Saturday, November 18, 2006

You paid what for that coffee maker?!?

I had initially wanted to bzz Storyville coffee on this blog. I have never bzzed before on this blog, and I will likely never do it again, but I really like the coffee (and I am a woman obsessed with coffee). However, the Storyville site is down, and has been for days. Trés obnoxious. So, instead of promoting Storyville, I will send all four of my loyal readers back to Sweet Maria’s. Sweet Maria’s provides freshly roasted coffee from people who know coffee. Plus they will teach you how to roast your own, if you are into that kind of thing.

Receiving the coffee from Storyville has reminded me of a few things I had forgotten since I left Seattle. Number one: Starbucks coffee is burned sawdust. Number two: As long as the beans are good, even a $17 dollar coffee maker makes great coffee.

Yes, I own the cheapest Mr. Coffee Wal-Mart had to offer. I dream of a Technivorm, but I have told my husband that if we ever have $200 to burn, I want another shotgun. Some days I entertain the thought of actually buying the Dutch monstrosity, but then I realize that if I actually fork over that kind of cash to purchase a machine which pulls 220v to boil water, then I have to upgrade my el cheapo coffee grinder to some kind of yuppie burr grinder. Plus, I would have to unplug the stove. Granted, I would use the coffee maker every day, and I don’t use my oven every day, so . . .

No, buying a $200 coffee maker is the equivalent to admitting defeat. I think it comes with a radio preset to NPR. I purchase the Technivorn, the next step is driving north for weekly cultural trips to Ithaca. There comes a time when a woman has to draw the line.

Right after my next cup of coffee.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Autism / PCOS / Syndrome X connection?

I read Simon Baron-Cohen’s November 10 article on autism in Seed. He speculates that mothers of children with autism may be more likely to have testosterone-linked medical conditions.

Has anyone out there investigated the rise of PCOS and autism? Could the rise in autism rates have anything to do with the rise of obesity in the first world?

Thanks to MR for the link.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday Musings

These days, I teach online for several for-profit universities—mostly grammar and composition. Almost as soon as I got out of the hospital this past summer, I threw myself into work. I took on extra classes, and had seven of them at one time. Now, I am back down to three, and after working ten hour days for the past two months, I can finally step back and relax a little bit.

If you had asked me before if I would be the kind of person to respond to grief through work, I would have denied it. I am not a particularly industrious person, and I have been inclined to think of myself more as the curl-up-on-the-couch kind of griever. However, I haven’t really had much to grieve up until now (which is a testament to the greatness of my life).

Now I know better—-work is easy. It’s the “what-if” game at 3:00 am which is hard. It’s the mental chess you play which always ends up at the same place, no matter how you arrange the pieces. Oh, and the anger and bitterness—don’t forget that. It is funny how prickly we can become. I joined several grief and loss boards, and the hierarchy which emerges even from tragedy is amusing in a dark and twisted way. The moms of stillbirths rank above those women who have simply miscarried. The childless and infertile women lord above the stillbirths, and the queens of tragedy and bitterness are those who are on the IVF juggernaut. Such tragedy all around.

Speaking of anger and bitterness—I read with amusement Lawrence Auster’s rancor at John Derbyshire’s recently-professed agnosticism. See here, and here, and here, and here. Goodness! I have always found strange those who insist that one cannot be truly conservative without faith. Does lack of faith obviate Natural Law, for example? And if it does, then Natural Law must perforce be false. If it does not, then can’t even a godless heathen stumble onto its truths?

How to Fold Fitted Sheets

I never knew how to do this!