Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree

Last Saturday was designated as the the Official Day of Christmas Making. The Bestest Friend came over for cookies, eggnog and so much decorating that she would lose face if she admits she enjoyed it. I've struggled for 6 days now to get a good picture of my tree. There have been many obstacles. Obstacle #1 is the tree itself - I admit, it was a cheapy. In fact, I disliked it so much the very first time I put it together, that the next year I didn't even have a tree. I couldn't bring myself to buy another one, and I didn't want to decorate the one I had. This year, I pulled it out of the attic; it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be - maybe it's seasoned? I still lost five tufts off of various fake branches. Obstacle #2: the top of the tree. It's not very sturdy, so anything weighing more than .02 ounces topples the thing over. I forgot about this and tried to put my star on top...and now the top of the tree is permanently crooked. Obstacle #3 : My photography skills. They are not great. I can get the lights to show up freakily bright (especially the blue), but they blind you and hide the rest of the tree. I can get the ornaments and every fake pine needle to show in amazing detail, but then it looks like there are no lights. So, here are a few extreme choices. Merge them together in your brain, take care of the lights (They're LEDs, and very bright and beautiful) and you'll have somewhat of an idea of my tree. Oh, you noticed the lack of an appropriately festive top to my tree? Not to worry. The Bestest Friend made the supreme sacrifice of going to Old Time Party and rectifying the situation for me before the week was out with a finial that is so light it could float away. And yet it STILL does this to my pansy-ass tree: The cats have also decided that they like the tree skirt. I have to admit, it is very thick and soft. And this year, it's captured their attention more than the ornaments. Although Sultan does have one branch he likes to attack on a daily basis. At least they're not chewing on the lights this year. Sultan: Lucius: SO, since we're here and all Christmasy, what else have I got here? We have an entertainment center: We have some bookcases: We have the cookbook bookcase: We have the Precious Moments display on yet another bookcase: We have another bookcase with a couple more nativity scenes: Did you see the craziness in that picture? Somehow, that bookcase has now become the home of The Bestest Friends least favorite of decorations. Separately, she calls them the Alien Reindeer (I remind her every year that they used to be my grandfather's, and were always displayed beneath his tree) and the Demon Doll. At a dinner party this week, Some forty-something males who shall remain nameless found them and put them together. The Professor has taken to moving this Christmas Miracle around the house: But to end this on a somewhat happier scene, this is probably my favorite part of the Christmas decorations. The Mama of all my nativity scenes: Now, I need some eggnog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Which My Family Laughs In Scorn and My Best Friend Calls Me Old

Today, I went to the eye doctor. I hadn’t been in almost 5 years, but The Professor’s university just added a vision plan to their offerings this month and we jumped into that pool feet first with our palms open for handouts. He’s getting Lasik-ized next month. I decided that maybe it was time I could tell the difference between a Prius and Suburban whilst driving down the interstate. It’s all in the priorities. I just got back from my appointment, and the glasses – which will only be made cuter by the librarian-chain they will hang ‘round my neck by – have been ordered. (And as an aside, I am very glad I passed linguistics before I started butchering grammar as I just did back there). The Bestest Friend has promised me a Seeing Eye Dog for my 50th birthday. That’s more of an excuse to A) Call me old, and B) get me to own a dog, than it is a necessity, but she’s occasionally good at planning ahead and killing two birds with one stone. Or two eyes with one dog, as the case may be. My family…well, I and the baby brother have been blessed with our lack of a need for eyewear. I’m pretty sure a couple of them are legally blind without some kind of device on or in their eyes. So when I tell them I have 20-30 vision in one eye and 20-25 in the other, I’m sure I’ll get a “Yeah, kid, come back when you have an actual need for vision correction”. To them I say: “Please. Call me kid again. It sounds kinda nice.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Totally Unrelated Things

Thing the First: Everyone knows that we have a crazy-liberal, give-the-Dems-glowing-praise-no-matter-what, fall-all-over-themselves media in the US, right? Ok, good. Thing the Second: Friend Rob pointed me towards this handy little garden-style-analyzer and it got me spot on:

A Cottage Garden

Eclectic and sweetly rumpled, a cottage-style garden isn't the buttoned-up type. Relaxed, romantic and informal, the cottage garden overflows with multiple blooms, often set off by picket fences, arbors, and trellises. Heirloom and vintage plants are quite at home here as well. It's often the melange of plants that makes it so charming. Practical herbs for kitchen and medicine chest stand side by side with roses. It's truly a garden of the heart, of the hearth and of the home.

