Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Leavin' on a jet plane ...

I'll be in Oklahoma tomorrow afternoon. In the hours before that, I will be running around like crazy, trying to accomplish all the crap I should have done in the last few weeks. Joy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bunnies & waffles!

We officially have a social life. For 4 weekends in a row, Tim and I saw people. We had them to our place or went to their place or went out someplace else. Amazing!

Saturday night, we visited Kevin & Shawna's place (They own bunnies!). Jennifer and Kyle and Mark (the only other F1 fan in the area) came over, too. Jennifer and Kyle had just left a bell choir concert. T'would seem that the local bell choir kicks some serious ass! They do the traditional Xmas songs, of course, but apparently they do an amazing rendition of "Rock You Like a Hurricane"! Oh, how I wish we'd known about that concert. Maybe next year.

And did I mention the bunnies? Yay! Anyway, Mark and Jennifer had not had the pleasure of playing on the Wii yet, so we played doubles tennis, as well as bowling & golf. And we drank a bit and shared the fact that "Fergilicious" is following us all over the place and there seems to be no escaping that damn song!!! And after dinner we played Texas Hold'Em and I did sooooooo well. I took risks I wouldn't have taken a year ago & won oodles of chips! Guess all those hours watching poker with Tim is soaking in, afterall. And I got to pet the bunnies, too.

But I gotta confess; bunnies are kinda ... creepy. I mean, they seem really sweet and fluffy and the hopping is adorable, of course. But they make no facial expressions whatsoever. They just STARE. And STARE. They even sleep with their eyes wide open sometimes. How can you tell when they're happy? Or annoyed? Or even tired? That's not right. At least we all had a great time and agreed that we have to get together again after Xmas.

And then there was Sunday!

Remember Thanksgiving? When Tim and I went over to eat with "Tes" and about 2 dozen of her loved ones? That's when we met her best friend, Meryl. Meryl gave me a call last week & said, "Let's get together!" but she's still recovering from a surgery she had a month ago, so we decided to have a girly brunch-&-a-movie thingy at her house. We ate waffles & apple cinnamon muffins & tea & chocolate. We talked a loooooot; we've had some eerily similar health issues (that I won't get into here) & it was amazing to talk to someone who really really understands some of the things I've been through.

We eventually watched "Memoirs of a Geisha", which is basicly a chick flick dressed up to look like an artsy movie. It's got love-at-first-sight, a make-over montage, a wacky "This isn't what it looks like!" scene ... the whole bit. It's very pretty to look at, too, but the story is VERY chick flick. Just so ya know.

Since Meryl still cannot lift anything over 5 pounds, I whipped up a little dinner for her while she drifted off into a Xanax-induced cloud. She has another MRI scheduled for after Xmas. Fingers crossed that she gets to return to work soon. Staying at home is driving her insane!

Getting out and being social is good. It's making me feel less anxious about living here for a while. But ya know, it still isn't as good as hanging out with my old peeps. I love you guys!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back to our usual diversions

How can it be Saturday already? It doesn't feel like Saturday to me. It feels more like ... oh, I don't know ... Thursday. Maybe Friday. But since Tim is home and puttering about the house, it must be Saturday. Which means it has officially been more than a week since I visited the local yarn store.

Yes, that's right. Yarn. I know that I said that I was switching over to cooking as a hobby, but all that talk made me feel nostalgic for the feeling of sitting on the couch with my latest project sprawled across my lap.

So I stopped by the new yarn store & met the owner & had a nice chat with her. I told her I was thinking about making a light shawl for my mother-in-law. She brought over a huge book, opened it up to a random page and suddenly my mind was flooded with memories. The first picture was an undeniable image of the Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge (see left). There were photos of Kings College and the Clare Bridge (see right) that I crossed every day on my way to meals. It was a wonderful journey down memory lane.

And luckily, the patterns also featured on these pages are GORGEOUS. The book is titled "Victorian Lace Today". Kris, if you are reading this, please take my advice and hunt down this book. The photos from it on the internet do not do it justice. Beautiful things. Tons of inspiration. I think I may have to pick up the needles again.

