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Uni or sea urchin.  I can't say it was bad, because it didn't have a very distinct flavor.  But it wasn't good either.  I liken the texture to being sort of a chewy balloon.  I tried it with my now SIL on a dinner out together.  
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I don't have a whole lot of happy memories from childhood.  One of the events that marked my childhood was constant moving around.  My family never could afford to own our own home, so we were often at the mercy of landlords who decided to sell their homes rather than dealing with renting.  During one of our summer moves, the crocheted angel tree-topper my mom had made when I was maybe 4 or 5 was taken out of the box of Christmas ornaments and it was discovered that it was broken.  It apparently had had a heavier box sat on top of it and the angel was crushed and not repairable.

I must have been 7 or so at the time.  My mom was really upset.  I remember my mom crying.  I went into my bedroom and pulled construction paper, scissors and glue from my desk.  I'm not much of an artist, but I did the best I could to recreate my mom's angel from construction paper.  I took care to closely match the color of the skirt to the colors my mom had used making the angel.  I even somehow managed to shape the arms to look like it was holding a song book.  I remember I wanted it to be singing because my mom was always singing around the house and to me as a kid.  

When it was dry, I went and found a box in our recycling bin that was not yet broken down.  I put the angel inside and then wrapped it in day old comics from our newspaper.  I remember coming out and putting it on my mom's lap as she was watching tv.  I told her I had made her an early Christmas present and wanted her to open it right away.  That Santa said it was ok.  

She laughed and carefully unwrapped my less than neat wrapping.  I remember the look on my mom's face when she got the box open and saw the construction paper angel I had made.  Her eyes filled with tears and she asked if I had made it for her.  I said yes, because I didn't like her being sad and that she needed to have her angel back.

She hugged me and thanked me and told me she loved me.  She then called my dad over to put the angel on the top of the tree.  That year, my angel replaced the one my mom had lost.  And she told anyone who came over about the how Kristen and Santa made her a new angel and how it was leaps and bounds ahead of the one she had made for herself.  

Now my mom is an angel in heaven.  I just hope she is still singing.  I love you, mom.  

 
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No.  I don't own a smartphone.

I also refuse to do any banking with Chase Bank.  Mainly because your collection department actually told my mom to choose between her diabetes medication and paying off debt that was legally assumed by my father upon their divorce.  Which, you would have known, had you actually ready the divorce decree that was sent to your department, three times.  

So, market research people, research customer service and then learn how to apply it in an effective manner.  Until such time, please resume dying in a fire.

No <3, Me.


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Well.  Considering that when you walk into my house you will find a various assortment of books everywhere, you should not really be surprised to find that in "my room" there are 3 shelves with various books and levels of filled-ness.  I have everything from classics to children's books and young adult to art books and fantasy.  I'm pretty much a book whore.
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Considering I work on New Year's Day, I will likely be asleep when the ball drops.  I'm exciting.
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The plan for today is to finish the work I need to at the office and get out of here by 12:30pm.  From home I will finish working.  I'm also going to be baking loads of cookies, and hopefully scones.  Ryan has requested lasagna for dinner tonight.  I am making special lasagna with sausage and turkey pepperoni and other good stuff.  Texas toast as a side.  We also have a bottle of sparking pear juice in the fridge that we will be sharing at the end of the evening.  Hopefully we'll watch an episode of Merlin we still need to see and perhaps begin the second season of Torchwood if Ryan hasn't already started it on his own.  He finished the 4th season of Doctor Who yesterday.  He like The Doctor better than Torchwood, but that's ok. 
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Asking someone with a degree in English this question is bad. Mainly because I have to go through the mass inventory of books I have read both for fun and for my degree and compare and contrast to come up with what I consider to be the "best."

That being said, I will start with the three worst I have ever read:
1) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I checked this book out from the library when I was 13. Yeah, I had that kind of a reading level. I read half of it. But it was painful. I've since read other works by Leo Tolstoy, so I know it's not his writing style that I dislike, it was the length and subject matter. It bored me to tears, which I understood was the point, but still. This book made me think, "Sheesh, no wonder Russians are typecast as alcoholics."

2) John Smith's Journals. Not actually a book, but rather a piece I read in my compilation from American Lit class. It was by far the worst thing I read that term. If you know the story of Pocahontas, try thinking again. The perspective Disney spins you is most clearly from this man's point of view. He clearly thinks that the natives of Pocahontas' tribe thought he was a god, but forgets that they do indeed, try killing him later. Last I checked, religions don't try to kill gods. It's usually self-defeating. I really disliked reading it because the man was full of himself. It made me wish that we had some sort of an encounter written down by Pocahontas just so I could hear someone actually say, "Yeah, this white guy is full of it."

3) I'm blocking the name and title of the last book, but it was a murder mystery that was a new release about four or five years ago. I couldn't read the book because of how many grammatical errors and wholes the story contained. Seriously, the manuscript must have landed on the Publisher's desk. Publisher looked at the first and last pages, and then sent it to press without edits. I was beyond angry when I sat down to read the book, because it was horribly unpolished and lacked imagination that some stories evolve into when you sit down and rework scenes and flesh it out beyond the first write. It was highly unprofessional and I can't imagine that the writer was happy that she presented herself like an imbecile. My mom read the book all the way through because she could overlook the poor grammer and plot drop offs that went no where.

Now for the Besties:

1) Jan Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. One of my favorite all time novels. It's a love story, but it works to get there. Jane is not easy to love but then again, neither is Mr. Rochester. And his wife is batty. The characters aren't perfect and it isn't mushy, but rather, messy and both characters agonize over their feelings. Which is a trait I like about Bronte's novels. I feel she actually works to convey the inner turmoil we struggle through when experiencing deep emotions. The ending is happy, but when I close the book, I got the feeling that Jane and Mr. Rochester will still have to work to make it so.

