Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm back, and I'm cranky.

I've been running errands and trying to relax post-vacation since we returned Saturday night, and it's not gone well. I'm unmotivated and frankly, I need another week. This time with just me and my favorite things to do/eat. I might not even want Hubster around, I am THAT in need of recharge. Vacation was more emotionally/socially tiring than I expected.

Case in point: I bought an awesome red suede jacket from Wilson's Leather Outlet with my sister-in-law, which I stowed in the beachhouse closet and smiled at occasionally because it was too hot to wear it. I think you know where this is going. Saturday (after leaving at 5am - FIVE FREAKIN' A M) and driving for an hour, I realized it was still in said closet. Frantic calls back to relatives who hadn't left didn't work, so I finally called the realty office who DID recover it - yay for good service. Then I couldn't get MyUPS to issue a calltag because DUH, I'm a lowly individual and don't have access to such fancy fare as, I don't know, convenient shipping options. I use the business account for work and have it shipped and cut a check to the company for $10.49. The jacket cost still barely tops $50 so KUDOS to me, but PHEW, so much for retail therapy!

I'm really stressed about life right now. Sometimes I've felt close enough to the way I was whilst depressed to scare myself. I'm only contemplating changes and it's enough to make me edgy. I never anticipated that this would be a long-term problem - I just assumed it was the piled on, post-collegiate/marriage/moving crap that brought it on, and once those things changed, it wouldn't affect the pro-change person I (thought I) really was. Now it looks like my caution will stay for a while. Maybe that's appropriate. I have more risk than I did making decisions in high school and even some college years. I'm working around another (irritatingly amazingly different) person. There's just more to it than there used to be.

You know what? I'm tired. I had a long day of NOT vacationing. I'm going to bed, and tomorrow, I'm going to keep talking to my husband about how we're going to change things around here for the better because right now? I need another week of vacation that I'm not going to get.

And I was going to load pictures, but Blogger's being crankier than me (hard to imagine, but trust) so ¡hasta mañana, peeps!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Remember Last Weekend? Me neither.

Just kidding! Last weekend was fantastic and I better quick tell you all about it because in minutes I'm leaving for vacation, and instead of cleaning up the house and packing, I'm moping about how far we have left to go. I'm a paragon of productivity, no?

Anyhow, this is all about Saturday in which Hubster and bought tickets to a DC United game, which we loved attending, and we went to the National Gallery of Art's East Building (contemporary collections) and ate dinner in Chinatown. And it all began here on the Metro with a crackpipe lying in the car, forgotten. So sad for the crackpipe:

We greatly enjoyed the wittier paintings, like this one by René Magritte:

Hubster took this picture of my outside the building while we rode out this sudden rain shower:

I took this picture of a total stranger in front of this very interesting sculpture:

We also bought some art books (yay!) about Mondrian and Kandinsky. I'm so geeked about those because I've always considered that, next to fresh flowers, books about art (with plenty of prints in them) were a symbol of true culture and class. I'm a dork.

Anyhow, the game was fun, too, although it didn't yield as many photos because I was busy shouting and paying attention. Our section was unfortunately close to La Barra Brava, so we couldn't see anything since everyone in front of us had to stand to see, too. I did NOT feel like standing after a long day of walking through art galleries and streets, so we moved (fortunately still pretty close) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, especially because DC United won. Wee!

Oh, before the game, we had dinner in Chinatown at Kanlaya Thai Cuisine (whose website is kinda whacked out right now, but hopefully they'll fix that). It. was. scrumptious! They make a mean Mai Tai, as well as making delicious food. It was also very affordable, as eating out in the city goes, so no guilt! Their decor is snazzy, too, with much better design and execution than you often get in Chinatown restaurants. Anyway, if you're in the area, I think it's a delicious choice.

Enough, I really have to go. I'll miss ya, and I might blog whilst away, but you know how THAT usually goes. Hasta!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yup, still not feelin' it.

So I just got back from a lovely dinner with friend S.O. (Yikes, her initials are much too similar to a much-used capitalization of a much-used word around here which MIGHT have begun this sentence. A nickname is in order. Stupid brain can't think of anything now, of course.) I hadn't seen her since Memorial Day, so we were overdue. We has a grand time chatting. I hope that starts happening more frequently.

