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Cooking with Elvis

Sunday, February 29, 2004

This really makes the blood crawl. Brings back memories. Best get out the straight vodka for viewing this one Oana.

Asian Cock
Couldn't hold a candle up to this classic.

Heminyctobora truncata

Did I mention I need another drink.
What a beauty.

Megaloblatta longipennis
"Lady aphids might be even worse off in the pregnancy department. They are born pregnant!"

The horror! I'll have to drink to that and bad memories of Asian cockroaches projecting themselves off the wall and into your hair when you take off one shoe.
Time for another drink.
The last three or four days have been so beautiful. With the days growing longer and warmer, we are spending most of the day outdoors. The parks have been packed with children and parents enjoying the spring like weather. Last year at this time there was at least six inches of snow on the ground. What is annoying me most about this week is my black mood. I can't seem to shake it of late. Saturday was the peak of my bad week, hopefully, next week will be brighter. I bounced two checks, had a major mess up at work, approached a friendly mom about starting a playgroup, whose daughter is in the wee ones class, in such an odd manner I think I scared her off, spent the fine weekend nursing a headache, spent way too much money eating out because I was too black to cook, and to finish off my working week, after I spent 30 minutes searching for anything with pokemon in it, the kids mother, who was somewhere else throughout the whole search, gives me an earful for finding pokemon for her child.

Now I am nursing not only the headache but the black mood with some White Russians. Seeing that it is the last week of my storytimes and I have to really chat it up with all the wealthy student's mothers, I will not be drinking myself in to a wild naked table sort of dancing alcoholic stupor. Maybe just a kind of stumble around with glassy eyes sort of stupor. Best get out some Dubliners.

Wild Rover

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Cockroaches facts:

The giant cockroach Megaloblatta longipennis (what a great name!) from Peru and Ecuador can grow up to eight inches long and has a wingspan of one foot.

The female cockroach only mates once, but stays pregnant for the rest of her life.

Because of their nocturnal habits, the scientific name for cockroaches is Blattodea, which is Greek for "avoiding light."

The good news...
Of the 4,000 kinds of cockroaches on Earth today, only about one percent are household pests.

All of these wonderful facts come from the new book I ordered for our science collection, Insect-lo-pedia by Matthew Reinhart. The joys of ordering for the science section is that I get to learn all these wonderful facts so the next time I am in Japan or the Amazon jungle again, I can try and figure out which of the 4,000 kinds of cockroaches it is on my wall or the floor of the jungle. Take for instance, the harlequin cockroach, it has bright yellow warning colors and smells stinky.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sunday was a perfect day for ice fishing, sunny and warm, except that the fish were not biting. Not a single fish for six hours of work.

It was hard work visiting my parents. There is so much stuff that the wee baby is not aloud to touch. We followed him around the house telling him 'no'. His highlight of the whole trip was taking a bath. They have a huge bath. All three of us could fit in it.

I have started my seedlings. Spring seems to be coming early this month. Friday it is going to be 50F (10C). I planted daikon, Chinese cabbage, impatients, lavender, basil, and cilantro. I set up a table in our living room with a lamp for night time sunlight or cloudy days.

I ran out of face cream a while ago, since I can't afford to buy more, I've been looking into making my own. Unfortunately, it seems an impossible feat. You need loads of weird ingredients. Instead, I may make some oatmeal soap. Soap is not as difficult, finding the time will be hard.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

It seems as though I am not the only one who is farting in the library. Last night, while I was shelving books in the stacks, I saw the security guard coming my way. I quickly pushed my cart further along the rows in an attempt to get away from her. If I where to call any of my acquaints the village idiot it would be her. I have never heard her mutter any sort of intellegent word. In fact, the only thing she seems to utter most of the time is that she wants to go home. Anyway, she saw through my efforts to escape and later rewarded me. She went on the other side of where I was shelving and let a big one rip.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I had a shelvers meeting today. Yes, there is such a thing at libraries. We sat around for a hour and a half talking about the order of books.

