Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cheating with Reheated Content

I just found this dandy new doohickey that allows you to make a slideshow of your flickr photos on your blog. And it's pretty. We'll see if this works.

I'm leaving today. Again. I'm off to New Jersey for a convention all by my little lonesome. I also might make a stop-off to see my husband who's a groomsman this weekend in a wedding in . . . New Jersey. It's a weird coincidence that might have been fantastic if the wedding weren't during the day on Saturday instead of at night like I'd hoped. Anyway, I might go hang with him after I get done for the day. We'll see.

Right now I'm killing time until everyone gets off the road for me. And then I'm leaving.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Conference + Holiday = No Posting

So our convention in Florida went well. Sales were up, companionship was great, food was good to FANTASTIC, and . . . (drum roll please) I GOT TO GO TO DISNEY WORLD!

This was my first trip to Florida, and it took me a grand total of 24 hrs to end up in Disney World. I credit on Bee, partner in crime, and our other convention rep, whom I shall call AquaWoman, who once worked at Disney's Living Seas exhibit (now Nemo themed, of course) in Epcot (look out, that page has audio - annoying!). She got us two free tickets, so all we had to do was buy one and split the difference for an entire day. Sweet fancy Moses.

We walked around the countries, we went Soarin' (highly recommended, by the by), we ate lunch in Morocco (Restaurant Marrakesh, by name), and we tried all kinds of Coca Cola Products from around the world. Plus the weather was perfect - warm and breezy. I'm sure the results might have been different if I'd had to sweat my way through the day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Yes, I did bring my big camera, despite some question about doing that as I packed, and all the snaps are on flickr. The entire park was in bloom for the Spring, and I got a ton of fabulous flower snaps. I can't even identify them all. Not that I'm a botany buff or anything.

Speaking of buff (love that segue), I am a known food buff, and Bee and I got some seriously good food at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at Downtown Disney. I had Pan-roasted Mahi-Mahi with fingerling potatoes and a delicious peach drink called a Bellini something-or-other. I also enjoyed the Banana Beignets, a smashing dessert that hit the spot. Seriously insane food. Not so great prices, but well worth the experience. The service was fantastic - our waitress, and especially the hostess were wonderful. The hostess convinced us not to skimp and go through their cafe dining (cheaper, lighter menu) and instead to hold out for dining room seating. Later on in the meal, she checked in on us to see how we were getting on. She certainly made us feel welcome, flip-flops and all.

We hadn't planned on hitting that restaurant up, but then we didn't plan much of our extracurriculars this time around. We never even hit up the four outdoor pools we could see from our hotel window. That might be a crime, especially when this is where we were staying. Best laid plans, and all that. Next year, I'm going to make sure we plan ahead and do some more Disney, I think. And maybe a little sittin' by the pool.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Me Voy

Later today, I'll be touching down in La Florida, so I've gotta run. Yes, a convention. Yes with her. Good stories and pictures shall probably ensue. Probably.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Feast for the Palette, Then a Feast for the Mind

We had such a good weekend, that I shudder to think how many things would be left out of any run-on sentence purporting to summarize its greatness. Even that one.

Zoofari is described here, but basically, over 100 restaurants and wine purveyors set up booths and give out free food and drinks for a few hours in the National Zoo. It's delicious. 1789 gave out lamb chops in the most delicious sauce I've ever tasted in my entire life. L'Oustalet gave out samples of beef roasted in the best gravy ever - I distinctly tasted orange in the gravy and was floored. Pinzimini gave out olives, pasta with gruyere and asparagus, and tiramisu. That's pretty much all my buttons right there. Anyway, well worth attending, might even be worth paying to attend in the future when we can't get free tickets because mmmmmmm. Also, I might have gotten TWO samples of Chateau Ste Michelle's amazing wines. My taste buds were very happy with their Dry Riesling.

J Morgan and Mair gave us the use of their car all week whilst they were on vacation and then stayed overnight Friday when they returned. We had such a good time. We grilled out on Saturday, made a side-trip to IKEA, and stretched more than one joke riff to the breaking point before diving into another line of reasoning. They had to leave Saturday, but we've already got our next visit planned, so it was easier to wave goodbye.

Now it's Monday night. I had a great conversation with Hubster about my career/school aspirations and a lot more. We'll see where it leads, but it was nice to wrap up some loose threads of thinking. All the eating, the smiling, and now thinking sure take a lot out of you, though. I need some beauty rest, kids. Good night.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Randomized Midweek Photographic Goodness

Persephone, in a rare sojourn beyond the walls of our luxurious home. Totally not into being photographed with all these SMELLS around.

