Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Meet Loki

Over the year since we got Persephone, we've taken to calling her "Little." Friday night we brought home our second little, Loki. She's an eight-month old barn kitten who was rescued not long ago. And she's so adorable, to wit:

We opened the door of the pet carrier after a fairly quiet ride. She wandered out, saw Persephone and bolted for the basement where she proceeded to explore everything she could get her paws and nose on/into. She was leary of the giants, but after a time she warmed right up this "petting" business and started purring loudly. She's smaller than Percy, so we've taken to calling her "Tiny." She has bigger paws and longer limbs and tail so she's just a mess of black fur and appendages. She has a tiny fluff of white at the end of her tail and a little triangle on her chest and the rest is black as night. She's hard to find in the shadows, which is unfortunately where she's had to spend a chunk of her time because of this:

Persephone has not, shall we say, warmed to her. Her first response was of the hissing variety, only the second time she's ever hissed at any creature (the other being Chewbacca, the in-laws large chocolate lab). We didn't think they'd be all Milo & Otis in minutes or anything, but Persphone has taken to hunting the poor thing whenever she runs out of things to do. She's still being affectionate with us, except that now she knows she's not supposed to bat at Loki and scare her, so if she's in the hunting mood, she tends to run at the sight of our approach and stay well out of water-spray range. I was really upset about this cruel behavior, but I frankly admit the animal world scares the ever-loving crap out of me with its lack of moral conscience. I'm not so much with the watching crocodiles eat baby gazelles on Animal Planet. K has a better understanding of this diva-cat syndrome, and so does the rescuer from whom we got both of the cats, so we called her and have been following her advice, hoping against hope that they'll settle in to some routine where Pooper doesn't feel the need to smite her a few times a day.

All this puts into perspective the naming process. We were originally looking for a male cat to name "Loki" since he's a male god in the Norse pantheon. There were no males at the time, so we figured since she was recently spayed, it wasn't like it mattered, and hello, it's the 21st century, I'll play with myths if I like. She's living up the name in that she's inquisitive and smart, but the true cruel strategist is Persephone. Loki should really have her name with its connotation of innocence from the story of her being kidnapped into being the Queen of the Dead. Still, the names are set, and some battle lines have been drawn in our very own Clash of the Titans. They even have some fight songs - Persphone alternately hisses and meows loudly and Loki lets out this throaty and threatening roar (though she never attacks first) which sounds like an un-mufflered car ramping up (as Persephone gets closer) into a power drill whine. If it weren't so frightening to watch, the sounds they make would absolutely hysterical. The humor even shines through at moments, like when we tried to go to sleep on Saturday night only to hear the low rumble start under one corner of the bed and hissing on an opposite side. Ah, the peaceful life of the cat owner.

I really hope it works out to keep her. We've already fallen in love with her. We just don't want to wound her poor psyche for life over this, so we're keeping a close watch and letting the decision hang in the balance for a week or two. We never thought Percy would be so hardened to Diva Cat status in just a year, but she is. Let's hope she has some flexibility in her yet or we'll have to say goodbye to this tightly-packaged cuteness:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Linking Friday

1. This article on Slate talks about the popularization of yoga and it's effects on what people now think is necessary for doing yoga. I kinda see the influx of mats and cutesy clothes as only natural - you're dealing with western suburbanites, if you can't abercrombisize it, it's not worth doing. Still, the author is pretty nonjudgmental about it, and perhaps with good reason - the Abercrombie set certainly needs the stress relief.

2. How about this little McSweeney's gem: A Mother's Plea. "This is not unusual behavior for a 5-year-old, especially for a bright, inquisitive boy eager to explore the boundaries of interpersonal contact." Heh.

3. I really like this post from Fuzzy.org. I don't read her all the time, but sometimes she comes up with some real gems. Sure, it's a mite profane, but she's really thinking about what it means to be a modern, fragile, human being and still be somebody's mom. I don't know if it's because of the multitudinous means of expression available now, but I'm glad to see so many mothers fessing up to the non-stop annoyances and real pain associated with their job while still upholding it as a wonderful human experience. Honestly, if I ever have children, I hope I turn out as honest and refreshing as some of these women. "Those women you used to see in Pine-Sol commercials who got high off of mopping their kitchen floor!" make me almost as nauseous as the cleaner they're using.

