Raining glass and double suns

Lately there’s been some cool exo-planets in the news. Like, on this Jupiter-like blue world, it rains molten glass!

Artist's rendition of blue glass-raining planet. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser
Artist’s rendition of blue glass-raining planet. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser

There’s also a planet found that revolves around a binary star. They’ve dubbed it Gallifrey. (Isn’t it funny that Doctor Who has replaced Star Wars in our cultural mythos? I blame the prequels.)

Also, did you know that the sun is about to flip upside down? What’s more, it flips upside down every 11 years?

They also spotted Jupiter’s moon Europa venting water vapor (they think), but only when the moon is in its farthest orbital point from Jupiter. When it nears Jupiter again, the venting stops. They think it’s caused by tidal forces opening and closing cracks in the moon’s surface, exposing and hiding an ocean under the crust.

In other news, there’s currently a bunch of scientists trapped in ice in Antarctica. The really hilarious thing is that they were looking for evidence of melting ice and global warming. They blame it on a random iceberg that trapped them. But two other rescue ships are also trapped by this same “iceberg”. Hundreds of miles of it!

So much fun stuff being discovered out there! I didn’t even get to the new critters they discovered this year. 🙂

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New Year!

Goodbye, 2013, hello, 2014!

It’s so weird to be writing years starting with 20. I feel like we live in a science fiction novel. I suppose we do–smartphones, the Internet, and not a flying car in sight. Sorry, Doc Brown, but the future isn’t quite what you thought!

This past year we moved to a new state, my hubby got a steady job, and we had child #4. It’s been quite a year! I didn’t make any resolutions because my life was so uncertain this time last year.

BTW, Christmas pics!

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This year, my word for the year is fun. and laughter. I feel like I’m having to learn how to have fun again–I’ve been a freaked-out sourpuss for a long time. Recently I’ve been attempting to enjoy my kids and husband a bit more. Guess what! It’s fun!

Last night we all sat and built Legos until the baby protested that it was her bedtime. It was fun.

So that’s what I resolve this year. To just enjoy God’s rich, abundant blessings He’s heaped in my lap. My verse for the year is from 1 Peter 5: Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, so he may exalt you in due time.

🙂

First day of winter

It’s the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Now the days will get longer–but you know the saying.

As the days begin the lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.

The kids are so pumped for Christmas. Having all these mysterious boxes piled in the bedroom may have something to do with that! They’re counting the days.

Out here in Arizona we’ve had some rain, but the weather is nothing like the blizzards and freezing rain elsewhere. I’m a soft desert dweller and I can’t imagine cold like that. On the flip side, most people up north can’t imagine 120 degrees, so it balances out. 🙂

New baby is a month old!

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She’s a little handful. Like all my babies, she just hates being a baby and can’t wait to run around and play. She’s sleeping better at night, thank goodness. She lives in my baby sling so I can actually get stuff done.

I’ve recently become addicted to Turron Navidad, a Spanish candy made of honey, egg whites and almonds. You just cook it until it forms a nice caramel. I’ve gotten to where corn syrup makes me sick, and honey doesn’t. Plus the honey gets this lovely toasted flavor. And any excuse to eat almonds is okay by me!

Those are my random thoughts this chilly December morning. 🙂

Wishlist Wednesday Blog hop

I’m participating in the Wishlist Wednesday blog hop from Pen to Paper!

We’re supposed to talk about a book we want to read and why we want to read it.

Man, how do I pick? I went back and forth over my Goodreads list several times before I settled on this one. Thanks to my brother for telling me about it!

Honor Harrington, by David Weber

Amazon summary:

INTRODUCING
HONOR HARRINGTON

Having made him look a fool, she’s been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.

Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship’s humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.

The aborigines of the system’s only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.

Parliament isn’t sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called “Republic” of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn’t work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They’ve made her mad.

I think it sounds like a fun read! My brother’s going nuts over it, and I’m in the mood for some good sci-fi. The last good space opera I read was the Halo series (the best books being the ones by Nylund). I’m not widely read in science fiction by any means, and I’d like to rectify that.