Since it was my first meeting I had little to say. I sat at the table trying to look sage. I have little to say about the order of books. Most of the discussion was on library signage. Since I mainly shelve books during the weekend, I don't get a lot of questions about where the bathroom is or the elavator.

Oh, I just let a big fart at my desk. I think I see the little girl at the computer giggling. One of the good things about working in a library is you can usually find a quiet place to let'em rip (but not too loud). I often find myself in the stacks leaving a trail of noxious gas behind me. It is bad when I am at my desk or a patron tracks me down in the stacks and I turn around after an especially nasty one and see their faces.

Being a librarian is one of the more gassy professions I imagine. Just this evening when I went into our staff lounge their was cake, cookies and microwave popcorn. When I went into my office there was chocolate, lollipops, candy and girl scout cookies. All that junk amounts to bad gas. It may also be the reason I see so many really fat librarians about the place.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I have the job of ordering the books for summer reading club. After a child finishes reading so many books they get a book as a prize. We order over 1000 books for the Summer program.

I am focusing my research on the JF (junior fiction) while my partner is focusing on picture books and early readers. There are so many good books for children now (and some not so good). I devoted part of my afternoon to picking new releases. I found a good site that lists all forth coming books.

Forth Coming

I have to start reading all these books so I am able recommend books for different levels, ages and interests. The problem is finding time to read, and for some of the books, staying awake. I can only read so many Lizzie McGuire or Magic Tree House books before falling to sleep.

I had to ask the main devil child to leave my storytime today. She didn't want to march with us during our 'Marching Through the Snow' song. I didn't want her to get stepped on so her mother came in and got her. I could hear her screaming out in the hall for about five minutes as her mother put on her winter clothes.

My other little devil did much better today. I added a lot more action songs and books. Also added some finger plays. I want to add some felt board stories but a few children always want to grab the felt pieces off the board. I will have rig something up on the wall.
I really should be working. I have way too much to do and not enough time but when do I even have time.

My boss stepped out for a bit so it is time for the mice to play.

Everything seems to be the same around here day after day. The wee one wakes up every night at least six times. I stumble around during the day wishing I could have a nap. I think the big baby is frustrated because I have little energy when I am at home. I sit on the couch with my books and wee baby brings me his books to read to him.

Working two jobs now has been really draining. Our flat is a mess. My parents are visiting and I have to hear everything that I am not doing. The sink is dirty, the floor needs washing, I bought the wrong size salt blocks and the chair had some food on it. The big baby and I would

The good thing of late is that I am remembering my dreams again. They are wild and creative. All with rich colors, sounds and sights.

I dream of traveling again. My new intended countries are Switzerland and, as always, Egypt. Since we have no money or time off I read books about other lands. Today, the big baby asked why I am always reading about 3rd word countries. I don't only read about the 3rd world, I read about anywhere but here.

I have to get back to work. Today I have my difficult class. I have to take at least one mother aside and let them know that their child is a little devil and will be asked to exit storytime if they act up.

Friday, February 13, 2004

I was so hungry when I last wrote. Food is the most thing I miss about Asia... Ethan says he misses good service in restaurants and shops. He thinks it a sin that they ask for a tip here. What I really thinks he misses is the pre-pubescent girls with their high voices, 50's uniforms and fake smiles. You can get the experience of the hostess bar without paying the high price by going to a chain restaurant. I am sure they would giggle in the right places if you started a conversation.

Men are funny that way. They get all excited over a young girl giggling at their stupid jokes even if they are paying her. I know there are bars for women to enjoy the company of men, host clubs. Not my thing. I really wouldn't enjoy the company of a man whom I was paying. Especially men who look like the following...

Over my dead body

Even better!

I really don't think Kei is 29 years old. Kazuma used to be a woman. And Ren!...They must call it Club Rouge because they all fake bake.