4. You know, my thoughts on motherhood, womanhood, and similar weighty subjects have been heating up of late. My struggles with my identity as a wife somewhat mirror those of Fussy becoming a mother, so I might have some more words on that subject coming up. And this totally doesn't have a link on it. HA! FINE, if you're gonna give me that look, then here: enjoy! In case you missed it the first twenty times bloggers linked to this hilarious video send-up of rap, snack cakes, dreamworlds of magic, and Google Maps. The links, they do flow from this site, no?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I could mention that a couple of days ago, Hubster and I started dancing (in our awkward, white way) around the basement to a Citizen Cope song and the cat started flipping out. Then I decided to do an interpretive ribbon dance with her string toy and she started chasing it and we laughed a lot. I could mention that I spent 90% of yesterday on the phone with my coworker figuring out the schedule for conferences this year and learning that I will probably be gone every weekend in late April through June. I could tell you that we hit up a friend's house for dinner last night and he made fantastic beef roast with potatoes which had to be tossed in a pan with butter. A bit splattered the skin near his eye and he spent the rest of the night making jokes about serving "hot-buttered eyeball," and Hubster ended up uttering the words "endive metatarsal" and we all laughed while he iced his eye and tried to eat, single-handed and one-eyed. But none of these things are an entire entry. They're barely an entire thought.

I think you can all identify with that specific feeling of "trying to be bigger than the situation." You really want to be a baby about it, you're about to start with the tantrums and the pity parties, but you stop yourself and say, "I will overcome because I am better than my immediate, immature reaction." Unfortunately, this is directly opposed to the blogger's mindset of ranting and raving about every little annoyance to comedic effect. I wish I could say that I can do that and remain aloof and use it to vent without actually carrying around the feeling of entitlement pasted all over my words, but I can't do that. I know when I'm sinking into it, and I'm sinking, yo. So I have to step out of the situation, not post a rant, and then . . . I'm stuck. Should I spend an entire entry raving about how tiny, juicy, and delicious key limes are, and how every Gin & Tonic made hereafter shall bear a slice of their magnificent bitterness by my royal decree? Sounds a little shallow, no? Also, BORING!

Don't worry, though. I'm still doing well. In fact, I'm doing better than I was a week or two ago. I'm still stressed about my work project, inundated with tiny errands to run, overwrought over the new cat we're going to get sometime but not soon enough, and generally obsessive about everything, but I'm happier. I may still have a lot on my plate, but I'm more certain I'll get it done. And I may still talk to my husband about the same things, but I feel like we're getting somewhere instead of being in totally different places, whining to ourselves. And I still FREAKIN WANT ANOTHER CAT, but we're getting there, and I realize that no amount of time spent wishing will make it any closer than actual time spent driving out there and writing out a check.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I can't jump to the end, I have to live through all these things. I have this absurd wish almost daily to just get to the end and know the outcome. I like the closer of history. To my eternal shame, I (who was an avid booklover) would skip to the end of the book to find out how it turned out if I felt a too worried about the events I was then reading. But I can't do that with my current realities. The only guy who has the key is God, and he's not talking. So I have to live through this, and no amount of GRRRRRRRRRRing on this website will do anything for it. Except perhaps passing the time writing this. So I guess I'm warning you: it's going to be LAME.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Garlic, Grime, and Goofy Ideas

It felt like a leisurely weekend, but we sure got a lot done. Friday night, Mr. T's visit was a hit. We talked for quite a while over our dinner of dinner (recipe to be included below because I love you) and a great bottle of wine. I wanted a white with the meal, but the garlic stood up to the red pretty well, so it worked. It was a Malbec from the Navarro Correas estate in Mendoza, Argentina. So smooth and delicious and I think he said it ran him $10. Rock. On.

Garlic Clove Chicken
2 lbs skinless chicken pieces
Flour for dredging
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves, peeled but whole)
1/2 c Dry Sherry
1/2 c chicken broth/bouillon

1. Dredge the chicken (cut into similarly sized pieces so as to cook evenly and quickly) in flour, salt and pepper.
2. Heat up the wok and then saute the cloves of garlic until they are brown and mushy. Remove and set aside.
3. Brown the chicken in oil.
4. Add the garlic back to the wok with the Sherry and broth.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Serve with rice. Exercise immense self control so as not to consume it at a rude and rapid pace.