Conclusion: I really need more days off to play around these here internets.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I < heart > Charleston

I know it sounds like I’ve been complaining non stop about this trip. And looking back Saturday on the problems that I’ve focused on…I need to make one thing clear: I have fallen in love with Charleston. Granted, anytime I get 70 degree weather in November, an open air market, a ton of history, easily walked streets, shopping to die for and food! Oh my gosh the food! Fresh seafood. I love salmon. Sing with me… “I love salmon in the springtime…I love salmon in the fall…” You know what else I love? PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA. What? He has nothing to do with Charleston? Well. Get your own blog. Anyway, I love the city. The conference is pretty good; I don’t know that I’m feeling the raptures I’ve heard from a couple of others, but, eh..that’s work. This post is about play. Wednesday night I took the time to stroll along King Street and all the shopping that: A) I cannot fit into the small suitcase I brought with me, and B) I cannot afford, and C) I drooled over anyway. Thursday I came across the market shops: Ok, these pictures aren’t great because I was so busy drooling over the overpriced handmade baskets and jewelry that I forgot to take pictures until I was leaving. Yes, I bought some jewelry. I also found a Harley Davidson store and grabbed an overpriced T-shirt for The Professor. I also found a street cart selling some kind of Caribbean jerk chicken on a stick that was absolutely delicious – the spices were crusted into the chicken and the whole thing was a crispy, spicy awesomeness that made me very thirsty. Luckily, there was a bar across the street and I popped in for a beer before I went back to work. Later in the afternoon, walking between two sessions of the conference, I had to cross Marion Park: And then after my last session for the day, I made it back to my hotel just in time for the beginning of the wine and cheese hour. I love this place. On Friday, I skipped an afternoon session and – after dropping by my hotel to leave off the laptop - I found a restaurant that's over the harbor. It seemed like a good place to get seafood, so I stopped in. Lunch: And the view from my table: I headed out from lunch - that was grilled amber jack with steamed green beans and red rice spiced with Andouille sausage - and had one of several places in mind to visit along Museum Mile. I ended up passing the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon five minutes before the next tour, so that's where I ended up. That's the Tour Guide in the Dungeon with the Tea. I still had 45 minutes to kill, so I moseyed back down the street that's just dripping with history... my hotel ... ...for a quick 20 minute lie-down before heading back to the conference. After the afternoon sessions, I went back to the market - one of the buildings has different vendors at night - and then stopped and found a great local beer and some Bruschetta Salmon for dinner. AWESOME. I never would have thought of bruschetta and salmon together, but it was great. Then I decided I didn't want to walk around the city after dark by myself. So I came back to the hotel, got some more free wine, and spent some quality time with the internets, which have greatly missed my presence this week. Now I'm just back from my last conference session, waiting for it to be time to wing my way back through the skies to The Professor, The Cats, and Life As I Know It.

