Thursday, March 30, 2006

Convention HO!

No warning, and off I went - off to lovely Lincoln, Nebraska for my first convention of the year! [Cue Monty Python: And there was much rejoicing in the land! yay.]

Wednesday was a blur of Lenten program preparations, Lenten program participation (it was so good, too - there's a post in itself), and packing, packing, packing. I got it all together in my brand new suitcase and left early today for the trip. I had an hour layover in D-town, and desperately wanted to call everyone there and make them drive down and see me for that tiny little layover, but I resisted. I made sure to call my mom right before we took off for NE because I didn't want to tempt myself.

So seriously? Nothing of interest has happened yet. Nothing at all. But Bee and I have our people-watching antennae up and we'll keep you posted. Oh, yes we will.

And speaking of keeping you posted, remember when I totally didn't, and like the West Wing writers, I introduced a storyline only to do NOT A THING with it for weeks (hello, Josh and Donna anyone)? Yeah, I'm not dying of cancer. Or a goiter. Or just sheer embarrassment. The second, stronger medicine worked, and everything's back to normal. Modern Medicine: Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Unadulterated Crazy

My new microwave/hood really knows how to work the light!

Father-in-law came over and almost single-handedly put up this bad boy last night. Hubster was out for work, so it was just him and very un-handy me. Still, I managed to screw in little output panels, hold the weight of the microwave up on one side and dust-buster after every step involving drilling cabinetry and walls. Good times. It took several hours, but it's up and it's working just dandy. Except for the minor blockage of having a young bird family in the duct outside. ONE PROBLEM AT A TIME!

In completely unrelated news, I felt compelled to commit to pixels the death of a notion of myself. Apparently I am not, as I thought, afraid of color:

Next myth to tackle: can I wear the full skirts that all those boho/mid-century fashion freaks tell me are too popular to ignore anymore? It remains to be seen . . .

And now y'all have proof of my unending randomness, which probably stems from the overarching insanity.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I don't care if you don't want links, I'm not your short-order cook!

No time to post much today. Excellent, excellent weekend filled with almost nothing but time with Hubster before his schedule heats up. Instead of a big ole post, some links I've been meaning to pass along anyhow.

FINALLY, a use for all that bother, pain, and iron dificiency: check this out. I hope this works because that is some sweet technology it could help us achieve. Regenerating hearts? Seriously!? Awesome.

is so cool, I think I'm going to cry from all the laughing of looking at it every day. There's only one post up right now, but it's so brilliant, it MUST continue. Yoga fans - meet your new favorite yogi!

is why McSweeney's is so awesome. It is a send-up of all the reasons that we twenty-something, college-educated and yet spectacularly immature people think having children right now is a bad idea. I might add the one about how if I get pregnant Hubster has to change the cat's litter boxes for nine months, but that's too minor to tarnish a list in which the following statement about child-bearing/rearing is proclaimed: "It's a scam."

And that's all for now, lads and lasses.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Technically, she's half in the "box."

[I was going to name this entry with the day of the week to match the rest of the Fyfs offerings this week, but I figured this one was too good to pass up. "Half out of the bag" being a hilarious phrase I have long thought pleasant to the ear. Plus, I'm avoiding temptation because all I thought of when I noticed that trend was Day of the Week underwear and how much I want a set. I'm being a good girl here, mmmkay?]

On my lunch, I wandered in to the kitchen and discovered that the extra roast beef we buy and then thaw wasn't thawed. At all. I set it in the fridge yesterday, and I figured 20 hours or so should be enough. WRONG.

I went to plan B and made some tuna. Whilst draining it, Loki caught a whiff of that sweet, sweet fish and cranked the begging to 11, necessitating that I forfeit at least a third in Divine Feline Fees. Persephone and Loki were pleased, but like the corrupt overlords they have proven to be, they ganged up on me and managed to me me flip my tuna-mixing fork onto the ground, showering it with a few more tasty morsels. Tyrants!

Anyhow, I was about to head downstairs to munch my tuna sandwich and browse some blogs when I noticed Persephone pouncing on a Honey Nut Cherrios box. This is not unusual, especially since a paw was fighting back from the box. I shewed her away, and snapped a couple of successful pics and several successful blurs of black fur and orange "Whole Grain" marketing-speak. But it was worth it.

