Monday, February 28, 2005

so good to be home!

I got home yesterday night from Indy. I had another delay on my second leg from Charlotte, NC to Baltimore. I wasn't sure my luggage was going to make it this time, either, but it did. I don't know if to blame US Airways or just to curse my (amazingly) bad luck, but at least I'm home. Sometimes our apartment looks so unlike any home I've ever lived in that I'm not too attached to it, but I was glad to walk through the door this time. I was also weary of strangers and airports and stress. I can't turn my empathetic capacity off even in those situations, so I'm constantly scrutinizing what others think of me and it makes me self-conscious. It's not terrible, just tiring.

I was sick on Saturday and yesterday, too. I got a cold and I had a sore throat and stuffy nose both days. Traveling like that STINKS, but K (BossLady, not hubby) stood in for Mum and stuffed me full of meds and told me to sleep and smiled at me and I felt much better. Today I'm almost back to normal - surprising, considering my misery on Saturday night. Of course it could have been that I worked for 10 hours plus at the conference that day. That might have had a teensy bit to do with it.

I've got a little less to do with work right now, so I'm taking it easy. I have so much to think about after talking about my prospects in the company all week. I can't keep my mind focused with the dazzling number of paths it can roam. I'm glad of it, but it, too, can be tiring. Maybe I should do some power yoga and, as Rodney Yee suggests, let my mind be "free from the tyranny of the past and the future and just focus on the moment, the breath, and the movements." Or I'll just focus on how silly I look attempting arm balances with the upper-body strength of a 4 year-old girl-child.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bonge's: Good Eats Here, indeed!

Whilst attempting to characterize the restuarant whose wonders I am about to extoll, the phrase "tongue-in-cheek" came to mind. I'm such a dork.

It's located in a tiny town in Indiana surrounded by, well, the BOONIES. It's a small building clearly displaying two neon signs: the name of the place "Bonge's" and "BEER" in bright pink neon. You enter and it's an old place with an antique, carved-wood bar and tables covered in brightly-colored vinyl tableclothes. The entire menu is on a single chalkboard over the bar: Veal Marsala, NY Strip Steak with Gorgonzola, and Duck, among others. So this place is big on irony. I mean, I've never seen a chalkboard with wines by the glass and another tiny one advertising $80 champagne bottles. Oh, and the after-dinner mints they gave us? Little boxes of Lemonheads. To quote Buster "this [place] is off the hook!"

My Veal Marsala was MAGNIFICENT. So was the sauteed mushroom appetizer with both portobello and shiitake mushrooms and the most perfect blending of seasonings ever to grace a shabby-chic, wooden booth. Too much, darling. Too. Much.

My bosses said Bonge's was originally just a typical, small-town bar until someone bought it. The chef was the Head Chef at the most chic restuarant in downtown Indy until he quit in dire frustration and his friend, the owner, offered him this random place in which to practice his art without disturbance. It is said that Bonge's is the jewel of central Indiana and only for those In-The-Know. (pause, then eye-brow raise.)

Next time I'm sick of having suburbanites eyeing my discount duds or criticizing my less-than-latest hair style, I will think on this hidden gem and remember that he who eats well has the last laugh. (muhahaha!)

Okay, even I will acknowledge that the previous statement makes little to no sense. I'm going to bed. Good night, World!

the giddy disasters of flight

Sunday afternoon, K, Cousin G and I hit the International Spy Museum in DC up for a little fun. Unfortunately so did everyone else for the fine holiday weekend, so they were sold out for Sunday. We wandered the area, saw Ford's Theatre, and then (after more wandering) ate a lovely dinner at our favorite, the Old Ebbitt Grill. Do yourself a favor - try their Mocha Chip Icecream Sandwich. You'll thank me later, I promise. After that we had a quiet evening in and then it was President's Day and we did nothing! We slept in, ate lots of food, watched more Arrested Development with Garrett, and I finished up packing for my business trip to Indiana.

