Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I need a GPS system

The Bad: Today I got lost. Really lost. After a bit of shopping, I left the local Trader Joe's & I drove around in circles for 45 minutes until I mysteriously found myself back at the very location I had left three-quarters of an hour earlier. Somehow I managed not to burst into tears, although I did say, "You gotta be kidding me," to no one in particular at least 5 times. After I finally found my way back home, I felt exhausted and discouraged. Hours later when Tim came home, I still felt wiped out. At least I got some of those papadums, so the trip wasn't totally dismal.

The Good: It's warm & sunny & Spring is springing! Here's the evidence from our front yard.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Okay. Fine. I give in. So many of my favorite bloggers have written the "5 Things About Me" entry & have said, "Now it's your turn!" So I guess now it's my turn.

Hmmm. Let me think.

1. I have a tiny bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - especially when I'm stressed out. At those times, I count my steps & I avoid cracks in the sidewalk. If I hear a word, I will spell it over and over and over again in my head until I can't even remember where I first heard it. I will count on my fingers obsessively, but the number I stop on must be divisible by 4 or 10. Really. I hope this makes you feel better, Liz.

2. I think my first appearance on stage was when I won a Halloween costume contest at the old Broken Arrow Community Playhouse. I was 5 & I was dressed as an angel (My mom made the costume). My best friend's mother was the artistic director of the theatre company. I'm sure that this fact did not influence the outcome of the contest, as it really was a great costume.

3. I was a Clown for Christ. Back in high school, my family's church had a small clown troupe made up entirely of kids. We went to hospitals, day care centers, and retirement homes where we would perform skits. My character did not speak. I used sign language & gestures. That's right ... I wan't any ordinary clown ... I was a MIME! I wore a billowy white suit with pastel ribbons around the seams. My make-up was a white face with small pink lips, purple eye shoadow, & a pink jeweled tear that I glued onto my cheek. I performed Sandi Patti's "Love In Any Language" in sign language. And my clown/mime name? Gentle Spirit.

4. I hated eating in public until I was about 17 years old. Even then, I still wasn't fond of restaurants or the school cafeteria, but I was able to get over it for the most part. See, I had a lot of digestive issues as a kid (a LOT!) & was terrified of having sever stomach cramps (& everything that came with it) while away from the house. Even the smell of food could bring on an episode. This is why I never worked in food service. And this is the main reason why there are so many foods I've never tried. I just had such terrible experiences with food when I was little. But my guts are better now & I'm far more open to culinary experimentation than ever before. Yay. :)

5. It's the little things that make life worthwhile, ya know? One of the little things that I enjoy is silly pictures of animals. And if those pictures have wacky captions? All the better. This picture in particular makes me smile to no end.
I can't explain it. I just LOVe this pic! Last night I was on the phone with george and just thinking about this photo made me giggle. If you like this sort of thing, too, then check out this website: "I Can Has Cheezburger?" It'll make your day brighter.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sicky Sunday (and Seattle Monday)

Don't come too close. The residents of this house have been infected with some sort of bug. Sore throat, sneezing, headache. I think this is the first time ever that Tim and I have been sick at the same time. Seems that we react very differently to sickness. Tim has spent the day buried in the duvet on our bed & reading every book he can get his shivering hands on. I, on he other hand, have been laying limply on the couch, watching figure skating. Ya see, reading requires that I hold up a book. And that takes too much effort for me. But I can understand why my darling husband might not be tempted by the lure of televised figure skating. To each his own. :)

While I'm here, stuck on the couch, I thought I might post the next batch of photos from Seattle. These were taken on the last Monday in January. George and I spent the whole day with my internet pal, Leslie, whom we met while running down the ramp to catch the ferry that was about to leave. Seriously! The rest of the day was spent shopping for cheese, spices, & art. We ended the day with a cozy meal at an Irish pub. Good times!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mary's got a big ol' butt!

During my stay in Seattle, I noticed a magnet stuck to g&D's fridge. I knew that I'd seen it before, but I think it had slipped my mind. I mentioned to george that I really liked the magnet. So she gave it to me. She's like that. What is that culture that believes that if someone compliments you on an object you should give it to them? I can't remember. At any rate, george must decend from those people because she gave me a ton of stuff while I was visiting. And don't worry; she swears she isn't planning on killing herself any time soon.