Friday, November 07, 2008

More of the fun that I had on Wednesday

It was Wednesday night. I had survived the panic attack, I had re-met a lovely French lady (I don’t remember her name – is it bad that I call her Juliette in my mind? Complete with the pronunciation that Meg Ryan used in French Kiss? Because I totally think of her as JJhhuuliette); I got to my hotel with no incident, checked in and totally fell in love with my room – here’s why: This wing of 5 rooms has only been open for 10 days. Brand new, and I found out later that I was the first person to stay in mine. So, I lounge around for an hour looking at maps and restaurants online, chatting with my sister and watching TV– did I mention the free wifi? – and then head out to the conference reception where I find – blessed be! – free wine. I drink about a glass and a half and head back to the hotel on foot. My feet are killing me – I vow that the shoes I am wearing will never be on my feet again after I get to my room – and so I call the Bestest Friend to distract me for the 12 minute walk. It works (I developed a new mantra for her in her classroom: “The Children are the future and the volunteers are free” – say it, BFF!) and I arrive in my hotel ready for another glass of wine. Problem The First : My card key doesn’t work. No problem, they gave me 2! Problem The Second : It doesn’t work either. So I go back to the front desk – it is, of course, across the building - they cheerfully reprogram my keys and I head back. Problem The Third: They don’t work either. I stand in the hallway wondering if this is the kind of place that will mind if I run around in my socks and try to convince myself that someone with a master’s degree should really be able to open a hotel room all by herself. Unfortunately, the lock didn’t listen to me and I had to go back up front the lady working the desk. I want to say right now that this woman was incredibly nice, funny and just an all around great receptionist. I almost looked forward to going up front. Except…Have I mentioned my laptop was on the other side of that locked door? I was beginning the early stages of withdrawal. This time, she gave me some kind of master key that will open any door in the building. As I trekked back down the hallways – they were growing about a yard on each trip – I had fun imagining what was behind all the doors I passed, because some of them weren’t numbered. They could be ANYthing and I wondered if each one held the secret wine stash for the complimentary 5 o’clock cheese and wine fun that I had missed out on. Problem the Fourth: The master key did not work on my room. It did work on the unmarked door next to my room (it was a conference room, no wine in sight). So I begin walking back up front. Have I mentioned I’m lugging around a bag of conference materials which – since I am a librarian – is just full of publishers’ catalogs? This time, the lovely lady sends her assistant with me without pointing out that trained monkeys have fewer problems getting into hotel rooms. But… Guess what? His key doesn’t work either. The lock is completely malfunctioning. We begin our walk back up front. I’m terrified to look at my feet – I’m convinced that by now, they are oozing out of the seams on the sides of the shoes. But then something wonderful happens. Halfway between the desk and my room is the hospitality suite; we meet the angel from the front on our meanderings and she guides me in, seats me at a very comfy table, brings me the newspaper and asks would I like a glass of wine? Red or white? Do I need a cigarette? She has a Camel Light. I take the wine, refuse the cigarette and settle in to watch Brian Williams on NBC talk about President-Elect Obama, OMG I LOVE TYPING THOSE WORDS SO MUCH I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN. President-Elect Obama. Can you see my grin? Angel floats in the room 10 minutes later to refill my glass and let me know the repairman’s on his way and they would be more than happy to give me another suite to wait in, if that’s what I’d prefer. Later they would bring my stuff to my new room. At this point, I was more annoyed that she was talking over Mr Williams recap of PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S life (because we don’t all know the story by heart by now), but she had brought wine, so I just said no thanks and settled back in. 45 minutes later, the repairman – also an incredibly nice person – came and told me he had replaced my lock. He escorted me back to my room – he refilled my wine glass on the way and apologized profusely for the problems. He’s the one that renovated this wing, and he was horrified that the first person to stay in this room was having a problem. I found out he lived in Birmingham 20 years ago, and we chatted about Riverchase. I did NOT add him to my Christmas card list, but I liked him enough to almost ask his name before I realized I was on the slippery slope of making connections with random strangers all over the place and never remembering any of their names. I may have flirted a little, but I blame it on the wine and the fact that he was reconnecting me with my laptop which I hadn’t touched in TWO AND A HALF HOURS. I have to say that a hotel that cures all its problems with complimentary wine is a place that I will be happy to stay in the future.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Yankee Husband’s Bad Influence Has Made Me Suspicious Of Everyone

While I was sitting in the Atlanta airport finishing my last post and trying to forget that in another 45 minutes I’d be on yet another plane, I noticed a woman watching me. She was a little older than I am and she seemed to be alone. And she stared at me and her book for equal amounts of time during the 30 minutes that I typed. I had my back firmly against a wall and kept her in my peripheral sights as I did my thing. I’m not usually a paranoid person, but in large airports and strange cities I tend to be more aware. And when my dearest-darling-life-giving laptop is in my clutches, I’m like a mother with a premature baby in the middle of a crowd: convinced that every molecule approaching is the one that will bring an infection and yank the precious baby away. Where do I get my metaphors? Anyway, I kept her in my sights. She had a book, but she was only looking at it half the time. She stood up and walked in front of me once, and I waited to see where she would settle in a new seat so that I could discreetly get up a few minutes later and move in the opposite direction. Instead she walked away and then walked back. And sat down and kept glancing at me every few minutes. I started to tell myself that I was being paranoid – she’d never met my eyes as I glanced at her; maybe she was looking at someone else? Maybe there was a spider on the wall behind me, and she was waiting in case she needed to save my life? Maybe she was figment of my freaking-out imagination? I packed up my laptop and got in line to board the plane, and guess what? You’ll never guess. I wound up sitting behind the woman on the plane. I did meet her eyes as I passed her seat and she smiled at me, lowered her eyes and blushed. AHA! It could only mean one of two things: She had picked me out to commit some horrible act of violence upon or….she’s in love with me. Since it wouldn’t be the first time a woman has hit on me, and since I tend to go with the happier of two solutions, I silently voted for the love-factor. When she turned around in her seat to speak to me, I was still debating which was right. “You do not remember me, I don’t think?” An accent. She definitely had a French accent. The only person I “know” that is French is definitely male – and married to one of my best friends. IF he’d had a sex change operation, I would’ve heard about it. So, no, lovely yet strange French lady. I don’t know you. And now I’m chatting with a total stranger in a plane. Damn it, I have become my sister. “I think you were in France a few years ago?” she volunteered. Um. I was? Oh yeah! I was in Paris two and a half years ago. But…again, the only person I knew while I was in Paris is back in the Deep South, still male, and very still speaking sans accent. And I’m still chatting with her. Damn it, I don’t need another person to make cookies for. “You helped me. In the airport. My baby was sick on my blouse, and you picked up his toy and washed it for him? You remember?” Well, Holy Vomit Batman. Yes I do. She was walking into the bathroom in front of me in THE WORST AIRPORT EVER – Charles de Gaulle – and her very small baby chose that moment to lose his cookies all over her. She dropped his toy on the floor, and I picked it up and washed it for her and handed it to him on the changing table while she changed her shirt in the middle of the bathroom. We barely exchanged a word. I assume that I finished what I had gone into the bathroom to do – it was probably to remind myself that I still loved my husband, because I DO remember that we had a huge fight in the middle of Charles de Gaulle. So I ended up chatting with her for a few minutes (I did not ask for her address to send her a Christmas card – I may have become my sister, but I have not become my godmother. Yet.). I have no French beyond vous lez vous coche a vec moi, and I speak English entirely too fast, but she DOES speak English quite well. And right before she turned around to put her seatbelt on, I asked how in the world she recognized me – because I had looked her straight in the eyes and not known her at all. She smiled and said something to the effect that if I had had a small baby, and a total stranger helped me, I would remember too. “Also,” she smiled. “The eyes. You have very beautiful blue eyes and all that red hair. It’s a shame we are both married to men, no?” Well. I don’t know that it’s a shame – but I welcome compliments on my eyes from all comers. Moral of the story: Baby vomit creates international relationships.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Surviving the panic attack

