Sunday, May 31, 2009

I also moonlinght as a tour guide

In case you've spent 2 days wondering - the veggies all got cooked, the food all got eaten and we still don't have an empty beer fridge, but that's a result I can learn to live with. The damn gas on the grill gave out when the chicken was just this side of being safe to eat. Luckily, there was plenty of heat left and I just closed the top and drank a beer while I waited. Then I temped them all with my meat thermometer, and then - because I'm paranoid someone will croak one day as a result of my cooking and tarnish my perfect track record of not killing people - I cut them all open with a knife. Today, we got to play tour guide to the soon-to-be Alabamians. And did I mention they're coming from California? They have so much to look forward to. The Big City up the road really has some good stuff in it, if you ignore all the bad/crazy stuff (I'm looking at YOU Mr. Mayor!). We took them to an Indian restaurant for lunch, as it's one of The Professor's most favoritest places to eat when up in The Big City and our little corner of this county is not quite ready for that much culture exposure. They've given into Mexican, and someone was brave enough this year to put in a Japanese place with "Sushi" proudly proclaimed on its sign. The Indian subcontinent may have to wait awhile longer. We took them up the city park that has the public library, museum of art, city hall and county courthouse around it. It would have been a lovely stroll - except every fountain and reflecting pool was empty and being painted. There was so much fresh paint that the scent of paint hung over the park like a cloud. Everywhere we turned (it's a small park, but still) we smelled it. And Mrs Pregnant California had her first experience of not understanding a word out of a Southerner's mouth when one lady asked her when the baby's due. I told her to mark that one off of her Southern Bingo Card and see what happens next. It didn't take long. Next up was a trip to an antebellum home right in The Big City that survived the Big War (and I hope you know which war that is). Quite a beautiful house and the grounds were lovely, even if it is in a kinda bad area of town.
Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens
The Californians really liked the look of the huge Magnolia trees growing around the property - some were absolutely huge. I simply love Magnolia flowers, but The Professor doesn't like the vast amounts of leavings these trees drape around your property, so we won't be getting one.
Sugar Magnolia, blossoms bloomin'*
*yes, I know it's not really called a Sugar Magnolia, but that's what the song says.
Ok remember the Southern Bingo Card? After the pretty house and trees, we set out through the city to visit the most famous landmark of all, but before we got there we passed a gas station with a sign that our guests took to mean "Welcome to Alabama". And they weren't far from the truth:
Are you hungry yet?
I'm glad there wasn't any traffic behind us at that red light, because we all wanted pictures of that sign. And now it's saved for posterity and I feel I've done my good deed for humanity for the day. After that, it was on to Vulcan park, which I hadn't visited since...well, since I was very small. And I haven't been very small in a while, so it's been a while. Vulcan, God of the Forge, called us to visit his mighty throne:
Hail, Vulcan!
The best thing about going up to see Vulcan (besides the naked iron butt cheeks, I mean) is the view of the city: After that, we visited another Professor with views of the city even more impressive than Vulcan, stopped for smoothies, tooled around the part of town that they're actually going to be living in, and generally had a good time. Here's to hoping there's one less person (or two) frightened of our fair state. More pictures of the day at my Flickr Photostream:

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm fine today, thanks

This is what I have looking at me: In a matter of a few hours it will turn into a double batch of couscous tabbouleh, a pile o' guacamole, and a big heapling pile of coconut curry veggies. Then it's just a matter of cooking some basmati rice, grilling up the chicken and cracking open a beer or 4. Although one of the guests of honor is pregnant, so if she's the only one not drinking, I'll switch that beer to Sprite Zero. And if The Professor happens to splash some bourbon in it while I'm not looking, well...I'll just have to drink it. Thriftiness, you know. Also? Look at what The Bestest Friend and I found for over my fire place: The living room is freaking incredible. A new floor and a day spent hanging things on the walls and I'll be good. The Professor may need therapy, but what else is new?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me

When you begin your day by walking into work and hearing your boss say Im not in a good mood, but we need to talk, its pretty much a sign that this is not going to be a Hey, youre so awesome that you get a raise speech.*

When you end your day with an employee who needs to talk because she feels shes doing too much work thats beneath her pay grade, wellwell just call it end caps.

Coming home to discover that The Professor isnt exactly speaking to anyone (hes in Deep Thinker, No Talker mode, which he does when a decision must be made) made me feel less guilty for not offering to share the bottle of red that I dove into began appreciating shortly thereafter.

Tomorrow, Im off work. Its the Professors birthday. Were supposed to have an abundance of sunshine and I have a cookout for 10 in my backyard at 4:30. There will be grilled chicken, and damn it, THERE WILL BE FUN. And I will have some of both.

