Monday, December 24, 2007

So what, I get married and I stop blogging?

Well, I didn't mean for that to happen. Here's the quickest of quick catch-ups:





Wedding: Lots of family, craziness, fun. Paris: Food and beauty in a magical city. Man, I really miss those figs. Every day, fresh figs. As Jeffrey says, both delicious and delightful.

Ever since then, it's been busy, busy. We went to Iowa to see our new niece:
This is her at 3 weeks. Already I can tell she's very intelligent. She's very inquisitive, always looking around. And come on, look at her. Very, very cute. We were stuck in Iowa for 2 extry days because of a snow/ice/freezing rainstorm, which was OK, but has had us on the run since.

So I've been working, knitting a little, and re-igniting my love of "Homicide: Life on the Street." It is one of the best shows that ever appeared on television. I discovered it in syndication when I was living in a sad little furnitureless apartment in Bremerton, staying up at night to watch "Sisters" on Lifetime: Television for Women. One night, "Sisters" ended, and then this crazy, gritty show came on in its stead. No warning. On Lifetime! Anyway, look at some of this dialogue:
Bayliss: If your husband was sentenced to death, why would you kill yourself and then orphan your son?
Pembleton: Well, Tim, you are the primary on this quickly deepening quagmire. I'll leave that question for you to answer.
Bayliss: Thanks. Hope you get polyps.

Can you beat it? It's not just about the crime. These characters are incredibly smart, sometimes handicapped by hubris, and unfailingly human. Right now I'm watching Season 4 on my own and Season 5 with Jeffrey. He likes the Luther Mahoney arc. And of course, there's Junior Bunk to look forward to.

The piano has been going well. I finally have mastered 6/8 time, but now sixteenth-notes are sort of kicking my ass, particularly when interspersed with eighth-notes. I think my brain's just deteriorated past the point of understanding those. Right now I'm playing the first four measures of a very simple lower part of a Tchaikovsky piece. I've heard people call him a hack, but the music (when I can play it) is really beautiful. So what if he's a hack?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stress snapshot

So when we decided to get married a week into our two-week scheduled vacation, I thought, "what the heck am I going to be doing all that time?" Even last week, I thought, man, this will be relaxing. Welp, I was wrong. I mean, it's my fault for having put everything off. So today I've been getting fitted for undergarments, dropping stuff off and taking care of last-minute details with caterers and the like. So, round about 1, the phone rang, and it was the YMCA. Last week I had a run-in with the Y front-desk people because I couldn't clear Homeland Security to get in to play my game of HORSE. FOR THE KIDS!

Anyway, so I was already a little tense when it rang. I picked it up and answered, "Newsroom, this is Judy!" And see, that's not even my external-call greeting. It was James. He said, "Judy, you need to calm down." He was right.

Just the night before, I had been talking with his wife about soups and I said, "I make a homemade chicken tortilla soup." AND THAT IS A TOTAL LIE! I was like, "Wait, what did I just say?" It was so bizarre! It didn't really seem like a lie because I really believed it when I said it and I took it right back. But it just came right out! I am really crazy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who's writing this garbage?

So, it turns out I've been driving around with a brick. Not a metaphorical kind of brick (ok, arguably, a metaphorical kind of brick), but an actual, what-the-most-forward-thinking-little-pig-used-to-build-his-house kind of a brick. I have no earthly idea why. Here it is:I mean, seriously, writers. So obvious. What's next? Meredith does a voice-over about how sometimes you just have to let go to move on? Cristina has a secret sad look? Come on.

As you can see, the cleaning continues in Countdown to Nuptials 2K7. Today I cleaned out my car. I decided to get rid of the brick, some old cans of green beans, and a cheap beach chair I'd been driving around with that I've never ever taken out. I also took out my tape collection, as my tape player died years ago. I'm going to donate it to the local selling charity. Maybe someone will want OU812! Oh, Van Hagar. How I miss you.

I think ... I mean, maybe ... I am ... the decider?

I mean, really, I am the decider. It's sort of my gig. But the weird thing is that lately I cannot make any decision about anything. What are we having for dinner? Should we have a guest book? How should I punctuate this sentence for maximum effect?! But today I've been walking around with 2 pins in my hand because I can't figure out what to do with them. Where should I put them so they don't do any damage? I mean, really stupid stuff. Should I order new shoes for Paris? Should I buy a jacket for my dress? I just can't make a decision right now. Thank goodness I'm not working.

So when Jeffrey's best man arrives at the airport tomorrow, he's probably going to want to hug me. Jeffrey knows me well enough to have warned me about this fact well in advance. He knows that I'm not always huggy, especially when I don't know the person and really especially when I'm busy going crazy.

And now let me present to you, "Sometimes a Crazy Gets With Another Crazy, Subtitled I Mean Really, Does That Kind of Thing Help?, A Play in One Act":

Jeffrey: Are you a crazy bride right now?
Judy: I am not a crazy bride right now. A typical crazy bride wants everything to be perfect on her wedding day. I will be satisfied if there are no deaths, maimings or injuries.
Jeffrey: Do you include botulism on your list of injuries?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So, other stuff

I seem to just be writing about my case of the crazies, so here's some of the other stuff that's been going on.

1. Everyone at work has been super-great about the wedding. Saturday was my last night at work and I came into a wildly decorated desk, with confetti, flower petals, balloons, and some streamers. Also, a physical tiara, to match the one I always wear inside my head. It was really, really nice. The night before, Good Brian had made some wonderful cookies and the night side had gotten us a gift card at 3 local restaurants. It was really kind, and definitely unexpected. A lot of people have offered to help, as well as put up with me giving minute-by-minute changes in the forecast for Saturday. It's meant a lot.

2. We are in full-on Paris Craze. Jeffrey's been researching restaurants, and I've been researching ways in which we will be able to have telephone service to make reservations at said restaurants. It's the perfect distribution of labor for us. I LOVE PRACTICALITY! I installed Skype on the computer last night (our Paris apartment has DSL but not a phone) and I spent today messing with it and adding all the restaurants we're looking at. One I wanted to go to on my birthday was L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. He's uber-famous, and is supposedly one of the best chefs in the world. Like really next-next-level stuff, apparently. Articles about him and the restaurant use words like "worship" and "privilege." And I guess maybe I'm thinking that I'm not famous-chef-food people, you know? I'm not sure I go for 17 one-bite courses. So we have a reservation there for my birthday, but I'm also reading about some lower-key places about which I can hardly find any information on the Internet. I feel good about that, because all the things I find about them are good, and include words like "secret" and "find." I think I'm more secret-find people. I am DEFINITELY compound-modifier people!

