Friday, July 11, 2008

What goes with peanut butter?

Eating is a common topic with our youngest as they explore new foods and develop personal likes and dislikes. One in particular exclaims "PREG-NIT" with comical finality at the mere mention of any that cross his unpredictable line of palatability.

Even so, I didn't expect the string of PREG-NITs that met nearly all the things I like with peanut butter. Chocolate, bananas, the usual jam/jelly, and maybe celery passed muster. These "peanut butter and" sandwiches do not:

  • Green bell pepper in thin strips
  • Honey (as a boy, a jar of this mixture was a staple at our lunch table)
  • Pickle slices, dill or sweet
  • Raisins or other dried fruit

Nor do scoop or dip variations like apple slices and carrot sticks get by.

Okay... I wondered whether other people's peanut butter favorites could be so foreign to me that I'd squawk the adult equivalent of "PREG-NIT!" Silly question. And so, in verse that would make Dr. Seuss wince:

Would you eat PB on tuna,
aloft, on land, or calm laguna?
Could you add it to egg salad?
There's no need to look so pallid!

I won't put PB on fishies,
or in any eggish dishies...

Enough. I also balked at peanut butter on pizza, but my favorite pizzeria has a "Thai Pie" I want to try that features peanut sauce, chicken, broccoli, red pepper, and onion. Likewise, an onion, bacon, and peanut butter sandwich sounded unappetizing at first, but I'd give it a try.

There is no accounting for taste, obviously. You still won't find me eating PB-and-tuna any time soon. PREG-NIT!

What do you eat with peanut butter?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day of Silence: Speaking out

12th Annual NATIONAL DAY of SILENCE 25 April 2008

I've been struggling with how best to write about GLSEN's National Day of Silence, which this year honors the memory of Lawrence King. He was murdered in February by a younger classmate because of his (Larry's) "sexual orientation and gender expression." Because he was gay and not masculine. How can I, in good conscience, advise my family's gay teens and straight allies to take a stand against bullying and harrassment, to lead visible and authentic lives, when it can very evidently get you killed? No responsible parent would say, essentially, "go play in traffic."

Nevertheless, the alternative to being out is slow death. Pretending to be heteronormative when you're not is stressful. The broader, deeper, and longer lasting the deception, the greater the stress, and long-term stress has demonstrable psychological and physical consequences. No thanks. Not for me and not for my family. (Anyway, I compare "being out" to a cuisine with many recipes but no artificial flavors or preservatives.)

Discrimination, harrassment, and violence against LGBT people... most of our teens have already survived those by the time we meet. Our family is a place where they can safely be themselves, and that's far more relevant than any explanation I can give of how being gay was different 30 years ago. We discuss preventing and responding to bullying and worse with our children and teens. And when worse has happened, we've done our best to ensure they have what they need. This family will not abandon them.

I can't tell a teenager who was targeted because he's gay that visibility is still better than hiding and expect to be taken seriously. I pondered this post most of the day and it's finally occurred to me that, as trite as it may sound, being the best example of change we can is better than any advice we could offer. I hope it is enough.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, April 18, 2008

Remembering Simon the cat

When I first saw Simon, he just sat quietly and watched me walk past. We met a short while later, and he strode over, climbed onto my lap, and promptly flopped onto his back to have his tummy rubbed.

Simon immediately salved the recent loss of my second cat. My first cat, who had seemed to be moping, too, appeared to welcome his arrival as well. Simon also kept me company years later when my first cat reached the end of a long and well-loved life.

His habits were more endearing than not. After a scratchy game of Paw the Human, for example, Simon would stretch out full length with his back against me, wrap his front legs around my arm and pull it to him, then fall asleep with his head tucked down into the crook of my elbow. Nutball cat. I've never known another like him.

Simon's own time came last week, sooner than I hoped, although I knew the end was near. We were together and at home, for which I am deeply grateful. No pet's life should end alone in pain and fear.