But that's neither here nor there.

I have a fondness for quotes. One year I asked for a giant dictionary of quotations for Xmas (and I got it!). I love to hear the differnt perspectives that people develop throughout their lives. That's why I liked the quote on george's magnet (now my magnet).

"You can't make footprints in the sands of time if you're sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?" - Bob Moawad

I'm thinking that I should call this my Buttprint Year. Honestly, I have done sooooooo little with myself. Back in Tulsa, my days were spent at a job that kept me extremely busy and my nights were filled with rehearsals and performances.
But now?
I'm not working. I'm not involved with any groups. I've made a few friends here, but I definitely talk to my old friends more often. Basically, I spend my days waiting around for Tim to come home. And on the weekends I am either cleaning & cooking in preparation for a dinner party or I'm doing nothing at all. I know this sounds pathetic and terribly sad. Sorry. I don't really want us to focus on that. Because the fact is ... well, that old job was HELL. I spent hours raging about it to whomever would tolerate me. As for theatre, I worked on 4 shows in a row after the wedding! I couldn't even move here at the same time as my husband because I was busy with a show. All of that time in theaters meant that I didn't spend nearly enough time with my husband & our relationship suffered as a result. None of this is true of my life now. Yes, sometimes it is hard to be in this new, strange place, but most of the time I appreciate the peace it brings. I notice that my shoulders are soft and relaxed. And shopping for nice ingredients and making dinner from scratch ... well, it's far more satisfying to me now than ever before. I still worry, of course - it is my super power, afterall - but not nearly as much.

The strangest thing, though, is that I think I am more friendly now than ever before. Remember scared, shy litte Mary? She still exists, but we don't see as much of her now. I find myself getting into conversations with random people all over the place. Sometimes I initiate the conversation (which is big for me!), but sometimes others randomly start talking to me. I wonder why this happens. Do I look lonely? Or do I look friendly? Or what? I can't say it's because the people here are just super nice because I've gotten into conversations with people from all over the country. Yesterday a woman from Florida started talking with me about lemon curd & Nutella, for heaven's sake. And that's a good thing! I love it!

But still ...
Something is missing.
Tim is worried that it's his fault. He worries that he forced me to move and that I'll never be happy here. I assured him that this is not the case - that I'm married to him, not Tulsa. And luckily, I'm emotionally mature enough to realize that I cannot and should not blame all of my problems on my partner. No, this problem is mine. It's aaaaaall about me.

I feel as though I am not participating in life. Rather, I am anticipating. I am patiently waiting. Waiting for Tim to come home, waiting for the next dinner party, waiting for my next vacation, waiting for my family to visit. But that's a hell of a lot of waiting. On my butt. Every day. There's got to be something more for me out there.

A funny thing about that magnet: yesterday I did a google search for Mr. Moawad. Looks like he lived in Tacoma, Washington. He had offices there and everything. And I use the past tense here because Mr. Moawad passed away recently. Indeed, it seems as though his funeral took place on the very day that george gave me this magnet. As silly as this may sound, I imagine it must be satisfying for his loved ones to know that he is still affecting people's lives, even though he is gone. Makes me smile.

People making me happy this week:
Tim (Of course!)
Derek (for probably the funniest phone call of my week)
Mom (for laughing with me when crying would have been equally appropriate)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Time & Gravity

You know what sucks? When it's nearly midnight and you really want to go to bed but you can't yet because your sheets are still in the drier. And the drier has already completed its cycle, but the sheets still feel just a teensy bit damp ... just damp enough that you know you can't put them on the bed yet. Yeah. That sucks. Not as much as a broken wrist, of course, but it still sucks. But luckily, sheets dry eventually and, given time and the right care, broken wrists heal. That is what Corey has learned.