I wrote this in the middle of a layover. I’m posting it unedited 6 hours later because…well, hell, because this is my blog and I CAN. Obviously, I survived. I’ve never been a lover of airplanes. They get me less and less efficiently from point A to point B on every trip, but for some destinations – say, Europe – they really are necessary since I don’t have the kind of vacation time it would require to cruise back and forth across the Atlantic. I’ve learned that I’m going to be nervous. That the first step on the plane is accompanied by the tightening of a tail that evolution still hasn’t convinced my body is unnecessary; the deep-lung-breath of air that holds me over til the next deep one comes when I set foot off the plane; the temporary hand-clutching that slowly eases as I make my way to my seat. It’s a ritual. I was raised Catholic – I’m good with rituals. Sit in the seat, open the book. Read merrily along through jostling, crying babies, The Stewardess Address, The Captain’s Welcome. When the plane actually begins to move, my eyes close, I say a prayer to the first saint that comes to mind, and then I concentrate on breathing and pretend to read until the plane is winging it’s way through the air that surely it was never meant to occupy. I’ve flown many times before. I’ve flown alone. I’ve flown with a large group. I’ve flown with just a few people. I’ve flown through turbulence so bad that 20 people I knew personally were throwing up in their bags. I’ve sat next to a pregnant woman who had a seizure and threw up on me, causing my own gag reflex to rear its head. I’ve flown across the ocean a few times and I’ve flown around the US. I’ve spent hours watching movies, sleeping, reading, talking, eavesdropping. So why in the name of all that is holy did I have a freaking panic attack this morning as the wheels left the ground? I broke out in a cold sweat. I clenched my hand so hard that I still have indentations in my hand. I took deep breaths and got scared looks from the woman next to me. 50 minutes later, when the plane landed in Atlanta, I felt a relief on the level that I felt last night when I realized My Guy won. Where the hell did that come from? And how am I supposed to get on a plane in another 80 minutes? Funny thing - the second half of the trip? No big deal. I dozed, I read. What the heck was that about?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This is what ELATED looks like

Election Day. I'm Scared. Hold Me.

I voted - there was almost no line at 2 PM. My hand was shaking. Have I mentioned I'm terrified? I'm supposed to be packing for my conference. I need to triple check my travel orders and reservations. I need to make those stuffed mushrooms for the election party tonight. I need to clean the litterbox, take out the trash, put the recyleables in my car, charge all my batteries... But I'm glued to the TV - and they're NOT REPORTING anything yet since, ya know, there's like a half a day left til this thing's over. Please, dear God, Zeus, Flying Spaghetti Monster - Anyone Who Will Help - let this be over today, in whatever time zone that today ends. Please don't make me get on a plane tomorrow while there's still 24/7 discussion about who might win because no one knows that I'll miss out on. I'm beginning to think the Taco Bell I had for lunch was a bad idea.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Look! Cat Pictures!

Because they are so much more soothing than watching the news.