I still tell Simon where I'm going, that I will be back, and that I love him. I speak the familiar phrases quietly with a lump in my throat. After 20 years of feline company, the Simon-shaped impression on my heart just hasn't cooled enough to leave all of the old, familiar habits behind.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nattering as I wait for UPS

Which will arrive first: UPS or the time I must leave to meet a visiting friend I haven't seen in two years? It's a slow race against time. On the UPS tracking page, the latest package progress is "out for delivery." Anticipation and Monday coffee have me practically vibrating in my chair.

It's a good time to post something here, which I don't do nearly as often as I (and my few readers) would like. If it weren't for my old posts about using Mac OS X icons, no one else would even stumble onto Utter Bibble! Anyway, a couple of things made this past weekend memorable.

First, one of our newest teens told me his name. Concussions seem to be the most typical injury we see in people who find their way to our family. As is the case with this guy, it can be enough to scramble their memory pretty thoroughly for a while. So, yeah, when he came to the phone to tell me he remembers his name it meant that he's on the mend and that we mean something to him. How could that not make my day? Actually, though, he's grown to like the nickname that the little ones gave to him.

Then, my cat jumped onto me while I was half asleep on the couch. He's 15-ish and spent the end of winter sleeping by a radiator, eating less and less. No matter how long my cats are with me, I'm not prepared for their deaths and I was afraid his was near. Maybe he's just as tired of winter as me, but since changing his food and adding fish oil, he's been doing a lot better. That jump up was the first recent one, so I am appreciating the quality time with my furry beastie as much and for as long as I can.

Hm. What do you suppose makes the best bait for UPS delivery? Here, driver driver...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Voting on the brain

I wasn't paying any particular attention to the television when the PSA came on, but I'd swear I heard "Are you a voter? Have you taken a voter safety course?"

"Huh?" I thought, "Are they serious? They can't be serious."

No, of course not. Not voter. Boater. *rolleyes*

Apparently my ears were filled with some gelatinous substance when I wasn't looking. Or I'm just very focused on setting up sections of my new voting designs. Yeah, that must be it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My design on Dan Stone's book

Pointing glove designA few years ago, Dan Stone of 365Village (formerly NETSTROM) hired me to design a semirealistic pointing glove that looks as if the cursor displayed over hyperlinks had leapt out into the real world. Its whimsical "Roger Rabbit" style made this a fun little project, but what impressed me was that Dan's initial contact was so articulate and complete that I had everything I needed to write the quote.Web Site Marketing Essentials by Dan Stone

Back in the near present, Dan needed a larger size of the glove. I learned one reason soon after when he showed the cover of his latest book, Web Site Marketing Essentials, to me. Lo and behold, I'm on the cover or, rather, the custom design purchased from me is on the cover. Nice. It can also be seen, incorporated into a photo, at

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The last page of summer

The System of the World by Neal StephensonA few days ago my summer reluctantly concluded on page 887 of "the big honkin' novel", also known as The System of the World: Volume Three of The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. After roughly 2,600 pages and several months of immersion in his intricate and lavishly wrought world, drifting up to present day North America took a while. I am both sated and longing for more. I suppose I have a mild case of literary withdrawal!

In one word, the vehicle by which the third volume melds love, power, philosophy, and related justifications is coinage; the gold, English kind in particular. It's a fascinating subject, as is the period vocabulary that sent me to the OED more than a few times, such as viz., phizz, and phant'size. Frankly, the author is a big tease. For example, Jack invades the Tower of London and opens a box. It's highly entertaining, but where are all those men coming from? Why is he doing it? What's the big deal? Answers only come later and gradually. Near misses, hidden flaws, and the fickle finger of Fate definitely add interest and realism to the mix. (For a more lucid description, read the publisher's synopsis.)

I wouldn't say the surviving characters live happily ever after, but they do seem to achieve an equilibrium of sorts, at least long enough for a final peek into their lives. I imagine I could feel the accumulation of memory and time around each of them. In the last pages you can hear a distant growl from the approaching Industrial Revolution. Just think what Neal Stephenson could do with that era! Considering that we last saw the Shaftoe boys from the rear as they ran for the hills, we might some day be able to do more than wonder.

Tags: , , ,