The scene - Tuesday night, Non-Virtual Fyfdom, grilling out, hanging out on our decrepit (now fixed) back stairs, life is good.

Kebabs on the grill. Cue salivation.

Confined kitty, yearning to be free.

I have no idea why, but I think I really like this picture.

Two of kind. Okay, in no respect are we two of a kind, but it sounded nice for a second there.

Parting shot. Because she is so deliciously cute, my tiny-tiger/cheetah-belly.

Photo Credits to Hubster.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Linking Wednesday

1. We start out strong today with these musical words: beer power.

2. Honeybee populations across the country are declining because of a mysterious killer, and it might affect our food considering that 1/3 of our crops are pollinated byinsects, mostly honeybees. Someone help before we can't find avocados, asparagus, or cherries for love nor money!

3. Slate's Human Guinea Pig, Emily Yoffe takes one for the team to find out "What happened when I followed The Secret's advice for two months." A satisfyingly sarcastic take on following a stupid book's advice.

4. Back to food. This article purports to tell you which food to eat for your mood. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. It's certainly interesting.

5. Inside the Bridal Industrial Complex. That's basically what author Rebecca Mead did to write her new book, and the NYTimes talks about the book and the experience of walking through the Great Bridal Expo with her. This article is behind the registration screen at this point, but her book is called One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding.

6. And the last one I found through dooce. Pictures, with captions, of Disapproving Rabbits. It's pretty awesome. My fav so far: "Hazel practices her disapprove-fu, allowing her to disapprove in any direction at any time."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What a Wonderful World

It's been a long few days since I last posted. Full days, too. From a relatively light Spring, we're careening into a heavy Summer of weddings, weekend visits, and conferences. Last weekend had Gold Cup, this weekend had all that and more!

So Hubster's dad got us tickets to the America's Cup of Polo. We had VIP tickets for the Cartier tent, very nice what with the free food and drinks all day and the fabulous views of the field. This year was the inaugural year so everything was new and exciting and less than perfectly organized, but it was a fun time.

It all got started with a cocktail party Friday night. Sister-in-law Slydig (henceforth to be her handle because she's a funny person with a penchant for the sarcastic) and I went through balmy Hades on the slow Washington Metro to get out there for it. Then we got a tour of the grounds for the game, lovely Morven Park, as well as the location of the cocktail party near a former Virginia governor's mansion. We ended up with all of 30 minutes to freshen up for the party and I am proud to say that we did it and looked HOTT at the end to boot. We are machines. Pretty, pretty machines.

Moving on, Market Salamander did the catering for the entire weekend. There was not a amphibian in evidence, despite their bizarre name, but there was plenty of food, most of which was inventive and just plain delicious. They had mini ciabatta breads for their slow-roasted leg-of-veal with amazing dressings. Their pork, mango, and basil-leaf hor d'oeuvres were amazing. Oh, and they had this poached pear tidbit wrapped in filo that made me fall in love with food all over again. We haven't even talked desserts. Very good stuff here. The drink of the event was a Polo-rita - a margarita with pomegranate and orange juices and Casa Noble tequila. Also quite good.

The cocktail party was fun, especially the part where Mumsie (mother-in-law) and Slydig and I sat around feeling awkward and fashion-policing to take the edge off. They're more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Man, I am FOLKSING IT UP around here. I am so obviously not one of the elite of this nation that I should have been BANNED from such a stately event. But I wasn't. Ha!

So we hit the hay once Hubster arrived (having driven down after work) and got up to a day whose weather could not make up its mind. It's sunny. Now it's overcast. Now it's sunny again. Now it's sprinkling. Now it's raining. Now it's clearing. Now it's sunset. Good night. Fortunately, the good and bad patches coincided with our schedule so we were able to watch the polo match in the overcast, dry sections and then retreat to the tents for the annoying drippy parts. It could have been better, from a planner's perspective, but it could also have been considerably worse given a weather report that had 40% chance of thunderstorms listed only the day before.

