Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ho ho ho

Happy Holidays, everyone! Tomorrow, a certain husband and I are setting off over the river and through the woods, with sacks and sacks full of pressies! I'm just dying with excitement to see my sister - it's been months and months! Also there are the beloved nephews, my grandmas, mom and dad, M's family, and our own KBM's forthcoming offspring.

I hope y'all have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

weekend trip

Over the weekend we went to DC to visit friends - my friend A has been mansion-sitting, and this is where we stayed:Pretty spanky, right? We had a nice time. Only sad thing was a couple of certain DC friends couldn't make it! ):

On the way out of town we popped into Baltimore's Visionary Art Museum - it was terrific. We saw some crazy sh*t, including a guy who carves in pencil lead. This was the most amazing one - I mean, do you see what's going on there?

In other art news, we went to the National Portrait Gallery and saw a few shows there, including an rather ridiculous exhibit: Women of Our Time: Twentieth Century Photographs. There were photographs of famous women of the last century, coupled with labels that explained who they were. Frankly, I thought the whole exhibit was extremely insulting - I don't need no damn plaque telling me who Rosa Parks or Dorothy Parker is. The presentation of these women (Oh, look! Women! Who were important, just like men!) alongside these moronic labels I thought merely perpetuated the idea that brilliant women are something of an oddity. Not to mention that their images were just splayed out all over, waiting to be consumed by the male gaze. Anywho, the gentle reader may not be interested in my radical anti-label ideas, but I found myself thinking What is the use of a portrait gallery? I'll be pondering that.

And while I'm pondering, why don't you watch my lovely hus. play the piano?
video

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

That's how we roll

Oh, I'm so furious. After an insane day at work, exhausted, not having had taken so much as any break or even a lunch, I come home (in pouring snrain* [mmm...I just invented that word]) and a certain husband checks the mail only to find a giant box proclaiming the contents therein (along with gigantic picture) thus, in a moment, ruining all Christmas morning surprises and Oh Wife, Aren't You the Best?!?es that would surely have come my way. So, beware, all ye who order from Amazon, that, apparently, your orders no longer arrive concealed like porn in brown wrappers, but just in the box that they come in, letting both your neighbors and your beloved husband know that you've gotten him a KitchenAid 12-cup Food Processor, as recommended by America's Test Kitchen as THE food processor to buy.

NOW I have to send the damn thing back, and, as it was kind of a big and somewhat pricey present, and the ONLY idea I had for a certain, beloved husband, I have to think of something ALL NEW and fabulous to get for him in a mere - what is it now? 14 days? I'm sure many the gentle reader of Agoraphobia knows just how IMPOSSIBLE it is to shop for a certain husband.

NOW on top of utter exhaustion am seething with rage and frustration.

*weeps not-so-silently*

Perhaps the only thing that brightens my spirits is the image of the Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being arrested by the feds for - what is it now? Ah, a "political corruption crime spree". Yo, world! That's how we rock it CHICAGO STYLE! I'm sure if you've ever been to Chicago, you've heard some annoying native say, "You know why they call it the Windy City, don't you?" and then you say, "Duh, because it's really windy?" and then they puff their feathers and say, "No, it's actually because of the politicians, you see, Chicago has a long, dark history of corrupt blahblahblah"

You may recall that our last governor, George Ryan, also ended up in the pokey. My favorite Illinois politician scandal, of course, is about Jack Ryan, who was married to 7 of 9 on Star Trek? And when she divorced him she said he wanted to go to public sex houses? Although, now that I think about it, it's not really that funny. And he didn't break any laws so who really cares? If only it had been neatly covered in brown paper! Then no one would know! It's only his business what what inside that box!

* Miserable Snow + Rain combo

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Inappropriate Things

Well, we didn't have the greatest weekend because I've got this lingering cold and poor M ended up working all day today. I got my hair done, which was sort of fun. I'm brunette again! Now, you may be interested to hear that my hairdresser is a Twilight fan and she gave me a big tip: check out the True Blood series, she told me. I'm in! More to come later.

In other book news, we had a really fun book club meeting for The Brief and Wondrous Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer this year. Anywho, I encourage you all to read it - it's amazing!

Just in time for X-mas, Andy Samberg et al have topped Dick in a Box:


And, finally - why aren't more people playing Top Five? This week it's Top Five Songs for your Workout - probably later this week we'll do some Holiday Songs or something - what could be more fun (aside from the obvious answer having to do with vampires and their intimate relationships?)?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twilight

Last summer when I was visiting my sister in LA, I picked up the first book in the "Twilight" series. I couldn't put the damn thing down the whole time I was out there. I started a book club when I got home and, because I knew my friends C&G would love it, it was our first book.

The book(s) are terrible (by which I mean poorly written, ridiculous and insipid) and yet they hold some strange stranglehold over both teenage girls and thirty-somethings like myself. I've heard people say it's because the teens love the drama and us oldsters are just trying to recapture it. I suppose that's possible, although for me, I found that so-called “drama” in the book really dull – it was all that teenage moaning and obsession I was very happy to leave behind.

Anywho, the four of us that attended that first inaugural book club went to see (complete with t-shirts!) the movie together, and I have to tell you, it was totally ZOMGWFTBBQSRSLYSCREAM!!! It was a fun movie to see in the theatre – it was us, and the expected audience (teenagers and thirty-somethings, throw in a few boyfriends) and we all enjoyed it in the spirit in which it was intended. It's corny and silly (I mean, it's about a girl who falls in love with a vampire) and hilarious, but it's also pretty damn sexy (I mean, it's about girl who falls in love with a vampire).
The vampire, Edward, is played by Robert Pattinson. Pattinson was Cedric Diggory in the last Harry Potter movie. I hate to tell you, I had a very pervy, come-to-momma crush on that kid back then, and he's like, 100 times hotter a few years older and a vampire.

One of the best things about the movie was that 800 pages of angst got condensed into 122 minutes. Director Catherine Hardwicke (a lady director? Woot!) and the writer (not S. Meyer! Woot!) did a great job of finding the more dramatic bits and less of the mooning and kvetching. Even parts I thought might be lame, like when Edward saves Bella from getting hit by a run-away van and when he takes her out to dinner (after saving her [again!] from would-be rapists), were pretty cool – mostly because Dreamy McDreamerson was gazing so intently at our girl it could curl your toes.