3. Are there ANY thank-you notes made for dudes? I went looking for some generic ones the other day and they were all flowers and butterflies and little felt purses. Is it just that women give them? Surely, women aren't the only ones who get them. I think this is a great opening for a cardmaker. On the front it could say, "Hey, thanks, man." On the inside it could say something like, "Let's not make this weird, OK?" I think that would fly off the shelves. In a really macho sort of way.

4. Jeffrey and I are still looking for rings. I know it's a little late in the day, but we just recently decided whether we would have rings at all. Neither of us is a ring kind of person. So we went looking today. Most places were none too excited when they heard I didn't want anything in a precious metal or with gems. But we went into one place today in which we felt immediately at ease. We said to the woman behind the counter, who seemed warm with a touch of hippie perhaps, "Hi, we're looking for wedding bands, with no, you know, blood on them." She smiled genuinely, though that may have just been surprise. We're surprising. And then later she showed us a ring, and Jeffrey said, "This is sort of Lord of the Ringish." And I said, "Yeah, it has that one ring to rule them all feel." And she laughed. We ended up not buying anything at all today, but at least we had one experience that didn't feel gross.

5. I finally had that HORSE game with the VP of the company. It was more fun (and strenuous) than I expected it to be. Of course, he threw it, but I actually ended up hitting way more shots than I would have ever guessed. For some reason, I was on fire from the three-point line! I mean, seriously! And I got there early to practice, and I was able to perfect one facing the other direction, without looking! It was crazy! We ended up playing a game of CAT, too, and he spotted me a couple letters. It was for the kids.

OK I'd better go clean. Today Jeffrey's trying to introduce me to something called "dusting." Crazy man.

Cleaning is good for the soul

I mean, I *think* cleaning is good for the soul. I don't do it enough to say that with any real authority. Today Jeffrey and I have been cleaning for wedding guests. Mostly it's been really good, and it has reminded me of the hate/love relationship I have with stuff. I have thrown tons upon tons of it away today. I think to myself, who needs all this stuff? I'd rather have the space. But the truth is, except for gifts, I went out and bought all this garbage at one time or another. So I have to stop doing that.

I swear I'm not typical-bride crazy, but I did have another breakdown today. See, one time, when my mom was first sick, I went home to visit her. And we had set up my brother's computer for her to play around on, you know, write and play games, do whatever she wanted to do. I think there was a drawing program, too. Anyway, on my last day home, I wanted to jump on there and type up a poem that I had always loved from this book of poetry that my brother had. And she was playing around on the computer, and asking me to teach her how to do stuff, and I was getting really impatient. Just stupid and impatient over a stupid poem, like 36 bytes of information. Well, I have that book of my brother's now, and I found it when I was cleaning. I can't even remember what the poem is and I can't bring myself to open or touch the book, because I think of that story and I just start to cry.

So now I'm thinking, should I get rid of the book? Or should I try to deal with it and forgive myself? I frankly don't like my chances, it being more than 9 years later already. I mean, I think I should keep it. I'm the kind of person who works harder, not smarter. Remember when Michael Landon used to do the Hooked on Phonics commercials and he used to say that you should cut down a tree with an axe (working smarter) rather than cutting down a tree with a sledgehammer (working harder)? I always used to say back to the TV, No, Michael, I work harder. And it's true. I like to do the harder thing. Which may be why I can't bring myself to let myself off the hook. But this time I really want to get rid of it. It just hurts so much. I can count the number of times my mom was impatient with me on one hand. And I was just so angry. I was such an idiot.

My God, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Catchup

The other night, in one of our weary, bitter talks, Evil Brian gave me the best compliment I've gotten in a long time. He said, "You don't seem that crazy." That should give you some idea of the current climate.

We're inside 2 weeks in Wedding Countdown 2K7. Jeffrey is incredibly excited and sweet. I, on the other hand, find myself crying at pretty much the drop of a hat. Let's see, what was it today? Oh yes, you know that Everlast song, "What It's Like"? So I was driving to Target today, and I heard that stanza about the girl who goes to get an abortion and gets static at the clinic, you know? And I just start crying. Why? Why? Last week, when I saw Hung win Top Chef, I really started crying. He was a real jerk on the show, but then I saw him there with his mom and I couldn't even try to keep it together. She was so proud of him. And I think my mom would be so proud of me right now. She'd be delighted. And in 2 weeks I'm getting married and she won't be there. I know I've had a long time to get used to that fact (she died more than 8 years ago), but I just haven't. I wish I could.

Other stuff going on:

I have been comfort-food crazy lately. I made like 4 meatloafs in a row (along with Cooking Light basic mashed potatoes) and then I switched over to caldo verde. I put in a ton of lemon juice, and I think it's really delicious.

I won a game of HORSE with the vice-president of our company. When I say, "I won a game of HORSE with the vice-president of our company," I don't mean I actually have won it. I'm certain to lose it. But I won it, as a prize, in our company's United Way raffle. Seriously. A bunch of people won gift cards to Wawa. I won humiliation. I have ordered this shirt for the occasion.
I went to buy some track pants to go with it today. Why is so much workout gear made in velour? Is there a lot of working out done just outside the shower? I ended up getting nothing at all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Swingin'

So Stephanie and I went to play tennis again this morning, something we've done maybe 5 times, once a week since I saw that movie "Wimbledon." We hit the ball back, and then forth, for about an hour without keeping score. That's lucky, because I can't imagine there'd be a winner. We'd just be loser and losest.

But today something hit us as we got to the neighborhood courts. Uh-oh. People.

I think one of them was a local TV personality. We were nervous. I didn't want any tips from anybody and Stephanie didn't want to hit the ball into their court. So we relegated ourselves to the far court, leaving one court as a buffer. It turns out that they shot a ball into our court first! I stopped being nervous after about 15 minutes, and went about my pattern: Hit the ball, wait for it to come back, miss it, then run toward the ball swinging the swing I'd have swung if I had it all to do over again. It works for me.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Flighty randomness

My attention span seems to have grown infinitesimal lately. I can't put enough brainpower together to figure out why. But here are some randoms:

1. The invitations are out. Finally. We were this close (this close!) to evites. For real.

2. One thing that I've noticed about shopping is that I seem to lose about 10 pounds just by walking into a higher-end shop. I may fit a 10 at The Gap, but suddenly I'm swimming in 6s at Ann Taylor. But drop on in to Ann Taylor LOFT, its spunky little sister, and it's 8 for me. Do I pay for a false sense of body security? Gladly.

3. The only case in which this does not work is wedding gowns. While they are quite expensive, I find I am a Size HUGEPetite in them. I was going to do a Google search for "wedding gowns large chest" but decided against it. I just have to accept that dresses, as they are sold, are not made for my body type, which is essentially a jumbling of leftover laboratory sale parts. Some are tiny (I haven't bought shoes in a normal store since I decided I wasn't going to put up with skating around inside them anymore) and some are oddly big. I've fantasized about opening up a store for mis-shapes like me (Paul's name: "Have a Fit!"). So far nothing.

