Thursday, January 31, 2008


This is our current weather forecast:

Normally I wouldn't be too worried about it, but tomorrow is the Regional swim competition, and we really need some good weather in order for all the teams to get there. It's in Versailles, which is 100 miles away and--oddly enough--pronounced exactly as it's spelled.

So if it's not too much trouble, please send good weather to Kentucky tomorrow. If you will do that for me, I promise that when we are having some random nice day and it is raining on your parade wherever you may be, I will send the good weather to you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Close shave

The swim team is getting really excited about the upcoming regionals event on Friday (and hopefully Saturday). Some of the guys decided to go that extra mile by stripping off any fuzz that might hold them back, so they disappeared into the locker room after practice today with a 6-pack of disposable razors and a can of shaving gel. Mike just had time to do one of his legs, so this was his condition upon arriving home:

He quickly set to work to make his legs match:

Smooth as a baby's . . . well, you know.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blog365: Day 29

Nothing noteworthy again today. Homework in the morning. Book fair in the afternoon. Spent the late afternoon realizing that my computer problems were stemming from a bum UPS, so I had to go out and buy a power strip to get me through until the replacement arrives. Then a band boosters meeting from 5:30 to 7:30. Just another day in paradise.

Why don't you go over and see Annabelle's blog? She has done a little housekeeping and has a spiffy new logo. Also, if you know any famous Thai people, she would be most appreciative.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blog365: Day 28

This morning I did a little homework and then spent a couple hours working the book fair at Annabelle's school. At first I wasn't going to volunteer this time around (see my New Year's resolution to say no more often), but I really like working the book fair. So much so that I'm doing it again tomorrow.

I also cast on for my new scarf project. I LOVE the way that wool feels in my hands and definitely want to do a sweater after I finish the scarf.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This just in!

Here's some video footage of Mike's 200-yard medley relay team at yesterday's meet:

Mike is the second swimmer (breaststroke) in the green cap. They did great!


I've got knitting on the brain lately. I am really close to finishing up my most recent pair of socks. All that remains is to graft the toe closed and weave in the loose ends. And, of course, to take a picture of them!

I'm in the mood to do something a little different. I spent an hour and a half in the yarn shop yesterday while Annabelle was at her Broadway bootcamp. I was desperately seeking inspiration, but I'm just so darn picky. I knew I wanted to do either color work or cables, but I just wasn't finding anything that I loved.

I was intrigued by the Mission Falls 1824 Wool, and was contemplating doing a Lopi-style sweater (like the one I made in Germany) out of that. That was going to take a lot of math though, as Lopi and 1824 are nothing like each other gaugewise.

Finally, one of the salesladies pointed me in the direction of some Mission Falls pattern books. I wound up deciding on this scarf, only mine will be black and a kind of taupey color:

I figure it's the perfect way to test drive that yarn, plus a scarf doesn't take a lot of mental energy, thus making it the perfect project to take up time during swim meets and practices. Can't wait to cast on tomorrow!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Winter reading challenge

I saw a winter reading challenge over at GoMomYouRock, and I thought that maybe this would be a good way to clean off the books that I currently have piled on my nightstand:

I first read Nicholas and Alexandra when I was in eighth grade. I still remember fantasizing that I was related to the Romanovs, some long lost heiress perhaps, and my dad saying something to the extent of, "Just wait till you get to the end!" I credit that book with sparking my interest in Russia, which eventually led me to getting my BA in Russian Studies. I hadn't read it in years though, so I asked for it for Christmas (I read my parents' copy to death ages ago). I'm about a quarter of the way through it and am really savoring every page.
When Fred and I went to Charlottesville last fall, we got to hear a professor from West Point talk to us about Islam. In fact, I heard him twice, as he addressed the spouses' program first, and I found him to be so fascinating that I went back when he talked to the SJA's. He had a list of books for people who wanted to learn more, and I asked which he would recommend to be read first, and this was the one he suggested. I picked it up as well as a Spark's Chart about Islam to help me keep names and places straight.
I started reading Unhooked sometime last year, but I didn't get very far in it. I found it frustrating that the book focuses on the girls in these "hookups" to the exclusion of the boys. Does it not still take 2 to tango?! If it's true that middle school and high school are nothing more than the orgy picture painted by Stepp, that can't be any better for the boys involved than the girls. I think there has to be more to it though than what I was getting from it, and I would like to get back to it, so maybe this challenge will motivate me.
This was another selection from my Christmas list this year. Basically each story is printed with the Russian on the left and the English on the right. I read the English and look at how pretty the Russian is and kick myself for how crappy my Russian is these days (20-plus years after I last studied the language).
I really wanted to read Pollan's previous book, The Omnivore's Dilemma but just didn't think I could handle it, especially the part about the processing of meat. Pollan speaks of orthorexics, "people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating." I think I tend towards that myself. It's easy for me to feel like we're all a mouthful away from certain peril, so I don't need anything to push me further in this direction. This book, however, feels empowering: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I can do this.
Stupid and Contagious is by Caprice Crane. That's all I know about it, but I laughed a lot when I read her book Forget About It, so I'm hoping this one is equally enjoyable. I think I need some lightness in this book list!

So! Those are the books that I currently have that are waiting to be read. If I get through them, here are a few others that intrigue me:

What's on your "to read" list? You can join the challenge too!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blog365: Day 25

Nothing terribly interesting to report today. I attended a committee meeting this morning, ate myself silly at an Indian restaurant for lunch, and then had my hair restored to its natural color. Or perhaps I should say, I had my hair restored to its original natural color.

The only semi-interesting thing that happened today occurred while I was setting the table for supper. I was walking into the dining room carrying a bowl of grated parmesan cheese, when I apparently tripped on an air molecule and twisted my ankle. Down I went like a bag of rocks! I was OK except for a little lingering tenderness in the ankle. I managed, however, to dust the area all around me with a fine coating of parm. It will go down in Ginger's diary as the Great Cheese Miracle of 2008, and she scarfed up all she could while Fred ran for the vacuum cleaner. She continues to make pilgrimages to the holy site, hoping that perhaps a relic might still be lingering deep within the fibers of the rug.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's vintage

You know that "fur" coat I'm wearing in the snowman picture I posted a couple days ago? I still have it. Here's a picture of Annabelle wearing it in second grade:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blog365: Day 23

Nothing entertaining to report today. Mike stayed home from school semi-sick. He spent the day guzzling Airborne and sucking on zinc lozenges and actually seems much improved. I would go search YouTube for something funny to post, but if I hurry, I can actually make it to bed by 9. I can't pass up that opportunity!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We were robbed!

Meade County? Schools closed on account of snow. Hardin County? Schools closed on account of snow. Fort Knox? Schools open despite the snow!

As it turns out the roads cleared by mid-morning anyway, but a snow day would have been so nice. I could have cancelled my dentist appointment and stayed home, but noooooooo. It was business as usual and now I'm looking at $1700 worth of gum upgrades.

Snow days are so nice. I remember how it felt as a kid to get up early and watch the closings crawl by at the bottom of the TV screen, hoping and praying that we would be some of the lucky ones who would get to put on 2 pairs of jeans and stuff our feet into breadbags inside our shoes and go slide down hills on cookie trays. (We southern children weren't very well outfitted for winter weather, I'm afraid, given that we didn't get it that often.)

I think my very first snow day must have been this one in Pensacola, Florida. I made a snow angel:

And I decorated a snowman to look like my dad:

Good times!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog365: Day 21

Today was a perfectly boring day. Nothing but catching up on some homework, working on my sock (the gusset is done!), and taking Mike to Louisville for a haircut and supper at Qdoba.

Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting. I rather hope not though. I have a dentist appointment. Boring will suit me just fine!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming . . .

We are absolutely consumed by swimming these days. Two more weeks until Regionals!