As when I saw Sex In the City, the audience was laughing and hooting and shouting out encouragement (Take it all off! - wait, that was me...). We were all just having a ball laughing at dopey lines like, “Be quiet, stay behind me!” (uh, that's not exactly what I want to hear from my man). Like the book, I think it would have benefited from more sex (make that any sex at all) but all the books persist under some pretty heavy-handed no-sex-til-marriage ideology. The movie was silly, but I'd say actually a good story about teenage obsession, was ably acted and way more fun than it deserves to be. I'm sure all fans (ironic or otherwise) will love watching it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, The Day After

Well, we had a simply fabulous Thanksgiving, although today we are paying for it a little today in the form of over-stuffed bellies, dirty dishes, and a certain husband who is very testy.

We had quite a menu and stuffed ourselves silly over the course of many hours - here's what we ate:

Fromage
Mushroom and gruyere tartlettes
Crudite
Mike's Agreeable Pickles

Creme d'asperges

Salad with Pears and Almond Slivers

Camilla's Sweet Corn
Sage ad Cornbreak Stuffing
Broccoli Gratin
Mashed Potatoes
Greta's Sweet Potatoes
Roast Turkey with Herbs
Rolls

yum... Hope you all had a terrif Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quantum what?

This weekend we saw Quantum of Solace - it's a fun show, although it didn't make much sense. I won't even bother trying to summarize, because it was never quite clear to me exactly who he was chasing/fighting. It has some crazy good action sequences that are really exciting to watch. It's essentially one action sequence after another, really. The choreography is impressive, let me tell you. It's the kind of movie that's best to see in the theatre, preferably with a raucous audience. I like Daniel Craig as Bond, although there's not much (imho) that's Bond-like about these movies. This one, for example has absolutely zero gadgetry, and he only has sex with one woman.

Last night we got the old band together and rocked out Pretty. Hard. I bet if we had real instruments, we could like, seriously play them.

Just got back from seeing Happy Go Lucky - it's a little English indie flick about a woman who's eternally cheerful. I'm going to process it a little, but I really liked it.

I posted a Thanksgiving-themed Top Five - check it out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Agnot, who do you think you are?

M's been playing this Star Wars video game where he plays the bad guy. That's lame, right? He kills Jedis. That's not right. We'll see if he justifies it over on his blog. I have already predicted the end, and I'm 100% sure it will happen like this: M's guy will be up to his nuts in hot lava, and then he'll be all, I repent! I wanna be a real Jedi! And then we will curse Spielberg's name.

I just finished a terrific book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I'll write about it on my book blog soon. What to read next...? I've got three movie dates for the next week - 007 tomorrow, Happy Go Lucky on Sunday, and Twilight (OMG!) next week. It's going to be frickin' awesome. Oh, speaking of OMG, yesterday I found out that kids these days are writing ZOMG. Have you all heard of this? Apparently it means something along the lines of "OMG, ironically". I asked my student employees if they pronounced it "zahmg" and they looked at me with a mixture of contempt and pity. Like I was Amish and riding around in a horse and buggy. They were like, Duh. You don't say it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tonight we had a mini-blizzard - what a day! I was late, rushing my precious little one over to the vet, in a friend's car because ours didn't start up this morning, and it started snowing like crazy! Oy, it's something, I'll tell you, living in the hinterland.

Had a pretty great weekend. Attended a young friend's 3rd birthday party. She's beyond remarkable, that one. Couldn't be any more charming. Rocked out pretty hard on the ol' PS3 with some friends, discovered "dinosaur kale" and got closer to recreating this terrific soup we had in Italy. Discovered the LOLCat Bible, where some genius has translated the entire effin' bible into LOLCat. Hi-larious, srsly. Lately I'm like, vaguely into the idea of the venn diagram, and in this case, anyone who was forced through intensive bible study against their will as a teenager and anyone who gets a real kick out of LOLcat are going to LOVE LOLCat Bible translation. Take a gander. I'm been thinking about picking up LOLCat myself.

Hey, speaking of internet phenomenon, did I ever tell you about my brilliant idea to create FailDads? It's like FailDogs, only, you know, with dads. I got the idea when we were standing in the customs line at the airport and this dad was winding up his kids, and everyone was tired and grouchy, and staring at this dad like, "Dude, will you just settle down, you crazy nutbag?" Then he made his kid fall down, and acted like the kid tripped. All I could think was: Dad, ur doin' it rong.

Sometimes FailDogs makes me laugh, but sometimes it makes me really sad (I mean really sad). I guess that would be the same story over at FailDads.com, too. Oh, Pathos...

Oh, so, turns out Kaya's fine - M & I are just very overprotective parents. The car's a different story, although a certain husband did notice that we had no antifreeze, whatever THAT is/does, I have no idea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How DARE she?


Oh, it's ON. Everyone knows pajamas improve blogging.

Nothing pleases me more than Palin scuttling back to Alaska with her tail between her legs. Nothing, that is, but the ridiculous things she's been saying ever since she and McCain lost the election. First, we heard her decry her own aides who ratted her out for not knowing Africa was a continent and because she forced them to put her $150,000 wardrobe on their personal credit cards by saying, "That's cruel. It's mean-spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional, and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context, and then tried to spread something on national news. It's not fair and not right." Ho-ho! I'll SHOW ya mean-spirited and immature!

Dang, I wish I could find the source, but sometime after the election, I read/heard that Palin figures she'll be around in politics for good now (which I find completely ridiculous because she's a complete joke) and that the next time around, she wants to be involved in a cleaner campaign. Uh.... WHHHHHAAAAAT? Ms. Obama-fraternizes-with-known-terrorists wants to be "involved" in a cleaner campaign? She friggin' CREATED the dirty campaign! Even NOW she's still ratting around, bringing up the Ayers thing:
Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That's an association that still bothers me.
But, for serious, I'm really ready for Palin to disappear into relative obscurity. And I have to wonder why Ayers hasn't filed a defamation of character suit against her. I mean, seriously, if you ask me, she's an unrepentant domestic terrorist.

I'm Special K, and I wrote this message in my jammies.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Role Models

Last night M and I saw Role Models - with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott. It's about two guys that have to act as "Big Brothers" to a couple of difficult kids. It's pretty raunchy and dern funny. It kind of looks like your average take-it-in-the-nuts comedy, it actually is kind of smart, in a Wet, Hot American Summer kind of way (it was written by "those guys" as they say now). William Scott is really hilarious as the devil-may-care dude who teaches his young charge how to check out "boobies" inconspicuously, pointing out one girl's breast, and then another, standing beneath a ridge, and then says something like "and even the ridge itself, its two, soft, grass-covered mounds gracefully undulating..."