4. You know what 2 words I always think are the same but are really the opposite of each other? Panacea and curare. It's f'd up. It's because curare doesn't sound like what it is at all. And I think curare in Latin is to cure. You know, cure, curare, curati, curactis? Something like that? Anyway, I looked it up again on Saturday. I wonder if it will stick this time.

5. The French-learning continues slowly. Right now I'm up to asking a conversation partner whether they'd like to eat something. And answering, yes, I would like to eat something, or, no, but I would like to drink something. Just a couple more lessons before I can be a spy in Paris! Or a waiter!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I can do that!

Here's how it usually goes: I do something infrequently, like, say, bowling. I enjoy it, but more importantly, I have very limited success with it. In bowling, that means that I kissed the sweet side of three digits. And then I decide that I could maybe do it professionally. I go about looking at bags, and shoes, and balls. Sometimes I think maybe I'll need a special glove apparatus. It gets pretty hard-core before it's completely forgotten. And then, maybe a year and a half later, I hit the lanes again and start all over again. The same thing happened when I shoveled a huge pile of mulch from our driveway to just behind itself. It took me a couple days and was great for the forearms. And I decided, yes, I could maybe do manual labor for a living.

This was not the case as I went about folding 40 origami boats last night for our invitations. I can't even talk about it. I actually choose what I do over fantasies of something new. Crazy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Love song of the day

Jeffrey and I have a bit of disagreement over "Lovesong" by The Cure. I think it's about this deep, deep love in a situation where commitment is impossible because of distance. Sort of tragic, really. He thinks it's about coming back together after time apart, a sort of band-going-on-the-road type song. At any rate, he once quite enjoyed it. I still love it. It's the kind of song that can draw tears in the right situations. I can't decide whether we should play it at the wedding, because of the possibly off-point message. Any thoughts? Here are the lyrics:

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

Golly Jeez, Beave. So good.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pardon my French

I am in full-on Paris mode. Paul put up a bunch of photos from their trip that got me feeling very European. So last night I started listening to Pimsleur's learn-to-speak French lessons. The first lesson pretty much taught me to say, "I only understand a little French. Do you understand English?" It's been great. I walked around all day today saying, "Est-ce que vous comprenez l'anglais?" Jeffrey and I listened to Lesson 2 today. "Comment allez vous, monsieur?" "Tres bien, mademoiselle. Merci!"

Then Jeffrey and I watched a Modern Marvels on cheese. Some of it was really disgusting. But mostly it made us hungry for cheese. So we went cheese shopping and had this for dinner:We got a red wine cheese, an Emmentaler, a chevre, a goat gouda, a really creamy blue and some salami. I roasted some garlic and we ate it with a baguette and fruits. It was of an extreme deliciousness. I'm cheesedrunk now.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This is how sad it is

I've gasped twice since I got home tonight -- in the span of about 2 minutes. The first was when I realized I could make Kool-Aid brand soft drink with stevia. The second was when I went to make it and saw a full bag of Baked! Cheetos.

Sad, sad, sad.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Some things

1. I've decided the sustain pedal is like cheese. It makes everything a little bit gooeyer and messier, but a whole lot better.

2. I got the best card ever from Barbie, who was our summer intern. On the front there are 2 beautiful flowers. On the inside, in tiny type, it says: You aren't unhappy with your life, you're just annoyed that everyone around you is incompetent. She said she'd found the perfect card.

3. Being engaged has changed me in a sort of sickening way. This week, Jenna Bush got engaged, and I commented on how surprisingly cute she looked with her fiance. My co-workers were shocked. It was clear they did not share my opinion. Then today, I was learning the love theme from "Dr. Zhivago" and I just thought it was so beautiful and romantic. I'm not a romantic person. I don't appreciate flowers. I'm pragmatic. Who am I now?

4. Michael Cera is such a talent. We saw "Superbad" today, which was funny but had way too much of the other kid. I wanted 100 percent Michael Cera. He's so good at un-self-conscious awkwardness. Tonight we're re-watching "Arrested Development," one of the funniest shows ever.

"I didn't even know we were calling him Big Bear!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sick day

I've spent the whole day on the couch, coming in and out of consciousness while "Top Chef" played on Bravo. As Jeffrey says, I'm marinating in my on filth. My throat is still sore despite the copious amounts of frozen custard, which Brianne so kindly brought me, that I've stuffed down my gullet. I've pretty much subsisted on that banana caramel and a couple cans of soup today. So good.

I also watched/slept through a very disturbing documentary on Real Dolls. They're these life-size dolls that become "companions" for men who are looking for silent, posable, smiling women. This documentary has to be seen to be believed. I think it's getting more traffic now because of "Lars and the Real Girl," which looks like a really interesting movie in which a loner played by Ryan Gosling starts carting around one of these things. He seems like a well-meaning guy with some social difficulties; these guys in the documentary don't. The thing about these dolls is that they may get a guy through a lonely period, but they also seem to guarantee that these guys will never have a living girlfriend again. Anyway, if you want to read more about it, check out this Salon article from a couple years ago.

Something that annoys me

I'm up with a sore throat, watching "Top Chef" on Bravo. I love it this season, because of the really tall guy. I think his name might be CJ? Anyway, I adore him. So I'm watching, I'm watching, and suddenly I see the cutest little commercial kids singing a familiar tune: "I am stuck! on Band-Aid brand, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me!" BRAND! When I was a kid, it was enough to just be stuck on Band-Aid. Featuring the name a couple times in a catchy jingle was sufficient then. There's just something so wrong about making little kids sing an especially corporate song.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recycling question

Does anybody know what to do with rubber bands? I've never actually bought a rubber band per se in my life, but it's pretty much all-you-can-eat rubber bands at our house because we get one every single day with the newspaper. Any ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling? My good friend Google wasn't of much use here. And I've already made some chains for the remote control at work and for a pen near the timecard station. Anyway, if anyone needs some, let me know. I've got plenty.

Also, I have keychains of all kinds. And a couple light-up pens that I thought would be cool. It turns out that I haven't had to write in the dark. If you want them, let me know.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lovin' a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be

Today was my last lesson before my teacher takes her annual month-long vacation. I'm on my own for all of August. I ordered sheet music for "Faithfully" last month -- 5 sharps!!! The first time I looked at it I just closed it up. But today I figured it out: B major! I was actually able to plunk it out today. Very, very exciting. Oh, the crush I had on Jonathan Cain when I was a kid.

Snidbits, Part 2

It's thunderstormy out, and it's morning. For some reason, that doesn't seem right. It's somehow unnatural. Storms should happen when it's already dark out. Anyway, it has me up and contemplative.

