Ben’s birthday is today. I know he’d love more Star Wars LEGOs, but he won’t be getting them from me. And despite everything Lucas has done, it’s not about Star Wars.

I played with LEGOs as a kid whenever I could. They’re the ultimate in undirected play. They don’t require great dexterity, they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they don’t get knocked over by stray breezes or brothers. LEGOs were great.

Then, a few years ago, I walked into the LEGO store at Hugedale (Snoopydale at the time). It’s a great looking place, with art that explores the limits of what can be done with their product. It’s also filled with ecstatic screaming children, miserable screaming children, and children screaming that they need “THIS–RIGHT NOW!” Ahem. Anyway.

A couple of steps into the store was a barrel of LEGO-figure key chains. It took me a few seconds to process what I was seeing. Then a few more to get my breath back. I chirped, “Hey, Ben, look. You can grow up to be a fireman.” Hold up one key chain. “Or a doctor.” Another. “Or a policeman. Or Darth Vader. Or an astronaut.” Drop the voice by an octave. “Or a girl!”


No more LEGOs for Ben’s birthday. Not this year. Not ever.


Cooking Blind

There’s an odd challenge to cooking a meal in the middle of a migraine aura. This cup of cornmeal feels level; is it? Where exactly is the top of the milk in the measure? I can tell the venison isn’t red anymore, but how brown is it? Am I going to get this done before the pain starts? Will I want any food by the time it’s done? Whee!

So far, so good. It’s in the oven and still smells like food.

On a side note, I have to stop beating myself up for being lazy when I just don’t feel up to working–not sick, just not well. I started keeping track. It’s generally three to five hours between the start of “lazy” and the start of the migraine.

Cooking Blind

Eating Meat, Lots of Meat

There’s a character I’ve been wanting to write for a while but probably won’t until the next book. He’s a vegetarian. It’s pretty central to his character, and I want to make sure I do it justice. But thinking about it made me realize just how not a vegetarian I am.

I started counting the number of different kinds of meat I’ve eaten. Once I lost track for the third time, it was time to write it down. I’ve probably forgotten some, but here’s the list. (*) designates a critter I’ve cleaned or otherwise taken apart. (**) means it was live when I got it.


  • Cow
  • Pig
  • Sheep
  • Deer*
  • Elk
  • Bison
  • Goat
  • Yak
  • Rabbit
  • Squirrel*


  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Pheasant
  • Pigeon


  • Cod (and other “whitefish”)
  • Sunfish**
  • Crappie**
  • Bass**
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi mahi


  • Snapping turtle
  • Alligator
  • Snail
  • Crawfish
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Clam**
  • Oyster
  • Mussel**
  • Scallop
  • Conch
  • Squid
  • Octopus

I don’t remember eating eel, frog, rattlesnake or bugs, but they’ve certainly been offered. It’s possible I’ve had them too. I’m sure I left off some fish, though I’m not a big fish fan, and I’m probably missing some game birds.

Forty-one animals, with probable omissions and not counting varietals. That’s a lot of meat.

Eating Meat, Lots of Meat