I do wish there had been less gay-jokes, which I think are (or should be) becoming non-grata these days. Wanda Sykes has a great video out recently about the subject:

Today I was mowing our grass, which I imagine looked similar to what Lewis and Clark saw as they crossed the great plains many years ago. It started snowing on me! Eek!

Right now we're watching The Good German with George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. It's ok, but I think Soderbergh is something of a hack. It's like he regretted not being born 80 years ago so he could've made The Third Man.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I gotta update my map!

Boo ya! Rock it, North Carolina! I love this map - it's so much less isolating than it's been the last, long, 8 years. I got my eye on you, Missouri! And, you can suck my balls, hate states!

In silly news, what seems to be all over the news is what kind of dog the Obamas should get for their kids. Now I can barely wait to find out if they adopt a rescue or not. I'm quite anti-breed dog, if you didn't know. One time my boss asked me, Wouldn't we completely lose breeds of dogs if people stopped breeding? I guess they would, I thought. But, I don't care.

All week I've been trying to recapture that Ol' Wednesday Feelin'. The black-spot on the election for me is that Prop 8 passed in California. Supposedly the Mormon Church was a major financial backer of lobbying for that amendment. I'm also anti-political churches, although I think it's nearly impossible for most churches to remain neutral. Anywho, churches that preach politics really should lose their tax-exempt status.

When I'm not occupying myself with this very important information, I've been reading Postcards From Yo Momma - maybe my mom will leave a comment that I can send in. (It might have something to do with balls...)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That's my president!

Oh, what a night! I am just so happy right now. What a win! Could you believe the crowds in Grant Park? I wasn't down there (Hello, Agoraphobia) but it was like I could feel their energy way up here on the north side of town.

Yo! Where my Indiana peeps at? I am so proud of you! Doesn't it feel good to be blue?
Last night as I watched more and more of the map get painted blue, I let wash away some of the animosity and resentment I've held toward my fellow americans for the past 8 years. After such a landslide win I believe this country really does want peace and change and is as hopeful as I am that Obama is the person to help us get there. Also something that really moved me was watching so many African Americans talk about how meaningful it is to see this happen, and what a difference it will make in their lives and their children's lives.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Very hopeful...

Dare I hope?

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

You'd better be voting!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Beer then liqueur...

Last night we had our annual Halloween Party - the theme was: That Which You Despise. True to form, there was a large contingent of various types of uber-conservatives, including a right-wing pundit, a televangelist and a south-side Irisher. (I heart my friends!) M was a mosquito, and I think one of the best costumes was my friend G who was badly sunburned.
Not long ago my neighbor was throwing aways all kinds of stuff in the alley and I scored a couple of cool things like a chair I'm going to recover one day and this little, bright orange, plastic faux coo-coo clock. The minute I saw it I thought, that would make an awesome Halloween decoration if it were totally spray-painted black! And, it did. I'm kicking myself for forgetting to take a "before" pic because you would not believe how ugly this thing was!
We also found these nifty stickers to put on bottles at the dollar store - aren't they great? Oh, check out Top Five to put in your two cents about Halloween Costumes!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Che Bella!

We still seem to be off by a few hours - meaning I'm dead-tired by 9:30 and wake up at the relatively early hour of 7am somewhat ready to face the day (in contrast to the "normal" 8:00, when I have to force myself to work in about the span of 1/2 an hour). Because of that I haven't gotten a lot done since I've been home and there's TONS to do - laundry, unpacking, putting up Halloween decorations, putting together costumes, cleaning entire house, and downloading pictures from trip!

Well, at least I was able to download the pics this morning and here are a few:


Monday, October 27, 2008

We are Returned

Whew! Got home from our trip yesterday evening after a looooong day of travel. Both of us went crazy over Kaya, who we missed very much, and spent an hour or so online reading emails and blogs trying to satisfy a pretty nasty case of Internet Withdraw Syndrome.

Despite a bad cold and even an earache (thank God for wonderful European health care system where simply waltzed into Pharmacia, described symptoms [approx. translation: "I am bad for two days. And today, my ear-shaped pasta is *pop* *pop* *pop* all the time."] was delivered drugs for which I paid less than 7 Euro!) we had a wonderful time. It was pretty much a Renaissance art extravaganza - I'll post some pics soon.

Scored a bottle of 22 Euro Absinthe yesterday - when it became legal in the US, had terrific idea to throw 19th Century party and drink it - but a bottle costs something like 70 bucks in the US. Thanks to the tanking of both the US and the European markets, the Euro cost only a little more than a dollar in contrast to the almost 2 dollar exchange several months ago. Assuming we still have our jobs when we go to work today, that's one good thing. (: Otherwise we might be burning the contents and all other purchases on a street corner to stay warm through cold, winter months. Wouldn't that be ironic?

Last night slept approx. 12 hours then woke up at unusually early hour. Now slightly bleary-eyed at thought of work, but looking forward to seeing friends. Well, I'd better go - Ciao!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Buona Sera dal'Italia

Buona Sera! M and I are having a terrific time over here in the Italy. We've been to like, a million churches, the Uffizi, the Accademia (that's where the David is). Even for me, it's been a lot of art! If I see one more deposition from the cross... We're staying in a really nice hotel (a 16th c. palazzo!) with frescos on the walls and even a bidet! Yesterday I got a little cold, so that's been a drag, but one soldiers on.

Things have changed a lot since the last time I was in Italy (about 10 years ago!) I'm no longer a senorina, but a senora, and, you can get ice in your coke. Both of us bought shoes. We're eating excellent food and eating more gelato than you may think judicious.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eek - I really oughta finish up my packing right now, but I can't resist one more blog post before I hit the road (or the skies, rather)!

First off - a certain, alert husband notes that the beat to Stayin' Alive is perfect for performing CPR - don't forget! And, get certified, why don't you?

Secondly, can't wait for the election to be over (with Obama as winner, naturally!) Couldn't bare to watch the complete debate Wed. night but certainly did get my feathers ruffled by McCain and his statement about "women's 'health'." I've written about the so-called partial-birth abortion before - it's a rare proceedure, usually performed on wanted pregnancies because the fetus has abnormalities incompatible with life, is already dead or dying, or because the pregnancy is threatening the life of the woman. It's disgusting that McCain belittles this. Nobody wants a partial-birth abortion, but to deny a woman access to one is extremely dangerous and beyond heartless.

