Monday, November 19, 2007

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Hubby has been studying for his Professional Engineer's License. Although he's been an engineer for forever, he's consulting now, which means different rules for some of the things he wants to take on. He took his first test a few weeks ago and will take the next one in six months.

Most of what he studies is review, but he ran into a few things that he didn't encounter in college. One was statically determinate trusses, which involves the method of joints and the method of sections. He wanted some hands-on, so he found a book entitled "Designing and Building File-Folder Bridges." And that means building a bridge from the stuff of which file folders are made.

That's the plan and the pieces of manila envelope cut out to fit. The whole thing turned out to look like this.

It weighed two ounces. He then proceeded to place it between two chairs and put eleven pounds of books on it.

Here he is putting the smallest of the books on the top of the bridge. It held up. I'm impressed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Someone's In The Kitchen

Every fall I start wanting to cook. A lot. Even when it's not so cold outside yet, I get the itch to make stuff. Maybe it's a need I have to hunker down for the long, cold winter. I want to make stuff that looks like this.

I get sick of all my standard recipes and start going through my cookbooks, old Taste of Home and Hometown Cooking magazines and trying new dishes. I peruse the food network website and watch Paula Deen.

The year my daughter was born, we had a garden that produced copious amounts of tomatoes and zucchinis. We couldn't give them away because all the neighbors had gardens of their own. So it happened that when I was eight and a half months pregnant, huge and it was August in El Paso, I spent a weekend making things with zucchinis and freezing them, and canning tomatoes. I think I have never been that hot in my life.

My favorite thing to make in the fall is jam and jelly. I love the berries, I love the jars, the whole process of making the stuff myself. I know, doesn't take much to amuse some people, huh? My favorite part of the jam is putting the lids on and then waiting to hear when the middles start popping in. If you don't make jelly, you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about. My daughter thinks I'm a little dotty because I like to hear the lids pop. But one day I was watching Paula Deen make jelly. When the lids started popping, she said, "Isn't that just the sweetest sound?" AHA! I'm not the only kook.

But I have to say, when I hand my daughter a piece of warm home made bread slathered with my jam, nobody's laughin' at Mama.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Orange Power

Our daughter is a freshman at Oklahoma State University. Two weeks ago, for the football homecoming game, her ASL class was going to sign the National Anthem before the game. We thought that was pretty cool, so we got tickets. We drove down, ate supper, and went to the new Boone Pickens Stadium.

This is a very impressive structure. It can also be intimidating, particularly when you go in on the opposite side from where your seats are and you can't figure out how to get to them. And so it happened that during the National Anthem and the signing, we were in the bowels of the stadium looking quite lost. We never even heard "O say can you see" being played. We eventually made our way to our seats where our daughter was waiting for us.

Now we are not big football fans, so we figured we would probably stay until half-time and then head home. It didn't take long, however, for us to get caught up in the game because a) it was close all the way, and b) these Big 12 Conference people take their football VERY seriously. Hence, it was easy to get caught up in the excitement.

I'm here to tell you - this crowd can make a lot of noise.

Whenever OSU makes a touchdown, the band plays the school song and this guy comes riding out on Bullet.

So, we ended up staying for the whole game, which we won by two points in the last six seconds. It was way cool.

A couple of days ago was another home game and the ASL class was signing again. So we trucked on down for the game, making sure we got there in plenty of time for the National Anthem, AND that we went in on the proper side of the stadium. We were right there with our cameras when they brought out the flag. Then, the announcer started talking about this eagle. The bird came soaring out, crossing the stadium several times during the song. It was really awesome.

But, of course, not as awesome as getting to see this.

We stayed for the whole game again, because it was just as close and exciting as the last one. We lost by one point in the last two seconds. Whatever.