31st Oct2009

Meatloaf Mice

by Daenel

On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from my husband asking if I could come up with something to cook for a Halloween themed party he was having at work.

Hmmmm….interesting request, especially since I hate Halloween (chalk it up to my upbringing, those who know my parents understand).

Anyway, I sat up all night Wednesday trying to come up with something delicious and Halloweeny. The best I could come up with was Meatloaf Mice. (/sarcasm)

What you’ll need:
Ground beef to make mouse shaped meatloaf (you can make mini ones like I did or big ones)

Cooked spaghetti noodles for the tails (I separated them on wax paper to let them cool)

Baby Bella mushrooms for the ears (try to match the sizes so their ears are symetrical)

Toothpicks to attach the ears to the body

Spinach and bread crumbs for the grass

To make:
Shape your favorite meatloaf recipe (my recipe is posted on flickr) into a mouse shape – rounded end for the butt, pointy end for the face. After you’ve finished baking, set the “mice” on wax paper to cool and begin prepping the “grass.”

Coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, add spinach and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

After mice have cooled, begin assembling: use a toothpick to attach mushroom “ears” to either side of the mouse head and place on the grass. After you have arranged the mice the way you like them, place a piece of spaghetti under the rounded end to form a tail.

And there you have it!

For fun, you can put a dried tomato in the center of the body before cooking to form a “heart”. I also made a dipping sauce to go with the mice:
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/2 c honey mustard
- 2 tbs molasses
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- red pepper flakes to taste
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan
29th Oct2009

PSA: Call the Police

by Daenel

I’m angry and I think it’s time others started to get angry too…

About a month ago, a young man was beaten to death while a crowd of people watched, some even taped the young man’s death on their cell phones. This week a teenaged girl was raped after her Homecoming Dance while roughly twenty people stood around and watched – some even cheered for the rapists.

Wtf, people? Really? Is this what we as a people have come to? What happened to people stepping in and doing the right thing? What happened to people using their cell phones to CALL THE POLICE?!

I’m so sick and tired of hearing excuses about people being afraid to get involved – you know what? When you stand there and watch someone being brutalized and you don’t help them, you are complicit in the crime and you are already involved. When you take the time to use your cell phone to tape the brutality, you are as guilty as if you you were participating. I’m not saying you have to put yourself in danger but stop recording the crimes with your cell phones and use them for the purposes for which they were intended – to make a phone call. If, after you make the call, the crime is still occurring, record the faces of the perpetrators and hand it over to the police – do not post it on YouTube or send it to your buddies.
Someone being beaten to death or raped is not entertainment, stop treating it as such.

28th Oct2009


by Daenel

It’s been a week since I posted that I was going to let my hair go natural and I’ve been asked when I’m going to post some pics. Well, here they are… It’s actually been about four weeks since I’ve put a relaxer in my hair and maybe six weeks since I’ve dyed it.

To see a before picture, click here. So I’m at the point now where I have two different hair textures on my head – wavy near the scalp and straight at the ends (where the relaxer remains). The red dye that I had in the front of my hair has now faded to a rust color – this part is hard for me. I’m used to dying my hair every couple of weeks. I treat my hair as an accessory because, well, that’s what it is. I’ve had red hair, pink hair, blue hair, black hair, burgundy, blonde, olive drab green (that was an accident, but I wore it like a champ)….
Anyway, to combat the dual texture problem, I’ve taken to braiding my hair at night and finger combing it in the morning to blend the waves. I think one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that the texture of my hair is definitely different – the natural part is actually much softer than the chemically treated portion. This has me a little concerned – I do not want my hair to break because I am not ready to do the big chop.
I’m actually handling this whole transition thing better than I thought I would – of course, it’s only been four weeks so let’s see how it goes in another two weeks…

28th Oct2009

I Am Library 101, Are You?

by Daenel

After months of hardwork and contributions from librarians all over the world, the Library 101 Project made it’s debut at Internet Librarian to much fanfare. Twitter is all abuzz with excitement over Library 101. After viewing the video, all I can say is Michael Porter and David Lee King did a fabulous job and my heart is full of g33k love for them right now. They totally rawk!