I can't tell if this is totally adorable or adorable, yet mildly frightening. It depends on if her eyes appear more "pokemon character of love" or "eyes in the woods of horror." Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday's Musing

I'm tired today. I've awakened almost every day this week to find Hubster rooting around the room for socks and almost ready to leave for work. It's not because of the noise or light or anything that I can account for, I just wake up. I try to go back to sleep until my alarm goes off, but I've never been very good at going back to sleep once I've awakened. It's nice to see him before he leaves for the day, but "losing sleep" nice? Hmmmmmm.

Things are going to heat up with his work soon. He'll be pulling longer hours, staying busier and out of sight. A part of me knows I can't replace all that time he'll be giving up, but the other part works to relish every moment I do get and pretends it'll be enough.

And I just realized how truly blessed I am because I get so much time with him that getting a little less than "so much time" is not enough for me.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What, you don't like Tuesdays?

or "Why I didn't post yesterday."

In a word: this:

At long last, you've come to me, my precious new stove. We shall be SO happy together!

Yes, Lowes delivered and I'm delighted. It heats up much faster and works better than the previous, ancient, half-broken piece-o-feces that resided in our home until yesterday. No more cooking on three 6" coil burners! Also, my oven? Yeah, it's convection. I'm giddy.

In related news, my inner child is seaking legal emancipation and damages.

Moving on, my cats are cute:


And finally, a public service announcement to Old Navy. I know some have said that these are back in:

But I don't think it gets any clearer than the "KIDS" sign that appears in the background because frankly, THINK OF THE CHILDREN. GAH!

Oh, and this was totally delayed by Blogger's picture-uploading function being petty and mean this afternoon and NOT WORKING. That's reason half the pictures come from flickr and half from Blogger. The asymmetry is making me cranky.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Miscellaneous Monday

It's Monday! It must be time to relive the weekend!

Friday night Hubster and I watched Jarhead. Verdict: mixed. Good cinematography, decent acting, interesting character exploration. Dialogue was sometimes shaky and pacing was hit and miss. I think the concept of the thinking-man's war movie is a good one (after all I liked The Thin Red Line) but it's hard to do well without pontificating (as TTRL sometimes did) or over-analyzing. Still, if you don't mind swearing, some male nudity, and a more thoughtful approach to war, then it might work for you. Also, the music was done by Thomas Newman, the man behind Finding Nemo and Little Women. Humorous juxtaposition of themes aside, he did a good job with all those scores. He did so well with LW that I used the closing theme as our wedding recessional. True story.

Saturday morning we got some work done around the house and then trotted out to Annapolis. We hit up their mall to get K's new Nano a case at the closest Apple store to our home. We also ate lunch at the Macaroni Grill there, and it was yummy. I created my own pasta with linguini, roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, chicken, and carmellized onions in a spicy red sauce (Arrabiatta - what a fun name). I ate the leftovers for lunch today.

Saturday night Mr. T came over for a little dinner and a movie. We ate grilled steak stuffed with provolone and spinach. Yum. We watched A History of Violence which was fairly good. Serious adult themes throughout, and they're handled in a graphic fashion. If you liked eXistenZ, you'll probably find this movie worthwhile. If you aren't familiar with the visceral style and themes of the director (David Cronenberg), be cautious. His movies aren't "fun" at all. Still, good acting overall and definitely thought-provoking. As much as he raises good points, I'm not sure Cronenberg isn't a deeply disturbed individual. I definitely take his movies on a case-by-case basis.

ENOUGH ABOUT THAT. The rest of the evening was a blur of interesting conversation and lots of laughing. I got up the next morning on a mission: to execute my trio piece at church as flawlessly as possible. It went fine, but I was really glad I prayed a little beforehand so God had a chance to remind me that perfect delivery was missing the point. That was the best part, remembering God's role in this whole process of being his hands, feet, and voice. That and working with two other women with whom I blended so well in style and tonal quality. To my ear we sounded almost angelic. That kind of thing gives me an energy high that's hard to quantify. Thank God for hobbies that set us alight with excitement and joy.

Mr. T took us out to lunch afterward and we rode around in his convertible with the top down (huzzah for shorter hair and clips - no more tangles!) and then, once he'd headed home, we online-shopped for stoves, did more household chores, and watched our Sunday TV-shows. We also had some really good conversations. Honestly, the thing I savor most about my marriage with each passing day is Hubster's companionship. What a very good friend (with benefits)!