And, on that note, I've got a plane to catch! Arrividerchi, tutti!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stendhal Syndrome

A certain husband alerted me to the fact that some people suffer from something called "Stendhal Syndrome" when they go to Florence. He was unclear on the details but said they get overwhelmed by too much art. Isn't that amazing? I found an 1989 article in the NYT that reads:
Some faint, Some soar suddenly, in the presence of provocative paintings, sculptures or architecture, certain people fall apart. Some start to perspire heavily. Others experience rapid heart beat and stomach pains. A few even faint. Still others fall into depression, or soar in euphoria, or feel omnipotent, or feel persecuted, or go through all of the above.
(You've really got to read the whole article!)

I am rather confident that I will not suffer from this affliction (although it sounds kinda fun), being, as I am, a trained Art Historian. Lately I have even imagined that I will see someone staggering around, and I'll fling out my arms and say, "I'll handle this, people! I'm an Art Historian!"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My friend?

Am watching the debates. McCain is creeping me out with his weird whispering and calling us "My friends."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Repurposing

This weekend M & I have been working on our coat cubby inside the front door. We had had a little rack with hooks on it which fell out of the wall, ironically, from the weight of everyone's coats at our luau party earlier this year. Now we're putting in a full wood wall, with bench, shelf, and hooks. I think it's going to be ab fab after we finish it. Will post before-and-after extravaganza when we're done.

Other than that, had a lovely weekend sleeping in, breakfast in bed, listening to Everyday Italian on podcast to prepare for upcoming trip!

You know what drives me crazy? On design shows, you hear the hosts all the time talking about "repurposing", and they obviously have no idea what it means. It usually goes something like this, "We repurposed your coffee table by putting a mosaic on top, and now it's a much cooler coffeetable!" That, of course, is merely purposing. Repurposing, as everyone knows, is when you take something intended for one use, and use it for another. For example, I didn't have an ipod cover, so I cut the foot off a sock, sewed a button on, and then sewed a little ribbon loop on the other side: ta da! Repurposed sock! If I had it to make over again, I suppose I wouldn't use a button, but maybe little piece of velcro. Actually, I inevitably will need to make a new one soon, because I lose it all the time. Luckily there's also no shortage of single socks... Ciao!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I don't know if I can take it...

I'm trying to watch the debates, but Palin is killing me with her folksy, bullshitty garbage. Oh god, now she's talking about drilling in Alaska...

I have a theory that one of the worst downfalls of this country is that Americans are under the mistaken impression that they are rich. To me, it's completely illogical to vote for McCain (or Bush, the last few times), for like, a hundred reasons (She just called him Senator O'Biden!), not least of which is taxes. I mean, the only people who are going to be taxed more by Obama will make over $250,000 a year. If you're making that much, god love ya, I think you can spare a little. For the rest of us schmucks who aren't pulling that much down, we're going to see some bigger breaks. Meanwhile, McCain gives the biggest breaks to the highest earners.

And his healthcare plan! Don't get me started on his health care "plan"! Listen, I've been in the very, very unlucky position of not having employer-sponsored health care, and I've tried to buy private coverage for myself. First of all, if you've so much as been to the doctor in the last year for a hangnail, forget about it - you won't get approved for coverage. Secondly, a "$5000 rebate", to use a colloquial term, ain't shit. I got a quote, 5 years ago, mind you, for health coverage at $2000 a MONTH. Seriously. His plan's a total joke. It'll make an already horrendous system a thousand times worse.

Anyway, I don't think I can take this much longer, but I do think Biden (O'Biden! ha!) is killing. He's a bright guy (and clean and articulate), he's compassionate, and he doesn't appear to have learned how to pronounce the word "nuclear" properly within the last 24 hours.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

No, it's still fun

Apparently "top Republicans" are shitting their pants as the Vice-Pres debate nears, and some are loosing that ol' honeymoon feeling as Palin continues to blunder, oh, just about every time she opens her mouth. I read one rather hilarious quote by a conservative columnist that read, "It was fun while it lasted."

There are many, many, many things to laugh about (not least that Planned Parenthood has recently raised over three-quarters of a million dollars by encouraging people to donate money in Palin's name in an email campaign), but one of my favorites continues to be her famous line about her proximity to Russia equaling foreign policy experience. I suppose if that were true, every citizen of northern Wisconsin, or, say, San Diego would have at least as much foreign policy experience as Palin, who just got her first passport last year. Of course, this might all be essentially meaningless to a large majority of Americans, who voted for Bush not once (oh, no!) but twice. Bush, of course, made his first overseas trip only after making office, and, as everyone knows, he's just done a hell of a job managing foreign policy.

But one thing that does not amuse me about the whole Palin debacle is how often I hear people say, "Now, the feminists are going to get mad at me for this..." or "Now, I'm a feminist, but she's an idiot..." As if all feminists (or women in general) are required to support each member of our sex, regardless of how idiotic she may be. Discussing Palin's inexperience (or, ridiculing it, as the case may be) doesn't mark you as a woman-hater, any more than my saying that President Bush has been the worst president this country has ever known makes this feminist a man-hater. In the end, she is a person, just like any other, who happens to be ridiculously under-qualified for a position for which she is applying. It's unfortunate, that, as a woman, she is not and would not be a champion for women's rights (I encourage you to read that as human rights), but will continue to erode them just like the Republican party has done for the past 8 years.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Burn after Reading

Saw the new Coen Bros movie over the weekend. So, you know how No Country for Old Men made you feel like life was not worth living and humanity was a worthless pile of fashiz? Burn After Reading is kind of like that, only funnier, and with less people getting killed. Although people get killed. Oh yes, they do.

I have to wonder if we shouldn't all have an intervention with the brothers Coen. Just a check-in. A little head tilt. How you guys doing? Everything ok?

Burn After Reading
is about a couple of kind of dim-witted exercise trainers (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) who think they've found some top-secret information. Other players are John Malkovich, George Clooney, and Tilda Swinton. Talented actors, all, but I was a bit disappointed by the characterization. They seemed less rounded and more of a series of (extremely well done) ticks. All the characters were either deceitful, hateful, or complete idiots. Pitt, in a horrible dye job, seems like he might be going through another 12-Monkeys-I'm-more-than-a-pretty-face phase, but I do have to admit he was hilarious, "staying hydrated" by suckling on an ever-present water bottle like a teat.

In other entertainment news (though less timely), I recently finished up the second season of Big Love, which I love to hate. It's a well-crafted show, but it just makes me insane. Will Barb leave the marriage soon? I hope so! (Don't tell me!) I thought Rhonda singing Happiest Girl in the USA was about one of the top singing-on-tv moments I'd ever seen. I can't get it out of my head.

Does anyone watch Monk? I thought this season blew. Big disappointment.