And what to say of the day? The US polo team was made up of mostly amateurs and the UK team was mostly professionals, so the final defeat of the USA was not all that surprising. The match was exciting throughout, however, except in the last chukker when the UK really brought on the hurt by widening their early two-point lead. I've blocked out the final score, but it was probably like 7 to 3 in their favor. Ouch. Still, next year's match should be with Italy and we'll see if there's enough interest state-side to garner an entire professional squad or not. Perhaps the best part of the game was one of the announcers, Cowboy SomethingorOther, who's been doing this since the 70s and was flat-out hilarious when he wasn't inappropriate and mildly offensive. When the US scored a goal, he bellowed "Well slap my pappy and call me happy!" When he was fitting in an advertisement for an inner-city outreach group, he was so inappropriate it was laughable. One phrase stuck out, though "so donate some money of and help them out to keep those kids off the streets of your neighborhood with guns." Words fail me.

But the match was the easiest part of the day. We had Hubster's entire family together so we wanted to talk and hang with all of them. Charles and The Hair came along and brought two friends as well, so that made more interesting brains to pick. Plus we invited a couple of Maryland friends as well. It was a full house. Good thing the champagne flowed all day, along with more Polo-ritas, Yuengling, New Castle Ale, and lots more good stuff. Did I mention it was Cartier branded champagne? Fortunately, it didn't taste like their jewelry which I would guess would be lacking in tasty effervescence and lean closer to cold metallic flavor with notes of polishing agent.

The day wrapped up with a concert by the reconstituted band of Journey, still rocking hard with their new members and ready to put on a pretty good show. We watched from the tents for a while, but closer to the end, we headed out on the field, Hubster having opened one last bottle of New Castle each on an abandoned caterer's table, and we rocked out to "Don't Stop Believing" and generally had a fabulous time. It was late, dark, and everyone was feeling tired, but we still had a blast.

And that's more than enough for this post. More, perhaps with pictures, tomorrow.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What is this "no" of which you speak?

It's hot. Okay, not "hot" but balmy. I just spent the last couple of hours upstairs working on a Mother's Day gift, and the cool basement feels great. Ah, room-temp goodness.

I did that thing again - biting off more than I could chew. I said, "I'll make both gifts with oodles of time to spare!" And now it's down to the wire, and though I found something lovely for my mother at IKEA, my mother-in-law is the only one with the homemade gift this time around. Even worse, my sewing machine is acting up. The feed dogs (called the "transporter" or something on this Wikipedia page, but every sewer I know calls them that) were acting very strangely, and there's a little wobble on the straight lines of sewing. ANNOYING. Meh, I'll get it serviced and life will go on, and you can bet I'll be volunteering to sew purses for most of the greater-DC population in no time.

I should have the phrase, "DON'T BE A HERO" emblazoned on my forearms or something. I could get it tattooed in a lovely design with an artistic touch, but it would have to be visible to me. Maybe on my hands. Although I hear hands are a pretty painful spot for that. Oh, I'm sorry, you wanted a point to this. It's not that I'm allergic to the word "no," I just have a sensitivity to it. And I really need to stop volunteering. Hubster asks me what to get for our mothers, and I should ask him for ideas instead of immediately marking off my time for the selection of the project, the selection of the material, the cutting out phase, the sewing phase, the ripping out bad seams phase, followed by more sewing and culminating in the hand-sewing phase. ENOUGH.

Okay, "enough" doesn't seem to hurt as much as "no." Maybe I should try that out.

Bets on how long that lasts?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Weekend Wonders

Last weekend was full. Friday night, Hubster and I took our coffee date to the mall where we could wander and double-check our prices. We managed to find some mark-downs on products we'd bought earlier, so we actually did that whole "price adjustment" thing retailers always hype because no one does it, ourselves included. We saved like 20 bucks on our bill, so I'm keeping both jackets, in case you're wondering. We decided to rent a movie, but then I needed to hem some new pants for Hubster and one thing led to another so we thought "no movie, we'll be up to late" and therefore stayed up just as late doing other things. Oh, we are that good.

We got up the next morning and ran final errands (it was surprisingly hard to find fully cooked, honey-glazed, spiral-cut hams nearby) and we got all dolled up for Gold Cup. We did this last October, and I even took pictures, but apparently, I forgot to post them or even go beyond a mention of the event. Way to drop the ball!

In a nut shell, it's a steeplechase with lots of fanfare and people wear preppy clothes (and hats) and bring delicious food and wine and hang about watching the occasional horse race. We had a fantastic time last year. We brought food, wine, champagne cocktails, and delicious desserts. This time, Mr. T and Southwest again asked us to come, but they added both sets of their parents to the roster. It was a bit awkward at first, but we quickly warmed up to each other and enjoyed an hour or so of eating and talking. Enter the rain, stage left. Pretty soon we realized the rain would not relent. We'd brought blankets and umbrellas, but it wasn't long before we were almost soaked and considering our options. One set of parents was staying at a hotel, so we hit up the lobby for coffee and cookies and relaxed there. It wasn't the day we'd envisioned, but it was worth it, if nothing else than for Southwest's amazing concoction made from champagne, pomegranate juice and fresh raspberries. Must repeat that one.