I’m posting the video here, but please, take the time to check out the complete Library 101 website. The website has not only the video but essays from librarians and a very prominent supporter of libraries. There is also a list of 101 Resources & Things to Know. You can also view additional Library 101 videos on YouTube and check out the pictures on flickr.

27th Oct2009

Book Review: Sweetsmoke by David Fuller

by Daenel

Sweetsmoke is the story of Cassius Howard, a secretly literate slave, and his desire to find justice for his murdered friend, Emoline Justice. Emoline was a free black woman who served as surrogate mother and mentor to Cassius while he was recovering from a severe beating. Using his cunning and the limited freedoms granted to him as a favored slave, Cassius is able to gather clues to the identity of Emoline’s murderer. These clues take him from his plantation, Sweetsmoke, to the campgrounds of Confederate and Union soldiers to the middle of a battlefield during the Civil War. Along the way, Cassius meets a host of characters who alternately move the story along, offer historical sidenotes or bits of comic relief.

Part mystery and part historical fiction with a dash of romance and social commentary thrown in for good measure, this novel had the makings of an exciting debut novel. However, David Fuller seems to have forgotten that he’s writing a book and not a screenplay. Here are some of the issues I had with the novel:
1. This may seem minor, but it bugged me – the words of whites were written with quotations while the words of blacks were not. I’m not sure why this was done. Was it to distinguish between the speech of the black and white characters? If so, there were better ways to handle that such as the use of dialect…
2. Cassius’s interaction with the Bryants was a bit awkward, to say the least. When Cassius first meets Bryant, he tells Cassius that he and his wife are abolitionists and their home is a stop on the Underground Railroad. Fine, I think. But Bryant pushes it a bit further by stating that his wife once spoke to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Would this have meant anything to a slave? Bryant doesn’t bother to explain who Stowe is nor does Cassius ask.
3. Even a “favored” slave would not have had as much freedom as Cassius. He seemed to come and go with a great deal of ease and no repercussions whatsoever. Furthermore, a black man never would have been allowed to roam unquestioningly between Union and Confederate camps. While I realize this novel is historical fiction, this book forced me to move from the area of suspended belief into the realm of total implausibility.
I wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting – a free black woman is murdered and a slave sets out to find her murderer and obtain some form of justice for her. The story itself is rich and engrossing, and had the potential to be so much more than it is. I think with better editing and a few tweaks this novel could be better (I do realize this isn’t writing class and do-overs aren’t the norm, but this book would benefit from a re-write).
I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review because I am a LibraryThing Early Reviewer. This consideration did not influence my review.

23rd Oct2009

Small Talk Six Things My Mother-In-Law Has Done for Me Lately

by Daenel

Today’s Small Talk Six topic is to list six things, good or bad, that I credit my mother-in-law for. Oh my word… Had you asked me this a few years back everything would have ended with “homicidal tendencies,” “insanity plea” or “beyond control.” I lived with her for six and a half years while attending college, dealing with cancer and a host of other life issues. I’ve almost blocked out most of the memories. Almost.

Looking back with one eye closed and the other one squinted, I can think of some good things for which I credit my mother-in-law for either giving to me or teaching me. They are:

1. My husband, Tony, without whom none of this would be possible

2. The nerdtasticness that is my son

3. Daughters who don’t take any crap

4. Smoke detectors are not the same thing as oven timers

5. Insanity does not necessarily flow from mother to son

6. Love shines through when you least expect it

If you’d like to participate in Small Talk Six, just go here to get the weekly topics. For today’s meme, go here and leave a comment with a link to your post. You can answer with pictures, words, videos, etc. Be creative. To make it even more fun, take a look at the blog of the person above you and leave some comment love…

22nd Oct2009

Finding the Natural Me

by Daenel

Black women have a love-hate relationship with their hair. If you don’t believe me, just Google Chris Rock and look at all the hype surrounding his documentary, Good Hair. Or go visit a salon and see what black women will go through in order to maintain their hair – we fry it and we buy it. And some of us wear it natural.