Other than that, I'm crazy hooked on Mad Men and have a bizarre, non-feminist crush on Donald Draper that leaves me both confused, and... with another feeling.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

smug married

This weekend was our 10 year anniversary - we didn't really celebrate in style (we'll do that later on our Anniversary, Observed, in Florence), but we certainly did acknowledge it as much as possible, despite a lot of untimely weekend work obligations.

It's funny, when I think back to our wedding day, I don't think I had any conception of what it would be like to spend this much time with another person, and I'm a totally different person now than I was then. I'm just really grateful that as M and I have grown and changed, we've grown and changed with each other, and we still happen to love the people we've become. I'm pretty excited to see where we'll be in 10 more years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Houston...

What a weekend we had! Friday night had an incredibly fun and drunken yet intellectual book club over at D&C's fantastic new pad, then, it started raining... and raining... Sat. morning M & I were running around the house doing a Mad Clean, when I rushed downstairs to do a load of laundry and stepped in a puddle. Uh oh. A few hours and a couple of bucket-fuls of water later, my parents arrived. We had a fun time with them despite being fairly wigged out about the watery basement situation. It's nothing compared to what some other folks in Chicago suffered, but, it was a big drag for this young couple who worries about McCain winning the election, the economy going further down the tubes, and not being able to sell this thing and move to Canada when the shit really hits the fan.

I believe it was in reference to our worrying over the leak that my dad said, "What's that saying? Houston? Houston... we're in trouble." Oh, we had quite a few laughs.

We all went to the Renegade Craft Fair, in the pouring rain, and I saw some of my favorite Etsy sellers. Got to see a lot of stuff in person that I usually just droll over on my fave design blogs.

Finally booked our hotel in Florence - they sent us an email that said:
WE CONFIRM YOUR RESERVATION FOR 1 DOUBLE SUPERIOR (with frescoes).
WE WAIT FOR YOU.

Awesome.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things I love

You know what I love even more than a Lost Cat Reunited with Owners After 9 Years story?

When my husband starts up his own blog!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

land o plenty

A couple of pics from our Labor Day bbq: Here's the new D baby, if you haven't seen her yet
J & E in the pool...

We've had a great summer for our little garden - didn't buy a single tomato and were able to share quite a lot! Farmer M liked taking pictures of particularly bountiful harvests:

But this big guy is special - I'm quite sure it would have made the front page of my hometown newspaper, which specialized in large vegetables. We're going to raise him as our own and make sure he gets into a good college...

Here's M playing GTA with him...

In other news, has anyone heard John Mayer singing Free Fallin'? OMG, so beautiful. I've listened to it like 400 times since I first heard it. Yesterday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Smackdown!

Could barely control my boiling rage as I watched Sarah Palin yesterday evening. I suppose what I found most infuriating, aside from the outright lies, the claims that we're "near victory" in the war, and her trotting out every member of her family after tsk-tsking everyone to stay out of their biznatch, is that the Republican's don't really have a plan for anything. They're all, boo-hoo, we're so beleaguered, everyone's against us, democrats are going to raise taxes, they're going to make you ride your bike to work, wah! It's like their whole platform is complaining and insulting the Dems. I don't think she said one actionable thing. Oh, sure, maybe that we should love special needs children a little more. You know, I'm pretty familiar with the lives of special needs persons, and it would have been interesting, for example, to hear one goddamn real plan to improve their lives.

Well, the whole thing makes me insanely crazy, mainly because I have absolutely no faith in humanity. I mean, McCain and Palin could easily win this thing. I don't want to believe it, but people out there, they really intend to vote for them.



Speaking of morons, I recently discovered this hilarious website called SongMeanings.net, where people interpret just about any song you can think of, with little to no insight or knowledge of any kind. You could waste a serious amount of time perusing that site.

And speaking of wasting time - head on over to Top Five to list the websites where you waste time!

Monday, September 01, 2008

She can ruin your faith with her casual lies

Had a lovely Labor Day weekend that ended today with an outdoor bbq - a group of friends and my trusty old blow-up pool (which people innocently believed we had put up just for the kids. Ha! Ha! No, it is mine.) One home project that I thought would take 15 minutes took well over two days (installing a new door lock and handle? Jay-sus!) And, aside from that I spent a lot of time feeling grouchy about McCain's VP choice.

I just KNEW that sonuvabitch was going to pick a woman for his VP, but I never dreamed they'd find somebody that's practically (to paraphrase a certain husband) Dick Cheney in lady's clothing. Because the republican party is so anti-woman, I feel that the choice of Palin is little more than pandering. But it's just a joke that any Clinton supporter would say, "Oh, a woman? I guess I'll vote for her then." As if one person's the same as another.

It was with something like the joy I felt on learning that Cheney had a gay daughter that Palin's 17 (or is it 16?) year old daughter is pregnant - because as Chris Rock says, "Whoever you hate will end up in your family" and I love watching them squirm when they have to justify their Politics of Hate (as I like to call it) vis-a-vis the old flesh and blood. Doesn't look good for the party of "family values" when their own go and have premarital sex, or - worse yet - same sex sex. Oh, if only she'd had good sex-ed in school instead of abstinence ed and creationism... Imagine the family dinners! "So... about that legislation you passed that screwed me over big time..." There's an interesting article about the hypocrisy of the Republicans over on Feministing - check it out for yourself, but it essentially says that they're conveniently exempt from the very invasive rules that they wish to set for the rest of us.

Anyway, Palin's a joke. Even though I don't know that much about her (who does? Apparently not even McCain, who supposedly just met her one time before extending the offer) but I do know that in Alaska it seems to be business as usual to take bribes, destroy their own eco-systems and wander around shooting wolf cubs in the head.

Meanwhile those jackholes are busy canceling their convention so they're not caught with their pants down eating cake while another Katrina whips through the south. Ha! We'll see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Winning

Well, finally I'm starting to feel much better so was able to drag my out-of-shape self to the spa again. I went for a swim and pretended like I was Michael Phelps. Which mainly meant that I made my usual, leisurely lap from one end to the other, and, while resting, allowed myself to feel a great sense of satisfaction.

My favorite Olympics Moment (TM) was Usain Bolt winning the 100 meter dash. You've gotta see this clip (I mean, it's 9 seconds, you've got time). The guy breaks a world record, running 100 meters in 9 seconds. Around 8 seconds, he looks around and sees that he's got in the bag, actually slows down a little bit, and sails through the finish line like he's not even tryin'! Then, he keeps on running until he finds his mom, and hugs her and everyone in her general vicinity. All this he did after (seriously) downing an order of chicken nuggets and with an untied shoe!