2) The Once and Future King by T.H. White. I love Arthurian legend. This book was used as "dessert" for my AP English class. I have since gotten myself a copy so I can read it over and over again. Funny part is, everyone loves Arthur and I really wish I knew more about Lady Gwen and Morganna. I've done research since them, but oh to have a time machine!

3) The Giver by Lois Lowry. One of the best stories of young adult fiction. It really makes you think about what the world were like if we stopped having choices and everything, including our families and our work was assigned to us. I've actually used this story to analyze plot creation for my Science Fiction class.
[Error: unknown template qotd]Nope!  Not unless he was going to give my body the ability to not get sick because I ate too much sugar, grease, etc. 

Now, if the magic genie would allow me to go one day without eating (much) protein and not feel sick, I would definitely have a comfort food Friday!

[Error: unknown template qotd]Hmmm, where I was actually paid?  Babysitting. Typical girly profession.  Only difference, my parents made me take a Babysitting Instructor course before I could start.  It's where I first learned CPR and First Aid. 
[Error: unknown template qotd]Wouldn't this be breaking an oath of confidentiality? 

In any case, I have never served on jury duty.  But now that I've said that, I'll probably get summoned on Monday.

[Error: unknown template qotd]I have moments I look back on and cringe and think "Why did I do that?,"  but when it's all said and done, I don't really regret any of my actions.  I may not have behaved correctly all the time, but I learned from each and every experience and mistake. 
[Error: unknown template qotd]This one's easy.  Cinderella.  If I had a color scanner and my childhood photos, I'd prove it.  I used to have Disney's and the Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella memorized.  And then I'd act them out.

[Error: unknown template qotd]Cell phone.  Out at my grandparents we have land-lines, but only so we can have internet because dial-up is the best they can get out there. 
[Error: unknown template qotd]That I get all the boxes unpacked and things put away where I want it so I can begin working on the yard.


In other news, tonight at dinner, Ryan asked me my thoughts on having a gun in the home.  I just looked at him.  Then I told him that guns do not bother me because I grew up around men that hunted and thus have been exposed to guns from a very early age.  I know how to hold a gun, even though I've never shot one, and I know how they are to be used. 

This was not the answer he was looking for.  Reverse pyschology for the lose. 

He's considering getting a gun because if someone breaks in, he doesn't think a sword would be enough to protect me.  I pointed out that if someone were to break in, they would more likely be freaked out by someone coming at them wielding a sword, than they would a gun.  Guns people know and understand.  Someone coming at you with a sharp object that's not as common, a little freaky. 

I told him he could get a gun if he really felt it was necessary.  But, if he did, we're both learning how to shoot it.  He doesn't like this.  He wants to be able to protect me and I understand.  But I also know that I should be able to protect myself if it came down to it.  Really, I think we're good with having the swords around and just installing an alarm system.  Plus, if we get a cat, I'll make sure it scratches intruders, lol.  :p

[Error: unknown template qotd]My grandfather.  For serving and being one of the reasons I have the freedoms I do today.  Thank you, Grandpa, for being so brave in the face of death and uncertainty.  I love and miss you.
[Error: unknown template qotd]I don't think I've ever really cooked for just me.  I always end up sharing my food with others.  However, I do have food cooking right now.  In the crockpot I have a seasoned turkey breast cooking in chicken broth.  That way it will be moist and I can use the broth to make soup in the next couple of nights. 

I'm serving the turkey with Ranch and Bacon Pasta salad that I am dressing up with sundried tomatoes and avocado.  This will be dinner for anyone who comes to help work on my home today.  Because I feed the people who are helping us.

[Error: unknown template qotd]Quite the opposite actually.  Many of the books that I have read as a child are actually better reading them as an adult, including books meant for young children.  I think this is because I have an adult viewpoint to see the book from.  Teaching the after school program last year meant I got to re-read a lot of the children's books I loved growing up.

I think the only one that wasn't really appropriate in terms of content was The Three Billy Goat's Gruff.  But that was only because the troll tells the billy goats that he's going to skin them or some such scary thing.  And really, I'm not the one that pointed out the questionable content, it was one of the boys in my group.  And I actually used that as a basis for discussion as to what the kids thought justified appropriate content and ideas.  Of course, I put it in kid-like terms to help them understand.  At the end, my kids came up with, pretty much on their own, that the reason the they thought the book was wrong to read was because the troll used violence to get what they wanted and that's not an effective method to get what you want. 

I explained to kids that books hold ideas.  Not all of them good.  Part of why you read is to learn from the ideas.  Just because an idea is something you wouldn't do yourself doesn't mean you can't learn from it.  Then I asked them what they had learned not to do from the troll and the billy goats.  Hands were waving and there was giddy excitement.  It's a really big high for me when I can help a kid(s) make connections about what they have read.

On the flip side of things, there are books that I read or tried to read as a child that I actually like better now as an adult.  For instance, the Harry Potter books.  I love the series now, but when I first started reading them at 17, I didn't like them.  Now I think they are great. 

I also used The Giver by Joan Lowery Nixon and Sid's Children by Garth Nix in a paper I wrote for my Sci-Fi class.  As it turns out, you can apply literary theory to young adult lit.  :p

This post was going to be longer and more in depth, but now we are discussing D&D stuffs.

[Error: unknown template qotd]Eeyore.  I'd probably want to kill Tigger.  Even though he'd probably figure a way to bounce himself out of the damn elevator, I'm not entirely sure he wouldn't kill us in the process.  Eeyore may be gloomy about being stuck, but he's gloomy about almost everything.  At least I could sit and give him a hug. 
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