Palindrome dates!

“It’s 3/13/13” my wonderful new office mate said today.

“Hey!  That’s an anagram date!  ….is that right?  Is anagram the term for things that are the same forwards as backwards?”  I replied.

Nope. Actually it’s called a palindrome and only if we ignore the 0, which we will for excitement’s sake. Palindrome, Jackie, palindrome. 3-13-13 which is  31-31-3 which is something to remark about.  So here we are.  Remarking.

Things I like, by Jackie Perry: palindrome dates.  What can be more wonderful than something as uniform as a palindrome?  No matter how you look at it, it’s always comfortingly the same. Constant and reassuring. It’s the visual version of your grandmother’s egg salad, your mom’s chili or your uncle’s Christmas tree.

I Palindrome I

The timing of this particular palindrome date could not be better!  Right before Pi Day.  What a wonderful world indeed!  Tonight I made a strawberry pi in my new pi plate which I will share with my coworkers tomorrow.  Or at least those quick enough to snag a piece.

Bye, bye Miss (Strawberry) Pie.

Bye, bye Miss (Strawberry) Pie.

Merry early Pi Day!


OK, OK, I know I’m a little late to this party.  One might argue: fashionably late?  Wikipedia tells me Skype made it’s debut in 2003.  For those of you who aren’t good with the numbers, that’s 10 years ago.  Hey, I’ve never claimed to be hip to, or welcoming of, technology.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that.  My birth certificate indicates that I’m 30 but perhaps I act more like I’m 86.

Little old lady from Pasadena.

Truthfully, I suppose I’ve just been lucky in that I’ve not really needed an account until now.  A good friend of mine moved to St Louis and I wanted to see her family’s faces while we spoke.  So, Skype and I became good friends.  

Just last week, I created an account and announced my triumph on Facebook, as is required.  I took this photo to showcase my good looks.


Yesterday I participated in my very first Skype call!  Yes that’s right!  One step closer to modernity.  Soon you’ll see me with a smart phone, I’m sure.  I think that’s how this sort of evolution works.  

The message popped up saying that Silviya was calling and I hit the answer button with excitement.  And I’m talking real excitement; none of that mamsy pamsy soft clicking, no sir!  I’m talking about a loud smack of my finger on the left mouse button! Immediately I saw her smiling face and heard her say, “Do you have a video camera or do we just get to see this lovely photo?”

Thanks, Skype, for that learning-on-the-fly experience!  Thank goodness my husband was here to instruct me on how to activate the camera.

All in a day’s work for this engineer. …. no really, my degrees actually say that I am an engineer.

Happy 2013, ya’ll.

Rhododendron leaves!

Many years ago, during one of our frequent Coffee Times, my dear friend Bob opened my eyes to the wonders of the rhododendron leaf. I was aware of this bit of flora but had never really stopped to appreciate it.  In the summer it is a thick, waxy leafed plant with the large (generally) pink blossoms.

“Summa, summa, summatime.” Fresh Prince

As the seasons change and the temperature falls, the leaves begin to curl up.

By the time the highs are all lows, the leaves have curled into tiny cigars.  They also fall, or pull in closer to the stem/branches.

“It’s sure been a cold, cold winter.” The Stones

And obviously that reminds me of cigar cookies!!!  Which makes me want to make a grocery store run immediately.

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know. “Groucho Marx

But why do they do that? you’re asking.  I thought you’d never ask!  It’s called thermotropic leaf movement.  Throughout the winter, rhododendron leaves will freeze nearly every night.  They curl to reduce the rate at which the frozen leaves thaw.  Slow thaw rates reduce the risk of tissue damage caused by the freeze-thaw cycle.

Most rhododendrons are found within forrested areas. In warmer seasons, the trees block out quite a bit of radiation.  When those trees lose their leaves, more of the sun’s radiation gets through to the rhododendron and the leaves pull in, or fall, to sort of hide the leaf surface from the sun.  How they do all this is still up for debate (i.e. discovering).

Pretty neat, huh?



One could argue that my love of the mustache was prompted by the recent fad.  Or one could argue that my love of the ‘stache began with a fellow I dated with a handlebar mustache.  But I would like to suggest my love of the mustache began at a much earlier age- say birth.