In other hobby news, last night Tim had a dream. He dreamed up a variation of Double-12 Dominoes that involves playing the game with poker chips. He described the basic rules to me & we've been discussing the variations in game play & score keeping. I imagine we'll test it on the family at Christmas. They're good guinea pigs for this sort of thing (even though my brother Mike can get a bit emotional about the results sometimes). If only there was a way that Tim could profit from these games he invents! I'm afraid there's little hope for that, though. Afterall, whatever happened to the guy who invented No Limit Texas Hold 'Em? Has his idea earned him anything more than bragging rights?

I must say, though. It's kinda comforting knowing that he's back to his ol' game designs. Gives him that charming air of a wacky scientist.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Snippets o' Conversation

Here are some things said to me during recent phone converations.

Derek: I think I'm getting my first period.

Mom: Oh dear. Maybe I should have included instructions with the marshmallows.

George: They should put signs on each individual Christmas light saying, "This light is not funded by the City of Seattle".

Meryl: It's Thanksgiving and I'm wearing a freakin' neck brace, but my mother is accusing me of being an abusive child.

Leazle: I just drove past the Liberace Museum. Holy crap, how did people NOT know he was gay?!?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas List

My family has been asking me for my Christmas list. Since I am spoiled rotten, it was hard for me to come up with things, but I beat my head against the arm of the couch for a while & came up with these gems. I've sent the list to my family via e-mail, but hey! Why not make a blog entry that details my desires, too?! What better way to peak into a person's mind than to see what they want for Xmas? The following is the entire e-mail.

Sadly, I forgot to add mint M&Ms to the list. Drat!


Here are some ideas for me for Christmas! I would also be fine with gift certificates or a hair cut or interesting books I've never heard of or just love and understanding. I honestly can't think of much that I need! But I racked my brain for you & came up with these.

"Moulin Rouge" box set (complete with all the extras, please!)
"My Neighbor Totoro" 2-Disc set (NOT the full-screen edition)
"Waiting for Guffman"
"Beauty & the Beast" Platinum edition box set (This is the one with all the special extras, but I don't think it's available in stores anymore. You might find it on Amazon, though).

Scissor Sisters - "Ta Dah" (But if you can't find that, their first CD "Scissor Sisters" would be nice, too)
Regina Spektor - "Begin To Hope" (I'd like the one in the YELLOW box, please. It has an additional disc of songs.)
Soundtrack to the "Josie & the Pussycats" movie (No, I am not kidding. The movie would be good, too, but I want the CD more)
Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer - (Actually, anything by this band would be nice. They're hard to find.)

"I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris
"The Everlasting Story of Nory" by Nicholson Baker

Magazine Subscriptions
The Sun (No, not the gossip rag! www.thesunmagazine.org )
Cooks Illustrated ( www.cooksillustrated.com )
Cabinet ( www.cabinetmagazine.org )

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Company Holiday Party

Last night was the big holiday party for Tim's workplace. And right on schedule, I felt severely nauseated about 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave. Silly psychosomatic blahbiddyblah. Not to worry, though. I managed to pull myself together & we only left 20 minutes late. And since the first hour of the party was just a cocktail hour thingy, that means we didn't really miss anything.

[Speaking of Scooby-Do, some guy on Antiques Roadshow just said "Purple is the color of morning." But he may have meant "mourning". But neither of those versions of the statement makes sense to me. Granted, this is the UK version of the show and you know how crazy those English chaps can be.]

Anywho. So we got there & Kevin & Shawna were there & waiting for us & we picked a place to sit together & drank wine & wondered if Jennifer & Kyle were going to show up & I speculated that they were avoiding me. First they skipped our dinner party last weekend, and now this! Yeah, so maybe Jennifer got in a bad car wreck & is having back problems. But I know better. They hate me. That's the obvious answer. 'Cause it's all about me, ya know.

Next the hors d'oevres were presented. Which we then called "horse derves", like ya do. Then we just started calling them "whores" for short.
Tim: I'm going to go get some whores.
Kevin: Mary, do you want to get some whores?
Me: No, I'll just eat some of Tim's.

Ah, the hilarity!