Jeffrey and I went for a nice, creative dinner date last night. It was pretty good. For the appetizer, we got beef tartare with pickled eggs and tiny toast as well as fried goat cheese and ham and artichoke salad. The tartare wasn't what I expected it to be. I guess I expected it to be more rawish. The goat cheese was delicious, though. And it was a gigantic patty -- much more than I expected. For the entrees, we got the lamb shank (who can resist saying lamb shank) and the etouffe, which were both very tasty. For dessert, we got the pound cake with strawberries and strawberry ice cream and the creme brulee. It was an experience at a restaurant we've been meaning to try, and I felt really grateful that we are fortunate enough to enjoy a dinner like that.

Then we went to see "The Simpsons" movie. It was packed. We sat in front of some of what I call "dude seating," (dude, empty seat, dude, repeat) which is annoying. The dudes had to use their outside voices to be heard across that empty seat. Anyway, I have to say that the movie was a bit of a disappointment. I'm sort of a season 2-6 kind of a gal. Maybe the new ones are like this. It had its moments, though.

Some other snippets:

1. It always amazes me when I find someone who really easily lies. It's one of the two things I don't believe in until I have to: people who are genuinely stupid and adults who lie. What is with adults who lie? I just think of it as a thing that people outgrow, you know, when they're 5. But some people do it really easily, every single day. It just rolls off their tongue! It always amazes me. I know that I'm naive in many ways, but I just don't see a reason for it. It's like, little bullshit stuff, too, just to get their way. And big stuff. Like, answering a direct question no when you know the answer is yes. I just wonder how a person gets to that point in life where they have to lie to get through a day. It's just such a small life. It's mind-boggling.

2. I'm sort of anti-base-10-establishment right now. It drives Jeffrey crazy. It's gotten to the point where we just can't discuss it. It really makes him mad. Like, I'm anti 3.141592, but I'm mega-pro (circumference) over (diameter). To me, the digits are not as precise because they'll never be right. They'll continue to approach rightness to a degree that I can't even discern, but they'll never actually be right.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And the sign said, long-haired freaky people need not apply

Tonight was batshit at work. Everything kept changing. So that means just one thing: a night of relaxing with "Say it With Sign"!
I LOVE Say it with Sign. It is an incredibly cheesy early '80s PBS-esque (though I actually think it's NBC) show in which an adorable and theatrical husband-and-wife team teaches sign language conversationally. So far I've learned like 4 letters and maybe 15 words. I bought a few of the videos at a library sale a couple years ago for maybe a buck apiece. It really is too great. Every episode, one of them signs out a song. The first one is "Consider Yourself!" from "Oliver!" And then they sit on the couch and have a sign conversation. And always, they flirt. Unfortunately, the person who spoke sign at the post office doesn't appear to work there anymore. I'm going to have to go out and find someone to tell please, thank you, and yesterday I felt fine but I now am feeling cold or hot. It's kind of a workout, really.

Oh man. Now they're showing pictures of their baby and signing about her. I love this so much.

Oh, and for you out-of-towners, I got new glasses this week. They're a bit of a funk upgrade for me. Here they are:

They have funky bows, too, but I couldn't figure out how to photograph that without it looking funny.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some random things I love

1. The "When the Going Gets Tough" video. It has Danny DeVito, Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas as back-up singers/dancers wearing all white. Them acting out the lyrics is just hilarious and endearing. "Darling! I'll climb any mountain!" and then later, "Oooh! Can I touch ya?" They're all so adorable. There's no way to watch this video without smiling. It's like I actually believe that the three of them did the background singing on the Billy Ocean track. That's how good their acting is. I mean, it's nondescript and pretty easy; they could have done the singing! I especially love the end when they start scrapping with each other and run off the stage.

2. The West Wing episode: Debate Camp. The president's staff handles him just right but has a lot of fun trying to get Toby and Andy back together, too. It's in the fourth season, when Rob Lowe was still in it, and before the Donna/Josh thing got stupid. Also, Mary Louise Parker is such a great, sexy, feminist. And they sing Latin in 8-part harmony! How great is that?! There are a lot of great episodes (the beginning of the second season when Josh gets shot and they all recall how they got to the campaign is really good too) but I really love this one.

3. Produce aisles in the state of Washington. When I lived in Bremerton, one great joy I had was walking down the apple aisle at the local Safeway. Sure, I had to time taking a bus there and back, and it rained ALL THE TIME, but there was an entire aisle full of different kinds of apples. The sheer volume and variety boggled my mind. And, of course, it's where I learned about Rainier cherries, which were dirt cheap there and exquisite. Now I'm deciding whether to shell out $7.99 a pound for that sweet nostalgia. Mostly it's a no.

===

So I've been writing people to let them know I'm getting married. I don't know. I guess I think it's one of those things that people write to each other and tell them. Not like I have much experience in these types of things; I only know a couple people who are married -- that I know of. I say that because here's how it's gone for the past 2 people I've written to let them know:

Me: Hey, I just wanted to write to let you know that I'm getting married.
Alexis: Congratulations on your wedding! I met someone last summer and we got married in November!

Me: Hey there. I just wanted to let you know that I'm getting married!
Jeremy: Oh wow! Congratulations! ... Have I told you about my son, Hank? He was born 3 months ago.


So I guess the lesson here is that I have to keep in better touch.

I don't know why this song makes me so mad, but it does

I know. There's a lot more out there, especially right now, that deserves my rage. And mostly, there's enough to go around. But this song just makes me so angry. Maybe it's because I dated a cheesy bullshitter for so many years, and maybe it's because I am forced to work with another bullshitter who I think reminds me of him. And, I'm sort of a low-bullshit-tolerance type of gal. Anyway, here ya go. It's called "Sometimes When We Touch," it's by Dan Hill, and I have heard it maybe 10 too many times this week.
You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I'd rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie
And who am I to judge you
On what you say or do?
I'm only just beginning to see the real you

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives
I'm just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I'd like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I'd like to break through
And hold you endlessly

At times I understand you
And I know how hard you've tried
I've watched while love commands you
And I've watched love pass you by

At times I think we're drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

Friday, July 13, 2007

Words

A friend and I were chatting over lunch yesterday. You know what's a weird word? Husband. You know what's an even weirder word? Wife. Don't get me wrong; I'm very excited to be getting married to Jeffrey. But you know, I'm going to have a husband. And I'm going to be a wife. It's just very, very weird.

I'm very specific about words and phrases. I like to think that it's because I work with words for a living, but probably it's because I'm oversensitive and I talk too much. Whatever the reason, here are a couple phrases that I hate. If I hear them in the right context, it's possible I may get violent.

"I'm just beating myself up over it." Really? You're really beating yourself up over it? This phrase means someone who speaks bullshit psychotalk feels EXTREMELY sorry for themselves and wants you to, too. Who wouldn't feel sorry for someone who's doing themselves internal bodily injury??? Oh yeah, me, that's who. I'm a cold b.

