Thursday, December 28, 2006


My friend Mike had to put his dog Cuica to sleep today. I met Cuica in 1998, and she was usually such a good dog, but she would get bad when she was around me. She liked to jump on me and lick me. I'm so sad to hear about Cuica.

Cuica had to train Mike's puppy Daisy (born in March 2006, I believe) on proper doggy etiquette. They didn't always get along, but Cuica is such a good dog, so she eventually enjoyed having a playmate and young puppy to mold.

It's Really Happening

It seems that my sister will be getting married tomorrow at 5 p.m. I hadn't said anything about this before because I wasn't sure if it would actually happen. She and Christian were able to get the marriage license on Tuesday. It will be very small, in the minister's parsonage. The big(ger) ceremony will be next December 29. Most of you will not be invited.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Christmas Day

We had a nice, quiet Christmas at home. We slept late--we went to the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service at church, which didn't get out until 12:20 a.m. Then, we had to count the offering, which took awhile because of various clerical errors.

We ate our meal around 12:15 p.m. and opened presents afterwards. We didn't have a lot of presents this year. Jessie got a lot of free or nearly-free stuff that I've collected over the year, including stuff from conferences (the Grace Hopper Celebration had a lot of loot, like a Google and a Microsoft t-shirt) and underwear from Victoria's Secret that I had free coupons for. I even reused Victoria's Secret bags and tissue paper to wrap the presents. Frank asked if I would spend money on Christmas next year, after I have a job. It depends on how many conferences I go to and how much free stuff I get.

Mom gave me some socks that I had bought earlier this month. When I unwrapped them, Mom asked if I liked them. I acted disappointed. "Well, I wouldn't have picked these out for myself, but they're okay." I said the same thing about the Hallmark ornament I got--"Tuxedo & Snowball". I've collected all of the ornaments in that series featuring a penguin and a polar bear.

Christian had his first taste of turkey, which he said tasted like goose. That didn't go over well with Mom because she hates goose. She dropped her fork. Jessie tried to explain to him that wasn't a compliment. He said, "German goose!"

Christian says that Sydney walks like a German soldier--kicking her front feet out. When I relayed the message to Dad, Dad said, "Do German soldiers prance?"

Sydney looked around for laps to sit on. She tried out my lap, but I am wearing zippy pants, which she doesn't like, so she left quickly. She tried out Christian's lap for awhile (and she looked pissed about it the whole time), but he moved too much, so she left. She came back to my lap eventually, but she still doesn't like the pants, so she didn't stick around.

Everyone took too-long naps after we opened presents. When we woke up, it was time for supper and dessert, which we didn't have after dinner. And, then, there was more discussion and laughter and good times had by all.

My Favorite Joke of Christmas Eve

Jessie talked about how much Christmas music (in the form of cds) Dad has in his car. Dad makes lots of mixes. She said, "He had this many cds. And that's just what I saw in the back seat--I didn't see the front seat." I said, "That's what she said." Then, Jessie and I high-fived.

Merry Christmas!

Hope you have a Merry Christmas, if that's your thing! Otherwise, I hope you have a very nice Monday!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Making everyone feel at home

It's a full house at the Sprenkles in Dallastown, PA.

Jessie and her fiance Christian are home (our home, not his) for the holidays, until January 5. I'll probably return to Newark before then.

I called everyone to supper last night by saying, "Das weinerschnitzel est ready!" Jessie snarled, "Is it going to be like this all week?" I didn't think I was being insulting. I was trying to make him feel more welcome.

Mom is excited about the ice bucket she got as a white elephant gift. She's looking forward to keeping the fuzzy navels cold on New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Legend of "Silent Night"

Dad's most recent children's sermon:

(as the kids are coming up) Did I ever tell you that I used to have a Christmas dog? Do you know what a Christmas dog is? He was part pointer and part setter - a pointsetter. Now we'll have to see if I'm too embarrassed to go on.

We have some musical instruments in church today that aren't ordinarily in church. What are they? (guitars, banjo, mandolin) This reminds me of a Christmas legend. Do you know what a legend is? It's a story that's based on truth that may have been changed as it is told and re-told.

In 1818, Joseph Mohr was the assistant minister at a church in Austria. He decided that he wanted to write a new Christmas song. This may have been because the church organ was not working, but we don't know that for sure. So he called his friend Franz Gruber who was the choir director and played guitar. "Hey, Franz." (Mike as Franz) "Hey, Joe." Let me put this (imaginary) phone down because they didn't have phones at that time. (Mike said, "They just had to talk loud.") "Hey, Franz, I would like to write a new Christmas song. This would be different from most of the Christmas songs we sing in church because it would be played on guitar, and it would have German words. Do you want to help?" (Franz answers) "Sure."

So Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber wrote a song they called "Stille Nacht". They wrote a guitar part and they wrote German words. They wanted to write banjo, mandolin, and bass guitar parts, but they didn't have enough to do everything they wanted before Christmas - it's a Christmas tradition. On Christmas Eve, 1818, at the midnight mass in (get this) St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria, they sang "Stille Nacht" to the music of one guitar.