In other news, Oh. My. God. My blog was on Apartment Therapy!!! If you don't know how utterly huge this is, I may be married to you. Turns out my boss is friends with one of the writers there. Bummer side note is that I scrambled to look at my Google Analytics, which I haven't paid any attention to lately, and it turns out some of the code must have been broken, because, according to G.A., I've had no visitors at ALL since like, May.

It's Back To School season, and it's reminding me of... well, me! When I was a kid, I used to get super-anxiety before that dreaded First Day of School. It usually involved some crying and a little bit of puke. That carried on, I hate to tell you, even to my grad school years. Well, by then less puking but still a few tears. Probably a lifetime of the First Day of School jitters could have been at least slightly lessened if my kindergarden teacher had not been an absolute monster who sent me to the principle because of my incessant sobbing! Mrs. Whatsyername, I curse your name forever! But, Principle Whatshisname is a prince among men, who I will never forget.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bon Giorno

I've been thinking about my trip to Italy when I was 17 - right out of high school, I returned home with our exchange student and spent the summer with her. Oh boy, did we have fun. I need to start brushing up on my Italian again. I'm going to teach M how to say Amore mio, sei molto bella. Baciami! When I was in Italy, my friend and I used to say really stupid things to each other in crowded places, like, Hai un'infezione vaginale and Hai un piede deformato* because I stepped on a bee when I was there and my foot swelled up to three times its normal size and I couldn't even put on my shoe. Now I need to learn how to say more sophisticated things like Vorrei ancora una bottiglia di vino rosso, per favore and Desidero fare l'amore voi.

Coincidentally, this weekend I stepped on a bee in the garden and the first thing I thought of was that damn Italian bee. Now, wouldn't you know my foot is starting to swell up?

Here's a blast from the past:


*"You have a club foot".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Panzanella!

It's finally tomato season and M and I are over the moon because we love nothing better than eating tomatoes for every meal of the day. Bruschetta is a long time favorite around here, but we also discovered another recipe that we love. We had it first at this great new restaurant in our old 'hood. It's called panzanella. It's really simple to make and you wouldn't believe how good it is:

5-6 slices of slightly stale-ish baguette, cubed
2-3 tomatoes, cubed
1 cucumber, cubed
about 1/4 a red onion, sliced very thinly
oil and vinager (I like about a 4 to 1 ratio)
throw everything in a bowl and pour the vinegrette over - wait about 15 mins for the vin. to soak in.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free stuff

Oh, boy! I just got a nice little box full of Obama buttons from Move On! They're giving away free buttons (including free shipping). If you make a small donation, you'll get even more to share with your friends, which is what I am going to do! I like the designs, the graphics are really cool.

I hope all my Agoraphobia readers in Indiana are going to vote democrat - I'll be so proud if my home state goes blue this year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Just got back from seeing Tropic Thunder - it is really funny, and really smart. It's like a satirical comedy, lampooning various Hollywood-type genres (the war-pic, the I-Am-Sam, the Eddie-Murphie-in-a-fat-suit/fart joke, the energy-drink pusher, the gay priest) while posing as a stupid genre movie. Robert Downey Jr. was terrific as the Russell Crowe-like method actor. His character kept talking about the craft of acting and the importance of connecting with the audience on their own level - too hilarious. That man's a genius. But the absolute best was Tom Cruise as the studio exec. with these ridiculous, hairy, meaty paws and forearms. I'm not kidding, Tom C. is worth the price of admission. I think this is his Pulp Fiction.

BTW, there's been a fair amount of talk about the film's use of the word "retarded", and I think that's good. It's a word I really hate and when I hear it, you bet my hackles go up. Ben Stiller's character is an actor who played a mentally disabled person in another movie called "Simple Jack". The use of the word "retarded" and Stiller's character's performance illustrate how ignorant so many people's (and a number of movies) perceptions are of what it is to be mentally disabled. I did not think those instances were about being cruel or offense to the mentally disabled themselves, and, believe me, I'm pretty damn sensitive about the matter.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie a few months ago, I couldn't believe RDj was wearing what looked for all the world like modern-day blackface. That risky move is so interesting - it's offensive, and in a way it's kind of a brilliant example. In one scene I'm sure you've all seen from the trailer, RDj's character says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" and then the actual African American behind him says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" Capturing the black experience (or the mentally disabled one) is not done by playing a role, or putting on make-up, or spending time in that world, it's living it, your whole life.

So, I'd recommend it. It's a very clever movie. (Also I'd like to thank Ben Stiller for the joke in the title for us grammar nerds!)

Big news: M and I booked tickets for our 10 year anniversarymoon. We'd been planning on going to Paris, but prohibitively high ticket prices and the lure of going somewhere neither of us had been before led to a slight change of plans: Florence! Oh, I'm so excited! It's going to be amazing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Olympics

I was banning the Olympics for a few days (as any reasonable person would do out of opposition to China's flagrant human rights abuses), but, I can't ignore it's siren call any longer. And what happens but I turn on my television but there's synchronized diving (who knew?)! I like it when the Olympics are all about cross-cultural experiences and our world community and celebrating skill. I love watching people hug and get excited, but I hate to see them lose. Aside from people losing, there's a few other lame things about the Olympics in general and the Chinese Olympics in particular which I just don't have the extra energy to grouse about right now.

I'm finally starting to feel better, and it's seriously like a weight has been taken off my shoulders. My big hope is that I'll be 100% better by the weekend so I can go to the beach. For the past month, all I've done is sleep, drag my ass to work, and had only three fun activities: M took me to Wicked, I had my bookclub, and we went to a matinée of Batman. Everything was fun, but I did hack and cough through all of them. Wicked was really incredible - great production. I liked Batman. Ledger's performance was amazing, as everyone's saying (I think we're all obviously paying more attention because the poor guy died). My favorite parts were where they drove around on Lower Wacker. Each of those scenes were not unlike all the times I have driven on fairly outrageous bit of infrastructure myself.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's In My Garden/Lungs?

Another visit to my dr. revealed that, best case scenario, I have Bronchitis. She also had me get an xray and some blood tests - if those turn up anything weird, I'll find out Monday. So, probably what happened is I got a bad cold, which turned into a sinus infection, which turned into Bronchitis, which, hopefully will turn into a beautiful flower and we'll all live happily ever after. After looking at some images of what my bronchial tubes look like, I now understand why I'm so GD tired all the time.

I've been so depressed over my current health state that I broke down and bought what might be described as a self-help book (although I noticed the section of the bookstore was labeled "Psychology.") There was, I'm not kidding you, a dude curled up in the corner of the "Psychology" section, weeping.