We intended to stay up late, wiling away the hours with more witty conversation and interesting movies, but, in the grand tradition of post-collegiate life, we crapped out early from having worked a full day after a full week and imbibing. Meh, it was fun and we didn't have to impress each other, so who cares, right? We're going to try this again on a Saturday night when we're a bit more lively. T slept over and we had a big eggs and toast breakfast. We rarely make those and I forget just how yummy they are. When he left for home and we left for the final round of apartment cleaning. The fridge went much faster than anticipated, and as soon as we turn in our keys, we're done with the old apartment. Yay!

We had a quiet night in Saturday, watching Criminal (see sidebar) and talking. On Sunday, the choir performed a Handel piece. One of the members played his silver and gold trumpet as part of the accompaniment and it sounded fantastic! But I still hate him because he has perfect pitch - Exhibit A in my brain's collection entitled "Life is Not Fair."

Then last night we decided to get another cat. Yeah, just like that. Kidding! We've been thinking about it for a while, but we decided that if we want one, we should do it soon. We're thinking about spending a weekend away just the two of us, and pretty soon it'll be conference season and I'll be gone like 3 weekends a month. Best to lull the feline with love and constant attention and then leave when it least expects it. Because we care, ya know? Anyway, we drove to the home of the people who rescued Persephone, but the only kitties she had still needed to be spayed and we figured we would let her be the bad guy. We'll probably get one of them later this week. Weee! (Tiny plug: if you're looking to adopt a kitty and live in MD, she's awesome and easy to work with, knows the cats personalities and will take any cat back at any time, no questions asked.) Don't worry, I'll inundate you with photos as soon as I can.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Cornucopia of Fabulous Things

1. This morning I had a toasted English muffin with butter and Bonne Maman orange marmalade and a cup of Twinings Loose Leaf Earl Grey tea with a hint of cream and sugar. Wheaties, schmeaties - THIS is the breakfast of champions! Okay, "Breakfast of Champion Quasi-European Elitists."

2. Fametracker almost had water coming out of nose. CHECK OUT THIS FAME AUDIT and laugh your head off. I usually try to give some indication of what the content will be when I ship you off to another site, but this one is too good to spoil. In the unlikely and horrific eventuality that their site gets taken down some day, I will have no idea what this was about. Meh, it's worth it.

3. Tonight good friend Mr. T will be hitting up our new house for a dinner and a movie. We rented Criminal. It's a remake of an Argentine (!) film, and it stars John C. Reilly, so I'm really excited to see it. For dinner, I'm cooking a recent family favorite "Garlic Clove Chicken." So good it makes you weep.

4. Despite just about every phone in my vicinity TOTALLY SPAZZING OUT for the past ten days, I've managed to have some great conversations and email exchanges this week. I am continually amazed at my friends and family. I am continually irate at the unruly state of communication in what some are calling "The Communication Age." We should call it "The Age of Trying to Get the Phone to Stop Restarting Randomly" or "The Age of Calling Back Ten Times."

5. I've finished some little work projects. I'm almost blinded to the fact that many remain by the sheer fabulousness of that statement.

6. It's the WEEKEND. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Picture Post to the Rescue!

I've been having to work pretty hard lately to find entry topics. The beauty of the picture post leapt to mind. After an entire week. So maybe not "leapt" but "lofted downward at an excruciatingly slow pace." Apparently even though my tagline says that "if you add pictures, they will come, " I don't get it. AWESOME.

Roof Junkie.

I've had qualms about making this blog ALL ABOUT THE FRIGGIN FELINE, but whatever. Pooper owns me anyhow and I might as well be honest about that. Plus I had to show you that she manages to get up to the basement joists (which we are eventually going to wall off because we fear she'll get stuck up there). This makes me alternately amazed and afraid. It's a little disconcerting to hear weird noises coming from the ceiling of the room where I work all day. As if to placate me, she just crawled on my lap. She's a wiley one, she is.

New Hair in a normal picture. Except the angle makes my nose look weird AGAIN. I CAN'T WIN.

At last a better picture of my hair. It still feels a bit plain to me, but K loves it and it can look very modern with the angled line on the side. Let's face it, I wouldn't put the work in for some curled or flippy style anyway. I HEART AIR DRYING! And plying a straightening iron for three minutes TOPS. Yeah, LAZY.

Winter fog that reminds me of Autumn.

A few days ago now, I took this picture of the steps leading up from our basement. It was so foggy that what looks like light is actually the reflection of my flash on the mist. It was like that until the late afternoon. Spooky working conditions are kind of inspiring. And all those old leaves look lovely. So that's why the picture - because it's my site and I'll post random crap if I want to.