The song slowly spread and became popular - first thru Germany, and then thru Europe, and then all over the world. It was translated into many languages. The English version of the song is "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer". No, it's "Silent Night". And let's sing it like they did in 1818, played on one guitar. (And we sang one verse.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gossip Travels Fast

Today, I had my first on-campus interview. I had another traveling misadventure, but this one wasn't my fault. I don't want to talk about that right now. It was a very good interview. (Well, I don't know what they thought, but I was impressed and could picture myself there.)

Since this was my first interview, I had to get used to the new suit (I went with the blue one--the colors of the suits below were actually brown and navy) and new shoes. My pants are a little long and my shoes are a little big, so my pants kept getting caught in my shoes. I thought I was being subtle as I adjusted.

A later interviewer asked, "Is your foot okay?" Me, what? "I thought I heard that you were limping."

I am soooo smooth. And, wow, news travels fast on a small campus.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jonathan Coulton

I'm on a Jonathan Coulton kick. I may have to purchase some music.

This one goes out to my sister and others blessed with a healthy butt. Technically, I don't think this is a cover, but I'll have to ask Dad.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Are they teaching this in school?

This song makes it easy to remember the presidents.

To my international readers, I mean in the American schools.

Code Monkey

Finally! A song about being a code monkey!

Another person did a dance to the song.

Thanks to Mike for the pointer!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Poll: Which Suit?

I bought two suits, and I'm trying to decide which one to wear. Please excuse the goofy looks on my face. You usually do.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Merry Christmas, You!

Courtesy of Mom, here's a little Santa fun.

Everybody's A Critic

Last night, I sang only with "O Holy Night" on last night's Studio 60. I sang along horribly, off-key and high-pitched. Syd turned and yelled at me. Then, she came over to see if I had swallowed a bird or something. She kept trying to sniff around my mouth to figure out what was going on. She cracked me up, so I could barely keep singing.

Tonight, I played a little of "O Holy Night". It seems like Sydney doesn't like the song in general. But, she didn't come running over to investigate until I started to sing along again, and she again tried to look into my mouth for the source of the horrible sound.

An Update on Dad

They had to do a biopsy (or something) on Dad's thyroid to look for cancer.

"My thyroid was fine. They'll even put it back if I want them to."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Code word: Savory

A few weeks ago, Frank's sister-in-law made pumpkin fudge. Frank described it as "savory". I asked what that meant. He said that it's sort of spicy (you know, pumpkin spicy), so you can't eat a lot of it. It's not like chocolate fudge.

I decided "savory" was Frank's code word for "yucky". It's kind of like that Seinfeld episode where they refer to the ugly baby as "breathtaking", and no one recognizes that adjective as insulting. He can say that the food is savory and excuse himself from eating any more.

The rest of Frank's family didn't really touch the fudge that he brought home to them. I tried to advertise the fudge: "It's savory!" When I did that one too many times, Frank warned me that I was getting savory.

Wise Bets

Andy won $1,000,000 on a bet with his sister that the Steelers would make it to the Super Bowl last year. He doubts he'll ever see that money.

This year, Andy made a bet of $250,000 that the Steelers will repeat in the Super Bowl. You'd think that wasn't a wise bet, considering the Steelers' season. But, as Andy explains, "When you have $1,000,000 to blow..."

My James Bond

Frank and I saw Casino Royale over the weekend. There was a scene where James Bond reminded me of Frank. (Or Frank reminded me of James Bond?)

Warning: Spoilers

Bond lay dying because he didn't have the defibrilator set up correctly to shock his heart after being poisoned. The chick arrives after Bond passes out and is able to shock him. Bond wakes up and asks, "Are you okay?"

That's totally Frank. A couple times, I've been working, and he falls asleep next to me. He starts to snore, and he wakes himself up and asks me, "Is everything all right?" or "Are you okay?"

That's my James Bond.

My Rough Day

You know you've had a rough day when you can't decide what the dumbest thing you did today was--and one of those things was scalding your hand.

Honorable mention for dumbest thing: put a student's grade sheet on the lid to my salad, which had salad dressing on it. That was easy to correct.

This morning, I heated up my some water in the microwave. The cup I use is pretty tall, so it's kind of close putting it into the microwave. It's even tougher getting out. I ended up spilling a lot of water on my hand and my hand has a pink tint to it now--especially between my fingers. I put cold water on my hand immediately, and I keep putting cold compresses on it.

Tonight, on the way home, I was waiting to turn left. The traffic light on the road that I wanted to turn onto changed. Someone stopped short, and the car behind them squealed and blew their horn. After my light turned green, I started to make my left turn and looked over at the near accident. I'm not very familiar with that intersection, and I started to turn before the median and into oncoming traffic (which was still far away). Luckily, no one was behind me, so I was able to turn around and go around the other side of the median.