See, this is what happens when two nerds get married and have little boys.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

The labels of packing boxes. Not a fan. Box-labels are not high literature, Surrender is Not an Option, however, was great. I would vote for John Bolten for president, should he ever run, if for no other reason than his evident delight in ticking off bureaucrats.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


This is one of my favorite things on the internet: Women fighters in reasonable armor. (Yes, I'm a nerd, but we've already established that, haven't we?)
You see, I like sci-fi. And fantasy. And video games. And I'm used to seeing women wearing "armor" that's not only not protecting any vital organs, but leaving them out there for the whole world to see. These pictures are not those pictures. And they rock. AND there's a whole BUNCH of Eowyns, my favorite lady in literature. Good nerdy stuff:)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What Denise is Reading this Month

Real estate papers. And bank statements. And inspection reports. And Surrender is Not an Option, just for some motivation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Denise is Reading this Week

The news. Who isn't? But when I can't stand it any more, I switch over to The Blight Way, by Patrick McManus, who's been one of my favorites since I was 7 or 8. James and I are also reading Chalice, by Robin McKinley.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What Denise is reading this week

Spindle's End, by Robin McKinley. McKinley is one of my favorites for sheer get-lost-in-it stories. I read her when I want to get away from things for a bit. Spindle is one of my favorites. It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and completely engrossing.
I think you can probably tell a lot about my mood by what I choose to read any given week. I think the more relaxed I am the more I go in for classics or non-fiction. When I start burying my nose in the (digital) pages of fantasy land, I tend to be more stressed.

Monday, August 01, 2011


We're looking at buying a house. I need something like an abacus to weigh all the pros and cons. Land to run, space inside, good vs. average schools, old vs. new... argh.

Gabrielle Giffords

is back voting in the House today. Good for you, Ms. Giffords!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Denise WAS reading this week

FinishedPride and Prejudice. I also readTreasure Island last week. Mom and Dad bought TI for me when I was ten, and I read that book to literal pieces. I might still have a couple bits laying around. Yay for Kindle freebies!

Monday, July 25, 2011

What Denise is Reading this Week

After the grimmest opener I've ever read (including Poe), I decided against the Riverworld series (although thanks anyway, Alex!). Maybe it would have been better not to start with To Your Scattered Bodies Go. I am reading another Kindle freebie-- Pride and Prejudice. I can already hear the gasps of indignation from sundry girl friends who can't believe I've never read it before:). But so far I like it quite a bit. To be perfectly honest, I put it down with every intention of deleting it after that first conversation with Elizabeth's mother (who is insufferable). But I persevered, and perseverance is rewarded!

Friday, July 22, 2011

What should Denise read this week?

I don't have any bright ideas for what to read this week, folks. So I'm taking suggestions in the comments. Please!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As requested...

The table in all its done glory:)

Sorry about the weird angle. It's so shiny I was having a hard time finding a place without glare:)

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Our table is nearly done! It just needs a gloss coat over the top... which is no trivial thing, and will have to wait for the next hot week, as it needs to cure in 70+ degrees for a few days. Things learned: we make cool things, hardwood tongue and groove is cool to work with, and measuring twice is NOT SUFFICIENT.

What Denise read and is reading this week...

I read Reckless Endangerment, by Gretchen Morgenstern and Joshua Rosner. Good book, if you like watching train wrecks. Reckless is about the 2008 crash. It explains how it happened, who was involved, and the trail of terrible decisions that led to the whole mess. And I don't even want to think about it. If you want to know what in the world happened, and don't mind being sickened by what you learned, by all means pick it up. It's a dang good piece of journalism in book form.
After that, I felt in need of something lighter, so I'm reading Thirteenth Child, by Patricia Wrede. She's been one of my favorites since I was 14. There's nothing heavy or earth-shaking or particularly enlightening, just some fun escapism. Which is nice after slow-mo train wrecks:).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Denise WILL be reading this week