My shiny new opal pendant (sigh)

Lest anything stray for long from my drama-demanding self, here's a picture of my latest birthday gift, an Australian Boulder Opal Pendent from the Hunger Site's website. I got a belated check and it was on sale. It's a fair trade site with food donations associated with each gift, too, so it was a guilt-free splurge. Props to Mair who first found the site and its slammin' gift shop years ago. Go forth and shop for a worthy cause!

Dude, put down the camara and help me get this thing out of the wet stuff. Oh, and don't embarrass me by posting this or so help me I'll aim for the white carpet!

After everything was moved out of the apartment, we managed to find a bunch of rubber balls and catnip-filled mice that Persephone had pushed into a corner under the hutch, shoved under the stove drawer, and slid under the refrigerator. When we brought them to the new place, she immediately set to work and managed to hop a ball into her water bowl. Watching her be stymied by the water and still determined to GET THE BALL OUT was awesome. She would bat at it and promptly have to shake her paw a hummingbird-wing speed and then she would just stare at the ball and stare at us and try the batting thing again. And this is why cats rule - they know how to shake a leg for my amusement.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In which I use the word "kindred" like 75 times.

I am a girly girl. I love dressing up. Hair, makeup, and fashion rock my face off. I have been tres feminine for much of my life, to the chagrin of my father who often wondered aloud, "where did my tomboy go?" as if I were ever going to fall in that category. I was no less girly in my early reading choices. Did I rock Little House on the Prairie? YOU BET. Nancy Drew? CHECK. Anne of Green Gables. ALL EIGHT OF THEM. BOO-YAH!

The last set was the most enjoyable for me. I used to love how everyone Anne liked was her "kindred spirit." Maybe it takes a certain personality, but I have known several people with whom I have felt that instant connection. That's how I felt about my high school chicas. That's how I felt about my first roomie and later Maid of Honor. It's not always instant. Some friends have been harder if not downright difficult to get to know. But no matter how it happens, it is a necessary delight of life to know people with whom we feel that kindred connection, and no less for myself than anyone. That's why my lunch today is making me so happy.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman from the church choir called me and asked if I would help her with a youth group event. She was understaffed with chaperones and wondered if I or my husband might be interested. She ended up filling the slots before we could get back with her, but we had the best conversation, and she said she'd like to go to lunch with me sometime. Today it finally worked out for us to take our lunch date and we hit up the Ram's Head Tavern because she'd never been and I knew it would be solid. Plus they have yummy spiced fries. MUST HAVE FRIES. ANYWAY, we ordered our ales and burgers and poured forth our life stories and struggles to each other like we'd been friends for years. Despite the fact that I've done that with countless people by this point in my life, I never cease to be amazed at that process. "Hello, how are you? I hated coconut as a kid, too!"

It's not typical to feel such a connection across our differences. She's about ten years older than I, has two kids and a masters in education. But she's got her own religious past like mine, a journey of identity on which she's traveled, struggles in her marriage, and a lot of hard times through which she worked and learned. So a mentor? Maybe. A friend with whom I spend time in geographic proximity (unlike so many of you dear souls)? I hope so! Where would I be without my kindred spirits?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Mental Stew" fits nicely

I'm tired, y'all. Work is still taking up a lot of mental steam. The big projects are vying for head space along with lots and lots of tiny things that have to be done. I'm hoping that pretty soon I'll learn to ignore that periodic panicked feeling I get that "somewhere something important is being missed," but I have had little success till now. Of course if I managed to ignore it totally then I really would miss things, so I'm just living moment to moment, trying to make the list of tasks smaller and more managable so the panic won't be necessary anymore.

I went back to counseling today, too. I was doing better after last summer, but several things have started weighing on me again, so I'm doing some maintainence. It felt really good. I spent so much of my down times over the past two or three years endlessly analyzing what was happening, trying to figure it all out. I think I needed to talk it out more than I did, but I think there's a lot of value to having a professional around to do the listening. I find myself being okay with being honest about things that would be harder with a friend. I don't have to go out later and get a beer with this person, so it doesn't matter if I sound more upset than I should. Being honest, in fact, gets me out the door sooner anyway because the help I get is real, tailered to me. I'm hoping that it also makes it easier to avoid the mental clutter during work. It hasn't been so bad I can't finish that page I was working on, but it hasn't helped during this busy season.