Unfortunately that combined with browsing in Barnes & Noble for a while has totally ruined everything but my desire to READ, FASTER, THERE ARE TOO MANY TOMES ON THE LIST! I even (eeek) bought a couple, too. You don't understand the beauty of this because you do not know, but books are like crack for me. I like movies, and nothing wastes more time than VH1's I Love The 70's and Mythbusters (although, they rock, so it's not so much a waste until viewing number 2. Or 8), but hand me some good fiction or history and I am high on words in no time. So, I'll catch you on the flipside because I? Need some bedtime stories.

Where are my ice cream sandwiches?

Kids, it is WAY past my bedtime. I got up this morning (correction: yesterday morning) at 6am because I realized as I dozed off the night before that I had forgotten to put the trash out. Hubster was granted leave from that particular loathsome duty for this week, so it was up to me to arise before the garbage men accomplished their noisy perusal of our street. Then I couldn't fall asleep, so I did what any self-respecting masochist would do: I did the 50-minute, KICK ME IN THE PANTS, ARMS, BACK, QUADS, and HAMSTRINGS workout with my power yoga DVD. Then I ate breakfast, worked, had a fantastic lunch with church-friend KL (who rocks, have I mentioned that before?), and then worked some more. This evening, I shopped. In the space of three hours I hit BJ's Warehouse Club, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Borders, and Target. I closed Target, people, I was THAT committed to mint Chapstick, Resolve Carpet Cleaner (for Pets!), and Method Daily Shower Spray.

In any of this time did I decide: hmmm, perhaps I should finally write about my really great weekend? Nope. Because I am a deficient human being, even if I DID buy the more environmentally-friendly refill for that shower spray. Wait, while I'm breaking all the rules, where are my decadent treats and formulaic comedies?

P.S. Thanks for all the comments on the previous thread. I'm formulating some responses, so if you're still interested, keep an eye on it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lament on the Occasion of Friend's Engagement

Just after dinner today, I got a call from one of my best friends who had a big announcement: she's engaged! I screamed so loud and smiled so wide I thought I'd go deaf then burst. After a fantastic weekend and a decent day, it was just great to hear her tell the story and talk about her ring and ask me to be in the wedding party (YES! I MADE THE A-LIST! SUCK ON THAT, EVERYONE ELSE! HA!), and tell me all about her summer job where she hopes to return full-time on graduation, and talk about all the other things going on in her life right now. It just eats me up that I couldn't see the excitement on her face or hug her.

There's been a rather cerebral discussion of the problem of modern community up on Mair's blog for a few days, and I'm at a loss for how to join in. My experience so colors how I look at friendship, community, and what it means to thrive as a human being in modern, mobile society. And my experience is a rather mixed bag.

In case you haven't read my blog profile, I was born in Argentina. As in the country, yes. I lived at the green arrow from when I was born until I was a four years old. Then we moved to the pink arrow from age four until we left for the States at age seven. There's a couple day's journey in between. I lived in the Detroit area until I left for college in Western Pennsylvania. After college, Hubster and I moved away from both our families (Michigan and New York states) to the greater D.C. area. I've never lived in a five-mile radius for longer than a few years. I have no idea what it means to grow up in the same house in which you came before memories were possible. I have no idea how a human being could be born, grow up, live their entire life and then die in the same state, much less in their hometown. The details of your homes might not be so dramatically disparate, but you probably have no idea what that's like either.

Of the few memories that remain from my childhood, few are so vivid as those in which I'm crying myself to sleep, trying desperately to remember my friends from Argentina and wishing there was something I could do to see them again before I forgot what they looked and sounded like. Saying goodbye has been a staple of my life - and most often there was no end-date to the separation. The last time I saw my best friend from Villa Marí­a was five years ago. She has since begun medical school and maybe found a guy and probably changed quite a bit, but I haven't been a part of any of it, and I have no idea when I'll see her next. My grandparents and two aunts, one uncle, and my now ten-year-old cousin live down there and I haven't seen most of them since that trip five years ago. I honestly thought the two who made it to the wedding weren't going to be able to make it.

When I'm not trying to ignore it or stop it out with details of daily life now, I cry about it. I cried just now thinking about how little I've been a part of the lives of those friends and of my family especially. When I found out my grandmother wasn't going to be able to be at the wedding, I was surprised at the level of anguish it inspired, after all, she'd missed birthdays, graduations and plenty of other milestones. I love to travel and I could love to live in another country for a time, even a long time, but saying goodbye and missing loved ones is just as hard and heart-breaking with all that practice behind me.