Well, there goes my self control

I can't keep it in anymore. I have to spew it somewhere and The Professor has taken to answering me with grunts and silent nods. Next thing I know he'll be stuffing his ears with cotton that I won't notice due to the fact that I haven't actually looked at his face in days. Why? Because his face doesn't reveal the latest shimmer of motion in the polls, or tell me the latest stupid thing some campaign person has said, or give me some slight glimmer of what 50.1 percent of the voters in this country might do. I wake up to the morning show on the cable news station with at least 3 people talking. I turn on NPR as soon as my body is in my car. Due to the wonders of a program called VBrick, I check in with various news sources on my PC all day. Another hour of NPR on the way home...and I arrive home just in time for the evening rounds. Obviously, someone needs to stage an intervention. Just give me a few more days. Being Another Bright Blue Dot in a Really Red State - and a state (like 48 others) that doesn't divide its electoral votes proportionally - I always have this Shadow in my head when it's time to vote. The shadow asks "Why bother?". - my first online stop in the morning these days - tells me that the other guy is currently ahead 61%-36%. And since the popular vote means next to nothing in this country...why am I doing it? It is just a Shadow, though, and I beat The Shadow down with a stern lecture on rights, responsibilities and patriotism that I won't go into, because you would probably barf all over your computer monitor. And no one wants to see that. I'm excited this year. I'm terrified. Frustrated, too - My Guy's not perfect. But he's a damn sight better than Mr My Friends. Oh! Speaking of him...go check this out - I endorse its message 1000%. I'm also so incredibly hopeful that this time, My Side won't screw things up. And every time I dare to think those words, my heart seizes up - Oh NO! I Just jinxed the entire election with the awesome and terrifying power of thinking that the best might happen! I want Tuesday to be NOW. This very second. This election has been going on for 2 years and I'm sick of it. I want Tuesday to be 6 months from now because I'm not ready to deal with the disappointment if we lose again. I want to fast forward to Wednesday morning so that I know if it's worth staying up all night watching election returns when I have a plane to catch at 9:30 AM. I want it to be the moment that we win RIGHT NOW. I want John McCain - and most especially, Sarah Palin - to disappear. I want to never hear their names again, and I want that to happen because enough people realized that they're loony in the head and that they should be put out to pasture. A very large pasture. Not in an evil or vindictive way, but in the way that you don't allow mentally disturbed people alone unsupervised with your three month old and a butcher knife. The world needs to be sheltered from them. Ok, I have to go put on a costume and party with a bunch of does my blog-friend Karen put it? Oh yeah, a bunch of "tree-hugging bleeding-heart liberal pinko commie Massachusetts Alabama Democrat{s}". So, to leave you with a happy note, I have a present for you: This video has been linked all over the internets this week - and here's a warning: Get Tissues. Many of them. You're welcome.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Keep my brain from exploding in a rainbow of political ramblings...

Here's the obligatory post of the cats getting their annual dose of the first fire of the season. I got the camera in hand before we turned it on, and - Honestly - this was 90 seconds after the fireplace was turned on for the first time this year: What are they getting from the fumes that I'm not? Jealous? Absolutely.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playing Chicken with the Birds

There are 3 birds outside, chasing each other and doing who-knows-what other kind of birdly activities in my bushes. All Lucius and Sultan know is this: if they combine the terrifying power of their direct, compelling and oddly supernatural stares, they will surely lure the birds through the glass and into their waiting clutches.

Friday, September 26, 2008

He'd be embarrassed, but..

I am so proud right now. Of my nephew. Watching the debate, my sis and I were on direct link via Google Chat (And, I daresay, a scary psychic link). And she told me at the beginning that my nephew, M, was watching with her. Now, M is 14. How many 14 year olds watched the debate tonight? But every now and then, my sis told me a comment that M had made. After it was over, he had a few more. More importantly - he watched the whole thing. And had opinions. Regardless of his politics, I am incredibly glad that my 14 year old nephew cares enough to watch one and a half hours of political discourse when he could be playing online, or reading one of his books, or doing one of a million other things. I know adults that don't care that much. I'm proud of him. I know he's involved in an organization at school - completely on his own, my sis wouldn't push him into something like that - and I'm so glad that he cares. That says a lot about the person he is, and the person he will become. About the kind of parents my sister and brother-in-law are. In short, I'm proud (have you gotten that fact yet? Well, I just watched a debate where they repeated things). And I've had enough to drink during the presidential grandstanding (I had to - "I have a bracelet too" - we're in a jewelry war?) to share that with the world at large. It's enough to make me think that the future won't be so bad.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The benefit to still having acne at age 30:

When you walk in the door to your house with your arms full, and a cat-who-shall-remain-nameless (LUCIUS, I WILL NEVER LET YOU GO, STOP TRYING!) makes an escape attempt through your legs, causing you to land flat on your face on the carpet at 80 mph, causing, in turn, a large rug burn right under your nose and a smaller one on your chin that actually get bloodier and more painful 36 hours after they happened ……People will assume it’s just another massive zit gone bad. Or that your husband belted you one. I guess it speaks well of The Professor that everyone assumes I’ve had a facial eruption. PS: Said not-so-unnamed cat stopped an inch outside of the door, sat down and looked at me. When I stood up, he made a beeline back in the house and went to his food bowl. I will never understand why he needs to go out so badly, when every time he makes it free from my tyranny, he immediately heads back inside. Life's about the journey, Deborah, not the destination... PPS: My arms were not full of my laptop at the time, so the only thing you need to worry about is my face, if you feel so inclined.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is why I don't watch a whole lot of TV:

Because I have to deal with stupid commercials. We now live in a world where the response to the following is not a bewildered "that doesn't even make sense", but a laugh and "That probably could happen." Because you know, kittens on a credit card - like toothpaste in a carry-on - are obvious signs that you're a security risk. Besides the fact that this is completely counter to American ideals while calling itself "American Express", it points out just how much we've been conditioned to think like that. We all know who I blame. And now I'm going to end this rant and go read some nice historical romance to get me back to my happy place.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Big Sisters always have all the fun

And it now Appears I'm live-blogging in pictures at the end of this post. My big sis is at an Obama event today, where she'll be one of thousands that get to hear him. Living as I do in a state that has no chance of throwing any electoral votes his way, I'm going to live vicariously through her today and try not to acknowledge the fact that I'm jealous. Oh wait. I guess I just acknowledged it. Update: They closed the gates in front of her once, but then reopened them - the city was expecting 20,000 in a park that is estimated to only hold 10,000 people. A little later: Ohh! She's emailing me pictures! Here's one of the crowd: And here's one of a plane with a banner that my old eyes can't read: A few minutes later, and the crowd does the wave: Prayers are now over, dignitaries speaking...but no one came to hear any of them! Well, unless their mother is there. updates in 23 minutes means either A) my niece is not happy about the outing, or B) My sis is too busy listening to update me. Hmmph. Doesn't she care about my needs? Hmm...Still no Obama. I wonder if she's reading my blog on her shiny flashy techy iPhone - she sent that last update about 2 minutes after I complained about the lack of info. And finally! We have visual confirmation!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

To make you all hungry

I'm working on a couple of new posts for that cooking blog of mine, one of which is the latest recipe in our Julia Child cookbook review. My sister, ever the impatient one, asked - nay demanded! - pictures. Because I am the model of perfection in younger siblings, I am obliging. She may be sorry she asked. The dish: Roast Chicken Steeped with Port Wine, Cream and Mushrooms (from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1") served with Mushroom and Thyme Risotto Step One: Roast a chicken. Here's the bird, in all of it's shrink-wrapped glory: Here's the bird, halfway through roasting, in the oven, mostly dead: Here's the roasted bird, assuredly dead and thoroughly cooked, on my new pretty platter: Step Two: Start the risotto. Here's the rice in one of the first baths of chicken broth: Here's the chicken broth of which I am especially proud, since I just made a fresh batch this week: And now, because I am thrifty, I chopped up the mushroom stems and slowly...ohhh..sooo...sllloowwly...sauteed them in a little buttery thyme and white wine: Here's the rice towards the second half of the process, with a shot of the merrily simmering broth. Ahh, you two really are the perfect couple! Step Three: Time to pour the first glass of wine and start putting it all together. First of all, it's time to start those port-y mushrooms for the bird! Ok, I missed the shot of the port-y mushrooms doing their thing in the half-and-half. So now we're on to the Pièce de résistance - flaming the hacked-apart bird in cognac: Oh god, you see way too much of my dirty counters there. In case you're scared, that's The Professor's hairy arm doing the flaming honors. Flaming honors? He's gonna love that one. Then we add the porty-creamy-mushrooms to the pan: And then - thank Julia - we dine on one porty, creamy, mushroomy, slighly-cognacy roasted chicken! In all modesty, this is one of the best roast birds I have ever put together. The mushrooms were awesome, the chicken was tender...maybe Julia knew what she was doing?

Communication. It's the Key.

The Professor, looking at the calendar: So in the last 6 weeks of the year, I have your birthday, our anniversary and Christmas. Me: Yep. It's a good time of year to be me. TP: So what do you want me to buy you? Me: Surprise me! I love surprises! TP: Okkkaayyy....{thinks for another minute}. What should I surprise you with?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving...