Growing up, I had what was considered “good hair,” it was sandy brown, super fine and could be easily maintained with a brush and a little bit of water. My sisters, on the other hand, had what was considered “bad hair.” Every Saturday night, Mom would would pull out a chair in the kitchen and round up her supplies:

– Pressing cream
– Hot comb
– Hair barrettes
– Head scarves

Then she’d park my sisters in front of the stove for hours while she meticulously ran the hot comb through their hair so it’d be all shiny and bouncy for church on Sunday. This was a ritual in every black girl’s house. Just ask.

I’d sit there watching my sisters get their hair done and beg my mom to run the hot comb through my hair just one time. She’d look at me, smack her lips and ask me why I wanted her to press my hair when I had good hair? I wanted to be like my sisters. I wanted to hold my ear to keep my mom from nicking it. I wanted to show my friends the little burn mark on my forehead (a badge of honor, to my simple little mind). Sometimes to appease me, after the pressing comb had cooled down, Mom would run it through my hair but it wasn’t the same thing.

When we turned ten or eleven, my mom started relaxing my twin sister’s hair. Oh, was I jealous. The first time I saw my sister’s dark brown hair all soft, straight and bouncy, I wanted it. There I was with my frizzy curls, no longer sandy brown but a crazy mix of red, brown and blonde, looking like a black Orphan Annie. I begged my mom to put a relaxer in my hair.

She reluctantly agreed.

That was twenty plus years ago and I haven’t looked back. Accept for when I shaved my hair because it was all dry and falling out from a combination of radiation therapy and a whacked out thyroid, I’ve kept my hair relaxed. I love the feel of my hair on the back of my neck, the wind blowing through it when I ride with the windows down…But recently I’ve started to wonder what my natural hair looks like.

I’ve dyed my hair since I was fourteen (black girl with freckles and reddish brown hair, need I say more?) and, like I said, my relationship with Dark and Lovely has lasted longer than any relationship I’ve ever had with a person. Unlike some people who choose to cut off all the hair and start from scratch, I will be trimming my hair every 6 weeks until nothing’s left until my natural hair. I will be using products from Mixed Chicks and will periodically update my blog with pictures during the six month growing out process.

So if I start to look crazy or I get all cranky ’cause I’m having a bad hair day, you’ll understand wont you? Mostly I’m expecting to learn to love the natural me and, hopefully, find the person that I lost so many years ago when I started frying and dying.

I am not receiving any compensation from Mixed Chicks. I just heard about their products and felt that it may fit my needs.

22nd Oct2009

Hamster House

by Daenel

This post is in response to Ask Wifey’s New Addition

I have two hamsters, Elvis and Koda. Wanna know why they’re living with me? Because my husband failed in his responsibility as a father.

The girls had been begging me for a hamster for 2 years, I kept saying “No, are you kidding me?” One day while we were out, I was so frustrated I said “Call your father and see what he says.” I just knew he would say no, he’s even more anti-rodent than I am.

Instead he said “Tell Mom to take you to the pet store.” Yeah, seriously. All he had to do was participate in their creation and say “No” to the hamsters.

22nd Oct2009

Mom’s Going Crazy

by Daenel

I love my children. I. Love my children. I love. My children.

This has become my mantra, interspersed with a lot of heavy sighs and eye rolling.

I say “Do the dishes.” The result: only half the dishes are washed. Why? Because all of the dishes didn’t fit in the dishwasher. I say “Wash your clothes.” The result: the clothes get that rank musty smell from sitting in the washing machine for 3 days. Why? Because Miss 16 was supposed to put the clothes in the dryer but she had practice and competition. There are three other children at home who could have handled this!

Now let me explain something here – my kids only have a few chores: clean their rooms and the kitchen and do their laundry. I used to wash their clothes but then I swear they just started throwing stuff in the hamper so I’d have something to do.

I’ve talked to my children repeatedly about doing jobs halfway. Either do it right or don’t do it all. Seriously, I don’t take them to practice and not pick them up. Ok, I did forget them once or twice but obviously they made it home.

I’m just tired of things being done halfway. I’m tired of repeating myself. I’m tired of giving my all and only getting bits and pieces in return. And, please, do not tell me that’s part of motherhood. It’s not. Kids are capable of giving/doing so much more than what we expect from them.

Next time someone wants something, I think we’ll go to the store and not buy it.