I remember that same sinking feeling after high-school and college graduations, after camps (whose short length belied the depth of the emotional bonding we'd do), after family events and visits to Argentina. I could feel that despair descending - the despair of not knowing when and if I would ever be active in their lives again. Part of this is my habit of being peerlessly bad correspondent. You'd think with that kind of negative reinforcement, I'd be all for the letters, emails, and such. Alas, I seem to be cut from my father's cloth - a face-to-face kind of gal when it comes to relationships. Sure, I can express myself better in written format, but I'd much rather blather on in person given the chance.

What does that mean about my experience with community? I certainly haven't been without some form of it often. In Argentina, the churches in each area offered us a steady community. My parents would teach Sunday School or help out with the youth, and my brothers and I would run around with the kids. That pattern continued when we moved to the States. We never moved outside a half-hour ride from the church because we volunteered so often and it afforded us the built-in social group along with our religious enrichment. When I left for college and realized that this sacrifice meant I'd had friends since first-grade I fell in awe of God's goodness because he'd given me what I'd always wanted. In college, the networks were plentiful, although a bit loose for what I needed, so I fell through the cracks into depression. Obviously, this need for community in some sense drives my psyche.

Right now, I have a good church. I have a husband who has been a great support. But I don't really have a local best friend. [Disclaimer: I don't want any of my local friends to get the wrong idea: you are all near and dear to my heart. I'm talking about a very specific idea of a "best friend" so please don't impute any malice or even any apathy toward you. This feels really lame to say, but I don't want you to feel unloved, okay?] Getting together with friends right now is a bit of an ordeal, involving schedule-jiving, car-wrangling (Hubster and I still only have one), location disputes, and probable postponement. There is no "hey, let's just hang tonight" or "yeah, I need some new shoes, so let's go." Best case scenario: we hang out once every couple of weeks, but that's extremely rare. It feels selfish to denigrate my good life right now, but I have to say that I would really like having a local best bud. In fact, I think I might need it. It's not a need like water or food, but I know Hubster has to work harder at being a social network for me than he should. Dude does enough. I just need more people to love than just him - and most marriage counselors would agree that's normal. And as much as I love blogs as a means of communing with you, I would delete this whole thing if could move y'all into my neighborhood and have cocktail parties and borrow cups of each other's sugar.

I have no idea what we can derive from this little exercise in storytelling. The human need for connection continues unabated. Our means of connection are growing and shrinking at once. Churches has been a good source of community - drawing together people of similar beliefs with the goal of worship and mutual encouragement has a tendency to build a community feel (though that's not guaranteed, heaven knows). The bowling leagues and such that used be alternatives to church are declining popularity. If you have kids, it's hard to stay isolated in the middle-class world of soccer leagues and piano recitals, but I'm sure it's more likely when the money isn't there for those things. The freedom to travel has brought with it the impetus to search in wider radiuses for work. Work moves us from each other, expanding our horizons but shrinking the time we spend in each other's homes and lives, really. Then again, each person knows more people and more kinds of people through their travel. If I had never moved from my hometown, I would never have met 99% of you. It's a mixed blessing I can't really quantify. I can't make this a better/worse thing because it literally IS the story of my life.

Something J Morgan said summed it up for me:

For thousands of years, community was assumed and was tied to certain other static realities (race, language, religion, region, family, custom, profession, etc.). We live at a time when community is not tied to anything, least of all assumptions about how it should look or function or develop. We - together and individually - are cut free, our courses determined by our will more than ever before. That is in one sense freeing and hope-giving; in another daunting and tragic. It should give us pause when we realize that very little from the past can give adequate instruction now; we are in a unique historical moment. As exciting and useful or as ridiculous and dismissible as this moment may seem, there are always other powerful realities that cannot be ignored, but make any of those judgments hard to swallow.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New toy!

My high school friends and I used to spend inordinate amounts of time doing self- and peer-analysis. Usually this centered around which color, bird, Muppet, or fruit one should be and why. Sometimes we turned to more visual classification, using the dubious images of people and things in our mathematics and biology textbooks as control options. It was not so much "science" as "revenge for offenses real or imagined," but we LOVED it.

It's a good thing we didn't have this:

Through a stroke of luck, I found this on another blog, and in honor of this FABULOUS new invention, and while I still have your attention for like the next thirty seconds before you begin searching through your digital pictures for a good one to try, I will narrate my exploration of those "matches" as though it were an argument "back in the day."