So that's what's up. I have a few more pictures of my hair (ones which, when captioned, would not have to make reference to a "nasal cam" of any kind), and I might post them if I'm out of other stuff. I have a couple of unformed ideas floating around in the ole mental stew. Here's an idea, instead of me blathering on and on about how hard it is for me blather currently, how about you drop me a line, a comment, whatever, and let me know how you're doing and what you're up to. De-lurking is good for you!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The FyF Turns One

Whilst enjoying some Christmas-stocking bonbons this afternoon, some of my thoughts about this past year in blogging coalesced for me. AT LAST.

I kept up with a couple of friends' blogs during my senior year of college. I was intrigued by the medium, but way too busy with school and wedding planning to let myself try only to fail spectacularly. Finally last winter I was bored and deeply suspicious that my husband was getting tired of my blather. I also wanted to scrapbook again, but I hadn't had the energy to be that creative, I had no physical prints of my pictures (ah, the digital age!), and I wanted to spend my pennies on cute sweaters, not Creative Memories paper kits. I didn't tell anyone about this site for several weeks after I started it. I was afraid of failure (a personal hallmark), so I kept the potential damage down. But I kept plugging away at the keyboard, writing drivel but noticing that it was fun and occasionally it helped me keep the old bean clear of frustration. Slowly the months of archives built up. I would look up that picture or that comment and I'd dig back four, five months before I found it. Then I started messing with the template, learning the ropes of managing my site (and those of a few friends) and it really became the hobby I thought it might. Mmmm, I like being right.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a wedding of some GCC alums. Weddings are always more fun when you know and love the couple (especially when you love them AS a couple), and if they have delicious flavored iced teas at the reception, so much the better. One of the best aspects of this particular one for us, though, was catching up with so many alums that we'd missed at Homecoming this year. Many were one or more years behind us, and it was great to see them starting out their careers and getting engaged to their sweethearts. A bunch of them confessed to reading my blog daily, and I was so flattered that they would take any interest in my descriptions of dinners and captioned images of my cat. They knew so much of what was going on in my life just because they read the snippets I posted here. It reminded me that as much as this is all about me, it can be useful as a tool for sustaining friendships.

Sidenote: Friendships are so underrated. I suppose humanity cannot be blamed if it is more captivated by the extreme passion of romantic love. We want high drama from our stories, but it ends up devaluing friendship. Friendship gives us a refuge of understanding, shared experiences, and plenty of opportunities for companionship without the entangling expectations of love. I have been so very blessed to have close friends throughout my life who really are incredible people themselves. I never thought they'd be all that interested in this sort of forum, but I have had many good conversations with friends that have been sparked by what I've said. Sure it's hard to be honest with the Internet about your depression, but when 5 friends call you up because of it, it kinda takes the edge off. Just a bit.

So an entire year has passed. I'm not sure how long I'll slug away at this, but the hobby hasn't lost its luster, and I'll keep it up as long as I can. It has served as a scrapbook, a sort of newsletter, a little therapy, and just one more way that I can stay connected to the finest readership out there. Thanks, guys, for one great year.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Welcome Surprises. But only for me.

WORK! GAH! I mean, one minute it's all a wreck and I feel so ready to blog as a distraction and the next minute I'm all inspired and I don't want to stop even for my favorite obsession! GAH!

I had several great conversations today with different people who owed me this week and who came through beautifully. Now all I can think about is my projects. RARE, BUT WELCOME.

I hate to ask you to wait on the content, but I guess that's how it goes for this lunch break. My blogging anniversary is this weekend and I have some content related to it that I think I'll start sharing soon.

Rain check? Pretty please? With an olive on top?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

From the Producer of "Cranky Chef" comes "Cranky Optimist"

So today is much better than yesterday. First off, the sun is shining like it wasn't completely invisible since time immemorial. YEAH, DON'T THINK I DIDN'T NOTICE, CAPTAIN CLOUDBANK. Because of that, it totally looks like Spring out, which is cruel because it won't be for months. Ah, but hope springs eternal in the gullible brain of the optimist.

Hey, I'm raging about how cheerful I am. Apparently my blog can make me gripe about ANYTHING.

Moving on. Read "The 4-Year-Old's Workday." Ah, mirth! And not at all like my workday. Except for "Staff meeting proves unproductive due to constant requests to go pee." That happens all the time.