"My bad." I don't know why I hate this one so much, but I do. I guess I'm just traditional when it comes to "Oh, I'm sorry, I made that mistake." It's sort of like when I see "mishap" being misused. "17 injured in truck mishap." I bet those people who are injured don't think it's an oopsie-daisies.

Whew, that's enough hate for now. It's been sort of an angry week.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

OK I just want to clear something up

I still don't like Zach Galifianakis, but no longer because he's affiliated with SpongeBob Squarepants. I had to drop this as a primary reason when I found out that he is not affiliated with SpongeBob Squarepants. I totally thought he voiced the annoying little seacube! But the truth is that he's never been part of that cash cow. So I'm just going to have to rely on the fact that I don't think he's very funny. However, his Web site links to savedarfur.org, which is important. So he's got that.

That's all for now.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Late appreciation

Driving home tonight, I heard "Here Comes The Rain Again." What a great song this is! I didn't appreciate it as a kid, when it came out. But the lyrics are just so sexy.

I want to breathe in the open wind
I want to kiss like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?

Fuck, that is good. And Annie Lennox is just so f'ing cool.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just walk away

Ever since the toilets at our workplace went infrared, I've had to break my habit of flushing them right after I get up, because they'll just automagically flush again as I walk away. And nothing pisses me off more than water wasted for silly reasons. So what I've found out is a) it was a really easy habit to break, and b) my home toilet doesn't flush automatically. Bummer.

Speaking of property operations, the air conditioning was off when I got to work today. It strained social relations to say the least. A few pals brought up the story of my first day of college. I'd two-strapped my backpack full of shiny new school supplies to class about 20 minutes early. OK, like 35. I shared Psychology A10, a distribution requirement, with hundreds. As I was preparing to bust out my prettiest handwriting (and maybe color-coded pens?), two women came in late and shouted, "It is hot AS ASS in here!" I think they were seniors. I could feel my face fall.

And four years later, I barely graduated. It was hot as ass in there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oh gnome

So I figured that I could get through my entire piano career (such as it is, non-paying and primarily private) without having to use a metronome. They make me incredibly nervous, and my fingers actively seek out the wrong notes when I hear that tap ... tap ... tapping. And you know, it's not like I'm ever going to play for anyone or with anyone who needs to keep time. But now my teacher says I have to play with the metronome. She even said it was going to be fun! She's out of her mind. Plus, she wants me to go slow. Like 66 per quarter note or something. DOESN'T SHE KNOW I'M IMPATIENT???

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A couple things

1. Limes are way better than lemons. In fact, growing up, we never, ever had lemons. Just limes. And in Vietnamese, as far as I can tell, there's just one word for both of them, and it's the word for limes: chanh. That's how we did it in my household, anyway. So sometimes, now, I get the two confused in English. But that's embarrassing, so this is how I shall remedy the situation: Lemons, you are dead to me. I have no use for you anymore in my life.

2. I'm in the market for some new non-swearish expletives. I figured that since I became a minor boss character in the video game, I shouldn't swear as much, particularly the religiously offensive ones? If you catch my drift? Right now I've got in my arsenal "Golly Jeez, Beave!" a la Wally Cleaver. I'm considering such phrases as "Jeez O Pete!" and maybe "Cheese and Crackers!" but frankly the last one is a tiny bit close to the real thing, which in my experience, can take the air out of the room. I had been saying "Jeepers Cats!" but someone else here says it, and I'm afraid people will think I'm making fun of her, which I fucking swear to you that I am not. I also say "Ai Chewbacca!" Any suggestions will be appreciated.

OK, that's what I got. I'm getting over a major headache, the second in 3 days. The first one came at work after I'd gotten my eyes dilated. I had to go home from work. This one came after helping two friends move today. It was really fun, not tense like the previous two moves we've done. JJ called it The Feel-Good Move of the Summer. And it was. But it was also hot and now my head feels like it's in a vise. I'm hopeful that's all it is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

But the great news is ...

I made a major breakthrough with 6/8 time this week. I was playing this piece by Robert Vandall (elementary to LATE ELEMENTARY!) and it just didn't sound right. I was counting under my breath, 123456! breath! 123456! with every measure. I said to Jeffrey, does this sound right? It doesn't quite sound like music. I'm playing it right, but it doesn't sound right.

Then I remembered what my teacher told me last time I swore off 6/8 -- to try counting it "one lolly two lolly" instead. She said it was absolutely natural. I was incredulous. How could I translate 123456 to one lolly two lolly? It was going to take more brainpower than I could devote!

But I tried it with Mr. Vandall. And I'm telling you, it worked! It was crazy. The very first time through with the new counting, I could tell what it was meant to sound like.

I can not WAIT to get to early intermediate.

I swear, I was in a good mood for a LONG TIME

I had a really great day today. First lunch with Lauren at a great sushi place, then very productive bulk shopping. Then I come home to find that Jeffrey had filled the watering can! Without me asking! So nice.

And then I got home from work in a ridiculously good mood. We had some problems at work and I solved them. And a few people commented on how cool I was about it. I really came home feeling like a leader tonight. I felt like I had fulfilled my potential to not only fix problems, but to remain calm about it.

So I was actually singing as I grabbed my Maglite to see how my plants were doing. And in the dark, lit by the low beam, I saw it: a dead bird, face-down in my brand-new basil/arugula/chervil window box, which I had JUST mounted this weekend. I yelped and ran back into the house. Jeffrey took care of it. I don't know what killed it, and I'm wondering if I should get rid of those plants now, and if they're tainted in some way. I just can't stop myself from holding my head with both hands.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mary, Mary, why you buggin?

It's been incredibly buggy lately. Because our landlords have the initiative of plant life, we haven't had a screen on our window in months. But it's incredibly hot, so we leave the window open a crack so as not to be steamed to death in our sleep. It's invited a ton of exos into our lives.

Today one was intolerably in my face. You know, like, a teeny tiny one that just flits about your eyes and nose and mouth but it's too close to see? Well, I was practicing the piano and this was going on. Every measure or so it would flit around my eyes, inside the glasses, and I would swear and swat.

And then I felt it hit the back of my throat. And I just thought, finally. Thank God that's over.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

O no, not I, I will survive

Every night when I come home, I take a Maglite out and check on my plants. I check their soil moisture, I check their growth, I talk to them. And then I sometimes sit out there and just enjoy them. I flash the light on them, and think about how far they've come.

In the morning, same routine, sans flashlight. I go out, I water if necessary (too much love kills!), I read my container gardening book about the best ways to harvest them, I feel their leaves to see if they feel limp or strong. I enjoy their sun. It focuses me. It relaxes me. It's the manner in which I roll.