Now we come to the "disasters" part of the subject line. My flight from BWI to Philly was supposed to leave at 6:35 but it was delayed over an hour, then my flight from Philly to Indy was delayed half-an-hour. Well, I arrived in Indy, but of course, my baggage didn't, so I'm sitting here in yesterday's clothes, unshowered and irate. Fortunately, my bag should arrive at the house today. Let it be noted that the only two times when this has happened to me have been when coming to Indy. My poor hosts have to keep spare toothbrushes just for me!

On Friday, G and I, in a fit of desperation about the endless inspection process, stopped off at Target and bought Keane's album "Hopes and Fears." It got us through the day because every time we had to go ONE MORE PLACE, we got to listen to their sweet, sweet sounds and were soothed. We kept mentioning that Keane was driving music, but after this trip, I think it's more accurate to call it flying music. At one point in a flight, the plane banked toward one side and the chorus of "Bend and Break" swung into full gear. It's hard not to be giddy with that sort of thing. It was a much better pick-me-up than a Coke and some pretzels!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Baltimore and beyond . . .

Cousin G arrived Wednesday night, and K and I have been having a ton of fun showing him around the area and discovering it ourselves at the same time. Thursday night we stayed in and relaxed. We went out just to go to IKEA and pick up the bookshelves our living room. Then we made brownies and ate and assembled the bookshelves to our hearts content. Yesterday I made G come along with me for the all-day saga of getting the vehicle inspection and registration done. Let's not talk about that at ALL.

Yesterday night we all wandered down to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. We hung out in the Starbucks inside the Barnes and Noble in a converted power plant. After warming up in there, we walked around the harbor and then landed in McCormick & Schmick Seafood Restaurant where K ventured out of his food comfort zone and tried the Swordfish (which he loved) and I had the Sole - scrumtrulescent!

We just got back from Annapolis. We walked around the US Naval Academy (saw the lovely Chapel, ate at the mess on campus and wandered around the visitor's center) and then the streets of Annapolis. The architecture is so uniformly classic - it's fabulous. We were kicking ourselves for forgetting our camara. I was also kicking myself that we couldn't find a good pastry shop so that we could sit in warmth and eat good food and people watch. Good times! :-D Yay for fun visitors and new experiences! Yay for crappy cell-phone camara pics of the occasion!

Main St of Annapolis

Garrett and Erica chilling (literally) in the Yard

Blurry, but beautiful Chapel sanctuary

Tecumseh, the painted USNA tradition

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

evil! EVIL!

Frustration has reached a feverpitch at the P household. We have tried now 4 times to get our car inspected in compliance with Maryland law. Yesterday, the guy at one gas station told K if he came at a certain time today he'd make sure he made it through the line. LIAR. K got there today and he said there was no time. What happened to call aheads, eh, buddy? Where is your sense of HONOR!

I hate state inspections. Why can't everyone be like Michigan where any old, half-running clunker can cruise along at full-tilt with plates/without problems? We have ONE car and we cannot spare four hours to get that ONE car inspected by some jerk who has way too much to do anyhow!

*stewing ensues*

I know, I know, it's probably better for me and for the environment but I bought it from a freakin' DEALER. The car was combed with with a fine-toothed . . . um . . . comb. It's not like I'm trying to put plates on a previously-wrecked Yugo here!

Oh, no more for today. I'm too annoyed to make this pleasant for you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

fans of bad fiction unite!

K showed me the Bulwer-Lytton contest and its cousin - the Little Lytton contest a while ago. These two contests are for people attempting the worst possible sentence to begin a novel. Great fun in itself, but then the Bulwer-Lytton people got the idea to allow reader submissions of sentences that have actually been published. The "Sticks and Stones" page, as they call it, contains some sentences that look suspiciously like they should have won one of these contests.

#78 made me laugh till I was shaking. Please, do yourself a favor and read it.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

k + e about town

Yesterday was a great day. We slept in a bit, then we did stuff in the house, I got my highlights touched up, and we watched "The Motorcycle Diaries." Awesome movie. Sure, I'm not too hot on revolutionary types, but this movie was beautiful, introspective, and it was in SPANISH. Argentine Spanish, too! :-D With every "che" uttered, my happiness monitor got higher and higher. yay for Argentina!