Aw, what the heck. Here's another McSweeney's link: "Stories Ending with 'Long Story Short' That Could Actually Use Some Elaboration." This seems particularly creative to me because I can barely imagine the circumstances that would bring such stories about. You see, I have a neurosis called Concision Avoidant Personality Syndrome (or CAPS) which prevents me from skipping any detail when telling a story, no matter how minute and ultimately inconsequential. Oh, and CAPS could describe another of my neuroses - my inability to write anything without entirely-capitalized phrases. IT'S A RECOGNIZED DISEASE - DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. (Had to be done.)

Returning to the real world, last night did a great deal to improve me mood. Hubster and I went out to Ram's Head Tavern and had delicious meals. It was still Happy Hour when we arrived and we enjoyed our $2 draft beers quite a bit. They really make some tasty ale. After dinner we just chilled at home, went over the changes we'd be making to our budget and thought a bit about future home improvement projects. We even went to bed on time and read. From books even! Sometimes feeling like a responsible adult can be so delightful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cooking with the Cranky Chef

I'm feeling a little blah. I might even be in a funk. Work projects aren't being completed as quickly and easily as they should (only some of which is my fault) and I'm discouraged about some of the stuff going on around the house, too. Most days I chalk it up to the imperfections inherent in life, but my idealism is flairing up and it's hard to be satisfied. Hopefully date night will help, and I'm already cutting myself some slack on dinner - we're going out, even if its just Subway. I have to give myself some outs, and the mere fact that I realize this is progress.

Something that most definitely did not discourage me, though, is the fantastic salmon fillet we had last night. I got the marinade from my dad. If memory serves he got it from a book and then tweaked it. He made it on chicken shish kabobs while we were visiting, and I tried a version with pork a few days ago. I have yet to try it on beef, but I don't think it would be bad at all. Anyone feeling brave?

Chimichuri Oriental de Papá

1/4-1/2 c. Brown Sugar
3 T. Soy Sauce
1 Garlic Clove, minced (1/2 t. pre-minced garlic in a jar)
3 T. Sherry
2 t. Sesame Oil

1. Mix them all together and coat the meat with it.
2. Marinade meat overnight (if you have the time) or just baste while grilling.

The range of brown sugar is Dad's invention - he says adding extra sugar makes it less drippy for basting. I keep Sherry on hand because it doesn't go sour, unlike most wines, so I can have the same bottle for months, using it anywhere a recipe calls for it or a dry white wine (although it does alter the flavor a little from, say, a Pinot Grigio). I get Savory & James brand dry Sherry from Spain - the birthplace of the wine in the region of "Jerez," from which someone derived its Anglicized name through the usual linguistic voodoo. It costs about $10 at my local store and it lasts for a long time because I don't use it for anything other than cooking - I prefer the sweeter Cream Sherries for drinking. The sesame oil gives the marinade a delicious flavor. My local grocery store was out of sesame oil and I used canola oil instead, but it was still quite good. For such a simple recipe, with most ingredients easily kept on hand, this one's a keeper.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I wanted to be serious.

Short Version: But not so much.

Long Version: Because of pressing matters (hair!) I didn't give you a recap of my weekend yesterday as is my wont. Friday night was a casual night in that became a not-so-casual marriage discussion. Sometimes being married makes me want to hurl myself from the battlements, but after hashing out the problem, I'm back on solid ground again, ready to work on the problems that drive us to distraction. It probably helps that K was a total sweetheart the rest of the weekend. He's wiley like that. ;) Saturday morning was lovely and lazy. I got my hair cut in the early afternoon and we headed out to see Munich.

Wow. Seriously, wow. Part of the reason that I've been wanting a serious post is to tackle that movie, but I just can't seem to nail my perspective down. The way violence unravels a quiet, unassuming family man is just, well, it's got to be seen to believed. I've seen war movies that have bothered me less, yet the violence was being used to make a point instead of just being a way to put butts in seats. It seems so timely, too, in the wake of the ongoing question of the proper response to terrorism. If you can stomach it, you should see it. If you're not sure you fall in that category read this first, though, because you might need more warning than with most movies. I would be interested to read other people's responses to the film (if you've seen it).

Sunday night we had JB over. He and K had a grand old time fixing things up around the house, installing nerdy new features, and solving the ongoing mystery of the power to our bathrooms. None of the outlets were working and it was such an easy fix that JB has forever won a place in my heart for finding it and saving the day. I can't imagine calling an electrician and having him charge me $100 for the push of one, solitary button. GENIUS, I say.