We bid everyong adieu in time to catch dinner with CharlesPeirce and his wife, whom I've only ever called "his wife" on this blog and shall henceforth call "TheHair" because of the hair. The last time we'd gotten together was entirely too long ago (again!), so rather than being stumped by our busy Friday and Sunday, we heaped on a visit to our Saturday. They made us pot roast with vegetables and mashed potatoes and had blackberries and delicious wine (George Duboeuf Merlot) and mmmmmm, it was yummy. We talked into the night and managed to plan a few more get togethers. We went from once every six months to four times in the next couple of months. We are people of extremes.

Sunday? Church, then lunch, then a movie, then bed. We watched Stranger than Fiction, and I loved it. The previews make it look like more of a comedy than a drama, and it's just the opposite, but it did tell the story with a lot of humor and insight. The music, the acting (Emma Thompson gets me every time), the cinematography, the plotting, everything. The ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped, but it was still beautiful. Life, death, romance, guitars, space camp, and a seductive baker. Good times.

And good night!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Moment for Elephants

Okay, let's face our pachyderm head on: I, LIKE, NEVER BLOG ANYMORE! In the past I've had a good reason for any hiatus - I'm traveling for business, I'm on vacation, I'm sick, etc. This past week I've had nothing particularly time-consuming on my slate, but it's been near impossible to make myself post. And yes, this is mostly about fun and games so if it's no longer serving that purpose, maybe it's alright that I don't post. There's just one tiny problem with that: I don't get to catch up with y'all if I'm not posting. No one comes to visit or makes a comment. I was talking about this with CharlesPeirce and his wife and we agreed: it's easier to use facebook because a few bits of your content and your relationships provide the reason to return to the site. You drop one sentence on your friend's wall and you read others' comments and you're done! With blogging, if you don't come up with content, that's it - no comments, no reason to the visit the site, no reason to come back till there's new content and if there isn't any for while, you're likelier to forget all about it.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this. I mean, 5 days a week of even crappy content takes time. It takes motivation. Some days, when I'm done with work I don't want to go downstairs and back to my computer at all. If there was a way to do it from my bedroom, maybe, but we haven't got a laptop, and frankly, how lame is it that I use THE STAIRS as an excuse? Less lame if you understand that the stairs symbolize all the trouble it takes - sitting in the cold basement, looking up Amazon links, writing and editting, etc.

It's still lame.

Maybe I'll decide to post less often. Maybe I'll find a method of preparing posts that's faster. I don't think I'm going to let this thing decay, but I do think I need a change. We'll see.

Hmm, this is already a post in and of itself, so I'm going to call it quits while I'm ahead. I'll tell you about my weekend later. Good night. Hopefully, I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Listing Tuesdays

Because I joined facebook today, and it's already sucking up ALL MY TIME. CURSE IT.


1. This is a list of the best cookbooks of 2006. I was so sick of cooking the same things over and over. Stir-fry, chicken wraps, grilled chicken, ravioli, shuffle, shuffle, repeat. Breaking out of my cooking rut meant getting inspiration. Try out some of these picks from

2. McSweeney's does it again with: "Considered but discarded names for the Indie Band Someone Still Loves you, Boris Yeltsin." Short but sweet. Kudos to Hubster for spotting this gem.

3. I'm not sure I agree with all of the authors conclusions, but this piece from the New York Times (it's past the free window, so you might need to register, sorry!) got me thinking. It's not that I agree with Michael Pollan. Full disclosure, I haven't even read the Omnivore's Dilemma yet, but it's enlightening to learn a little about the laws that wind up determining our food options on supermarket shelves. Growing up in early life in Argentina, I didn't eat a lot of processed food and such because their food supply looks considerably different than ours (especially if you compare the 1980s there and 2000s here and now). When we moved to the States, I didn't really make a point to remember how strange food seemed. I let my mother worry about that. Full disclosure, I was probably obsessing about the last time my brothers broke into my room and hoarded my stuff for ransom. Anyway, it's an interesting piece illuminating a non-glamorous, but increasingly popular issue: how our legal infrastructure informs our health choices.

4. This one's already made some rounds, but in case you missed it, Joshua Bell plays a classical violin set in the Washington Metro system. Interesting results.