I also FINALLY finished rachel's blog template re-do. It took me far too long, but it turned out well. And she loves it so Mission: Accomplished.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's Not a Love Song [It's a Lymph Saga!]

I'm listening to the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack and the song entitled "It's Not A Love Song." It's a perfect Friday song - carefree, a little too "weekend" without being totally distracting. Delightful.

So yesterday was rather long. I worked all day, I cooked, I sand at choir practice and had to focus and contract abdominal muscles with a belly full of spicy stir-fry (when will I learn?!?), and when I was finally home again, Hubster and I realized we'd neglected to put our W-2's in with the tax forms we filed. It's really odd that I would succeed in avoiding this all those ditzy single years (basically since I was 16) and then, when I finally have another set of eyeballs to help, I forget. Awesome. We'll just send them in when they request them and remember next time. Still, not a good thing to discover at the end of a long day.

Another annoying thing? I noticed a swollen lymph node over three weeks ago on my neck. It was right by my jaw, and it seemed small and I didn't have any other symptoms (including pain there), so I just waited for a week before I went to the doctor. I figured it would go down on its own, you know, in between bouts of thinking I was going to die of cancer within a week. Anyhow, I went to the doctor who examined it, told me it was, indeed, a swollen lymph node and that it was most likely reacting to an infection within the gland itself instead of my entire body which is why I had no other symptoms. The verdict: antibiotic for 10 days and VOILA, no more cancer fears! I MEAN SWELLING. She was kind enough to explain why she doesn't think it's life-threatening. It was mostly helpful. And Hubster, being a Worrier, tried to be supportive but I could tell he was thinking, "Great, I'm going to be a widower. I hate that word. I should change the word . . ."

Ten days later, I'm booking another appointment. It hasn't gone down. In fact, it might be bigger. Or that could just be my increasingly believable cancer hypothesis growing. Who knows. Anyhow, a different doctor looks at it and proclaims it to be resistant to the first antibiotic. [NO!] He gives me something else. Stronger he says - three times a day instead of two, that sort of deal. That was Monday. The area has gotten more tender and the swelling hasn't really gone down. Clearly, I'm a goner.

I still have almost a week of medication which I fully intend to take. If that doesn't work or I notice other symptoms, I'm supposed to call and then they'll do blood work and who knows what all. I probably watch too many medical shows for my own good, but seriously? You might want to find additional blogs to pad your morning reading in case I keel over from the cancer.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Listing . . . oh right, it's Thursday

1. I turned on the TV today during my lunch because I was having home-made quesadillas, a rather labor-intensive meal from the eating standpoint if you want salsa on them. I figured the library wouldn't appreciate getting salsa-splattered returns. Anyhow, AMC was running Office Space. Obviously, it's been a fantastic day so far.

2. Tonight at choir I practice for a piece I'm performing this Sunday with two amazingly-gifted voices in the choir. We blend so well, I get lost trying to hear myself. I can't wait to hear it on Sunday, that is if I can ever pay attention and get my notes right.

3. I've actually been productive, despite the bad influences I may be watching on my lunch hour (see #1), and I managed to book a half-way decent trip to the heartland for one convention in which I'm trying to coordinate schedules for someone coming from IN and moi from MD. Did I mention those schedules happened in two weeks? Oh, and that no one ever goes to "The Heartland" so it costs a ton? Oh, my bad. Well, we both have to get up at the crack of dawn a couple of times, but like I said half-way decent.

4. I'm so scared about this year as Conference Coordinator. There are so many little details, deadlines, tips to follow. I'm positive I'm going to mess up. However, all my workmates are pretty understanding. I guess the hardest part is gearing up to look like an idiot. A lot.

5. Hubster left a note for me today. For someone who claims to struggle being romantic, he sure made me all swoony and smitten. It's the little things, ya know?

6. Last night's second Lenten program at church was as good as the one before. We talked about environmental stewardship - taking care of the Earth. Illuminative and convicting once more. I think I'm ALMOST motivated enough to start participating in the county recycling program. Enough with the excuses!

How's your day going?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nostalgia Strikes Again!

lvs made an excellent point in the comments to the last post, that day WAS an awesome day. So in a fit of nostalgia, I looked up some old photos, and wow - all of us live in the same suite and we all manage to look HOTT.

Clearly we are not doing our part to share the wealth.

Even tired, over-studied, and un-make-uped and standing in that bastion of diners: EatnPark? No problem - hotness all around.