So that was my weekend. It was good, but the one intellectual highlight of it has become an obstacle to serious inquiry elsewhere. I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT I THINK about that movie. I mean, it was worth seeing. Undoubtedly. It might even be the great film that many critics are calling it. But its message about the destructiveness of violence and the unsatisfying/dangerous nature of vengeance is more Sophist than Socrates. I don't mean sophistic as in "deceptive," I mean it in the sense of negating a reigning philosophy but not offering another. Many a Sophist prided himself on his arguments against the existence of the Greek pantheon, but he didn't offer anything, even true atheism, in return (I'm forgetting where I read this before, but it's not my idea). Perhaps because he didn't have the answer, perhaps because he didn't feel it was within the scope of his film, but for whatever reason Spielberg doesn't offer us an alternative to the tit-for-tat approach to violence that current world politics seems to demand. I truly am not sure I comprehend an alternative, and neither do a lot of other folk I know. This movie did not convince me of this perspective but it did make clear to me what my position is lacking: considered alternatives and a sense that this matters, that my perspective should impact my life in some capacity. I am no decision-making mover of men, but I live in a society that gives me opportunities to make my perspective known to those who can make policy. I'd best get my mental act together.

And I think I just wrote a serious post. Who knew t'were possible?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Coiffure Confidential

I warned you my hair would be undergoing a major change last week and the time has come to unveil it. With a kinda annoying picture, but hey. First, for documentation's sake, the old coiffure:

Mane Madness

I don't think I've had hair that long since I was 15. I mean, it was healthy and it looked okay, but I was BORED. Also, I felt young and unsophisticated, unlike most people with long hair. When I was 15, I got my hair cut to a pixie (about 2 inches everywhere) and felt so cool and trendsetting, and it was in 1997 Michigan. This might also have been because it was so dramatic that everyone noticed, too. Once again, E.A.P = Drama Queen. After remembering that I could donate my hair and make it go to a good cause, I spent the past six weeks eagerly anticipating the emancipation of my neck. At last:

follicle Debutante

This picture doesn't really do it justice. Also, that angle is not a good one for those of us with "up-turned noses" as they say in Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately, it showed off the line of the cut the best. It is a plain and bold style. It actual makes me feel more like a real-live graphic designer since they all seem to have such artsy hair. Other reasons I'm happy? The hair stylist they assigned me was awesome and slightly CHEAPER than my current, so-so girl, so YAY new friend! Oh, and my mom wrote to me about a young girl in my old church who is undergoing chemo for leukemia and will soon need a wig. It was nice to know that, though it's unlikely my strands will ever help her specifically, they just might.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Adventures in Hating the Planet

Hubster and I moved the office stuff last night so I could set up the internet as soon as the installer arrived. Installation was a success and everything seemed fine. (cue foreboding music) I sent the man away. And then it happened. NO INTERNET.

The disappointment. The horror. The realization that I would let you down by being unable to blog. And I couldn't even drown my sorrows in WebSudoku. May you never experience such profound disappointment.

Anyhow, I call Customer Service, they talk me through the problem. And then the guys says they have to reset some account info BLAH BLAH NO INTERNET FOR ANOTHER 24-48 HOURS. KILL ME NOW!

I nearly wept. I called K at work and whined and complained, and he joined me because the poor man has been without internet for over three weeks at this point. Well, he's checked stuff occasionally, but he hasn't had more than 5 minutes at a time. He's had the shakes for a week.

I get off the phone with him. I work some more. Then Customer Service calls back. It's fixed! (cue angelic chorus)

And then I wrote an overly-dramatic entry about it.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Something for Everyone

Holy Sudoku Fans, Batman! Apparently my brave proclamation yesterday got many of my readers to join me in outing themselves: we're LOUD and PROUD of our numeric logic achievements! Reason on, brave comrades. And, as if you needed another means of getting a hit, look here. Billions of free Sudoku boards. You're welcome (for the puzzles, not for the fact that you'll lose your job inside of a month).

"ENOUGH," say the non-fans, "I want content geared toward me! ME!" Very well, I will now speak of house stuff.

As I said yesterday, I will have internet tomorrow at the new house, but I'm not sure when tomorrow, so posting may be late. [SIMMER DOWN.] I will also attempt to spruce up the house enough to take pictures of the interior. This morning's foray into that territory was disheartening. Apparently, my ability to overlook clutter and mayhem does not extend into photographs. My mother was wrong about that, my room's uncleanliness notwithstanding.