Later on, we drove down to T's house and then went out with him to see "Hitch." Great movie! So much fun. I heard one critic call it a "meta-romantic comedy." I agree - it had a little fun with the genre, and it had some pretty good acting. After the movie, we went to the Cactus Cantina near Thomas's house. BEST FAJITAS EVER! Oh, man. I ate like a pig. I ordered extra guacamole. I had two glasses of the best Sangria EVER!. It rocked. We wrapped up the evening just sitting and talking. What a perfect night out!

Today we tried out a new church about 10 minutes South of home. I hate to make early predictions, but it was a good service, we liked the people we met and the atmosphere. Let's hope when we go back and hear the usual pastor speak, we'll be just as happy.

Now we have to clean the bathroom and tidy up for the week. Why is Sunday so melancholy like that? It's always too full of preparations for our weekly grind.

Friday, February 11, 2005

As I suspected . . .

I found this quiz. I took it. Result: me, in a nutshell.

Ooo, I'm blond! 

You are Miss Piggy. You are talented and the center of attention. At least you'd like to think you are. You're really just a pig.

FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS: "Moi", "Moi" and "Moi!"

LAST BOOK READ: "Women Who Run With Frogs And The Frogs Who Better Wise Up Quick"

FAVORITE MOVIE: "To Have and Have More"

DRESS SIZE: If it's expensive, it fits.

BEST FEATURES: Eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, nose, cheeks, hair, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, fingers, legs, knees, ankles, feet, toes and so on and so forth.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Singing, Dancing, Directing, Producing, Writing, Starring, and Being Famous.

Which Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Celadon-Striped Possibilities of My Fate

Bad girl! I haven't written in days and days. Sorry about that.

It's been a rather dry week. I've done a couple of ad resizes, etc. for my job and I'm still tediously plowing through the biology cd-rom stuff. K and I have been watching "House," this new show we've found. A bit over-done/route at times, but Hugh Laurie's character gives Dr. Perry Cox of "Scrubs" fame a run for his money in the crankiness department. I must admit to seeing flashes of Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster needing one of Jeeve's morning refreshers. What a great actor!

K and I went to a Lazboy Furniture Gallery yesterday - that was important. We walked around, chatted with Linda the nice sales-lady and started thinking about what we wanted for the living room. If we don't buy the stock colors, it's gonna take 8-10wks to get our furniture. ARGH! So frustrating. Oh, and the one sofa I really wanted to see is from the upcoming Spring line and not yet available. WHY?!? "Joan" - your sleek lines, stunning fabric options and fabulous coordinating tables leave me weak. Why do you tarry?

I suppose when we have it we'll forget all about the time it took to get it, but that's what they said about long engagements and I'm still piqued by the memory of the last, unendurably long month of our engagement. I swear when I get a couch I'm gonna lay down on it for a week straight and refuse to budge. Well, except for the bare necessities, of course. Wait for me, Joan!

The Elusive Joan

Monday, February 07, 2005

It's enough to make me swear off weekdays for good!

Friday night Brother J, K and I ate a quick dinner at home and then set out for the Metro and a trip to DC. J had never been to the area, so we thought he should see the mall and a bit of the city. We left Metro Center station and were greeted by 35-degree weather and a beautiful night. We swung by the White House, past the Washington Monument down to the Korean Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial (more on that later) and then on to the Vietnam Memorial. Early in the planning stages, we had thought to walk all the way to the Capitol Building as well, but we feared fatigue and cold weather so we officially nixed the idea. As we were walking around, though, we decided two things: 1) We, as mortal humans, only live once, and 2) The Capitol looks temptingly close from the Lincoln Memorial. Our friend T met up with us on the way back from a party and we hopped in his car after marveling at the Capitol Building. And because no trip to DC would be complete without stopping by for a visit, we stopped for drinks at the Old Ebbitt before heading home on the Subway and sleeping like babies.