(I mean, I’ve read some Heinlein and Asimov and Bradbury, but that’s like saying I like fantasy and I’ve read Lord of the Rings and Narnia.)

Also, the first Harrington book is free on ebook, so I really have no excuse to not read it. 🙂

Duck, duck, goose

It being the Christmas season, I’ve been thinking of how tired I am of turkey. I mean, seriously, Thanksgiving is quite enough turkey for me, thanks! We still have leftovers in the freezer.

Ham is a big seller, but we eat ham all the time on sandwiches. I can’t get real excited about cooking 10 pounds of ham.

So, as I circulated around our grocery store’s meat department, I happened to glance into the fridge bin and spotted … DUCK. And GOOSE, even!

I’ve never had duck or goose. No idea if I can cook them or if I’d like them.

I did find this really good article (with pictures) on how to cook a duck. And a big website of how to cook wild duck and goose!

Duck and goose seem to be considered red meat, because you do things like pan-sear breast meat to medium rare. But I’ve never had it, and I’m unsure how to cook something I’ve never tasted.

Anybody ever tried duck or goose? How do they taste? Any recipes stood you in good stead?

On Pokemon

A Pokemon craze has gripped our house for months now.

The kids are old enough to play Pokemon games, and my oldest can read well enough to follow along with the storyline. When the gang isn’t playing Pokemon, they’re rounding up their toys and having Pokemon battles.

We located the TV series on YouTube and we’ve been skipping around the various seasons. Every episode is the same plot, so its easy to do. Then I got the bright idea to locate the movies.

The movies are dark! We watched the one with Latias and Latios, which I’d heard got kind of Last Unicorn-ish, with the dragons disguised as humans. But it wasn’t like that at all and one of them dies at the end. I was disappointed and the kids were very sad. I think we’ll stick with the show.

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But it made me want to write my own version of what I thought that movie should have been. Chewing it over now and it’ll be a book someday.

Jim Butcher has this fantasy series called Codex Alera. He said it came about as a dare–this group gave him two ‘terrible’ ideas and he had to write them. The ideas were ‘a lost Roman legion’ and ‘Pokemon’.

In Alera, people summon elementals called Furies. Heh, I see what Jim did thar. I now have the series on my To Read list, out of sheer curiosity.

It’s fun to enjoy games as a family this way. We get walk throughs and trade Pokemon and give each other advice on strategies and party strengths. I showed my son how to curb stomp the Elite Four with Rayquaza (which does take planning!).

Hot chocolate and Pokemon and audiobooks. That’s been our schoolwork since the baby was born. 🙂

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Boring descriptions of popular stories

A while ago, a friend of mine on Tumblr participated in a little meme: describe books in the most boring way possible.

Her description of her comic, archipelagocomic.com: A waitress misses work for several months.

My hubby and I came up with more:

Star Wars: An orphan discovers the identity of his parents.

Girl Genius: An orphan discovers the identity of her parents.

Harry Potter: An orphan discovers the identity of his parents.

A Christmas Carol: A grumpy old man gives his employee a day off.

Bleak House: A man wins a lawsuit.

The Hunger Games: A girl participates in a contest.

Lord of the Rings: Nine guys go on a road trip.

Toy Story: A kid gets a new toy.

Toy Story 2: A toy is stolen.

Toy Story 3: Toys get thrown away.

Wreck It Ralph: An old guy questions his career.

The Incredibles: A family has dysfunction.

Finding Nemo: A recluse leaves home.

The Avengers: A group of people do a job.

Grimm: A guy studies his family ancestry.

Doctor Who: An old guy studies history.

Mythbusters: Some people do science projects.

Some of my friends’ books, just for giggles:

The Windrider Saga by Minor: An elf learns to pray.

Secrets Kept by Mbewe: A girl carries a knife.

Wishing Well Curse by Donovan: A guy learns about his ancestors.

Sanctuary by Creeden: A girl and her brother run across town.

Finding Angel by Heckenbach: A girl looks for her parents.