Reckless Endangerment, by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. I would be reading it now, except the screen on my Kindle broke. A new one will be here tomorrow (FREE! Thanks Amazon!), at which time furious reading will commence. Alexander Hamilton was very good. I love how reading about the Founding 235 years ago makes me understand what's going on today more thoroughly. Sometimes it's comforting, sometimes it's profoundly disquieting, but in any case I like understanding. Anyway, Hamilton didn't deserve the bad reputation that he has. He was brilliant, occasionally nearly prophetic. He was also brash, heedless,and often incapable of self-control. In several very real ways, he saved the country. People call George Washington the father of the country. Chernow calls Hamilton the father of the government. The first 4 presidential administrations were far more fluid and uncertain than people tend to think. The whole American experiment almost came crashing down several times-- and many of those times, either Hamilton himself or one of his policies stepped in and saved it. Which is all the more remarkable considering he wasn't a huge fan of the Constitution to begin with. He just figured it was the best compromise that was likely to come out of Philadelphia, and once it was put to the vote, he did everything he could to make it the law. Good for him. A good statesman (as opposed to a politician) should know a good compromise when he sees one. Hamilton also gave the U.S. its very first s*x scandal-- and spent the rest of his life making it up to his wife. She was blissfully happy with him. Would that more men who cheated followed his example. Anyway, kudos to Hamilton (and Chernow-- it's a VERY well written book). Voracious reading will recommence tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. Pretty darn good. The author seems to have a touch of hero worship, which is never ideal in a biographer, but considering Hamilton's reputation, perhaps having a biography like this a cosmic justice. Anyway, Hamilton was a fascinating person. Contradictory (yet principled), loyal (but instigator of the first great American s*x scandal), brilliant (but got himself killed in a duel, of all things). Alexander Hamilton is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and makes you see current politics in a completely different light-- as, really, all books on the Founders and early America should. If for no other reason than perspective.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Apparently it IS possible to forget just how beautiful Alaska is. It reminds you quickly, though. We went up for a week, during which time I got absolutely covered in mosquito bites, slightly tanned (yes, I'm telling the truth), and thoroughly relaxed. We saw some old friends, and it was wonderful to see James' family-- we had a lot of fun, even though I think Ralph underestimated the amount of chaos two hyper little boys could cause:).

Alaska is QUIET. And it has a way of reminding you what's important and what's not. Life readjustment is now commencing:)

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Denise read LAST week

We were in Alaska last week, which meant plenty of fun time, family, mosquitoes, and Kindle time, but no internet. So here's what I read/ am reading.

Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card. This is the sequel to Ender's Game, which I have never read (too much CIP-- Children In Peril-- to make comfortable reading for yours truly), but which James assures me is fantastic. Speaker for the Dead is quite readable on its own, but then, James had already told me what happened in Ender's Game. Either reading EG or giving its Wikipedia page a read is recommended. Speaker is a murder mystery/sci-fi/xenoanthropology study all in one-- and it's very very good. A+!

Xenocide is the next book in the series. It's also good, but I'm not very far into it yet.

I'm also working on What Would the Founders Do, by Richard Brookhiser. He writes for National Review, one of my long-time favorites, so I had high hopes for this one. The fact that I'm still trying to get through it should tell you guys something. I was hoping for a fair bit of Constitutional analysis combined with Founder-lore... but this is not it. There were what, 70-odd founders? The book's title is a faulty premise-- about the ONLY thing that the Founders agreed on were the two documents they signed-- the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Everything else is up for grabs, and good heavens, they grabbed. To my mind, the only way to answer any question like "what would they do?" is to go back to the Declaration and Constitution and what they said about, and work from there. But Brookhiser (who had listed something like 30 questions so far) simply takes anecdotes from a Founder or two's lives which purportedly answer the question (sometimes this works, sometimes not). That answers what a given Founder would have done (maybe), but it can hardly be said to answer what the group as a whole would have done. Some of the stories are neat, and I'm glad to have read them, buuuut... WWFD earns a solid C.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

More Sherlock Holmes! His Last Bow, to be precise. I'd seen that earlier and mistaken it for the story in which Sherlock "dies",so I didn't bother to get it as I'd already read it not long ago. Serves me right-- there's some neat stories in there. Incidentally, Arthur Conan Doyle grew to hate writing Sherlock Holmes stories-- hence him killing Sherlock by having Moriarty dump him over the edge of Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock was so popular that Doyle was forced to bring him back in not just one, but four volumes. Two were collections of short stories, and I believe the last two novels were written post-Reichenbach as well, including my favorite Sherlock story of all, The Hound of the Baskervilles. There's no beating The Hound for sheer creepiness in the Holmes canon.

