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the Pasturbator

Last night I had this dream about a machine that you could sit in, kind of like one of those old driving video games from the eighties, that had a screen that showed you relevant scenes from your past. It was called 'the Pasturbator.' Of course you know how dreams are hard to explain, and when you try everyone groans inwardly and starts nodding at you while thinking about socks or air conditioner filters or something, so I will not try to convey the whole dream. It was really cool, though.

I've been trying to think on how to turn this into a novel or story. One of those where it's all completely realistic and stuff, except for just one weird unexplained thing. Like maybe the protagonist is all sick of her job, and doing a lot of stupid stuff in her personal life, just being generally self-destructive, and suddenly she stumbles on this machine and somehow uses it to deal with... something. Or maybe she is a psychologist and uses it to unscrupulously treat her patients. I can't figure out what she should DO with this machine, but I know I want to write about it! Any ideas? Or does it sound completely ridiculous? (The machine could also be called 'the Past-urizer' but I like 'Pasturbator' better.)

Grey Hair

Hmm. I just had the weirdest thought: I wish all of my hair would just turn grey already.

Because I have about ten silver-grey hairs (that I know of--there may be more in back) around my face that are springy, wavy, sparkly, and full of body. Why can't the rest of my hair be like that, all by itself? And if I had grey hair, people would think I was wise, and surprisingly youthful for my age (which they would assume to be 50 or so). And I wouldn't feel the need to try endlessly/fruitlessly to be thin and pretty, because everyone would assume I was older.

Yes. I think this is the answer to all of my shallow girl-problems. Get moving, hair!
So, so very glad to find this website: EShakti. They make adorable clothes that are relatively affordable-ish in sizes 0-26, and they have this great customization feature in which if you don't like the length of the sleeve or the neckline on a dress, you can change it. I LOVE wearing dresses but unfortunately they are quite difficult to find in the plus size range, and those that are findable are either always black (which is fine, but I don't want to wear a black dress every day) or way too expensive.

I blame Mad Men. I have just gotten into that recently and the whole idea of styled hair, makeup, and being dressed to the nines every day really appeals to me. Unfortunately it only appeals to Theoretical Me and not 6:30 am Me. That women is pretty unreasonable, and often thinks such thoughts as, "Sure, I can get showered and dressed and made up and ironed and breakfasted and care for the creature in 20 minutes."
During every school vacation I make these unrealistic goals, usually something like 'I will de-clutter and deep clean the entire house.' Then I don't do it and feel like a failure.

I found this website somehow recently: http://flylady.net/

It's kind of aesthetically upsetting, and I don't like being on an artificially imposed 'program,' but I do like the idea behind it, which is essentially that every day, you will take care of daily chores (like dishes and wiping off the bathroom vanity) and then tackle one other chore which you can do in 15-20 minutes. So I think I will do that, because my current method, which in theory involves me cleaning the entire house every Saturday but which in reality involves me putting it off until I am utterly disgusted with the house and then getting totally overwhelmed and quitting, is not working.

And I always feel like I can't do stuff--you know, like research for historical novels or working on sewing projects--until the house is clean. So maybe that will help with activities too.
"Occasional prolonged and irregular hours. Frequent standing, stooping, bending, kneeling, pushing and pulling. Occasional ifting (sic) up to 50
pounds. Prolonged use of computer and repetitive hand motions."

This is my job description.

I wonder what the 'repetitive hand motions' refers to, and if I can somehow twist that to support occasionally having a frenetic session of flipping people off?

Easy and FANTASTIC Fettucine Alfredo

Stuff:
3 tbs. real butter
1 c. whipping cream, half-and-half, or milk*
1/2 c. any combination of shredded fresh asiago, romano, or parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of nutmeg
black pepper and salt to taste (don't add salt if you use the asiago--it's salty already!)
1 egg yolk
3 servings or so of cooked fettucine

Optional stuff:
2 tbs. cream cheese, if you like your sauce thicker
2 chicken breasts, diced and sauteed
2 portabello mushrooms, diced and sauteed
handful of steamed broccoli
MORE cheese to top with
maybe fresh basil as a garnish? I wonder how that would taste. We don't have any, though, so I am not sure.

Activities:
1. Melt butter over medium heat in saucespan, add garlic while butter is melting.
2. Add cream, stirring constantly. (You've got to stir this sauce constantly** throughout the recipe or it will scorch.)
3. Add parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir 'til parmesan melts. You would add the cream cheese at this stage if you decided to use it.
4. Scoop out about a ladleful of sauce into a small bowl, and whisk in egg yolk, then whisk egg mixture into pan of sauce. (This is so the egg doesn't cook into little scramble-bits.)
5. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and is as thick as you like.
6. Serve over fettucine with extras, if you so desire. (It will look like you don't have much sauce, but this is very rich so you prob'ly won't want to smother your pasta in it.)

*The recipe calls for whipping cream, but any milk product will thicken if you cook it long enough, so if you don't have any cream on hand, I imagine any kind of milk would work. You could add some cornstarch or a little bit of flour at the end if it won't thicken properly.

**This may seem, you know, NOT easy, but it is really just a tiny bit tedious, but it only takes about three minutes to cook, so is not too tiresome.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Pumpkin-y foods are only around in the fall, it seems. This is unfair. We gotta fight the power, yo.

Pumpkin Roll
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 can pumpkin (about 2/3 cup)

1. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for five minutes. (This is important because you need to whip a lot of air into the batter since it's technically a sponge cake.)
2. Mix dry ingredients with a fork, then mix into egg mixture.
3. Add pumpkin.
4. Line a cookie sheet that has side edges with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly over parchment paper. (I suppose this will work with a non-stick cookie sheet and no parchment but I haven't tried it personally.)
5. Bake at 375 for 13-15 min.
6. Sprinkle top of baked roll with powdered sugar while on cookie sheet; cover with a clean dishtowel.
7. Flip over so roll is atop dishtowel.
8. Roll in dishtowel while hot and let cool. (This will help it cool in the roll shape. If you wait to roll it when it is cool, it will crack.)
9. Add frosting and some toffee chips* when cool; roll and refrigerate til ready to eat.

Frosting:
1 package cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

1. Soften cream cheese and butter on counter.
2. Whip everything with mixer.

*I used Heath Bits O' Brickle toffee chips which I found at Walmart, but which Kroger and SuperTarget did not have. I've tried using the chocolate covered regular Heath bits but it just doesn't taste as good. Yeah, I made this a bunch at Christmas-time.
For my Friends Who Wear Shoes: double points this week at DSW, plus a HUGE assortment of really cute Born sandals, which are like walking on a cloud of marshmallow fluff, only not so sticky.
This is funny:

Do For Me

"Do for me" is the freelance writing service assist customers to develop their assignments, research papers, thesis and dissertation to meet their needs. We know that you be still struggling with academic work while you are working. We are always here to help you out. we offer our services to college students, undergraduates and post graduates world wide. No matter the level of work but we will prove you the quality of work with the experienced and qualified writing panel.

It's especially clever that they use that Engrish-style syntax so the professor doesn't get suspicious about the higher-than-usual quality of the paper. At least... one would hope that they are doing that on purpose. Otherwise it's just plain sad.

Actually I think it's pretty sad anyway, but as a teacher I do tend to be a little biased in the direction of learning, so perhaps I am not a good source of information in this case.
I am thinking of buying a used bike on Craigslist... does anyone have any advice for what to look for? There are a couple listed that say "Women's Schwinn" that look good, but I have not had a bike since about 1983 so am not sure what height or size or features I need. I guess I am pretty tall (5'7) and have a large frame, so should I get a men's bike, or what?