*I am awesome, but I didnt get a raise. And I wasnt the one who goofed. This time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Very Merry Month of May

I can say unequivocally that there has been almost no strolling through the park this month. I'm not sure what stars aligned to make this month insane, but it's been quite fun. If exhausting. First, the parents came and spent some quality time in Alabama. Believe it or not, "quality time" and "Alabama" *can* exist in the same sentence with no irony present. It was fun. As usual, we ate too much. And laughed almost enough. And The Professor discovered a grocery store that carries 8 separate varieties of Sam Adams beer (which is unusual for Alabama). Four days after they left, it was time for The Professor's Half Century Party. It was a few weeks early, but those pesky Academic types...they don't stick around much past graduation day. So we had the party *on* graduation day, to make sure they didn't have much of an excuse to skip out on our backyard. 1 backyard + 20 people = I don't know how many hot dogs and Bratwurst we went through (oh! Surprise of the year: I like Bratwurst now!), but somehow we ended up with more beer than we started with. I didn't question that, especially since I had more fun already planned. Five days after the party, it was time to head to Atlanta for a conference. Yes! Another library conference! You had no idea life could get this much fun. Even better - hold onto your knickers - my favorite session was by a librarian that had Improved Work Flows Between Acquisition And Cataloging (Not the actual title) that got me all fired up about how I could, um...improve workflows. No, I was not drunk. Even better, my rental car got triple upgraded again to a Pontiac G6 GT - seen here - and it was quite a sweet upgrade. The very night I got home, indeed, within hours, The Bestest Friend arrived and The Original Redhead drove in from A Little Ways Up North to help me empty, tape up, paint and re-arrange the living room. We completed it all in less than 24 hours, at which time we made a major dent in the Beer Collection. Here are the remnants after 2 weekends of partying: I told you there was a ton of beer left after that first party! People brought their own, drank our Coronas and then left their offerings. I should party more often. Anyway, we accomplished this before we imbibed much beer: It looks about 3 times as yellow as it actually is because of my flash, but I've never professed to be a good photographer. Somehow, even my white fan looks yellow in that picture. The room's still a work in progress, so...Moving on. Sidenote that will screw up the timeline of this post: A little later in the week, The Professor was overseeing the Satellite Guy installing a new outlet. Whilst up in the attic, he must have gotten bored, because when I got home, this is what I found in the spare bedroom: He stepped through the ceiling, but didn't get hurt so let's not dwell on this part. Last Sunday, after the friends departed, we took the Beloved Stepson out for his 18th birthday (*gulp*). And let's not get into that scariness, because... This weekend has been taken up with his graduation. From High School. As in, he's now 18 and going to college and has a pocketful of gift money and a huge party on a lake tonight with all his friends and his girlfriend and Oh. My. God. He looks so grown up. Fly little bird, fly. Well, if "little bird" means "one who is now 5 inches taller than I am". And it does. So I have a few days to rest, and then it's time for another party to welcome a new faculty member to The Professor's department. We've cut the number down to 10 this time, and the damn rain needs to just give me a few hours on Friday evening of niceness, since my house can't hold 10. Tonight? Tonight The Professor and I bought a nice bottle of wine. I think we're mostly celebrating. But there might also be a little of "Hey, let's look at our wedding album so we can say for the 8,123th time how much The Beloved StepSon has grown, and oh hey! Remember when he wanted to go on a day trip to Prague?"

Friday, May 01, 2009

Maybe I’ve been repressing the best parts of myself

It’s a Friday morning. Friday morning’s are the mornings least likely to need some form of caffeine to get me through it, because just thinking about the weekend gets me high. Who needs crack when there’s a Saturday around the corner? Maybe we could make every other day a Saturday and then no one would need crack anymore?

So I walk into work, humming a merry little tune. It’s a been a good week with the parents in town. Work is boring, but that’s ok. It’s given me time to think up creative new ways to make The Professor’s head explode. I may start cataloging them soon.

And so I do my morning routine. I really hadn’t noticed I was humming, but then…that’s kind of the point of humming, isn’t it?

And so one of the ladies asks “That sounds kind of familiar, what are you humming?”

I had to stop and think for a second before I told her “Good Morning Starshine”.

The look she gave me was more than blank. It was as if she were still waiting for me to respond. So I said it again, as a kind of question. “Good Morning Starshine?”

Still with that look, so I started singing “Good Morning Starshine….the earth says helloooo…”, hoping to get a reaction. Still nothing from her. And then, because I’m full of goofy Friday-ness, I keep singing: “You twinkle above us…we twinkle below…”. By now, I have an audience.

“Did she just say ‘Starshine’?” a lady that is a little … religiously conservative … whispered. “Is she one of those earth-types and I never knew it?”.

I rolled my eyes and before I could reply, another librarian laughed and said “No, she just sounds like a hippie 30 years out of date.” She totally meant that in a good way. And then she walked back to her desk whistling “Age of Aquarius”.

It’s a Revolution, I tell ya.