I haven't mentioned it on here, but about 2 months ago our dear Corey was reminded that Gravity is a harsh mistress ... that Mother Earth likes to hold us close to her bosom. Twas a painful lesson, though. Corey had been out at a Tulsa watering hole, enjoying a fair amount of the water, when he suddenly got the bright idea to place his 6-foot 5-inch, 280 pound, clumsy, drunken frame atop an unsteady barstool. Not long later, he found himself on the ground with a broken wrist. And within a couple of days, he was turned into the Bionic Man when a fancy metal structure was implanted into and around his wrist. I got to see this armature a few times. Grossed me out each time. So of course I had to take some pics.

Sorry the pics aren't better quality, but as I said, it really was gross. I couldn't look at it for too long. Just the sight of those rods of metal piercing his flesh & imaging them going all the way through to the bone ...
Anyway! The good news! The good news is that Corey's wrist is better now. This morning he went in for surgery & all the metal bits that have been holding him together for the last 8 weeks were removed. Hooray! So next time ya see him, remind Corey that when he's reaching for the stars, he better keep his feet on the ground. You can also ask him if the evil little Ariel cat has resumed chewing on his right hand. That's her favorite hand to chew & I know she's missed it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tim's B-day (and a Sunday in Seattle)

Hey, gang. Sorry I haven't up-dated the blog with new pictures in a more timely fashion. This week was kinda crazy. The event that garnered the most attention was Tim's birthday! Yes, Thursday was Tim's birthday. Woo hoo! Tim's a quiet guy, so we celebrated in a quiet way - homemade pizza, his requested birthday fruitcake (complete with candles), & episodes of Dr. Who - and he said it was perfect. We continued the celebration on Saturday night when the gang came over for shepherd's pie & games. The game of choice? Tim's own creation. For years he has been working on this board game called Empire. George and Derek have road-tested an old version of this game, but it's even better now. Tim tweaked the rules a bit and made some truly fabulous game pieces (I'll have to take pictures next time he gets it all out). Well, the game was a big hit with this geeky crowd. It takes a long time to play (after 3 hours it still wasn't over), but they ate it up & want to play again soon. So yay! Good times!

Now we are enjoying a quiet Sunday. Don't you love those? It's sunny and happy outside & we're cozily sitting around in our sweaters, playing about on our computers. Tim is working on yet another game. And I am watching cooking shows while updating my blog. Such a perfectly happy day.

Another perfectly happy Sunday from my memory occured 2 weeks ago when I was in Seattle with George & Derek. For brunch, we went to a diner (can't recall the name) where I ordered the cheddar pancakes. Yep, you read that right. Derek had the bacon pancakes, which sounds even more amazing! George had something with fruit on top so that she could pretend that she was eating something healthy, but Derek and I were under no delusions. We even had sausage on the side. "Heart attack on a plate? Why, that sounds delightful! Bring it on out!" We needed to walk off this amazing meal and luckily for us, Seattle's new sculpture park was nearby.

Have I mentioned that it was GORGEOUS the whole time I was in Seattle? Not a drop of rain. Most days looked exactly like this - sunny with beautiful views of the water & mountains. Marvelous.

Our next stop was the glass museum in Tacoma. Well, honestly, our next stop was the apartment where we sat around & said, "Whaddayawannado?"
"I dunno. WhaddaYOUwannado?"
"I dunno. WhaddaYOUwannado?"
Repeat for a couple hours until Derek suggested we go to the glass museum. It is a really cool looking museum. If you get the chance, you really need to check it out.

The problem, sadly, was that we got there kinda late (we got stuck at a railroad crossing for aaaaages) & the museum was about to close, so we decided to keep our 10 bucks. But the good news is that they had a lot of Chihuly pieces on exhibit outside. Yes, Chihuly! OUTSIDE! We got to see them for free! How cool is that?! All the pieces were located on a pedestrian bridge that goes over the highway & connects the glass museum to the rest of the Tacoma arts district. I thought it was super cool.

That last picture is from the tunnel-like feature that Chihuly does so often. It's about 50 feet long and above your head are all of these piles of twisted, brilliant glass. Most pieces look like strange sea creatures, but there's the occasional cherub thrown in just to keep things sureal.