In case you're wondering, Ladies, I miss you, too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Mom's still got it!"

This past weekend, as KD and I drove to our house from the airport, we lamented the fact that we'd gotten older and incapable of staying up past 11pm. Then, as talked our way to 2:30-3am every single night she was here, we kept repeating the phrase, "We've still got it!" Unfortunately, that phrase is forever eclipsed by Arrested Development's riff - the title of this post and a very memorable line, indeed.

Yes, KD's visit was a huge hit. The weather was unbelievable since Friday's sunny warmth lasted through yesterday when her flight departed in the afternoon. We walked to a local restaurant and ate out on the deck where I managed to get sunburned. Sunburned in March - that's a new record for me. My goal is to prevent ALL sunburns basically for the rest of my life since I've got a history of skin cancer in my family so I was NOT geeked to have a bright red patch above my v-neckline. Grrr. Still, it was a delight to eat outside, and next time, I'm remembering the sunscreen!

Poor Hubster must have felt like a convention of short, brunette, fast/high-talking females descended on the house. I hadn't seen her since New Year's Eve 2004, so we had a lot to catch up. Neither of us has ever been a steady correspondent and after I got married and started working and she dated a guy seriously to no avail and found another who looked more promising all while slogging through law school (quasi-college) it was harder and harder to find common ground. Well we've jump-started getting to know each other again, and I have high hopes that we can keep it up. Thank the Maker.

The most iconic moment of our friendship occurred the first day of move-in our freshman year. We had been randomly assigned to a triple and while our other roommate and I had arrived and met, we were standing around awkwardly. Someone entered the room with KD's refrigerator and we asked if she was on the way up. The volunteer enthusiastically responded that she was and we would recognize her because was "short brunette with a red shirt and khaki shorts on." I glanced at my own clothing and realized we could be mistaken for one another. I had no idea how deep the resemblances went.

KD would probably find this picture to be disingenuous. Her strapless red dress does not appear in the image and if anyone could be portrayed as "the unclothed one" it would be moi. She spent most of her stint as Freshman Roommate To A Crazy Person trying to convince me to COVER UP ALREADY when I was in the room. Sadly for her, this is my blog. Also, we forgot to take a picture of ourselves over the past weekend, so she'll just have to content herself with looking totally hot in this picture, if risque, whilst I merely looking really, really white.

On the elevator ride to the parking garage after I had picked her up, the woman riding with us asked "did you plan that?" We finally noticed our similar jeans, pistachio green shirts, and brunette bobs with highlights. Some things never change.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cabin Fever - Ah!

It's sunny outside, but when I went out to check my mail at lunch in a t-shirt, jeans, and flipflops, I still expected to brace myself for a chilly errand. Instead, I nearly felt too warm. I just checked It is currently 76 degrees. I forgot temperatures could go above 40.

This time of year I usually have mind-bogglingly distracting levels of cabin fever. It's just a climate, but boy do I go nuts about it. I get Toe Claustrophobia (TC) and wear sandals at the earliest possibility. I actually spend time thinking about how much I miss picnics. I GO ON MAYBE TWO A YEAR. Sheesh.

Still, it's nice to get your wish. It's nice to live in an area where I get all four seasons, but I get more extended Springs and Autumns than Michigan or Pennsylvania afforded. I feel pretty blessed that I live in a place I enjoy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Simple (Spiritual) Pleasures

Last night I went to a Lenten program at church, and it was good. (Aside: I tend to exaggerate so much that the word "good" seems often like a D on a report good - subpar. I forget that the word has meaning and power.)

There were about 20 or so people who attended. They ranged in age from mid-twenties to probably mid-sixties, various professions, and various ethnicities. We ate a light meal provided by volunteers and after dinner, we retired to a circle of chairs and a discussion group. The theme: "How do we make our faith a part of our everyday lives?" Talk about basic - I've been answering this question since I could talk, but everyone's personal experiences really illuminated my own thoughts. The affirmation, challenge, and encouragement were real. No one pretended they knew it all. No one had a list or even guidelines - we all helped each other struggle with service and volunteering, financial giving, relationships with fellow Christians and those outside the faith, even how we treat grocery store clerks. There was no condemnation or even discouragement meted out - it was about encouraging each other, pooling ideas and experiences to bring us to an understanding of the beauty and true joy that can be found when we live the love we've been given.