Thursday night the kids had a meet here at Knox. Here is Annabelle's 50-yard freestyle:

and Mike's 100-yard breaststroke:

That kid to Mike's left (your right) is somewhat of a god in local swimming circles. At the beginning of the season, he and Mike didn't even swim in the same heats, let alone in side-by-side lanes. So it's really remarkable to see Mike giving him a run swim for his money!

Thursday night was Senior Night, where we honored our graduating swimmers. We had some flowers, and one of the moms made really nice shadow boxes for them:

I snapped a shot of Mike and Annabelle while they were hanging out waiting for their races:

I also got a picture of Annabelle with her friend Katie, who you might remember from the Case of Mistaken Identity:

Here's a picture I snagged from the breaststroke video:

Anybody but me see shades of Edvard Muench there?

Saturday we went up to Louisville for the Brown Bear Sprint at Shawnee High School. This was a fun, relaxed meet. Mike swam the 100-yard IM for the first time in competition:

And Annabelle participated in a most unusual relay:

It's called the corkscrew, and personally I would like to see it added to the lineup for the summer Olympics!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I'm busy working on my video clips from the past 2 swim meets, but I don't really have anything ready to post. Please check back tomorrow. In the meantime, why don't you go check out Annabelle's post from yesterday and see her rather exciting news?

Friday, January 18, 2008

No Some soup for you!

I'm freezing my tail off these days, which puts me in the mood for soup. I found a copycat recipe online last year for California Pizza Kitchen's Sedona White Corn Tortilla Soup. I've made a couple minor modifications, and now it is one of my most favorite soups as well as a great excuse for buying an immersion blender. Here's how I make it:

Chop some garlic (I like a lot of garlic), some onion (maybe 1/2 cup?), and a couple slices of jalapeno (some like it hot, but not me!), and fry this up in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in a couple handfuls of Tostitos or other corn chips. Add 1/2 of a package of frozen corn, a couple big cans of tomatoes, 1/3 cup tomato paste, 1 and 1/2 cups water, and a quart of vegetable stock. Add the spices: 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, a half tablespoon or so of salt (the original recipe called for a whole tablespoon, but it also called for frying your own tortillas, and I figure the corn chips bring some salt with them), 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Bring this to a low boil and allow it to boil for 5 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat for 20 minutes or so to allow it to cool a bit. Use your immersion blender (or do batches in a regular blender, but be careful not to burn yourself!) to smoothe it out some. Add the rest of the frozen corn, and bring the soup back to a boil.

Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and more crushed up corn chips if you like.
How easy is that?! Serve with some sort of bread--we like biscuits or corn muffins--and salad, and you've got supper. (And yeah, that is the Bayeux Tapestry that I've got my biscuits wrapped in. Please don't tell France.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Support Medusa's Daughter!

My dad just found out the other day that his novel, Medusa's Daughter, is a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. At this stage of the competition, Amazon is asking customers to download, read, and review excerpts of the semi-finalists. Based in part on these reviews, Amazon will then select 10 finalists, who will be announced on March 3.

I have already posted my review. Anybody who is interested in helping a deserving work get the credit it deserves is welcome to join me! Just go here to do your part.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blog365: Day 16

Brain. Hurts. I'm helping Mike with his chemistry homework, and let's just say I don't remember a lot about chemistry. I think there must be a reason I majored in Russian Studies instead. I have ideas for 2 different blog posts, but instead I'm worrying about molar mass. Sorry. Check back tomorrow for something more interesting!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

1970s flashback

There are some very funny family photos out there on the Internet, so I'm adding this one to the pile:

Are we not the epitome of early 1970s cool? Check out my pants! My sister (who was not yet on the scene in that picture) says they look like bubblegum wrappers.

That's my cousin Julie's inchworm I'm sitting on. I loved that stupid worm. Little did I know on picture day that one day my sorrow at not having an inchworm of my own would be eclipsed by the trauma of my parents' refusal to provide me with an Easy-Bake Oven. Sigh . . .

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blog365: Day 14

Phantom was just awesome yesterday! I think I enjoyed watching Annabelle seeing it live for the first time as much as the show itself. Fred was pleased that the story actually made sense to him for the first time (third time is the charm, I guess). Even Mike enjoyed himself, although that's really not his kind of show (no mosh pit and all that).