I've read this blog post about 3 times today. The interesting part, to me, starts at about the 4th paragraph:
Over the next 100,000 years, the odds of humanity surviving are probably 50 percent, though species that evolve from us could last longer. The odds of us surviving the next hundred million years are roughly nil. Earth itself will become inhospitable for human life within the next 250 million years, certainly by the time the continents come back together into Pangea Ultima, and it will be inhospitable for all life within the next billion years.
And once again, I'm brought back to how incredibly apropos Monty Python is in yet another moment of life:
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding In all of the directions it can whizz As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know, Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is. So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure, How amazingly unlikely is your birth, And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rock Me, Amadeus*

Our TV decided to quit working this week. Yes, that TV. After a weekend with 5-6 people in the house at all times - two of which were teenagers, who carry their own special brand of Hell with them at all times - it was supposed to be a relief to go to work Monday morning. Granted, it would be the relief of going to the pool when it's 100 degrees outside, only to discover that the water temperature is 85. But still, a little relief can go a long way. Except that the IT people on base chose last weekend to upgrade all of the computers from Office 2003 to 2007. Cue: The Panic Music. Four of the five people in my department needed me to sit with them and teach them how to use Microsoft Word all over again. I tried explaining that a lot of the shortcut keys still work (Ctrl-S still saves; Ctrl-P still prints. What else do they really need?). I got blank looks. Apparently, these are some of the best kept secrets in the Microsoft kingdom? To make things even more fun, three of the nine computers in my department didn't get updated - which means that two people couldn't even open Outlook to read the email telling them they had been upgraded. Is that irony at work? I spent the entire ride home contemplating which bottle of wine to open first. Then I walked in the door and The Professor told me the TV was broken. Needless to say, there has been much reading in the past 72 hours - both on my previous TV and the one that we bought last night. I could write an epic on the diferences between the two (it would basically dwell on what a piece of crap our last TV was), but we'll just leave it at: yay for shiny new toys in the living room! And so, today I took the day off of work. I wandered into the living room around 7 AM - about the time The Professor was leaving for work - and discovered that not only was Amadeus just starting on OVTV ("Youth Culture TV" does not equal Amadeus in my book, but what do I know about youth culture?), but also - ALSO - my wonderful husband had made me a pot of coffee. It's like God stepped into my life and saw what I needed. *I just watched Amadeus a month or so ago, and sent my Nashville girls an email the next day asking why the movie makes the song "Rock Me, Amadeus" get stuck in my head, when there could hardly be two musical genres so far apart. It's happening again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In Which I Fall Behind on Life

The past couple of weeks at work have been a blur. In fact, all of June was just insane and the craziness slid into July. I'm still learning my way around my job, which is frustrating because it's been 3 months and it's NEVER taken me this long to get the hang of something. I can order the books and make the spreadsheets like I was born with my brain fully integrated with my PC. Wrapping that brain around how the government (supposedly) pays our vendors - you know, the ones who haven't been paid lately? - and keeping personnel files that have SIX distinct sections APIECE is putting more than a crimp in my daily nerd-fest. The 4 day course in "how to be a good supervisor" and the two week vacation may have contributed to the in-boxes - both virtual and real - that I can't seem to empty. Aha! This is why people have complained about paperwork since some idiotic bureaucrat invented the concept. I bet he did it to get back at his boss.

Friday, July 04, 2008

No More Birds. Unless They're Plucked and Deep Fried. Oh, and Happy Independence Day!

The Bird Experience did not end well for anyone. I would go into details, but that would make me remember the funky smell that hung around my front stoop (Does anyone say "front stoop" anymore?), and honestly, I'd kinda like to forget that. So here's the nutshell version: Ernestina needs to work on her mothering because 2 of her babies dove headfirst onto my concrete stoop when they were about 2 days old. The third baby died in the nest, hence the smell. Ernestina and partner left and didn't look back. So it's the Fourth of July - a day that we are all thankful for, because we get paid to stay home from work and put everything in our refrigerator on the grill and drink Coronas. Well, I'm getting paid for today. Thank you America! But seriously, I have to hold myself back from going all "I heart America" every year. I have one small flag, but The Professor feels that even that is a little tacky, so I can't hang it out front. I currently have it tucked between the pictures of Dead People On Our Walls - Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, which I find just hilarious. If you want some good music, hop on over to and listen to their live stream. It's 9:30, and they're playing some awesome music - of course, it''s an "America" themed show, but it's a look back at all different types of "American" Music. At the moment, they're doing some awesome stuff from the Cincinnati Pops. I'm sure they'll end with the usual "God Bless America" suspects later. If I'm lucky, The Bestest Friend will be here to make fun of me for getting goosebumps. Update: This radio show is awesome. They started with some sing-along stuff from a concert, moved on to some spirituals, played a TWENTY MINUTE medley of songs from Oklahoma! and have now moved onto some Gershwin stuff. It's a good day.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


That one day the front page of Google News will look like this. Title and link shamelessly stolen from Karen.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Meet Ernestina