When we'd talked for an hour, we headed upstairs and partook of the Eucharist together. It was beautiful. It was an honor to participate with brothers and sisters and to know that we were all striving TOGETHER to see God's kingdom on earth - not by making sure the 10 Commandments were posted on our court houses or that every kid was forced to listen to Christian prayers in school but by thanking those who waited upon us in restaurants, by being honest about faith and struggle with inquiring coworkers, by spending time in prayer for and service to our communities, by blessing our families, by honoring God.

It's been a while since I lived/worshipped in such a beautiful community. I feel so blessed to experience it again. They're living out this passage, one that's become important to me over the last few weeks:

With what shall I come to the LORD
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8, NASB)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Listing Tuesday

1. I succombed to flickr. I have no idea why I thought I had to resist, but whatever, I have posted a few pictures and hope to add more soon. This way when I go somewhere cool, I can post more than 3 pictures before the page becomes incredibly slow to load. Weeee! Also, note the pretty sidebar "badge," as they call it. Oh, yes, we're high tech here abouts.

2. It's been a busy day of work, but it started with a Panera breakfast, so it's been a good one. I had to drop Hubster off so I could have the car, and I took advantage and got myself a house latte and a cinnamon crunch bagel. Heaven!

3. T-3 days and counting to KD touchdown! I have no idea what I'm going to do with her, but whatever it is, it will involve food and discussion of subjects included, but not limited to clothes, cooking, relationships, the rule of law, societal issues, life, the universe, and everything. We are definitely going to need some chocolate fuel for all that.

4. I've been working on someone's template (with a couple more peeps in the cue), drapes for the kitchen, various organizational projects around the house, and cleaning the kitty litter more often so I won't have to dredge three pounds of feline excrement every time. Yeah, it's a busy time.

5. As if I needed any more reason to want to travel, I found a Slate slideshow on Spanish architecture. Must. not. search. Orbitz.

Monday, March 06, 2006

YAY, they were here. And then WAH, they left.

Brother J and Ms. E (his girlfriend) arrived Thursday night, an hour earlier than anticipated. K had been hankering after that (stupid) Donkey Konga Bongo video game and decided that my percussion-inclined brother would be just the person with whom to break it in. All weekend. The E's nearly killed them both by the end of that weekend what with all the "Dancing in the Street" and "All the Small Things" renditions. Trust me, it sounds fun at first, but when participating loses its luster? Problems.

Anyway, they had a grand old time with it, while E and I talked and ate ice cream sandwiches. The next morning while Hubster slaved away at work, we all played hookie and then hopped out the door at around 11am for a trek into DC. We went to the National Gallery of Art and thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. E studies French so the 19th century European gallery (with its emphasis on Impressionism) was a dream come true for her. By a stroke of luck, they had a special exhibit called "C├ęzanne in Provence" there, too. Fantastique! (Unlike my attempts at French.) The weather was sunny and cool, but the wind made it cold and uncomfortable for walking the National Mall, so we skipped that. They'll just have to come another time. Please, oh please?

That evening Ms. E and I hit up the town for some serious brown-boot shopping - for her so it was only the second-coolest way to pass the time. We came back to find the boys still glued to the bongos, so we were glad we decided to make use of our time on something other than collecting coins for drumrolling skills from an over-sized primate. We also watched Corpse Bride, an amusing animated feature worth the rental. Not really for kids, though, since it's a big grotesque and macabre (just my opinion). I slaved over some pre-made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for 15 minutes the next morning, and we enjoyed a leisurely, indecisive morning until we finally got up off our butts and went to IKEA, then Annapolis and the Naval Academy, then Chipotle for dinner, then Savage Mill for shopping and then home. It turned out to be pretty full as days go. And loads of fun.

I ended up staying awake until 2:45am that night (WAY past my usual bedtime), so I was dragging the next day when it was time to be up for church at 8am. I was dragging even more when we finally said goodbye to them so they could get home. It was such a delight to have them, who wouldn't want to keep that going? Still, Ms. E had some studying to do, and Brother J starts fire academy today, so they had to get home. Needless to say, we were late for church.

After church we went out to lunch with a woman we met recently who started coming there around the same time that we did last year. Also, she's OUR AGE. She graduated the same year we did. And she seems really awesome. She invited her boyfriend and we went to this delicious and unique restaurant that has no website. Grr. Anyway, they had the most amazing french toast I have ever had. Unbelievable. Their main business is wine, however, so I'd be interested to hit them up for dinner some time. Anyway, we had a grand old time talking with them and stuffing out faces. And then we came home and napped. And then we turned on the Oscars to watch a little Jon Stewart and ended up staying up for the entire ceremony. I feel dirty from listening to all those Hollywood tongue baths. Still, I slept like a baby, and now it's just a distant memory, far overshadowed by my brother, his girlfriend, and one delightful weekend.