This little guy amazes me so much. We clipped a lot of cilantro last week for turkey sandwiches (SO GOOD) and fish. I honestly believed that would be it for it, you know, that I'd gotten my money's worth from this plant I got for $2.48 at Lowe's. But just a couple days later, leaves started sprouting out of where we cut it. Just right out of the stems like that! Like they were in there all along. A couple years ago my cilantro unceremoniously died a couple days after I brought it home from the store like a carnival prize goldfish. I truly cannot believe how it's regenerating itself like that. It looks so frail, so ready to be killed by the slightest wind. Nature is freaking magical.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ain't it good to be aliiiiiive?

I ran into a couple co-workers in the parking lot late last night, and they invited me out to karaoke. Many people are already there! they said. Come join! I am an off/on lover of the mic, so I called my favorite emo bud and we went. When we got to this tiny little dive bar (which, as far as I can tell, is the only place that sells pork hocks in town), there were many very friendly people there. A'course we didn't recognize any of them. No matter. We stuck around and were coerced into sitting near their group by a gregarious man who called himself Jeff.

After hemming and hawing, I did sing one song: Angie, by the Rolling Stones. It's well within my range and I'd have to say it was at least a partial success! Got a lot of bridges, though. Sort of unnecessary in that format, I think. Anyway, now I have that in my pocket for the next time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The good life


After a steady diet of crappy fast food on our Sunday drive home, Jeffrey made good on his promise to cook with whatever I grow. Here's what we came home to (Thanks, Lauren!) -- bushy growth! So yesterday I made my first Caprese orzo salad of the year, which is a hallmark of summer in our house. It's orzo, olive oil, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and LOTS of fresh basil. I ate about half of it while I was making it. It was good. Then Jeffrey made a Giada De Laurentiis' Roman-style chicken, which includes chicken, prosciutto, peppers, capers, and best of all, fresh thyme and oregano from our garden! It was really, really good. Then I spent all night researching recipes for the rest of our herbs. I have to use the cilantro soon before it goes to seed. Looks like salsa's in our future!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stormy weather

It is storming like the apocalypse right now. (I mean, I don't know much about the apocalypse, and whether rain is even involved, but it FEELS extremely end-timey) Jeffrey and I were out on the porch, where the air was still, looking at our plants and drinking wine when very suddenly, it got so windy. Within a minute of the wind starting, things were flying around the porch and I had to bring my arugula inside. It's just a baby!

Jeffrey went back to his den right away, but my first instinct was to cuddle. I was like, "Let's curl up somewhere NOW!" It's crazy what kind of person I've become. Last week I came home to find a roach on our railing and I screamed. Like really screamed, a la bloody murder. Jeffrey was unimpressed. Then yesterday I saw a little baby mouse (I'm not going to hurt you, baby mouse. But please go away!) and I screamed again. Like, out of my skin. Please don't yelp, Jeffrey said.

Anyway, how did this happen? Who am I? (other than a person who lives with pests, suddenly) I was never like this when I lived alone all those years. I've killed the likes of Gregor Samsa with nothing but an old shoe and common household chemicals. I was a tough b. And now I'm screeching. How annoying.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sometimes craziness just sneaks up on you

I've been feeling a little anxious lately. I figured it was because we have a big trip coming up (we're going to our annual memorial for my mom on Thursday) and because there's a lot of change afoot at work. I mean, a lot of crazy-go-nuts change, all starting today. But I was wrong about that. I found out today in a card store why I'm feeling crazy right now:

Man next to me in line: Can I get a balloon that says "Happy Birthday Pearl"?
Cashier: Sure, we can put her name on the B10 balloon. But you know, you can buy a whole bouquet for just $5.49.
Man next to me in line: No thanks. (pause) My wife died several years ago. (pause) Never forget.

I passed him on my way out the door. I looked him in the eyes and tried to smile, but I had already started crying.

My mom's birthday is in 2 days. For some reason, Mother's Day wasn't that hard for me this year, but this is going to be. After my mom died, I said, sort of cavalierly, that I wasn't going to have a wedding because she won't be there. But now there's a wedding. We signed the contract on the hotel last week. We got the contract on the boat yesterday. And still, she won't be there.

That's all there is to say about that.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Toxic shocker

Blue crabs were always a joy in our house. My parents would get a bunch of live ones home from the Asian market and leave them in the sink long enough for us to spy on them. Sometimes we would put chopsticks near them, jumping when they would snap at them. Giggles escaped. It was as much fun as eating them, mastering ways to pick them to get the most meat out of them. We always had little dipping bowls of fresh lime juice mixed with salt and pepper. Just catching a whiff of those scents now brings me back to those young summer days.

My favorite part is the innards -- what we call gat. The last time I got crabs there was so much gat that I marked it on the lunar calendar so I know when I should get crabs again. I love it so. So it was very sad when my sister called yesterday to tell me that she can't eat crabs while she's pregnant. She read that the gat can be toxic and can be dangerous to pregnant women and their oven-buns. And the gat can be so pervasive that she can't eat any at all. So sad!

It made me a little bit nervous about eating the gat that I do. Last summer I got crabs, enough to last all weekend, maybe 20-30 times. Moderation has always been just past my grasp. But I think I'm going to have to learn some. Damn!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blood from a stone

The Red Cross came to our work today for a blood drive. I love these. I love the idea of these, I love seeing people I know doing such a good thing, I love the miniature cookie packets that come after. I love them.

So Bethany said to me last night, are you giving blood? And I'd forgotten about it, but then I got very excited. I was already coming in early for a meeting so I had a perfect little window to, you know, save some lives. I went through the whole deal, are you a gay man having unprotected sex, have you been in jail for 72 consecutive hours, can we check the iron in your blood? Everything was going great.

Then it happened again: They couldn't find my veins. I have subpar veins. They've always been bad, but in the past I've been able to slide by with them digging around in there with a needle. But I do it because I LOVE TO GIVE BLOOD (see paragraph 1). I even used to do apheresis, which requires upwards of 2 hours in a room, leaking blood out one arm and getting some of it back in the other, being subjected to such VHS classics as "Patch Adams." But finally they asked me to stop coming back. There's actually a note in my file. DO NOT TRY TO STICK THIS WOMAN.

So they turned me away. Didn't even stick me. Something about too many valves and "freaky tendons." And I got to keep the shirt, which is GINORMOUS because it's a men's XL, like they always are. If Jeffrey liked white tees with any type on them, I could give it to him. Oh well. I guess I have a shirt in case a person my exact size comes along and wants to share a shirt with me. Although, seriously, I'm guessing that would be "need" to share a shirt, because I can't quite envision a "want" scenario.

==

The other excitement for the day was going to BJ's for bulk shopping. I put a LOT of things back and still ended up buying a large sum's worth of chocolates, peanuts and fiber bars. Yum!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Something weird that I do

Driving home tonight, I saw what I believe to be the body of a dog splayed in the middle of the road. It was upsetting, and I did what I always do in those circumstances: I crossed myself.