Match #1: I had no idea who Marianne Faithfull was until I looked her up. She is an English singer-songwriter with decades in the music biz who was once a girlfriend of Mick Jaggar. Cool for the music, and hopefully she's gotten over her bad taste in men. Thanks!

Match#2: Slap some red eyeliner on me and the resemblance with Daryl Hannah is striking, no? Yeah, no.

Match #3: Tata Young what now? Never heard of 'er. Oh, a hugely successful Thai pop star? Cool. Except, uh, I'm not Asian, nor have I ever been mistaken for a person of that ethnic derivation? Maybe we'll just for get the "Thai" part and just say "foreign" because SHE STAYS.

Match #4: You've got another pop star for me? Who? ASHLEE FREAKIN SIMPSON?!? I am SO not talking to you anymore, Celebrity Recognition Machine. I MEAN IT THIS TIME. (slams door)

Match #5: Martina McBride and I have the hair most strikingly in synch, but on second glance we have similar facial structures including smile lines, nose shape and some cheekbone contouring. The heart shape of her face is out of synch with my oval visage, but otherwise, BRAVO, CRM, you're back in from the cold.

Match #6: Okay, seriously? I look like Barbara Streisand HOW, exactly? Forget it, and I'm taking back that scarf I permanent-loaned you.

Match #7: MONICA LEWINSKY?!?! (pulls out clump of hair, promptly screams, then opens address book, dials) "Hi, Josh? It's Erica. Um, I don't know how to start this call, but I feel like I should tell you since you just started dating CRM. She pees her bed, cheats on her homework, and I think she still loves Hanson. I felt like you should know."

Ah, the good old days of high school. I should note several things here:

1. My friends and I never really fought like that. Considering that one of them thought I should be the watermelon instead of something small and cute like a strawberry when we were classifying which fruit everyone was, that is truly shocking. Also, I couldn't be the color red, instead I had to be pink. I hated pink. And then I was CAMILLA THE CHICKEN from the Muppets. Oh my gosh, worst. friends. ever.

2. MyHeritage requires registration. If you're one of those privacy hawks, fair warning. I broke my ban on registering for random and otherwise useless sites because HELLO, I BET I TOTALLY LOOK LIKE AUDREY HEPBURN! I now know I do not (fair warning, idealists).

3. I think this thing needs a little work because out of all the matches it gave me (these were the ones within a 72-60% tolerance), I think ONE might be decent. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, peeps.

Well, after that, I'm all tuckered out. Later ex-high-school friends!*

*I know you know I'm kidding, but I'm such a bad prankster that I can't avoid the disclaimer that I TOTALLY STILL LOVE YOU GUYS, SNIFF. It's worse now that I've spent the last hour reminiscing about you. Much Love, E

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I've got cats in high places.

Of late, our feline deities have taken to asserting their dominance over vertical space more aggressively. Sure, Little was always one for a little climbing session, but she stopped wandering in the joists so regularly and doesn't even bother to climb the bookshelves. Tiny has torn a page from Little's book in the past by figuring out how to climb things but now also how to jump up on the tall window in the basement. Little is SUCH a bad influence.

Come get your share of the dubious loot, Barbarian Hoards!

Later in the day yesterday, Little climbed the fridge where she perched until I shooed her off of it. You know, once I gathered the damning photographic evidence.

Come get your share of the moral guilt tripping, Teetotalers!

They are amusing though, which is what we feed them for. They earned their kibble last night by amusing the visiting in-laws, especially Mumsie who loved touring the house and stooping in each room we entered to pet the pursuing furballs. Awww.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mangled Mess

This entry has WAY too much going on, and I haven't even written it yet. I bet you'll try to hack through the verbiage anyway, though. Suckas!

PART THE FIRST, LAZY POSTINGS: I didn't write yesterday because it was Hubster and my TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Um, hello? Didn't we get married last month?! That could've merited a post on its own, and indeed my original idea was to take my lunch and write two posts - one about the weekend and one about the anniversary. That number got revised to zero when I ran out of time and work was insanely busy. So anyway: 2 years, woo!