21st Oct2009

Wordless Wednesday: Monkey in the Stacks

by Daenel

I found Wordless Wednesday through Trisha at MomDot.com. If you’d like to participate, go here and leave a comment with your link. If you really want to make it fun, check out the post of the person above you and leave a comment – it gives you a chance to check out the blog of someone new and you get to leave some comment love.

Click on the picture above to find out about the latest news to sweep Library Land!

18th Oct2009

Please, Just 16 More Years

by Daenel

Friday afternoon I took Miss 16 shopping for a dress for the Homecoming Dance. Part of me was dreading the day. I thought we’d argue over dresses –

that one’s too short…
it’s too long…
it shows too much cleavage…
it’s a turtleneck!

I’m not a prude but I do expect my girls to dress properly (I have a four finger rule in my house – if the shirt goes four fingers width beyond the collar bone, a tank or cami is worn under the shirt). Instead we walked into the store and immediately our hands went for the same dress.

A beautiful knee length taupe dress with gray net overlay and gold embroidery held up by spaghetti straps. It will be worn with a brown shrug and gold sandals.

Miss 16 tried the dress on and I nearly broke down in tears. My baby is all grown up. All of these memories came flooding back:
* The first time I felt her kick
* The first time she called me “Dada”
* The first time she called me “Mama”
* The time I thought she was missing and it turned out she had climbed into the kitchen cabinet and fallen asleep
* The way she took over the care of her brother and sisters when I was sick from radiation therapy

* The time she lost her mind at 12 and I helped her find it again at 13

All of this stuff just filled me up as I sat there watching my daughter twirl in front of the mirror. I wanted to grab her, hold her and beg the Lord to give me 16 more years of her growing up.

16th Oct2009

Small Talk Six Sweet Treats

by Daenel

Today’s meme topic is hard – name 6 of my favorite treats in the whole world. I don’t really have much of sweet tooth. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a bit of chocolaty decadence every now and then, it just means that I can go months without gnoshing on something sweet but when I need it, I need it. What is it that I need?

1. Espresso Truffle from StarbucksDon’t look at the calorie count, it’ll kill ya. But man is it delish.

2. Lemon Meringue Pie – I have been known to scarf down an entire pie by myself, which is why I usually get one every six months. More than that and I’d be big as a house and battling diabetes.

3. Candy Canes – I used to use the kids as an excuse to keep them in the house during the Christmas season, then it was discovered that my children HATE candy canes.

4. Whipped Cream Pie – As easy as it sounds. A tub of Cool Whip mixed with a container of yogurt (any flavor), poured into a graham cracker pie crust, topped with fruit and refrigerated for an hour.

5. Butter Pecan Ice Cream – I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t eat this very often. However, when I do, I make sure it’s worth the stomach cramps that are sure to follow.

6. Sweet Potato Pie – Not just any sweet potato pie, my dad’s sweet potato pie. He makes THE best pie evar! In fact, I’ve talked him into coming up for Thanksgiving just so I can have him make a couple.

If you want to join in the Small Talk Six fun, just go here to get the weekly topics. To participate in today’s Small Talk, go here and leave a comment with a link to your blog so everyone can pay you a visit. While you’re there, check out the blogs of some of the other participants…

15th Oct2009

Past Life Memories

by Daenel

In my previous life, I worked as an archivist, librarian and part-time history instructor. Jobs that I truly enjoyed. One of the things that made my job so enjoyable was the people I met both online and in real life. People have this image of librarians as being these crazy cat ladies (we do have our fair share of cat lovers) or doddy old men but in reality, librarians are some of the most creative and fashionable (yeah, I said it) people you’d ever want to meet.

One of those creative types that I’m proud to call my friend is Michael Porter. A few months back, he and another creative librarian, David Lee King, sent out a call to their fellow librarians to contribute multimedia to their Library 101 video. The final project will include the video and a website with links and resources to keep librarians abreast of the changes in technology and librarianship.

