesting discovery. I sailed through the sections that were based on real life problems. Like:

  • If you save $420 at 6.5% interest how much will you have when you retire?
  • If Second leaves for Wisconsin at 6:00 am traveling 70 miles per hour and Fourth leaves 2 hours later traveling 80 miles per hour, who will get there first?
  • If you want to lose 3 pounds before Saturday, how many frappucinos do you need to eliminate?

I wonder if that's simply a variation of the survival instinct. Losing weight and calculating my ETA are all things I need to survive but y2 - yz doesn't figure anywhere in my daily routine.

Research suggested that students with negative attitudes about math had performance problems simply because of anxiety. Scales, like the MARS (Math Anxiety Rating Scale), were developed to measure this. But while the professionals are arguing about teaching methodologies, instructional materials, the best sequencing of math courses and ways to improve teacher training, research now concludes that peers are even more influential than parents and teachers when it comes to shaping attitudes about math. If that can apply to clothes and music, why not math?

The ATMI (Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory), breaks attitudes down into four categories:

  • Self-confidence - I am able to solve mathematics problems without too much difficulty
  • Value - Mathematics is important in everyday life
  • Enjoyment - I am happier in a math class than in any other class (all right, that one's a stretch)
  • Motivation - I am willling to take more than the required amount of mathematics

So when your kids bring new friends home, do a quick ATMI. If you get the four answers above, they're traveling with the right crowd. Otherwise, "I don't want you hanging out with that kid. He's not happy in math class." Or maybe "What a slacker! She only takes the required amount of math classes."

Now go ahead and take the quiz. Could You Pass 8th Grade Math? Since we only have three (well, okay, four) members who haven't made it to eighth grade yet, the group average should be pretty impressive. Dare you to post your score in the comments!

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Recipe Tuesday

With the holiday fast approaching, I thought I would share a new take on corned beef and cabbage. I like this recipe because it's portable and I'll be taking it to a potluck. The original version is actually Emeril's from the Food Network site but as Seventh knows, I never met a recipe I couldn't (and didn't) modify. In this case, I've simplified it. So without further ado... Ingredients 6 sheets of frozen phyllo dough. Look for the large rolled sheets. They need to be thawed before you can start assembly. 1/2 lb of sliced corned beef, from the deli 1/2 lb of sliced or shredded swiss cheese 1/3 of small head of cabbage, loosely shredded 1/2 small onion, sliced Saute onion in a small amount of olive oil. When onion is soft, add cabbage and cook until cabbage is limp. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbl of good mustard. (I used dill mustard). Unroll phyllo, with sheets stacked on top of each other. Beginning on long side, place slices of corned beef to cover about 2/3 of sheet. Top with cabbage mixture. Cover that with cheese. Beginning from filled long side start rolling toward unfilled side, like a strudel. Brush some olive oil over the outside of phyllo dough. Put on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Be sure to make your own modifications!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Welcome to Our World

Yesterday I got a postcard from Fourth & Family, announcing their new address. Oh, I thought, I should send them a house-warming card. But after wasting an afternoon blocking the greeting card aisle at Target, nothing seemed to give the right message. Not only is this a more personal way to keep in touch but also much more personally productive. I can spend "quality" time with the boys stretched out at my feet; the girls have taken supervisory poses on the desktop; and mackerel-kelp crunchies are baking in the oven. Moving is an intersting thing. Of course, where I live there is always somebody moving in or moving out. We get accoustomed to that fleeting sadness when a good neighbor moves away, and extend tentative greetings to new neighbors, until we determine how they're going to be. Some people move all the time. Maybe they see each move as a step in some sort of direction. I guess those are people who know where they're going. Parts of moving seem kind of exciting: meeting new people, becoming part of a new community, figuring out the fastest shortcuts, discovering the best carry-out food. Even more, moving seems like a great chance to become a new person; to shuck the old baggage and try on a new image. But maybe that's not really true. I always think of the Anne Tyler story, Ladder of Years, where the heroine one day just walked out of her life. Despite her best intentions to make a new start, within months she found she had created the same situations. Wherever you go, there you are. Of course, because it's an Anne Tyler book, everything ends well and the heroine returns to her family with a better understanding of herself and more appreciation for the people she walked away from. Perhaps that's what moving is about: Casting yourself against a new geography in order to highlight the essential you.