I wish I could go on holiday just about now. I miss skiing during the winter. What good is snow if you can't use it. It is so flat here. People do go skiing but they are hills are the size of white elephants. I hear the cross country skiing is good up north but I no longer have my skis.

I do finally have a day off! I wish I could spend the day reading in bed but that seems a bit of a waste so we are going ice fishing in Wisconsin. At least I can have a good dinner.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

My trouble maker from last week failed to show up to class today. Maybe the mother was so embarrassed when I dragged her daughter out of class screaming last week that she didn't want to have to go through it again. The class is still bad since my bully showed up this week. My co-worker sat in on the class and suggested that his mother be told that he is not ready for storytimes or not interested and to send him out of class after the third warning.

My storytimes only last 30 minutes once a week, you would think the children would be good but some are just not ready to sit still for 30 minutes.

My big baby made tempura yesterday evening. Tempura is actually quite a difficult dish to make. You have to have the temperature of the batter and oil just right or else it doesn't work. The outside fried part was too thick and then it was overcooked. It was edible but not that enjoyable. We will try again today.

The big baby did, however, make some wonderful picked carrots, Chinese cabbage and daikon using naka rice bran as the pickling agent.


For an English description:

Japanese Pickles

In the spring we will make umeboshi, pickled plums.


My big baby's grandmother would make fresh umeboshi every year. He said she would go to a forested area in the spring and pick fresh plums. The plums they use are smaller than the plums we normally eat in the US or maybe they are just younger because they are usually green or yellow and hard. She would pickle huge amounts in a huge clay urn and give it out to all the relatives.

This first year after his grandmother died his mother tried to make umeboshi but the batch got all moldy and she had to throw it away. She has since gotten her technique down and makes really good umeboshi. I brought three bottles back from Japan when we moved to the US which we have since gone through. So I will try making some in the spring.


This weekend I am going to make a large batch of kimchi. I am not a huge fan of Korean food but this dish is one of the best pickled dishes you can eat.


Saturday, February 07, 2004

Had the storytime from hell on Wednesday. From the beginning it started off bad. It wasn't the weather. It was only the second class meeting and I was dreading it. I thought maybe they were had class jitters last week...but no...this is a wild class.

We sat on the carpet and I got ready to read a story. One student decided to lay down and listen to the story. Last week she couldn't talk enough during the story and since I wouldn't listen to her probably spent the whole week developing battle plans. It doesn't matter so much for a student to lay down it is just that half the class will join her. Anyways, half the class started to join her so we had a quick lesson on how to act at a storytime.

The spawn of Satan didn't move from her horizontal position, even after threats, bribes, cooing, etc. I got up and picked her up. She squirmed away and sat up off the carpet. I knew she wasn't finished. Devils don't give up so easily. She got up just after I started the story and started running around the room talking loudly. Right, I had enough and dragged her out screaming to her mother. Unfortunately, my gifted co-worker was on break leaving me with a good co-worker but she had no clue on what to do. This problem would continue later but I had to get back to the story.

I finished the story and we started the craft. For the craft, we were making a bee, a character from the story "There's a Billy Goat in My Garden", out of felt. My ADHD student managed to glue the body of the bee on the paper and then was off to cause terror on the other side of the room. Luckily, the puzzles distracted him. I had conveniently covered the fish tank which he couldn't get his hands of last week.

The dark lord returned to class and now refused to look or speak to me. Delighted with her silence, I returned to help the rest with their crafts only to look across to the room to see the ADHD child and his buddy pushing my French speaking teacher's pet student. They stopped before I could get across the room but one little one, who was so excited to show her craft to her mother, went running out of the room but before I could get her back in the class the pushing started again so I returned to part the wrestling boys and stop to other students killing each other over a train puzzle.