K and I did some sight-seeing this past August on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but it was crowded at certain places, so we didn't do more than admire the exteriors. Fortunately on a chilly night in February, you're much likely to encounter a crowd at the Lincoln Memorial than on a cooler day in August. We almost had the monument to ourselves for close to half an hour. We were able to read the words of his Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg address. Stunning prose - just incredible. I think that's gotta be my favorite memorial - so stirring and poignant and stark. I liked what my brother had to say about it: "It's open and simple. Just his words and himself. You can see the empty corners of the building. It's like all the open space is a gift to the memory of this amazing man."

Well, after that night of beautiful vistas and winking lights, Sunday was pretty banal by comparison, but it was great fun. We tried out a local Lutheran church which probably won't be the place for us, I reckon, though the people were sweet as can be. Those friendly Lutherans! After that, I left K to fend for himself and I went out for lunch and some shopping with HF - yay! I barely got to know H at GCC simply because she graduated before I could really spend much time with her, so it was great to catch up/get to know her. Plus I got a dress shirt at Express for $15 in the perfect shade of coral/salmon for my complexion. Bring it!

Once I returned from that adventure, I found Hubsterhad reformatted his computer, done the dishes and tidied the bedroom and bathroom. What a marvelous man! :-D I had little time to admire his work, though, because we left soon for a trip to JB's house for dinner out in Delaware at the Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse (yay for inexpensive yummy steak!), a little conversation with his delightful parents, and most of the Superbowl. Bad commercials, decent tension, and one man with a fabulous, fabulous name: Bruschi. Fraternities everywhere sigh that they were not blessed with his moniker on their member rolls.

Now it's Monday, it's lunch, and I wish I had my nighttime in DC or my friends back. Sigh.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

he's here! :-D

The car is fabulous! I fed J a little chicken tender wrap when he got here and then we unloaded all my possessions and the rest of the wedding gifts we hadn't taken from my parent's house. Then we took the old girl out. Grocery shopping. Yeah, we really know how to paint the town red. Anyhow, the car rocks, and there's not much more to be said about that at this time.

My brother has been having a ball over here. I bought him fun food, he's been snacking and chatting with me like they're goin' out of style. It's hilarious to have such a boisterous fellow about when I'm used to spending my days in utter silence. ;) He's also fallen head-over-heels in love with the TV show Arrested Development. I made him watch the Pilot this morning while I worked and he went on a spree. We just finished watching the season finale not long ago. I was able to work while he did that since I'm converting a book to CD right now and it's rather tedious, mindless work. That show is awesome! It was even more fun to watch with someone who laughs in delight every thirty seconds or so. Great stuff.

Can't wait till we take him out to DC tomorrow night. More updates later . . .

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's been a crazy couple of days . . .

Last week K and I began the process of buying a used car from a dealer. In Michigan. Why do we do these things? We're crazy, masochistic people. And my dad works for a dealership and could pass along a decent discount. Oh and both of our other cars BITE. K's car started overheating the other day. Anyone following the continuing saga of our life with cars should be cracking up right now. It's pathetic how much we've paid for car repairs in the last year. It's been like having a car payment!

We've been on the hunt for a little while, but we decided that we found a car we wanted at last and we went for it. So I've been calling, faxing, calling, trotting over to banks to sign papers, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Finally everything went through yesterday and today my brother will arrive with our new (to us) Honda CR-V. Yay!

Brother J's been planning to visit for a few months now, but he was planning on coming down when my other brother, P, was home on leave from Korea. That all fell through when Phil found out coming home was going to take a wee bit longer than he had imagined, so, since we have to get the car from MI to MD and shipping it costs a ton, we told him to drive it down and said we'd fly him home. I'm so excited to see him. I do kinda wish he had another brother in tow, too, but I guess that's just life.

Continuing on with the "Mayhem of My Life" theme, right now there are three workmen in my apartment sawing and drilling. The apartment complex we moved into is undergoing renovations and today, our number is up. We're having all our appliances (except the fridge) replaced, the kitchen and bathroom cabinets replaced, and new bathroom vanities put in place. I'm trying to apply just the right amount of Gaussian Blur to my clipped-path image and they're shouting. It's crazy-go-nuts over here, but at least I'll have some nice new appliances for my travail. I just hope it's quieter where you are . . . :-D