It's a resilient vestige from my semi-Catholic childhood. In our family, you'd cross yourself at least three times a day -- before you ate, every time. It was part of a family tradition that before every meal, you would invite everyone at the table to eat, with extra respect to your elders. So there was the crossing and inviting, at least three times a day, and also before snacks. It's a nice thing that I do sometimes with friends now. But the crossing has pretty much gone by the wayside, except in these instances.

I couldn't really tell you why I do it. I mean, I think I've been clear that I can't quite grasp/buy its underlying tenets. Maybe I'm hedging my bets, like Pascal and his wager -- that believing delivers a better likelihood of a good outcome than not believing.

Or maybe it's an easy part of my vocabulary now, and I just don't know any other language with which to pray. I'm really sad for those animals, and I'm not even sure what I'm praying. It's undefined. Maybe the crossing lets me get by without actually having to articulate my feelings or attack what I'm thinking with logic.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!


Good morning, arugula!!!!
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My life in pictures

1. I pulled these out of my desk today -- a FLAT desk. Small. Overstuffed. I think I have an illness.

2. Here are my plants so far. This is from Day 3. I've been taking pictures almost every day. To my chagrin, there hasn't been much discernible change. YET!

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's hot

I mean, it's really hot here. It's a day for two showers. Not for me, though. I prefer to wallow and complain.

Today we went to the garden center for what Jeffrey calls "the magic of seeds." We picked up some more basil, along with arugula, chives, and a couple things I can neither pronounce nor imagine using. But Jeffrey promises to use it if I grow it.

We hadn't been to this particular garden center since my last green obsession, the Aloe Situation of 2001. I dug out a rewards card and showed it at the counter. Since it was so old, it wasn't in the system, but here's the VERY WEIRD THING: When I gave them my phone number, it pulled up a bunch of similar phone numbers and one was THE COMBINATION OF MY AND JEFFREY'S NAMES. My first name, Jeffrey's last name. AND she lives on our same street, probably 6 blocks away. I said to Jeffrey, Hey, what are you doing living with another person named Judy? Anyway, weird, huh?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Commercial endeavors

I don't watch a whole lot of television on our television anymore, since networks got hip to this whole streaming video thing. Plus, we got a Wii (mais wii!!!), so when the TV's on, someone's bowling, or running to catch a mushroom, or extorting some money ("Ooops! I just shot someone who was innocent!"). The computer's convenient, and since Felicity went off the air, I haven't found the need to watch something AS SOON as it airs. So abc.com, nbc.com it is.

In the process, I see MUCH MORE of fewer commercials. There's one that I absolutely love for Florida Orange Juice. It's set at a kid's birthday party, and the kids, typically, beat down a pinata. When it busts open, they all cry "Celery!" and run to get as much as they can. Cute and hilarious.

And there's a commercial that I absolutely hate for Orville Redenbacher popcorn, showing supposed outtakes for commercials. Why they gotta reanimate Orville Redenbacher? He didn't even see this century. That's just gross. Plus, outtakes? When was the last time you saw TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes? I think the last one I saw was a practical joke on Kirk Cameron. Seriously. And, uh, that wasn't during "Left Behind," either.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

If three's a charm, four is delicious

It's the second day of my four days off. A few months ago, on the advice of my shrink, I started putting in for a couple days off, with no plans, every few months. This is the first set and so far it's been remarkable and quotidian. Today I napped so hard that I think I became part of the couch. It was one of those naps from which I emerge sweaty, heart-pounding and not quite sure if I was awake or asleep. You know those? I was having these crazy dreams about my ex being invited to our wedding. In my dream, everyone was played by someone else except for him. He was Ryan.

Yesterday was a wonderful day of nesting. I put in 2 windowboxes. Jeffrey and I made an agreement -- if I do the garden, he'll cook with the herbs. So yesterday I loaded up the car at Lowes with peppermint, basil, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. Today, while I'm conscious, I've just been watching it grow. This is joy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

OK, you got me

Two season finales made me cry this week:

1. Brothers and Sisters. This show is full of drama and silliness, but when Justin went back to Iraq to support the soldiers there, I just cried and cried.

2. Heroes. Love wins, even if sacrifices have to be made. See me wiping my eyes.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In the door to pajama time: 1.3 minutes

(since I had to preheat the oven for Tater Tot/Chocochip Cookie Fest Day 2)

A hard day at work. On top of that I discovered today that I can't find a Wii anywhere to buy. This discovery came just a few hours after I discovered that I really wanted to buy one. This morning I played on one for the first time at Lauren and Laura's apartment. I boxed and knocked a few guys out in the first round. It is incredibly fun.

I was thinking about writing about everything that happened tonight, but I just don't want to re-live it. I just want to self-medicate with carbs and Bill Maher.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Effed up or excellent? You decide.

1. I drove all the way home tonight with a huge full-frontal grin because the oven was preheating for tater tots and frozen cookie dough.

2. I've heard "Play That Funky Music White Boy" on the radio at least once a day for the past 2 weeks.

3. I'm no longer watching the "Heroes" episodes because they are way too scary for me. An adult. Of 31.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Piano Town

It occurs to me as I write this that this will likely be the first blog entry in the history of blog entries to be about Piano Town music books. And that's because 6- and 7-year-olds don't blog yet. Seriously.

This is the picture that's on the cover of my Piano Town book. I'm up to the song "Bounce House" in Book 3 (yes!), which is bright purple. It is really hard for me. I mean, I look at the music, and it looks really, really simple. It sort of looks like that paper you used in first grade with the green dotted line down the middle of each line that helped you learn to write first roman then cursive. It's big, I'm telling you. And it's all just quarter notes and eighth notes. Nothing complicated. But this week I literally could not play one of the songs. My fingers just would not do it. I told my teacher I thought my brain was slowing down. For many reasons I've been feeling like it is.

But then she told me that this other book she gave me, Modal Expressions, was one she never gave to her kids until after 3 years of playing! And then suddenly I can play a lot better!

It's amazing. I'm 31, but I'm still the little kid who wants to be the best in the class.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Black ain't beautiful

Alright, so Spider-Man 3. Lessons learned:

1. All things black are evil. Also see: unkempt bangs and patchy skin.
2. Women forgive being kidnapped and slapped to the ground. If they're Russian immigrants, they really like aggressive, cocky behavior.
3. Losing your memory makes you actively, blissfully happy (Jeffrey has offered to bonk me on the head toward this end).
4. Almost everyone is selfish.

*update* I forgot to mention how much I hate the nickname "Topher" for Christopher. As David would say, poseur alert! OK, now back to the blog.

But will I watch it when it's on HBO? Certainly. I *may* even get it from Netflix.