Today is c-c-cold, so I'm staying inside as much as possible. I have plenty of work I need to be doing for school. In fact, I should go do some of that now.

Here, why don't you enjoy this bassoon tribute to the Beatles while I'm gone?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On our way to the theater

It's a cold, rainy day, which would be perfect for hanging out in jammies. We, however, have tickets to the theater, so I have to get dressed. Wish I could wear this:

Can you guess what we're seeing?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I have had a dream

A couple mornings a week, the first words out of my mouth to Fred are: "I had the strangest dream last night." You can see his eyes glaze over as he resigns himself to spending the next few minutes hearing my dream retold in minute detail. I figure that now though my dreams can serve as Blog365 fodder.

So anyway, I had the strangest dream last night . . .

I dreamed that the high school here was preparing for some sort of big event. Perhaps it was homecoming, as they seemed to be expecting a lot of Very Important Visitors, which doesn't make sense, as not a lot of people come back for our homecoming, given the transient nature of our student body. As part of this effort, they were doing a LOT of major building projects, which also doesn't make sense, as efforts for homecoming tend to be more along the lines of hallway decorating rather than anything that involves cement and steel beams.

My dad was visiting, and he and I were driving past one of these works in progress, and I casually asked him if he knew what Potemkin villages were. He said he did not (which is how I should have known I was dreaming, because if something happened in history, my dad knows about it). I explained to him that they were fake villages erected in Russia to please the tsar when he got a bug up his butt to go see how the peasants were doing. (It was actually Catherine the Great that these villages were set up to fool, but in my dream, I just lumped her in with all Russian rulers and assigned the male pronoun. Sorry, Kate.)

Then I got a burst of inspiration and said, "Hey, wouldn't Potemkin High make a great name for a school in just the right kind of book?" And my dad agreed that yes, that would be a brilliant idea.

So, analyze THAT!

Fred just left to drop the kids off for the swim team bus. We're off to Louisville for another meet. Think fast thoughts for Mike and Annabelle!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blog365: Day 11

At the risk of turning this into a knitting blog (not that there's anything wrong with that), I finished my sock at a board meeting this morning, so yay for me. I cast on for the second one this afternoon and hope to get a lot done at tomorrow's swim meet.

I haven't gone political on the blog in quite a while, but I have been laughing all day over this:

DailyKos is encouraging Michigan Dems to cast a vote for Romney in the Republican primary. Kos says:
Okay, so, I know - you must think I'm nuts to suggest that anyone ever vote Republican. But this situation is special. As it happens, the Michigan Democratic primary is uncontested. Barack Obama and John Edwards aren't even on the ballot. So that means even if you're a Hillary Clinton supporter, there's no need to vote for her - she's running unopposed.

But the Republican primary is hotly contested. And Michigan law lets anyone - including independents AND Democrats - vote in the Republican primary. This means there's a great opportunity, as we say above, for us to make mischief!

So why should Dems and indies vote Romney? After his victory in New Hampshire, the press has declared John McCain the Republican front- runner. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, who won in Iowa, looks poised to do well in South Carolina, which hosts the next primary after Michigan.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat. And the more Republican candidates who are fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for the Democratic candidates, of course! In other words, we want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.
Apparently some people didn't understand the reasoning, so Kos posted a second part to make 4 main points: "(1) This isn't a pro-Romney effort . . . (2) The Democratic race is irrelevant . . . (3) You can't bring a spork to a gun battle . . . [and] (4) Open primaries are stupid."

"You can't bring a spork to a gun battle." Cracks me right up!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First day night of school

Tonight is my first night of classes for the spring semester. In fact, I'm in class right now, although we're on a break to log-in on the attendance tool.

Once again I have managed to arrange both of my classes on Thursday night. That makes for a long evening, but after tonight, attendance at the first class is optional. It was optional last semester too, but I always went. I'm going to try being a little more laid back this this semester. Frankly, I get more out of the message board participation anyway.

