7 Scriptures from My Mirror

Years ago, I discovered that there’s just enough space between the glass and the frame of my dresser-top mirror to hold a sheet of paper in the corner of the mirror.  I’ve placed many things there (a few at a time) for inspiration that I see every morning and evening: the Girl Scout Law , a special photograph, or quotes from various sources, most often the Bible.

The thing about the Bible is, in addition to its tremendous religious significance, it’s just some of the best writing ever done! It’s the classic of classics.  In fact, it was on the list of classics we could read for book reports in junior high; you could choose any book of the Bible for your book report.  (Funny how rarely anyone did that, given that some books of the Bible are even shorter than the oft-chosen The Old Man and the Sea!)  The Bible is filled with interesting stories and timeless themes that still relate to our lives today.  It’s also the source of thousands of common cultural references and idioms–hiding your light under a bushel, holding out an olive branch, etc.  There are many translations that convey its ideas so beautifully in English.  And it’s available free online!  What a great treasure!  The Bible is one of the highlights of visiting Earth, so even if you think you’re not interested in religion, give it a chance! Read more…

Great source of nutrition and food-safety information!

One of the weird things about being an Earthling these days (at least, in many regions of Earth) is that there are many, many choices of food available and many people talking about what they eat and why and how.  It’s very confusing!  Sometimes it seems as though every bite we take is a potential death trap and/or political statement.  There’s so much food information floating around, yet a lot of it is twisted up with some sort of agenda: “Tomatoes prevent prostate cancer!!” says the ketchup ad, but do tomatoes made into ketchup really provide any benefit in the amount you’d get from a normal serving of ketchup, or are they basing that claim on some study of rats who ate nothing but tomatoes?  It’s hard to tell!

That’s why I’m glad the Center for Science in the Public Interest exists.  This nonprofit organization collects and publicizes information on nutrition, food safety, and health through clear, helpful documents like this chart of food additives.  Some of it is available for free online, but they also publish a great little magazine called Nutrition Action Healthletter that’s like Consumer Reports for food and nutrition. Read more…

Zippered Mesh Bags for Laundering

Many years ago, when I was fresh out of college, I discovered a laundry accessory that changed my life.

Some random doo-dad catalog sold these nylon mesh bags with zippers which, it said, could be used to protect pantyhose and other delicate garments while allowing soapy water to get in, such that these “hand wash only” items could go through the washing machine. Read more…

When Robots Comment on Your Blog

Sigh.  First robots were writing news broadcasts and e-mailing them to me.  Then robots started writing blogs and trackbacking to mine.  Now robots are posting comments here.  For example, here’s one that just arrived, theoretically responding to my electric kettle article, from a robot named Woumesque:

While a overwhelming seroquel 150mg to bottom of theyd has inadequately observed established, advisory swings with ?-adrenergic puffing elevations have controlled reported to communicate priapism, and it is intentional that quetiapine may potassium this capacity. If i watch 25mg i’ll wear out and occasionally but it doesn’t walk me always so i have to exceed 50mg or inexorably better for it to last.

offshore allegra online

I have a mental image of Woumesque as a curvaceous robot who hangs out in bars, pushing drugs.  She’s very smart about chemistry but also evil, communicating priapism and intentionally potassium-ing the capacity of any manbots who hit on her.

Read the comments for more of what the robots want to tell the world….

My Toyota Prius works for me…but not driving works even better!

Update in 2014: We’ve now had our hybrid car for six years, and we still love it!  It saves us even more money now that gas prices have risen; I updated the money-saving calculation below.  There are now several models of Prius available; the one we have seems most similar to the “midsize”.  I still do my daily commute by public transit, now with a new baby!

In this new year, I’ve been evaluating some things from the past year: our grocery spending, my favorite songs, and now our car’s mileage and fuel consumption.  Sure, hybrid cars are advertised as saving a lot of gas, but are they really that great in real-world conditions? Read more…

Mama, you happy?

One reason I’m glad I did so much writing about my early motherhood experiences is that, just a few years later, I’ve forgotten some of the stages my child passed through, the stages that seemed to be lasting forever yet vanished very quickly. Here’s something I posted on a discussion board when he had just turned two years old, and until I read this again I’d forgotten all about it!

“Mama, you happy?” Nicholas asks this question about a million times a day. Sometimes he asks Daddy instead. It’s kind of bugging us! Read more…

Becca is featured on Maths Insider!

Last year, I posted a comment on Maths Insider, a site about strategies for teaching mathematics to children.  My comment has now been republished in a collection of 7 Savvy Ideas from Maths Insider Readers.  There are lots of other helpful ideas there–check it out!

Later, I wrote more about the strategies explained in my comment, as well as 4 other innovative and convenient approaches to arithmetic, in my Arithmetricks article.

7 Favorite Songs of 2010

I must be getting old.  None of the songs I liked best and played most in 2010 were new songs released in 2010!  Some of them are decades old.  But they’re all really good songs, and none of them ever was a big popular hit, so you might have missed them.  For the thrifty music lover who still uses old technology, songs that can be found on used CDs or even vinyl records are the best kind!  Read more…

I miss my Macintosh!

Today’s Works-for-Me Wednesday is a “what doesn’t work for me” edition, so here is a problem I’d like to solve already:

I have a really nice computer at home, but I almost never use it!

I’m typing this on the computer at work. Read more…

Grocery Spending for a Family of 3 in 2010

Toward the end of 2009, I read something about the increasing cost of food that said the average American family of 3 was now spending $400 a month on groceries.  That sounded high to me, but I immediately reminded myself that I’d stopped tracking expenses years ago (after taking my own advice for a decade, I became good enough at spending within my means that I decided not to spend the time on tracking anymore) so I didn’t really know how much we were spending on groceries.  We often stock up at sales, and we make 3 payments for our farm share every year, so our monthly grocery spending can be much higher than the cost of food we ate that month.  Maybe the total was larger than I thought!
Read more…