As the husband and I were literally walking out the door for our vacation a couple of weeks ago, I happened to glance up just outside the door -and spied a birds nest underneath the overhang off our front door. That explained the fact that a bird had been swooping around for the past few days every time I opened the door. And since we were leaving on our Great Canadian Adventure, I did nothing about it. This is what I found Saturday morning: And this morning, I opened the door very slowly and peaked out my head, and the little bird that's been swooping around just sat on her throne and looked at me while I snapped a picture. Meet Ernestina: If I move the nest, the little bird might abandon her eggs, so there they all stay. I can't help but think she might get a wee more annoyed when the eggs hatch and I have three pooping baby birds up there. I assume you noticed the brown streak behind the nest? I'm going to try to convince The Professor that we'll need to use the back door when the babies are born so the poor mother doesn't have a heart attack. Because I refuse to regurgitate worms for the little babies just so they don't starve.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I < heart > the California Supreme Court

So I'm a day late. Sue me. I watched this, and I'm not ashamed to admit - when she cried, I cried. And when she said "we're getting married", it reminded me how I felt when I said the same words in wonder four years ago. Thank you to the four members of the California Supreme Court who won this. To the other three...I'm too much of a lady to say what I think. But I'm thinking it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Random Thoughts After Too Much Wine

Alternate Post Title: Blogs are a good place to post random thoughts It's a great night for sitting outside. A storm blew through here earlier, taking the humidity with it. For the next 6 months, storms will only increase the humidity. So I'm sitting outside to take advantage of the cool (66 degree)weather. When suddenly, about 27 minutes ago, I heard lots of screaming. It was a kid In Distress. This is Highly Unusual in my neighborhood. We are a quiet bunch. Then the pounding started. It was the sound of metal on metal, but it was so loud! I peeked through the slats in our fence - right about the time the pounding stopped - to look into the yards of our neighbors and saw nothing. I sat back down, took a sip of wine. And the pounding started again. Repeat above about 3 times. Then, I smelled a grill fired up. I love the smell of grills. So I went inside and asked The Professor about it. He hadn't heard anything, and - knowing me oh-so-well - simply refilled my wine glass and sent me on my way. And as I went back outside he said "I wonder if some one's trying to hide a body?". WHAT? How do you get from "excessive pounding noises and a grill smell" to "hiding a body" in 45 seconds? I blame it on the fact that he's a Yankee. I don't know if you've noticed, but those Yankees are some suspicious folks. On a completely unrelated topic: Stepson is at the prom. THE PROM. Now, I didn't go to either of my proms. So I can't speak with certainty about what happens at one of these shin-digs. And there's a 99% chance that I won't ever know what happens at Stepson's. But still. He's at the prom. With a GIRL YOUNG LADY. Remember when he went to his first Homecoming Dance? And The Professor and I had to drive him to the restaurant, and I took pictures and probably embarrassed the ever-loving heck out of him? (Stepson, not The Professor). In 12 months he'll be finished with high school. I need more wine.

Spring Time in Alabama

Why hello, Mr-Eighty-Four-Percent-Humidity-At-Nine-AM. So glad you're back. Any chance of all those water molecules you're holding in suspension being let loose for my tomato plants? No? At least you brought me these too look at:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Travelling. And also: I'm a dumbass.

Last week, The Professor and I went on a traveling adventure. I had to go to DC for a conference, so after much paperwork, I convinced the government that I wasn't going to waste a bunch of government funds that could be spent in a better manner, and got to stop and spend time with family on the trip. So, how am I an idiot? My aunt - no, the OTHER aunt - took The Professor and I to Monticello. And after we arrived, paid for tickets (scrounging for cash when their credit card system crashed), took the shuttle up to the house, and then walked out to the gardens, I saw one of the most incredible views in all of Virginia. It was gorgeous. We were on the side of the mountain, in the middle of a beautiful garden, looking out at a view that has to be seen to be believed. Me, being me, whipped out my handy dandy digital camera and snapped the first picture. I love my camera. It's AWESOME (Thank you BestFriend!). And I got something to this effect: "Error! Memory card unavailable. Idiot." Yes, dear readers, I had left the memory card, that so handily slides right into a slot on my laptop, INSIDE said slot on said laptop. So, I slipped the camera inside my purse and decided that at least I'll have the memory of Monticello. With an awesome aunt, and an awesome husband, and an awesome day. That was made even more awesome by the decision to skip lunch in favor of sampling some wine at a local winery. Also? The memory that I am an idiot.
Washington DC
So, click on the picture and you'll see the pictures that I miraculously remembered to take. Although right now I'm not happy with Google for not importing all the picture titles that I created when it imported the pictures. Flickr, you will always have my love. Even if you don't currently have my money. Update: Picasa Web Albums also - apparently - doesn't keep pictures in chronological order when it uploads them. It seems to put them in alphabetical order, which is interesting since they don't upload the titles at all. Google, you are SOOO letting me down here.