I'm taking Information Policy, which I hope won't be as tough as everybody says it is given that I've got a legal background. My other class is Cataloging, which I'm really looking forward to! Apparently I'm somewhat of a freak in that regard. My Cataloging textbook starts off with: "If you are looking at this book it may be because you are interested in cataloguing. If you are not, I hope that by reading it you will find that cataloguing is not as bad as you thought." Later on, we learn that "[c]ataloguing has long been unpopular, and nowadays is little taught."

As you might have noticed from the spelling of "cataloguing," the author of my textbook is British. Accordingly, I read it with a British accent in my head. I think my mental narrator is a part of Monty Python, but that might just be due to passages like this:
The main thing is to have a sense of humour. You will have to apply rules which you find quite silly, and you cannot really take them all seriously. On a scale of the world's problems cataloguing would not feature at all. However, you must pretend to take them seriously, and pretend, while you are doing it, that cataloguing is the most important thing in the world. You must regard every decision, as well as every full stop and comma, as being of vital importance.
"Silly" rules? I love it!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I know I said I wasn't feeling "socky" . . .

. . . but check this out:

This sock has all but knit itself. I've gotten down past the gusset in what feels like no time at all. All that remains are 20 or so rounds of straight knitting and then the toe decreases.

Of course then I'll need to make the dreaded second sock. We'll see how long that takes me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


This time last year, I decided to use LibraryThing to keep track of my reading for the year. I think I did a pretty good job of remembering to enter titles as I finished them, although I don't know that I ever got my sidebar fixed so that my library widget is visible to Mac people. This is what a year's worth of reading looks like for me (click to see it bigger if you can't read the titles):

Monday, January 07, 2008

Blog365: Day 7

Today is our official return to the grind. Fred is at work; the kids are at school. I've spent the day working on this and that--I paid my tuition for my spring classes and printed some reading materials that I'm going to need this semester. Now I'm working on my photos again. It cracks me up when I find a shot that I had forgotten about. Like this one, for example--Mike and his friend Scott wearing their big, furry hats:

This is the calm before the storm. The rest of the week is going to be a blur of getting kids to and from various practices, meetings, and lessons; getting them to 2 swim meets and attending a Swim Boosters meeting; going to a club luncheon and 2 board meetings; and starting my classes.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Working Better, not harder

I've been obsessed with organizing my hard drive for the past few weeks, especially my picture files, which had really gotten out of control. I'm pleased to report that I have regained over 10 gigs of storage space that I had filled with duplicates and other junk. I found a couple of cool utilities that have been very helpful to me as I go through this process.

I used Better File Attributes to change the creation date of files of photos that had been scanned. For example, if I scan my wedding photos today, the file creation date is going to be January 6, 2007, rather than June 16, 1990, and there's nothing I can do in Windows Explorer to change that. Better Files Attributes, however, allows me to set the creation date (as well as any modification date or "last accessed" date) to any date that I want. Well worth the $9.95 price!

I have had a lot of situations where I wanted to add the word "edit" to a file name so that I could merge my edited files and my original files in the same folder. I started off using the "process multiple files" feature in Photoshop Elements 6 to change these names en masse. For some reason that I could never figure out, however, Elements was leaving me with files that were significantly smaller in size than the ones I had started with. I couldn't discern any difference in physical size of the image or loss of resolution, but I just wasn't willing to take a chance that I was somehow losing quality.

I started tweaking the file names myself, one by one, but it was tedious in the extreme. Better File Rename was just the tool for handling an entire folder full of files all at once. I was happy to pay $19.95 to save myself literally hours of typing "edit" over and over and over again.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Blog365: Day 5

We've spent this rainy Saturday getting stuff done around the house. Fred worked on the desk he is painting for Annabelle's room, and I worked on my ongoing quest for Total Photo Organization. We also took down all the Christmas stuff. I am always so glad to get that mess packed away for another year!

The other day we finally got around to framing the painting I gave Fred for our anniversary last summer:

That's our house, and if you look in the top left-hand window, that's our cat Eddie. My friend Marianthe Snyder painted it for me. She's the artist who painted the amazing Derby-themed horse for last year's Run for the Gold.