I know everyone's missing the "What's in My Garden" entries of last year. I never thought it would happen, but I can identify just about everything in the yard. I never thought I'd be the kind of annoying person that was all, "Look at my liatris!" And "My coleus just isn't doing well this season" but, it turns out I am. There are two mysteries outstanding, however:


This one grew out of nowhere and overshadowed my delphinium, which really annoys me. I think it's going to get the boot because it's just not wowing me and it's too big. Does anyone know what it is, though?

This vine-y thing grew right out of our compost pile - it reminds me of our cucumber, but the leaf is different. I wonder if a vegetable is going to start growing out of it. Anyone have any guesses what it might be?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

whatveI, whatveI, whatveIdone to deserve this?

I'm going on now my third week of debilitating illness. My dr. told me it was a sinus infection, but after finishing my second round of antibios with little change, I have to wonder if that's correct. I'm going back to her tomorrow for another diagnosis. And more medicine.

Being sick like this again, aside from being a major pain in my ass, effing up my b-day month, getting in the way of my work and life in general, is really stressing me out. After The Great Crap-Up that was 2007, I get really anxious whenever I get sick because I don't want to go through all of that again. There's for sure no such thing as karma. I've figured that out.

Oh well.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sweet Corn!

Over the weekend we had a rousing book club (with the biggest turn-out yet!) and then we went to M's Granny's house to celebrate his mom's 60th b-day! M's gran lives in a tiny town in Indiana where a local farmer plants a couple of rows of sweet corn for the community. She said you find the spot by "trial and error." I said, "What's the 'error'? A farmer chases you with a shotgun?" But, she never laughs at my jokes. We drove out and picked some corn and my boy fixed it up Grandma-style. Now we wait until the middle of winter to consume it and dream about these halcyon days. Camilla's magical recipe goes like this:
slice the corn off 16-20 ears. Melt one stick of butter in a heavy saucepan. Mix in corn with approx. 1 cup water. Cook for approx. 20 minutes. Cool and freeze. It's heavenly.

M's gran is a master of self-denial. Aside from telling us she had no intention of eating the tupelo honey we ordered for her because it was "too good to eat", she pulled out this never-before-used "amazing new invention" from around 1945. She told us it had been in her drawer for over 55 years, but she's never used it. M gave it a go with the corn (but it turns out he preferred to use a knife too!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birthday Month almost over (or is it?)

Oh, it's a tragedy - my Birthday Month is almost over and several weeks of it were positively ruined by this damn sinus infection! It was like being dead! I'm just going to cheat and celebrate my Birthday Month several weeks into August.

Well, I'm back at work but still feeling fairly awful. Got a terrible cough and occasionally feel faint.

In other news, my friends J&O gave birth to a little girl today. All are doing well and mazel tov to them. Can't wait to see the little thing, but probably need to clear up this cough first, lest I alarm. The good news: She and I will share a Birthday Month!

I was thinking about writing a long post called "Why I Will Not See the New X-Files Movie". Perhaps I will one day expand on the subject and publish it in a medium-sized book of Special-K wisdom including "Why I Became a Vegetarian" and "Good Reasons to Remain Child-free" and "The Correct Order to Layer Food Within a Taco" etc., but for now, I really need to go to bed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

*cough*

Oh, you won't believe it. Right after getting back from Vegas I've come down with a pretty bad cold. Aside from a few hours here and there, I haven't been able to work this week. I think I'm going to become one of those lunatics that never goes on a plane without a surgical face mask. I was pretty depressed to be sick on my b-day, but now I just hope to be well by this weekend. My cousin sent me this cute ecard that captures how I want to feel... My bike, my basket full of goodies and a cupcake on my head? Yes, please! Alas, in reality it's more like me, laying on the couch watching reruns of whatever's on the ol' DVR, surrounded by popsicle sticks. Today for fun I Facebooked everyone with my same name. That took up some time.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lady Luck!

OMG! I won $140 more on Wheel! Of! Fortune! (and I only put $5 in!) I seriously tried to blow it on shoes and handbags, but I just didn't see anything that I really loved. Except for a pair of the most gorgeous Christian Louboutin shoes I've EVER seen, but (on SALE) they cost like $600 bucks. So, I'll have to win really big before I go back for those. Damn it. I just don't seem to have it in me to blow cash. And it's my birthday month and everything.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wheel! Of! Fortune!

Oh. My. God. Guess what happened tonight? I met this nice woman at the conference, and she showed me how to play the Wheel of Fortune slot machine - and, so, I put in a dollar, and then I got a free spin, and then I got another free spin, and maybe another, and then - guess what? I won $130!

Then I almost bought a pair of Jimmy Choo's - but they didn't look right on my feet.

Now I'm sitting on my velvet couch, looking out at the lights and a black horizon, trying to fight an urge to go downstairs and play some more Wheel! of! Fortune!

Vegas, Baby!

Yesterday I arrived in Vegas and went straight to the conf. rooms to see the keynote speaker - Steve Wozniak. He told us what a genius he was and then ended with an odd string of "observations" about how girls don't raise their hands even when they know the answer and how hard it is to get school funding in California.

I'm staying in the most incredible hotel room - guess how many flat screen tvs there are! Guess! Three! And, my curtains are controlled by a remote. I thought it was going to be terrible, staying by myself, but I amused myself by raising and lowering the blinds for a while, watching a dvd on one of the tvs, and taking a nice soak in the tub.

Well, I'm off to sessions all day. Hopefully none of them are led by The Woz!

Monday, July 14, 2008

a tune

Found this really great short film/music video on It's Nice That. The song is so pretty, and the Fleet Foxes are nice enough to offer a free download on their myspace page.


White Winter Hymnal from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Agoraphobia

Well, we had a beautiful weekend - saw Hellboy with a friend, and it was great (very post-Pan's Labyrinth but not as violent), hit the farmer's market on Sat. morning and scored some morel mushrooms for no less than - guess how much???? You'll never guess - $40/pound. We bought about a fourth of a pound, and then stretched it into two meals, one: whole wheat pasta with caramelized shallots and morels and two: good old fashioned, Indiana-style morels breaded with flour and fried in butter. Ain't nuthin' better, my friend. Why truffles get all the attention, I'll never understand. It's the morels that win the most coveted food award, in my book.

Today I went to the beach for a couple of hours. The water felt like it was approximately 50 degrees, but the beach was lovely.