PART THE SECOND, WEEKEND REDUX: Friday we did all of nothing. Friday night I had an anxiety dream whose subject evades me, but it put me in a wretched mood on Saturday, just the day when we were supposed to do housework and some organization. I wasn't feeling cooperative, optimistic, or even focused - all important things for the tasks we faced - and Hubster was able to get through to me, so props to him for saving the day. We didn't finish everything, but we started, which is most of the battle for us. Plus that night we rented the 2005 Pride & Prejudice and drooled over take-out Chinese and Matthew Macfayden (we've loved him since season 1 of [spooks]). Lovely. Re: the movie: I liked it quite a bit. First, they made the texture of the movie much richer, dirtier and more realistic. I know it's a bit of a fairy tale, but at least the characters were reacting to actually being sopping wet or actually having mud on their dresses from wandering in the fields, and there was a marked difference in the different classes' costumes. Lovely cinematography and music, too. That image of Lizzie Bennett out by that cliff is just incredible. I could soak that in all day. Until now I've thought Knightley was an annoying, terrifyingly skinny, "actress," but she really was endearing as Lizzie and they bothered to make Jane (Rosamund Pike) prettier than her like the book indicated, so KUDOS to them. Also, lovely soundtrack. Also, also, I really did love that book. Must reread.

The next morning we went to church and returned in time to eat a quick lunch and sit down to the World Cup Final. Which: GAH. I mean, good plays back and forth, loads o' tension, and then SNAP - the headbutt heard round the world. I mean, what? WHAT HAPPENED? ZIZOU, WHAT GIVES? Well, apparently, the whole thing was probably the result of racial tension that Zidane has endured his entire life, as this 2004 article explains (found it through another blogger, can't recall who). It's long, but it's interesting. This little snippet remarks that they think Materazzi, the Italian player involved, dropped a racial slur, an idea that's been echoed by several articles I've read. Speaking of Materazzi, though, it appears he's no saint. You know what? Whatever. I wasn't there, and I can't say what happened. I enjoyed watching the game. El fin. The World Cup rocks the face off any other tournament on the planet, and now I think I'll try to find EuroCup and Copa América action on cable because fútbol is ALL THAT AND A BAG OF SALT & VINEGAR CHIPS. Mmm, tasty.

PART THE THIRD, FESTIVITIES: We didn't do much for the anniversary yesterday. We did go out to dinner so I didn't have to cook. We figured Monday was a safe night to try out the new local Cheesecake Factory, and indeed we were seated outside right away (which nearly caused me to faint dead away, but I held it together). I wanted some delicious cheesecake real bad, so we enjoyed our Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake which was as delicious as its name was long. I also finally tried some fish tacos. See, I've been repulsed by the very IDEA of the "fish taco" for a long time now, but for some reason, the menu description sounded good, and you know what? They were. And now I'm going to try to make them myself because I really should be eating more fish and they? Were delicious! Everyone wins!

We've decided to spend a day in DC this weekend doing stuff we love as our gift to each other. We bought tickets to see DC United play the Columbus Crew this Saturday, and I think we're going to hit up one of the big art museums we haven't seen yet. We enjoy spending time with each other much more than laundering/dusting anything we'd buy for each other, so this works out in a loverly fashion.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Letter to the Recent Grads in My Life

I got an email from a friend a few weeks ago, and in typical despotic fashion, I neglected to respond to it for no good reason. I kept re-reading it in my inbox, wondering what I could say beyond the cliches. I doubt I have much, but I'll share it with her and with all my recently-graduated buddies. It's much overdue, but no less heartfelt.

Congratulations, lads and lassies! You've made it throught the gauntlet, the four-year sleepover, the non-stop cram session of undergraduate residence colleges. And now it's been over for over a month and you're staring down the barrel of some serious angst and disappointment. I know the feeling.

No one talks about how emotionally and intellectually challenging your last year can be, and they give your entrance into the Real World a passing "there'll be changes." You're figuring out your priorities, your job expectations, your changing friendships. Maybe you're feeling a tinge scholastically burned out and still headed for graduate/professional schools. Maybe you're headed into work and an apartment and the whole gig. Maybe you're going back to Mom and Dad's until you make enough money to move up in the world. Maybe you want a mix of all three and you're not sure in what proportion and which to pour in first. Maybe you can't make up your mind, and it makes you feel like there's something wrong with you.

I remember being there. I wasn't single but it was no less lonely. In some ways it was harder to think of my life while having to factor in his; the first was exhausting enough, how was I ever going get his-'n-hers to mesh? I was terrified of missing a bill payment deadline. I was sure that I was going to get fired for tiny mistakes. Most of all, I was sure the charade of my maturity would be found out and someone would blow the whistle on my obvious incapacity to be a Real Adult in the Real World.