Mike's week of fun in Arizona is at an end. He's currently sitting in the Tucson airport, where his flight has been delayed for an hour. Southwest swears that he will have time to make his connection in Vegas, so we shall see. He's not due to arrive in Louisville until almost 1 a.m. as it is, so I hope he's not too much later than that.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I finally finished the pair of socks I have been working on since forever. Kind of ironic, as they are a chunkier sock yarn than I typically work with and thus should knit up FASTER. Oh, well, I'm pleased with how they turned out:

I started another pair of socks a little while ago, but I'm just not in a very "socky" mood, which is why it took me so long to finish the last pair. It's nice yarn, but my heart just isn't in it:

What I'm really in the mood to knit is a sweater. I want to do another Lopi sweater kind of like the one I made when we were moving to Germany. I want to knit in the round and have lots of fancy colors, but I want to work with something finer and less scratchy than Lopi. This means that I need to get out there and see what's available and do a whole lot of math to decide what size pattern to make and what size needles to use and how many skeins of yarn to buy, and I just don't have the energy.

So it's more socks for now. After this pair, I'll only have enough yarn left from our last trip to Germany for one more pair, so I'll have to figure something out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cuppa tea?

My friend Amy asked me for the recipe for Russian tea, so I thought I would also share it here. I got this recipe from Fred's mom years ago, and I love it. I use decaf tea though so I can drink it at night, which is when I think it tastes best!

Russian Tea

Boil 8 cups of water and 2 family-size or 6 regular tea bags for 10 minutes. Boil 5 cups of water, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, and 20 cloves for 10 minutes. Combine into larger pot and add 12 ounces frozen orange juice, 2 and 1/2 cups pineapple juice, and 4 tablespoons lemon juice. Makes 1 gallon--keeps 6 weeks.

Go on, try some. You know you want it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Blog365: Day 2

I had another chance to practice with my new camera at today's swim meet. I took some video of Annabelle's 50-yard freestyle:

(Hey, speaking of Annabelle, guess who else is participating in Blog365? Go over there right now and show Annabelle the love!)

I didn't get another chance to take pictures of her, so I practiced on other people's kids instead. Nothing to write home about. Out of 63 photos, I got 2 that were semi-decent or at least interesting. Here is "semi-decent," a somewhat blurry shot of some kid from Trinity (click to see it bigger):

And here is "interesting," one of our guys (again, clicking makes the photo grow):

Damn, I really wish that one had been centered, thus elevating it to semi-decent status!

Of course, they both get even more interesting if I solarize them. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Some people don't like New Year's resolutions, but I love them. I've got all the usual resolutions covered this year--lose a few pounds, hit the gym, be more organized, etc. I think my REAL resolution, however, is to be a lot more careful about what responsibilities I take on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really lucky. There's nothing in my life that I don't want to do, or at least that I didn't want to do when I signed up to do it. It's just that I have a problem saying no, and there is so much out there to be done. It recently dawned on me, however, that there will never be a point where people will say, "Oh, heavens, no, let's not ask Bonnie to do that! She has enough on her plate already." So I am going to have to be a lot more hard-nosed about saying no.

I'm not dropping anything for the rest of this school year. I'll still be on the school board, and I'll still be the sophomore class parent. I'll still be the band boosters treasurer and the adviser for the welfare committee of my community club. I'm going to do the Run for the Gold one more time (Fred is out in the garage cutting out wooden horses as I type this). And I'm going to stay in school and keep on freelancing, so it's not like I'm going to be sitting around eating chocolate all day. I'll still be a contributing member of society, but I want more time to do for my family and for myself, so I'm done adding outside obligations, at least for a while.

One thing I want to do for myself and for my family is to take better care of my blog. I love it that sometimes I'll catch one of the kids going through the archives and remembering the good times. To that end, I have signed up to participate in Blog 365--blogging every day for 2008 (with a day off for February 29). Hey, it's just a lap around the sun, right?