Next stop: Chinatown! Which I LOOOOOOOVED. My new goal is to live in a city that has an asian quarter. Something about all those signs I can't read makes me pretty happy. Plus, there's good food and all the Kawaii you can buy! We stopped at a Chinese bakery & had dessert first. "Please do not squeeze the bread too hard. Thank you." :)

We drove past a chinese grocery store & we just HAD to stop in. And this was no little corner shop in a strip mall. It was a full sized grocery store! I confess to spending a lot of money on adorable San-X stationary goods here. I also got quite a kick out of the food on offer. There was a whole aisle dedicated to ramen! And the cookie aisle was even better.

We polished off the night with some Ethiopian food. A new culinary experience for me (and another ethnic food to add to our list for the week). It was certainly different, but I really enjoyed it. A lovely way to end a lovely day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who needs a photobooth when you have Derek?

Additional photos from Saturday, Jan. 27th. This time Derek is at the helm!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Seattle - Day 3

Wake up, Dizzy! It's Saturday!!

George is off of work! And she doesn't have to work again until after I go back to NC! Isn't that great, Bubba?

George's co-worker, Linda, was kind enough to drive us around & show us some of the sights of Seattle. Our first stop was an old cemetery with some gorgeous views. This was also the burial place of Bruce and Brandon Lee. Definitely the lovliest cemetery I've ever seen.

Next to the cemetery is Volunteer Park. The park is home to an asian art museum, a conservatory, and a big old water tower. There are some great views up in that water tower. Just check out Mt Rainier & the Space Needle!

Next we went shopping and just enjoyed the sunshine - of which there was plenty! And we could have consumed a socially-responsible crouton, but we had crepes instead.

That night we dressed up & went out. The burlesque show we wanted to see was sold out, so we ended up seeing this strange drag queen/interpretive dance/ burlesque-esque show. We knew we were witnessing something special when a man in a g-string started painting his torso with blue paint. While we were out, we found The Gum Wall. It's a wall. Covered in used gum. Disgusting and fascinating at the same time.

Sunshine in a bowl

In an effort to bring a little sunshine into Liz's life, I'm going to post the easy recipe for the icing I put on the elopiversary cupcakes. Note that I am not usually a big fan of icing because sometimes it's so sugary it's crunchy. And that ain't right. But this stuff is smooth and rich and happy. The touch of orange makes it especially delightful.

This recipe comes from the brilliant minds at America's Test Kitchens & Cooks Illustrated. According to the recipe, this is enough for 24 cupcakes. I halved the recipe, but you can do whatever will get you through the week.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp grated orange zest (probaby 2 oranges worth)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Put everything except the powdered sugar in a bowl or food processor. Blend. Add the powdered sugar & blend some more. Spread on top of cupcakes or eat straight out of the bowl like a decadent slob.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Happy 2nd Elopiversary

Two years ago today, I left work a couple hours early so that I could run off and get married by a preacher in a track suit. Tim and I did not exchange vows that day (we saved that for the proper wedding in April), but by legally marrying on that day in 2005, my dear Tim was allowed to stay in the United States with me. Aaaaaaaw! In honor of our elopiversary, I decided to make the traditional desert of elopement: spice cake! But somehow that turned into carrot cupcakes with a lovely orange & cream cheese frosting. Still spicy, though, so it counts! And that frosting is too amazing for words. Maybe I'll post the recipe someday so you can eat it straight out of the bowl while watching "Somewhere In Time" for the 16th time.

But before you do that, please gander at these pics from the second day of my visit to Seattle! It was Friday - Derek's birthday - and it was chock full of fun.

Dizzy was quite interested in the wind-up toys we got for george at the market.

For lunch, Derek & I met up with george for cupcakes. Guess which cupcake is Derek's!

What is more stereotypically touristy Seattle than Starbucks and the Space Needle?

The Fremont Bridge Troll (which, oddly enough, is NOT under the Fremont Bridge. Hmm!).

The largest Lenin statue in the USA. You can own it for only $150,000. Really!

Archie McPhee - home for tons of happy crap!

After a marvelous dinner of Thai food, we went back to the apartment & played with all of the wind-up toys we could find.

Bubba & Stewart, paralyzed with joy.