Well, after three months of hard work (I saw some of the prelim work and, OMG, these guys rawk), Michael announced on twitter that the Library 101 video will debut at the “Connecting Through ‘Lights, Cameras & Action'” session at the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, California. When it rolls out, I will definitely let everyone know. In the meantime, take a look at one of the guys’ other collaborations.
If you’d like to see the Library 101 pictures on flickr, simply click my picture above. In the meantime, here are some other relevant links to the Library 101 project:
Library 101 Lyrics

14th Oct2009

Love is More than Skin Deep

by Daenel

Kids ask the most interesting questions. My daughter came home from school today and asked me if it’s possible for two white parents to have a black baby? I answered yes. Genetics are a crap shoot, you never know who or what your child will look like (that is part of the fun, isn’t it?).

Then I saw this post by Execumama Online.

The movie tells the story of Sandra Laing, a black child born to white parents in the 1950s during the apartheid era in South Africa. Raised as white by her loving parents, Sandra is eventually kicked out of white society and must learn to find her way in South African society. The film follows her journey from rejection to acceptance. It stars Sam Neill, Alice Krige and Sophie Okonedo.

Yes, I’ll be taking my daughter to see this. It looks like a tear jerker of a movie that definitely deserves more attention than it’s getting. I haven’t seen a trailer for this movie on television at all, but danged if we’re not being inundated with stupid vampire ads. Please take a chance on this movie, it definitely looks like a must-see! Release date is set for 30 October.

I was not asked by anyone to plug this movie, I just think it looks like a movie that’s worth the price of admission.

14th Oct2009

Wordless Wednesday: Anti~Monkey Butt Powder

by Daenel

I have a strange fascination with monkeys so when I saw this at Rite Aid, I just had to buy it.

Wordless Wednesday pay it forward…go here, add your name and link to the list and visit the blog of the person above you and leave comment. Not only is it fun but it gives you a chance to check out a new blog.

13th Oct2009

Product Review: Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstick

by Daenel

Let me say from the jump, I am a BE girl through and through but every now and then I like to try something new. Furthermore, I’m usually just a gloss and go kinda girl but on the rare occasions that I do wear lipstick, it’s usually something neutral or dark brown (yeah, I said dark brown). But the Maybelline Colorsensation display caught my eye. And I have to say the “Buy One, Get One Free” ad at Rite Aid sealed the deal (offer expires 30 October). The lipstick costs $7.49 per tube.

The ad dares you to “Fall in Love with Color…All Over Again.” I did! I did! There are 48 shades that fall into one of four categories: Pinks, Reds, Plums and Naturals. The colors are intense, rich and lustrous. And they smell pretty good too! (There is nothing worse than putting on some tacky-to-the-touch-petroleum-smelling lipstick – one of the reasons I gave up wearing lipstick a long time ago!)

I’ve been dying to try a pinky color since I saw Mrs. Obama rocking the shade during the campaign season (yeah, I’m “tardy for the party” but at least I showed up, right?). So I decided to pick up two shades: “Pink Me Up” and “Plum Perfect.”

“Pink Me Up” is a dusky mauvy pink color. Putting it on made me feel sorta playful. However, the shade is probably not the best shade for me. I have a sorta golden undertone and this shade of pink clashed and made my lips look a little matte and muddy. Maybe topping it off with a lipgloss would help but I was more interested in out of the tube coloring. Now had I gone to the shade selector on the Maybelline website before I went to the store, I would have purchased the perfect shade. (Yay for shade selectors! ‘Cause sometimes picking the right shade is hard).

The “Plum Perfect” is a deep berry color with a nice little shine to it. I have to say, this is a pretty sexy color and I can definitely see me wearing it on date night. I used a light hand (it is day time and I didn’t want to vamp it up too much), but with a heavy hand? Va-va-voom!

While I probably won’t rush out and buy more, I’m pretty happy with the two lipsticks that I did pick up (I used the “Pink Me Up” as a highlighter – dab in the center of the lips- with the “Plum Perfect” and let’s just say I got a pouty look that I love). If it’s been awhile since you’ve tried lipstick and you’re looking for something with intense color, I’d recommend Maybelline Colorsensational lipstick.

I did not receive any compensation for this review.