By now, the non-house, non-Sudoku fans are either really angry or not reading. Fashion anyone?

I made an appointment for a haircut this Saturday. I wisened up and made it on a day in which I WILL see people instead of having fabulous, salon-styled hair and then coming home to watch TV. ANYWAY, I'm going to donate my trimmed hair to Locks of Love and cut it short again. I'm SUPER pumped about shedding the mane. It's nice having long hair, but it's driving me nuts. I have to clean out Jacque's rollers (ourRoomba) like EVERY TIME. PLUS, way easier for conferences. So, new hair pics to follow next week.

The non-hair, non-house, and non-Sudoku fans? Well, they get this one sentence.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Listing Wednesday

1. We set up installation for a cable modem at our new place this Friday. No more "commuting" to the old apartment. Wee! The key in keeping this puppy up is either routine (like writing all/most of my entry on lunch) and opportunity. Its easier to post the more opportunity I have to get cracking on an entry.

2. I'm listening to the Strokes new album on AOL. I'm not a huge fan or anything, but I've liked most of what I've heard from them. I think I'll be looking into them in the future. Check it out if you like quirky rock bands.

3. Hubster bought me the complete Jeeves & Wooster DVD's for Christmas and we've been watching through it. Our favorite quote so far (said by Hugh Laurie, BUT OF COURSE): "You can't be a successful dictator and design women's underclothes. One or the other, not both." RIOTOUS.

4. Hubster got a book of Su Doku puzzles for Christmas and for the last several nights, we've been tackling one before we go to sleep. We're so clichéd, sitting there in our pajamas, scribbling away and muttering "7 or 5 there . . ." but hang it all, it's FUN! Bring on the bedtime logic puzzles!

5. The time has come for the quitting of the work. To quote Bertram Wooster, "Toodle-pip!"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I am back, Blogosphere, and I hail thee from my old apartment. It's a long, drawn-out, painful, and thoroughly uninteresting story - not unlike this sentence and probably this entire entry.

The spirit of this year's holidays was best personified by my cat as she helped me wrap presents the night before we left:

You are lulled by the potential for cuteness and fun and you feel like you just might have enough time to enjoy yourself and get everything done.


NOT SO FAST, OPTIMISTIC MORON! Everything is coming at you at lightening speed and you have not a prayer of grasping anything. Also, your cat will shred those ribbons.

I neglected to mention it earlier but the cat knocked down the Christmas tree mere hours after I put it up in our apartment and she broke an ornament. We are looking into evasive measures for next year's festivities.

ANYHOW, despite the whirlwind that surrounded it, Christmas was awesome. I missed my immediate family (this was my first Christmas with the in-laws), but it was a success. We had a MOUNTAIN of presents under the tree with something like 20 people's names on them and it took us like four hours to open them, NO JOKE. Now, this is somewhat shocking and explains K's statement at my parent's house last year about "not that many presents." At first I thought this was a bit "SHALLOW AND MATERIALISTIC! OH, AND GREEDY AND WHINEY." but later I realized it's just different when you've only known crowded rooms and gifts all around for half a day. It's not like my family's real name is Grinch or anything, but we've had Christmas as older kids/adults for years now and the whole "opening eight million presents" thing has lost its appeal. However, I have rediscovered that loot is fun. CAN YOU BLAME ME FOR SAYING IT? NO, NO YOU CAN'T.

Anyhow, we hung out at the home of Hubster's aunt and uncle. Aunt A does ceramics so I got to throw on the wheel and MAN, DO I MISS IT. I also talked a lot, ate a lot, slept too little, and rarely showered - IT'S THE HOLIDAYS, WOOOOOO! And I got to look at vistas like this lovely scene just outside their deck:

A Winter Scene

Like I said, AWESOME! The move afterward went relatively well except I swear by the many bees buzzing in my bonnet that I will SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST if I can't have internet at the house soon. There are so many installation fees, strictures, requirements for other services a specific vendor must have you buy, ETC., ETC., AD FREAKING NAUSEUM that I am ready to move to the woods and become a ceramics instructor. This plan is flawed, however, because apparently when I don't blog, people wonder if I died. I'm working during the day from the apartment until we have internet at the house and I'll be blogging on lunches. I'll also try to take pics of the house so y'all can see it's put-together magnificence. To be honest, I missed this, and I miss your comments. It's good to be back.