Yeah, I remember. But it's fuzzier now, because, thankfully, things get better. The fear and uncertainty fade into a rhythm in which bills are paid, groceries are purchased, plans are formed and executed. It'll get better, loves. I woke up yesterday and realized that I was doing well. My room still looked like a couple of mall boutiques had puked in it, the dishes hadn't been done since the night before, and I was running up on a deadline to pay the cable modem bill, but I would get those things done. I was paying down a mortgage and some student loans and I was making headway. I wasn't so terrified by the "What's for dinner?" question. My attitude about daily battles really had changed. I tried to be a good long-distance friend. I worked hard on my relationship with my husband. I thought and prayed and laughed and didn't feel like constantly scrutinizing myself.

A lot of my early post-collegiate days where worse because of my depression. Not helping matters was the fact that Hubster and I moved to a new area with few friends while our marriage was brand new. As an added bonus to this extrovert, I worked from home without a workmate support system. But I have a feeling that many of you feel a little down even if your circumstances are different. I've talked to lots of friends that said their first few months out of school weren't particularly pleasant to them. So if you're feeling that angst and disappointment, remember we were all there, and we've all gotten out on the other side. And follow that famous advice: "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Seriously, as that song plays on a loop in your head, remember to relish the things you DO love about your circumstances. Maybe you don't mind living with your parents because your mom makes excellent cookies which she serves with milk and a listening ear. Maybe your apartment is devoid of furniture, but you enjoy the lack of clutter. Maybe your morning coffee is about the best part of your day, but MAN, IS IT GOOD. Relish, peeps, it's not just for hotdogs anymore. Soon you'll meet people you enjoy and fill your evenings with dinners and conversation. Soon you'll have your own place, and your stereo will play your favorite songs and your thermostat will be set your body's comfort. Soon you'll find a church that fills you up for the week. Soon you'll fix something about your station, and it won't mirror the emotionally-challenging and intellectually-engaging season of college, but it'll be good.

Until then, feel free to be angry and disappointed, but don't let it stop you. You'll miss out on the rest of the life.

Stop and smell these.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Better Late Than Crappy

If el Copa Mundial isn't your cup of tea, pass on this paragraph:
Yesterday I watched the Portugal/France match. The edge is wearing off that little disappointment. I didn't really care about the winner in some respects, but the Portuguese have NEVER won a World Cup. They were definitely keeping France on their toes, and had not that foul on Henry been called inside the box for a penalty kick, they might have turned the game. Their passing game was still good, bu they just couldn't pull the shots on goal as well after Zidane plowed the ball into the corner. Their goalie Ricardo earned even more props when he read that penalty kick right - the man's a machine, reading every players' intentions and stopping three of England's four penalty kicks in their match. With him setting a world record for that, and with Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, and Figo playing the field, it felt like they might have the right mix.

It was still a great game to watch. I love the interaction of the players. Maybe it's because they're not amateurs like in the Olympics, but I think their respect for one another is amazing. Often they've played on club teams for years without making a national appearance, and sometimes those appearances pit them against their club teammates, making the competition fierce but a bit friendlier. Often when one of them goes down, their opponent will help them up, patting them on the shoulder and making sure they're okay. Figo and Zidane are old friends and exchanged jerseys after the game. It's that level of camraderie that makes it much better at making friends of nations - the competitiveness is tempered by real human connection, the one thing guaranteed to give me the warm fuzzies. So yay for the World Cup and BRING ON THE FINALS.

And now back to your regularly scheduled frivolity.

Other than obsessing over sports (woah - I think I got a little woozy admitting that), I've been working, cooking, and trying to get adult crap done SHEESH. The work's been fine, but a bit flaky. With the end of convention season for me, it's been harder to focus on the remaining ones for everyone else. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as Erica's self-absorption. Which made me think of maxipad commericials, so let's move on, shall we?

The food's been fairly good, actually. I bought a 4lb bag of mixed lemons and limes from the warehouse club because buying limes for my gin and tonics was costing enough that I could literally let the lemons all rot and it would still be cheaper. I decided NOT to let the lemons rot and instead to squeeze one over some pork loin I thawed. I ended up marinating it for a couple of days (what with the holiday and the painting and the Chipotle refueling that HAD TO BE DONE on Monday). Yesterday I busted it out and threw some butter in a skillet and then just sorta smelled and spiced as the spirit moved me. I ended up adding salt, a little thyme, and some dry white wine and it. was. yummers. Seriously - pork and lemons. Tell your friends!