13th Oct2009

No More Hiding, Become an Open Book

by Daenel

Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian and my job is to teach people how to locate and evaluate resources for accuracy and authenticity. Or maybe it’s because I’m naturally suspicious but I have often watched commercials with celebrities and wondered if they actually use the products they’re endorsing or if they’re just taking home a paycheck? If they’re review is tied to monetary gain, is it really a credible endorsement? Would they endorse a product they don’t believe in just because it puts a little change in the pocket?

I basically take the same attitude towards bloggers or anyone who reviews products, offers free give aways or anything else along those lines. I want to know your connection to the makers of the product you’re reviewing. Tell me if your opinion may be tempered by financial gain. And, apparently, the FTC feels the same way. They are now requiring bloggers and celebrities (when endorsing on a blog, social network or tv show) to disclose their relationships to advertisers or the companies of products they’re reviewing.

Basically, if the blogger receives monetary compensation, free trips, gifts, endorsements, etc from the maker of a product, it has to be disclosed or the blogger faces a hefty $11,000 fine. Yikes! I say play it safe and put a little note on the review post that discloses the relationship between yourself and the company, state whether you purchased the reviewed product or if it was sent to you by the company for review. Be on the up and up with your readers and you shouldn’t have any problems.

For more information about the new FTC rules you can go here. Other ways to make your blog FTC compliant is to generate a disclosure policy from Disclosurepolicy.org and post it to your blog and take the vow to Blog with Integrity.

09th Oct2009

Small Talk Six Things We Should All Celebrate

by Daenel

This meme was started at MomDot.com as a way to add some chatter to the usually quiet Saturday blogosphere.

Join the fun and share your own Small Talk Six post. You can answer the question with a list of 6 words, pictures, paragraphs, etc. Then leave a link to your post here, visit the post of the person above you and leave a comment.

Today’s Small Talk Six topic is six unconventional things I think people should celebrate by throwing a party.

1. Fabulous Shoe, Bag or Clothing Purchase – Hey, that warrants at least a decent cup of coffee, a cupcake and some streamers.

2. Not Pimp Slapping the Mother-in-Law on Thanksgiving – “Oh, dear, I just brought a back up turkey, you know, just in case….”

3. Cosmetic Surgery – New nose, new boobs, whatever you had fixed is now a part of the family, introduce it properly.

4. The End of “Ladies’ Days” – Everything returns to normal and for at least the next 3 weeks there will be no bloating, crying or b!tching.

5. A Great Hair Day – “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.”

6. 24 August 2011, 21 September 2013 and 8 January 2015 – The day after my kids’ 18th birthdays, also known as the Day I Get My Life Back.

What days do you think should be celebrated with parties? For some celebratory ideas, check out Mrs. Zeee and Harriet.

09th Oct2009

Mom Gets the Message

by Daenel

Son: “Mom, what’s safer, driving while drunk or driving and talking on the cell phone?”

Me: “Safer? I guess driving and talking on the cell phone.”

Son: “How about when you’re dialing the number while driving?”

Wait for it….

Ding ding ding bells and whistles
Yeah, my son totally called me on the texting while driving thing and I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Furthermore, I didn’t notice that I wasn’t really paying attention to where we were going while I was driving while dialing. Scary stuff.

Fortunately, my son caught my attention before something bad happened and he did it in such a way that it not only made me snicker a little but it left a lasting impact.

We as parents model the behavior that we want our children to reflect. I want my children to be safe. Always.

So I have taken the pledge to keep my mind on the wheel while I’m driving and, hopefully, you will do the same. The pledge is sponsored by TheMotherhood.com with goal of reducing distracted driving and keeping the roads safe for our families and communities.

There are plenty of ways you can minimize distractions while driving:
*Pull over to the side of the road if you have to make a call
*Use hands free devices
*Set up the voice dialing feature on your phone
*Don’t drive with pets in your lap
*Put on make up in the parking lot
*Read the newspaper at your desk
*Get dressed at home
*Either smoke the cigarette, drink your coffee, eat your donut or drive, don’t do them all at once (kid you not, drive down the streets of Kingston during morning rush hour and you’re bound to see all of these at some point)
*Keep your eyes on the road!
08th Oct2009

PSA: Be Your Own Advocate

by Daenel

To learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, check out the following:
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Liv – Information about mammograms


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