How I miss thee and thy hilarious "game face."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yup, I'm still a dork.

Remember that time when I said my brother was coming today and it was really supposed to say tomorrow. Well, let's say I was having an off day. And let's not point out how often this happens, Hubster. Shhh, no one need know. . . . Oh, you guys are still here. MOVING ON.

So my brother and his gf really do arrive today. And I'm so pumped. They're making their way onto I-70 by now, I imagine, and they're probably reaching that one part of the trip where I think "AND I'M DONE." That's when you have to pull out the ultimate weapon: music. It almost always makes the trip bearable.

That reminds me: I haven't made a mixed tape (CD, but the name doesn't sound right w/o tape) in way too long. It used to be so much fun to make romantic/silly mixes for Hubster during the courtin' years o' college. YES, WE WERE DORKY. SHUT UP. It's a nice creative channel - you have a limited capacity, so you have to choosy, but you can do anything you like. You can mix spoken word selections with music, mix genres, whatever. I think I once created an entire playlist out of songs that prominently featured colors in their titles/themes. I'm sure we've all done that one, but it sure was satisfying. Roadtrips wre always the best excuse to create them, too.

Ah, but with the giant-playlist capacity of iTUNES, or merely using it's shuffle mode to troll through your entire collection, the lone mixed tape is a lost art. Only 17 songs? You're kidding!

I will shed a single tear for mixed tapes. And promptly push play on my "E-Funk" playlist in iTUNES. Oh, the humanity!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Listing Rediscovered

So I started out Monday morning before work by working on some images to post. Dinner on Saturday with my old friends (shout out J/J/G!) was a blast, and we got some ADORABLE pics of young G. He rocks. Anyway, I was all busy with that and then it was time to start work. So I stopped and worked. And then the night filled up with cooking, talking, 24, etc. Then it was Tuesday and the photos, though still ADORABLE seemed less appropriate for that day. So I had somewhere in the neighborhood of ten post ideas and WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS THEN: nothing. No posts. Nada.

So it's today, and PHEW, I'm finally clicking the keys and hammering something out. Maybe a list. YEAH, I can't believe I've been forgetting that bastion of quick and easy posting: le list. Okay, a theme, a theme . . . Anticipation. And list in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . GO.

1. This weekend kid bro #2 - Brother J - is coming to town with his girlfriend. They arrive TODAY. Weee! E, the girlfriend in question, wants to see one of the artsy Smithsonians. HOLY. AWESOME. BATMAN. We're going to have SO much fun.

2. I found an idea in my domino magazine (yes, I get not one but TWO shopping mags). They placed curtain rods ten inches out from the windows and then hung drapes that came up to but didn't cover the window. This is about the only way to add drapes to my inset kitchen window with it's ceiling that comes within an inch of the window fame (no molding on that bad boy). I had no idea if it would looking any good, but now I see that it will, PLUS it'll add a lot of color and interest to my kitchen. Huzzah for inspiration! Now, to fabric shopping, and you know . . . sewing and stuff.

3. Through my beloved domino, I also found this awesome craft-store site. It's like an ebay for crafters, and it's called Etsy. Yeah, I don't get that, but behold this seller's merchandise. SERIOUSLY? There goes any birthday/Christmas money I get for the next ten years! All y'all beaders out there (and you are legion): behold your new obsession. Also, they have some slammin' housewares and ceramics for the rest of us.

4. KD, former roommate, Maid of Honor, and all-around smartypants (said with all due respect and love) is coming up NEXT weekend. So much fun coming up, I'm getting the jitters just thinking about it . . .

5. I found this site recently and it blew me away. I've been supporting a Compassion child since freshman year of college, and it's been an amazing experience to see him grow up through his letters and photos and to know that I had a hand in that. Women for Women International offers me a chance to sponsor a woman in a war-torn country as she tries to develop the skills to support herself and her children in desperate circumstances. I think my budget may need revamping . . .

And that's it for now. How's it going with you? What are you excited about? My last attempt at an open thread failed utterly, but maybe this time you'll show me some love.