Went on a longish bike-ride with M (culminating in home-made ice cream). Got mildly distressed due to aforementioned near-death misses. Came home in something of a tizz. Seems like every time I return to my house I feel as if I've cheated death. Have been asked before why my blog is called Agoraphobia - is not because I'm afraid of leaving the house - is more that I don't want to. If you don't mind me sharing just one of my many emotional quirks, whenever I go on a trip, I'm fairly certain that someone I hold dear to me (including myself) is bound to die a horrible death. One time I told my dr. if I might be agoraphobic and she said, "No... it's when you want to leave, but you can't, that you've got it." I suppose there must just be another term for not wanting to leave at all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Birthday Month

It's that special time of the year again when one and all gather together to celebrate the mumblemumble of our country and, more importantly, celebrate my Birthday Month. What's a Birthday Month, you ask? Why, it's just when you think to yourself: One lame day or evening isn't nearly enough time to celebrate my birthday! I'm going to celebrate all month long! And how does a person celebrate their Birthday Month, you may wonder? They just think: I shall gratify myself with any and all narcissistic whims that pop into my mind! Which, it turns out, are so far not that narcissistic or indulgent, at least in my case. So far.

Next week I am off to Las Vegas for a work conference. I'm not super-jazzed about it, because I'm going by myself and, even though I've been booked in a fancy hotel suite (a suite!) I'm going by myself, and I would have preferred to share it with a beloved husband, rather than slinking there alone after eating dinner alone or (worse) with a vendor. Oh well... I'll just have to find a way to turn it into a decadent, if solo, part of my Birthday Month.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

For the Rocket's Red Glare

We went to Indiana for the 4th of July weekend to visit our families. My sister and nephew were visiting from CA and there were a few gatherings planned. It was wonderful to see my siblings and the new nephews, along with the rest of the familial unit. Young M. has a marvelous sense of humor and had us cracking up all the time. On the 4th, we went to my cousin C's house for a big bbq and a homespun fireworks display. My mom goes absolutely hysterical over any personal pyrotechnics and was putting herself in a right state dancing around trying to protect grandchildren from certain death, until, no longer able to control herself, she grabbed him out of my arms and fled. C also arranged a traditional family game of wiffleball, in which I was surprisingly tackled to the ground.
Patriotic batter

My parents are under the mistaken impression that we chose to drive through holiday traffic to visit their house and not them. I know this because frequently when we go to visit they are not there when we arrive or leave us alone for long stretches of time while they attend events more interesting than the rare time we spend together. This time they blithely informed me that they would be leaving the second evening of our three night stay because they were going on their own vacation. Thanks, mom and dad! You really put the dis in dysfunctional family.

M and me holding the babies


(This is what everyone was doing behind the camera trying to make the babies smile!)

So, we have a couple of bold rabbits that hang around our yard; they don't even head for the hills when our cat is outside, but rather calmly continue to eat our cucumbers. (To be fair, the cat seems largely uninterested in chasing rabbits. But, we did find a headless mouse in the grass today. Could Kaya have done that?) I told long-time family friend Big J about the rabbit and he immediately started telling a tale about a "mad" rabbit SWIMMING after President Carter on a fishing boat. President Carter, he said, had to beat it off with an oar. I thought it was complete tomfoolery until I looked it up and found the most hilarious wikipedia entry of all time. I never should have doubted him!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Girl Effect

When I was looking for a job, I made a lot of bargains with the universe, and it's about time I started paying them back. First, I promised to donate to public radio - I owe them big time. I'm really interested in micro-lending - there are a lot of reputable companies that help you do this. I just made a little donation to "Save the Children Empowering Girls in Bangladesh" through this really nifty site that's woman-centric: The Girl Effect!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pondering

M and I had a great weekend, spending some time with friends, tending the garden (and the neighbor's garden - solved the problem of the overgrown weeds and trees by just cutting them down ourselves! [with permission]), getting a pedicure, and going on a long bike ride. We got all the way to Glencoe and stopped for a drink of water and a brief sit in a lovely gazebo when it propitiously began to thunderstorm. Later this summer we hope to take a two-day bike ride with an overnight B&B stay, somewhere between here and the Wisconsin border.

Today I saw more odd cell phone behavior at the Spa when a woman in the locker room deftly tucked her cell into the depths of her sports bra and then waltzed out for her workout. Do you think it was on vibrate?

Lately I've seen a fair number of people walking about in rainless weather with parasols. Today I pondered the question: Do those people deserve my scorn? Discuss.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Goings on

Today when I was at the gym Spa I saw two people talking on their cell phones as they worked out. Can you imagine? If I ever call a devoted reader whilst huffing away on the treadmill, I encourage you to hang up on me immediately.

I know fans of What's in My Garden? will be sorely disappointed to hear that we largely know what's in our garden now. It's finally shaping up to be the outdoor wonderland that we always imagined, however lacking in hot tub it may be. Soon I will post a picture of our rambling fence rose to prove my point. Now I am merely faced with the problem of wishing my neighbor would clean up their yard so that it doesn't mar the view. Does anyone have any tips on how to ask one's neighbor to weed and cut down trees that are growing out of the fence on their side?

We plan on being deep in tomatoes and basil before long, and you know what that means: bruschetta! Until then, we more than satisfy ourselves with this lovely crostini:
Slice baguette, smear with olive oil, and toast.

Roast beet (wrap in foil, throw in oven for about 30-45 mins), dice and mix with herb (I like oregano) and salt.

Spread toasted baguette with goat cheese. Spoon on beets. Wonder if tomato bruschetta's all that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

TGIT!

As if someone looked deep inside my soul and located my deepest desires, I've found two amazing things I've been looking for ... all my life, really. The first was just yesterday - a website that lists how people in different countries pronounce the sounds of animals (via Swissmiss). ie: we say "meow" for a cat, but in Japan they say, "nyan nyan". Then, today, what do I find but another websites that has sound bites of children from various counties prouncing what animals (and ambulances and race cars) say in their countries (via How about Orange).

I have a brilliant idea to make a coffee book about toilets around the world. That fascinates me even more than how people make animal sounds. Whenever I go on vacation and say, go on a tour of a super old house or a castle or something, all I'm really interested in is how they used the toilet. You probably are too, but you're too afraid to ask, aren't you? That's why my book is going to be a best-seller. Nobody steal my idea, ok? This is my Big Idea. Did you know, for example, that in Japan, apparently, bathrooms A. have heated toilets and B. have some kind of switch that turns on loud annoying music so no one can hear you tinkle? Isn't that FASCINATING? Anyway, the whole book's going to be like that.

Check out the new Top Five!