Most of the men in my formative years all sported a sophisticated spread of facial hair.  For example:

My dad rocks a pretty impressive “cop stache” but in his hay day, it was a full on fu.


My grandfather rocks a pencil.  When he came out of his anesthesia induced coma after open heart surgery, his first words were colorful and all expressed his anger towards the nurses for shaving his mustache to insert the breathing tube. Nevermind that tube was what kept him alive!

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My husband wore a fairly impressive handlebar and I grew a well groomed barbershop for our wedding.IMG_1121 copy

Yes indeed. I do love a mustache.

The Kids in the Hall

This probably goes without saying but I like love all of the Kids in all of the Halls!  My love affair with these Canadians began in middle school, when CBS aired their show much later than I preferred to be awake.  By the time I finished high school and began college, Comedy Central was airing repeats from 2p-3p which was perfect.  In college, I actually avoided classes that fell during that time slot.  One must have priorities.

Why do I love this show so much?  I think it’s the absolute ridiculousness of every single sketch.  KITH rarely makes me laugh out loud, like I do when listening to Bill Cosby, but I always have a smirk on my face.  The smirk is how you know it’s really smart.

You may not find this surprising but I kept a running list of quotes from the show that I liked most.  You never knew when you would need a good AIM Away Message or just a pick me up after a sub-par exam.  Here are some of the gems; most of them don’t sparkle here like they do when heard in the context of the sketches.

“Drum LOST!” “Drum FOUND!”

“People think I got the power because I got the monkeys. Nope.  I got the power because I’ll let the monkeys loose.”

“I’m tired. I’m salty. I require sleep.”

“Slipped my miiiiind.”

“It is so cold out there my head nearly fell off!”

“Fake Mom!  Vinyl Mom! Sweet and Low MOM!”

“If my head were veal, which I know it is not… how much would it be worth?”

Mark McKinney is my favorite member of the group and I was once gifted (by the ever-awesome Gabe) an autograph which reads, “Hi Jackie. I’m Mark McKinney. (signed) Mark McKinney”

I once made my friend Ian his own bottle spoon head party inspired by the one seen here:


And here is another brilliant sketch about the only kind of landlord one should ever have:


ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky

I like the voice synthesizing, the clang-y percussion, the keys, the choir that closes out the song- the whole thing!  But I think most of all, I like it because of this line:

“Hey there with the pretty face, welcome to the human race!”

Perhaps the very best thing to say to your newly hatched child.

Or maybe I love it because a band with that much mustache can be nothing short of great.


Or maybe because in singing the chorus I am reminded of my love of clouds. Here is sample of my photo hoarding on the subject….

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Photos by me.


I like to stretch.  It’s the first thing I do when I wake up, usually accompanied by a faint squeal.

And then again, nearly every 2 hours, I stand up at my desk and do a stretch similar to the one depicted below.


It’s the best.  Here are some other ideas of stretches appropriate for the work place.


For as long as I can remember, I have made lists.  Perhaps it started with the most important list for any child- the Christmas list.  Back when department stores printed 300 page catalogs, my parents would plop one of those bad boys in front of me and ask me to make a list for Santa.  Yes, I was one of those children who believed (and still does) that Santa bought the bulk of his gifts.  There’s just no way that man and his little minions could fabricate my many Barbie desires, no matter how much magic he knows or how many cookies he consumes.

Over time my lists expanded to more mature (or perhaps the word I am looking for is “boring”) topics.  Homework, dreams (the sleeping kind, not the life kind), projects, resumes, groceries, etc.  Most days find me leaving work with a list of things to accomplish that evening.  Because we cannot let fake pretenses and lies come between us and our internet friendship, let’s be real.  Little is more satisfying than checking those items off the list.

Since my days of undergraduate study, I have been compiling a list in my head of things I like.  An item is added simply by stating, “Things I like, by Jackie Perry.” followed by the be-liked item.

And so here begins this blog.  Prepare to have a portion of my brain somewhere beneath the Occipital Lobe unloaded upon you!

Things I like, by Jackie Perry.