I also read Do the Work-- an interesting (and, be warned, occasionally profane) treatise on just getting something done. I quite enjoyed the read-- and if I had a smidgen of artistic talent, I'd draw/paint/pastel the opening image and hang it on my fridge for motivation. Maybe I'll commission Amanda...

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

And a follow-up! I'm currently reading Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne. I'm not far enough in it to offer any opinion other than I like the character names.
Follow-up: With Malice Toward None is great. As was Lincoln. The poor man was out of his depth-- but he pulled himself together, pulled it off, and saved a nation. Bravo, Mr. President.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen B. Oates. It's very good. And instructional. If there's one thing that everyone who knew Abraham Lincoln agreed on, it's that his integrity was unimpeachable. Ah, for a politician that couldn't be bought! It's interesting to see, though, that Lincoln really was a politician. He was, at times, a partisan hack. Just an honest partisan hack. That makes all the difference. Also, for all the weirdness you hear about Abraham Lincoln's marriage, they evidently loved each other very much (so far anyway. I'm only to 1860). And Lincoln was a slob. He kept documents for his law practice in drawers, on tables, in boxes, in his stovepipe hat (apparently all kinds of stuff got stashed up there-- his partner said it was "[Lincoln's] desk and memorandum book), and in a little packet on his desk marked "when you can't find it anywhere else look into this". Neither he nor his partner Herndon ever bothered sweeping, and Lincoln liked to eat fruit like oranges and cherries for lunch and then spit the seeds on the floor. One law student who had been in their office said that the floor was so literally dirty that some of the seeds actually sprouted.
Politics right before the Civil War were explosive. Congressmen were duking it out on the House floor in Congress, showing up drunk for votes, and threatening the opposite sides with predictions of the end of American civilization if what they wanted to happen concerning slavery failed to come to pass. Probably not too different from now, other than I don't recall a recent fist fight.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What Denise is reading this week...

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Again! Oh how I love free Kindle books:) Anybody have a suggestion for some good nonfiction? Preferably where the good guy doesn't die at the end (Amanda:) ).

Friday, March 04, 2011

New weekly feature: What Denise is reading

This week, it's Etiquette, by Emily Post. It's quite interesting. Some of the rules are arcane, some make sense, and some are just cool. And, as a linguistic bonus, you find out how the English word "etiquette" comes from a Scot gardener trying to keep some French courtiers off his grass. Good stuff.

Monday, February 28, 2011

To all our splendiferous commenters

I didn't realize that comment moderation was turned on:). All your comments are now posted-- and we really appreciate them. We'll respond in the original postings. And, apropos of nothing, we discovered tonight that the BEST canned tomatoes for pasta are sold at the Cash & Carry in Everett. Not too sweet, not too acidic-- makes for perfect sausage spaghetti.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Boys and Girls

Will is friends with some 5 year old twin girls who live nearby. They came to play today. When they found Will's nerf guns, they wanted to play with them-- but couldn't figure out how to hold the guns! Ah, testosterone:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fancy-Schmancy cake

I made this for Will's friend Ashley's birthday. Ignore the awful mess in my kitchen that you can see behind it. No one ever said cake-making was a pretty business!

The top is blank so they could put candles up there. What do you think?

Random kid pics

Without further ado:

Ethan's a happy little dude when he's not rampaging.

If you're wondering what Will is so busy making,it's one of these.

Making a new table

Phase 1
Thanks to Victor Barranco for the turn-a-hardwood-floor-into-a-table idea. We bought 42 square feet of Brazilian Koa (also called tigerwood) flooring that is about to become our dining room table. Our old one is cracked an falling apart. Sometime soon, when you come to our house for gastronomic experimentation, you won't have to worry about the table falling out from under your plate.
In case anyone is wondering what the square hole is, that's from when we were still contemplating inlaying tiles for place-settings.

Zombie blog

is back from the dead, with a new name and new drive. Expect to see a lot of pictures of projects that James, Will, Ethan, and I have going on, along with links to stuff we're looking at, doing, thinking about, along with the occasional run-of-the-mill post. And with that, let blogging commence!