Attempting to calm down the class I tried to get them to sit but now it was 'let's chase each other around the room' time. Luckily, my gifted co-worker came into the room with my runaway. We sat down for the second story and the little devil return to her horizontal position. My gifted co-worker, who could talk a dog to give up a meaty bone, got her to sit up for the rest of the restless story. I would get into further details about the second story but won't.

Now, I must sit and write battle plans for next week.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I think my son would like to wear Bushi's nappies.

Bring back any memories?


How about some bust up gum?

Bust up

Oana, I think this will go well with your coloring...
Oana's delight
I also had the apron experience. My mother-in-law presented me with a huge tent of an apron that you pull over you head to put on. It had large roses all over it so I look like a curtain from the 1950's. It really made my outfit complete when I wore the puke colored tent dress and the apron together. All I needed was a mousy haircut and a fake smile.

The major problem with the apron was that it was so huge, both Oana and I could fit in it at the same time, that I was catching on the counters, doorknobs, bookshelves, etc. I ended up spilling more on myself and the floor as I was thrust backwards. The apron was donated to the two large Mormon families that lived together outside Tokyo.

I am always spilling something so I do wear aprons. Much to Oana's delight. We would be in fits of giggles for at least an hour from her witty comments whenever I wore it around her, especially the tent like apron.

I had aprons that I tied behind my back and had little loops in the front to stick a few tools. I got used to wearing it at the preschool I taught at in Japan. I could keep a pair of scissors hidden in the back, pens, glue or whatever else I needed. When I moved back to the US I wore the apron at preschool again. I was surprised by the other comments from the teachers. I did hear a few Stepford wives jokes. I never grew up with any beliefs against aprons. It was Oana who enlightened me on the history of the apron. I had to stop wearing the apron at preschool. The other teachers couldn't let it side. Now I am in the closet about my apron wearing.
I found some cheaper dolls if you are interested Oana. How about a boxed woman?
A boxed woman

Now this one you can bring on business trips, nice and compact. What if you get your luggage searched?

Monday, February 02, 2004

Had an interesting experience at the library yesterday. A woman screamed across the crowded library asking for my help on looking up sex books. It was such a blatant attempt at attention. She was looking for 'Sex without guilt in the 21st century'. The book is on order so she wanted me to help her find other books.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

It is so cold here today. We keep the heating low to save on energy costs. It is not as cold as waking up in Gyoda, Japan. There is something about waking up and seeing your breath that really makes me not want to get out of bed. Plus the thought of putting on cold clothes and not being able to have a hot morning shower because the pipes are frozen. I suppose I could have turned on the kerosene heater but than I would have gotten a headache before work or a coughing spell.

Often, I found myself sleeping on the clothing that I would wear the next day, at least the long underwear. Everyone would say how thin I looked in the spring. It was really because I shed my four undershirts and pants, three pairs of socks, wool sweater, and scarf. Truthfully, I gained weight in the spring because I wasn't burning as much calories trying to keep myself warm all the time.

I have looked into other sources of energy, mainly solar. A good thing about Japan is all the solar energy they use. I saw many solar panels on houses and buildings. I looked into solar energy here. It would be a major endeavor. Many people around here don't see the point of solar energy or other sources of energy. They don't realize how dependent they are on the government. I send my heating bills right to city hall.

I have to get some books on winterizing the house. My parents just turned up the heat instead of fixing the problem. They call they ask if we have turned up the heat. Now I know why they let some beautiful old mansions and buildings waste away, the shear cost of the utilities.

I couldn't get over the fact when I was in Britain all the beautiful old stone ruins. Hundreds of people had spent their lives building some of those buildings, like Tintern Abby in Wales.


How could anyone let those beautiful buildings just dilapidate. Tintern Abby was a monastery. The subject of Wordsworth’s most famous poem. If I built a house anywhere in Wales it would be there. It is right on a beautiful river, surrounded by woods. The monks had a good thing going. They must have been fat living off all the fish and game in the area. If I remember correctly it was a fairly self-sufficient community within the walls of the monastery. Than Henry the VIII came along...

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