We had a fun time. I met more people. Talked a lot. I couldn't eat all of my filet mignon because I was still feeling sickly. And then we noticed that some people had gotten to the point where they were having a little too much fun. Honestly, why do companies provide an open bar at company parties? They're only asking for trouble. One guy in particular was talking with Tim about a current project and, while he mightily praised Tim and his efforts, he also said some rather harsh things about another co-worker ... and he said these harsh things kinda loudly. And then he suggested that Tim should go to the bar with him and get smashed. It was around that time that Tim decided that we should head home. I'm sure Tim would rather hear about the scandals on Monday morning rather than be a participant on Friday night.

Kevin & Shawna invited us to their place next weekend. I like them. Kevin is Tim's office mate & they have very similar temperments. They spend their days solving programming riddles & debating the differences between hot pots and proper electric kettles. Shawna is sweet, too, & her piercings remind me of friends who are far away.

The only downside is that they are yooooooung. So young. Neither of them had heard of Abba. Or Erasure. But they own bunnies and they're going to let us pet their bunnies & that's why we really wanted to befriend them in the first place, so I'm sure we can get past our differences for the sake of the bunnies. Yup.

You're Dead To Me!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hobby or disease?

I'm kinda crafty. Not in the sneaky sense, but in the sense that I enjoy making things as a hobby. I learned how to crochet just before I left for college - way back before it was the hip thing to do. In the years since then, I've knitted & crocheted many things, including 3 blankets, a handful of hats, and more scarves than I can recall.

And here is where we confront the problem with this hobby; When you're done with a project, you're stuck with this object. This thing that takes up space. My hobby began to make me feel restricted. I felt that either I had to make something useful for myself or for someone else. This is why so many of my loved ones now own scarves made by yours truly.

But I have developed a new hobby since moving to NC: cooking. It's fantastic! I can finish a project in one day! And other people can enjoy it with me! Indeed, I'm making something useful that everyone needs everyday: food. Why didn't I realize this before? Love it! So as you can imagine, I have been cooking a lot lately. We barely ever eat out any more. Tim definitely enjoys my little experiments in the kitchen and I love the fact that the house isn't crowded with the results of my efforts. Although I must confess that I have bought a few more kitchen tools, but I humbly argue that these are far more useful and take up much less space than all of those scarves.

My latest purchase was a rolling pin. And you would not believe the amount of research I did on rolling pins (there are a lot of opinions out there on the subject). I was compelled to buy a rolling pin because we had friends over for dinner last weekend (Tim's office mate, K, & his girlfriend) and Tim requested apple streudel for dessert. Yup, real apple streudel. Homemade. I rolled out the pastry dough on our countertop. And I gotta tell you, I have never been more happy while using a rolling pin.

Which kinda makes me concerned. I mean, what the hell is that about? Could it be that something bizarre is happening to my brain? Am I officially turning into one of those precious little stereotypical housewives? Or is it something I can blame on the brain spider? I don't know whether I should be concerned or if I should just sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labors. Is this an illness? And if so, did I catch it from The Food Network or Cooks Illustrated magazine? I don't want to give up Cooks Illustrated, though. That's a reeeeeeally good magazine. It's like Consumer Reports for cooks. You should check it out sometime. Really. It'll blow. your. miiiiiiiind, man.

See?!? Now I'm becoming a pusher! Ack!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Another American accent quiz

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Forgive me, but I find these accent quizzes to be simply fascinating. Who knew I had so much Boston in me? I have to agree, though, that I have a very dull middle-of-the-road accent. No one in this country ever asks where I'm from because my voice isn't different enough, but that really isn't a bad thing. When I was at Cambridge I met a guy with that sereotypical Boston accent and, holy god, I could barely understand a thing he said! Granted, he wasn't as bad as Brad Pitt in "Snatch", but it was still difficult.

Anywho, as you can probably tell, I'm tinkering with the color scheme on my blog. I want to make the header shorter so that you don't have to scroll down to see the top of the latest post, but I can't figure that out on my own. I'll pester Tim about it when he wakes up. As for the colors, the greens felt too dark and gloomy for me. Plus, I'm not fond of reading light-colored text on a dark background. I've still got some tinkering to do. And I'm open to suggestions if you have any. Just put 'em in Ye Olde Comment Box.