Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I couldn't make this up...

Sometime during the last month, postage went up while I wasn't paying attention. I do have some 2¢ stamps left from the last time it went up, but I hate giving the USPS more than I have to. Cheap, no...OC, yes! So I ordered some stamps online...the $1 they charge for delivery is so worth it! It saves my sanity from having to deal with the local post office. I got some 1¢ stamps and also some of the new 42¢ Minnesota sesquicentennial ones. When they arrived they were in this envelope...

And this is how I found them in the mail slot in our front door...

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More orange clogs

I guess there are a lot of Mario Batali fans out there. I have seen his show on the Food Channel a few times (we don't have cable, but I have watched it at my mom's) and I have seen him on Martha as well. We have a couple of his cookbooks that Mike cooks out of fairly often. I only happened to find out that he was going to be here in Houston by chance while shopping at Central Market. I went to the book signing to pick up a few birthday/Father' s Day/housewarming gifts.
Well, while I was standing in line, I was amused by the number of Mario wannabees waiting with me.

Joe Bastianich was there too, promoting his wines and his book Vino Italino: The Regional Wines of Italy. We have eaten at one of his mother's restaurants, Lidia's Pittsburgh, and really enjoyed it. I think most of the people were there to see Mario, but Joe was much more hospitable and even stood up for me to have my picture taken with him

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Orchid and orange

Someone gave me this orchid as a dinner party gift three years ago. They said, "Just throw it away after it is done blooming." Even the grower's tag on it said essentially the same thing, but hey, they just want you to spend another $25. And why would I throw away a living plant just because it didn't have any flowers on it. I know just a tiny bit about orchids. What I did with this one is to put it in the back guest bathroom with no heat for the winter, then put it on the screen porch once the weather warmed up in March and gave it some water. This is what it looked like on April 12.And this was taken May 3. This is the third year in a row that it has bloomed for me (not counting the blooms it had when I got it). It still looks like this. It must be loving the tropical weather we are having...80º and 80% humidity this morning.
And since everyone was so impressed with the picture of me with Will Shortz, here is a more recent on with another famous celebrity. He was doing a book signing at Central Market. Doesn't he look thrilled?
And that was before I took the picture of his equally famous shoes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

My son, who is working on his PhD in electrical engineering, sent me the link to this video. It is HILARIOUS!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What I did today...

I may have mentioned that I am a nerd. I do the New York Times crossword puzzle EVERY Sunday. I have Will Shortz's autograph. I got it when I met him in New York in the fall of 2000. We were there for the ACR meeting and I just happened to hear on Weekend Edition Sunday (while I was listening to the puzzle) that he was going to be at a book event just a few blocks from our hotel. So of course I had to go. I had him sign that week's NYT puzzle and got my picture taken with him. After a decade of submitting entries, I finally got to play Puzzle on the air with him and Liane Hansen on 11/02/03. You can listen to it here.

With that accomplishment under my belt, I have been compelled to move on to greater things. I have taken the Jeopardy online test twice, and apparently I passed it the second time. I was invited to an "in-person" audition in Dallas, which I went to today. This is the official synopsis:

How does one become a contestant on JEOPARDY!?

The four basic steps to qualify as a contestant are:

  1. Qualify for an "in-person" audition by either passing the Online Test or attending a Brain Bus event and passing the pre-test.
  2. If you pass the online test and are invited to an "in-person" audition, you will then take another 50 question written test. Your application will be judged based on your “in-person” test score as well as your online test score.
  3. Everyone at the audition will play a short version of JEOPARDY! - Three at a time, just like on the actual show, complete with buzzers!
  4. Participate in a brief personality interview.

The in-person audition test presents 50 clues from 50 different categories in the familiar JEOPARDY! format. Each clue is read aloud and simultaneously projected as text on a screen. The material covers a wide range of categories and response time is limited. Once the test is over, the contestant coordinators will lead the group through a brief game-playing tutorial, after which everyone will take turns playing a mock version of the game. At the end of the mock game, each applicant will be asked to tell a little bit about themselves; likes, dislikes, career, family, hobbies, etc. The whole process takes approximately two hours. Please arrive early. Because of the strict format of the testing process, latecomers simply cannot be admitted. No exceptions! Only the test-takers will be permitted to enter the test site, guests are not allowed. Dress as you would to appear on the show.

There is no fee to take any of the tests, but please know that any costs you incur in connection with the test and audition (including but not limited to accommodations, meals, transportation, parking) must be at your own expense. We can assume no responsibility in that regard.

How will I know if I’ve been selected to compete on JEOPARDY!?

If you pass the test and play well in the mock game, you are put in the active file for 18 months from your test date. Being put in the active pool does not guarantee that you will be invited to appear on the show. If you are selected to compete on the show you will be contacted by our contestant coordinators with full details and booking instructions.

I will let you all know if I get the call to come to LA :-) Right now I am going to watch the last 2 episodes, which I have taped (I told you I was a nerd).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Someone likes them...

Even though we decided the dwarf calamondin oranges were too small and tart to eat, apparently that doesn't bother Mr. Squirrel here. Just as long as he stays away from my tomatoes...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm back...just in time for summer!

Current conditions as of 6 pm CDT

Partly Cloudy 93º

Feels Like: 100°
Barometer: 29.72 in and falling
Humidity: 47%
Visibility: 10 mi
Dewpoint: 70°
Wind: SSW 15 mph
Sunrise: 6:26 am
Sunset: 8:11 pm

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A tribute to my father, from my daughter

My daughter Kate and her husband Kyle (remember the wedding last October?) have just bought a 108 year old house in NE Minneapolis. Before my dad got sick, I had planned a trip up to give them a hand (and some sage advice from someone who has owned a few OLD houses). We have been pulling up carpeting, tack strips, nails and staples in preparation for floor refinishing and have now moved on to painting. Kate is a manager for Trader Joe's and works 50 hours a week, in addition to having a small wedding photography business on the side. Photography is really her passion. When we were in Mansfield for the memorial service, she took some photos of his workshop and has been posting them on her photo blog. It is such a fitting tribute to him...he loved building and fixing things and spent many happy hours working there.