Today I made chicken fajitas, having decided to try out the small white corn tortillas after eyeing them for ages. The corn is not my favorite, but the peppers, onions, and chicken were delicious when spiced with this mix, courtesy of my mother-in-law. According to the site, this seasoning mix is hot. I didn't know it was hot or I would have warned Hubster, but seeing as he didn't utter a singular peep upon tasting it, I'd have to say HOT IT IS NOT. But it is HOTT. Meaning tasty in this instance. Okay, I'm done now.) I guess when you consider that the folks who create the mix are from Vermont, it might illuminate why. (FYI, she bought it at her favorite stop on Cape Cod, the Atlantic Spice Company, but I think I've seen it in cute gourmet stores all over.)

Other than working and eating, I've been trying to get errand running and home organizing projects done, and frankly the less said about that the better.

Apologies for the lateness, but I did eke out my entry for the day, and now back to goofing off for a few minues before I drift off to dreamland where citrus fruits, my parents' Portuguese pottery, and the spectre of my basement utility shelves no doubt await me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Photo Finish on the Radio

Ignore the date on this post while I wish you a "Happy Independence Day!" Mine began with more painting. We finished the living room. It looks sorta like this:

Card-carrying Members of the Warm-Hue Alliance, Khaki Division

I'm delighted with the results overall. It already makes the room look much more put-together. I've struggled over what shade to use for ages, but I think just settling on one and giving it a go was all I needed. That or my clinch-time decision-making prowess is indeed formidable. Stay tuned as I make all further wardrobe purchases in one-minute intervals for the rest of the year! (Ha!)

We cleaned up the brushes, showered (because we had to lay tarps over the AC vents, we had the air conditioning off while we worked - results? Sweatastic!), and drove down to DC to a party with friends. Mr. T and his roommate packed a ton of people into their two-bedroom apartment with much delicious ale and finger foods. We arrived early enough to watch most of the Germany/Italy match. We were worried when they entered overtime and the clock ticked down, the spectre of penalty kicks before us. Then thunder rolled and the heavens opened, and while we speculated as to the state of our blankets awaiting us by the Iwo Jima memorial for the fireworks display (answer: SOGGY), the cable went out. Like FIVE MINUTES away from the end of overtime. In the ensuing scramble, the cable box was reset repeatedly, there was much wailing and ineffectual gnashing of teeth, and the game played on in Germany. Finally, Mr. T turned on his satellite radio and we listened as Italy scored not one but TWO goals. Someone commented that we shared more in common with the rest of the fútbol-loving planet across the decades huddled around the radio than before with ESPN HD going full bore. Acts of God have a way of doing that for us.

The game finished, it was time for speculation over beers and finally a trek down to the memorial where the loveliest view of Washington's Monuments awaited us. The fireworks were amazing this year, better than the last, I think, though the blankets were sopping wet and we all had to share garbage bags so we wouldn't have wet butts for the rest of the night. Our patriotic duty over, we wandered back to chat some more, clean up, and head home, tired but happy Americans.

Monday, July 03, 2006


There are some things in live that you wonder about, but you don't think you'll ever experience. Perhaps that's why we get interested in stories about space, or dragons, or drug rehab. Have you ever wondered what the temporal and spacial union of these two objects would produce: cats and tarps? Today is your lucky day because the result is HILARIOUS.

The tarps are in place over most of my living room right now. Hubster and I bought 5 gallons of different paints yesterday, and I've begun painting the living room at last. I'll post pics. Probably. But anyway, that's why the tarps. The air conditioning vent in there is on the floor, so it billows the clear plastic tarp and makes the cats chase the bubbles it forms. Then they find a way UNDER the tarps and they scare the crap out of me by swiping at my feet. Then they chase each other across the tarp as the sounds repeat now louder and softer: CRINKLE crinkle-crinkle ZZZZZZIP (as one slides) crinkle. Mostly, I'm terrified that one of them's going to dip a paw in the roller tray and leave "adorable" paw prints all over the carpeting.

Speaking of, my break is over. Time to keep rolling or the paint will dry in the tray and THEN where will I be? Well, admittedly less stressed about kitten prints in a neutral beige, but still: NOT HAPPY.