In other news, Jeffrey and I tried the food from the American Rover today. It was of an extreme deliciousness. I've never dealt with a caterer before, so I didn't know how the whole thing would go. Would we pay for the tasting food? I didn't understand any of it. And when we got there, they weren't expecting us (even though I'd made an appointment). So we sat for a long time, just drinking water.

And then the food came. And it kept coming. First a ham biscuit, which was big and really tasty. Then roast beef wrapped around pine nuts and arugula and blue cheese. You can imagine how that was. Then catfish nuggets, then satay chicken and really crabby crab and artichoke dip. I mean, it was a serious amount of really good food. It makes our decision that much harder, because it's cheaper and so much better.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Supper surprise!

Jeffrey worked all day in the kitchen to make us a wonderful, wonderful dinner: lobster cheese and pasta, blue cheese cole slaw and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. The only one I'd had before was the asparagus. It was all so good. I cleaned off our dinner table (a feat) and we had white wine (I got a little buzz lightheaded) and candles. It was such a fantastic meal. He'd been planning it for weeks. He said it was comfort food because I need comfort right now. I wonder how I got with a person who loves to cook and take care of me. Pretty lucky, I guess. 8)

Uh, they're called "dried plums"

Example No. seven thousand, eight hundred infinity of how I am so impressionable: I bought a bag of dried plums today. You may know them as prunes. But they're actually dried plums. And I like plums. But the reason I bought them today is because of a commercial I've been seeing all over the telly about Sunsweet Ones. They're individually wrapped pru, er, dried plums, and people on TV just rave about how good they are. So I went to the site, looked up the nutritional info (bite per bite better than fresh fruit!), and went to the store today to pick some up. They didn't have them at the Teet, which is good, because I didn't want to be faced with the decision over all that excessive packaging. So instead I just bought a big zip-pack of them. And they're pretty good. Pretty sweet, no sugar added. A good buy.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Minuet in F(!)

I've been playing Minuet in F by Mozart all week. It's filled with discord, followed by aching resolution. The direction at the top says Grazioso. I'm taking that to mean "Slow and uneven, with awkward pauses."

I'm sorry, but I find this incredibly funny

And I set it up for a long time, too.

Snidbits from today

The brevity you appreciate from a snippet; the meatyness you love from a tidbit.

1. At 3 o'clock in the morning, everything on TV is creepy. It's flipping between red ants eating slugs that never had a chance (they're all meat) and Rachael Ray drinking margaritas (oddly creepy) and the X-Files where a vomit monster heals the wounded.

2. Trying to find a nice hotel that's fairly inexpensive to reserve a block of 15 rooms for a wedding, yes, I'm the one getting married, oh, why thank you very much, is time-consuming, difficult and annoying.

3. Jeffrey called me on 2 different phones, 3 times, to have this conversation:
Him: Hey. You might get called in today.
Me: Why?
Him: Did you hear the news about the pope?
Me: DID HE DIE???
Him: Well, he has the birdflu.
Me: What?!
Him: He got it from the cardinal.

I got off the phone with a hotel lady for this.

- shakes head -

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A supposedly fun thing ... we may do again

Content warning: The following blog entry contains language that may be offensive to some readers.

OK first I'm forced to say, "Go see 'Hot Fuzz.'" It is very entertaining and fun. Jeffrey has wanted to see it for weeks, and I haven't been very interested in it. I haven't seen "Shaun of the Dead" or anything, but I'm actually interested in it now. It's this sort of "Wicker Man"-esque comedy/action/buddy movie about the best cop in London getting exiled in this tiny little village, and how he has to adjust to life there. I can't even begin to describe it, but the acting is really good and the writing begs to be underestimated.

OK back to topic: We went on the Spirit of Norfolk today to try it out for a possible wedding site. It's the faceless corporate alternative to the American Rover, which is the scrappy smaller underdog right now. Pros for the Spirit: a dedicated dance floor, large topside for the ceremony, tables and a place to hold the ceremony if there's rain. Pros for the Rover: more character, a caterer that runs a restaurant that we like (though we still have to taste the food), more intimate, we don't have to pay for a set minimum of 100 to charter the thing.

We had a super-fun time on the boat, but I think that might have been due in part to the fact that we were not paying for it. Before we left, I declared that we were not going to fit in because we are not 104 years old. Boy was I wrong. When we got there, we saw a metric ton of girls in prom dresses! So we relaxed and enjoyed our yeasty rolls with our two pats of butter while waiting for an "entertainer" to invite us to the buffet. There, I compiled a plate of tiny bites of everything but the garden salad, reasoning that every salad tastes the same. I mean, every salad tastes the same, right?

The food was so-so, nothing special, nothing horrendous. Except for the fact that it's probably going to determine in large part where we go to get married, we'd probably never talk about that food again.

The odd thing we will talk about again, likely, is the woman who called me and several of the prom girls "bitch." I was downstairs, checking the bathrooms for potential grossness, and I was waiting in the sink area with some of the girls for a stall to open up. Then I heard a woman with an angry voice say, "Shut up, bitch! You all look bad in your dress, bitch!" To be sure, I didn't know what the girls had said before I got down there, but I thought it was a bit much. They cleared out pretty quickly. I could see thick legs meet small Keds under the stall. About a minute after she emerged, I went in to look at the stall, and she came back and said to me, "Get out of my way, bitch!" It was so angry. I was appalled. She was short and stocky and walked slowly with a grimace. I looked at her, thinking, "Now if I lay her out, I'll be the asshole." So I just went back up to my table. I mean, I'd put on my nice shirt, you know?

So I told Jeffrey about it, and we settled in to watch the cheesy but fun live entertainment. But when they played "The Electric Slide," the second odd thing happened: Shorty Badwords was up on the dance floor dancing with all the prom dress girls! She knew the moves, which was more than I could say about myself, and she looked like she was having a good time! She shocked me again! She was on the fringe, to be sure, but she was right up there. She stayed there for a couple songs.

And then the third odd thing happened: S.B. disappeared into the crowd of people she'd called bad names! She was talking to them, and some of them were laughing. I wondered if they were making sport of her, which she might have coming to her. I chose to believe they were not laughing at her. But she got tired, and then she walked by us grimacing again. Jeffrey and I surmise that she's probably troubled or maybe has some kind of emotional or cognitive disability, but it wasn't obvious or anything. I feel bad for her.

hi mom! tx 4 evrythng!

I mean, seriously.

A couple pics

And by a couple, I mean exactly 2. I'm sort of freaky about that. Some people say a couple is around 2. It could be 3. Or even 4! For me, 2 is a couple. 3 is a few. And because they sound sim-u-lar, several is 7. Jeffrey says I'm precise. I am. But it doesn't mean I'm right. I just have ideas about how things should be. As my friend from college, Brian, used to say, beliefs must be deeply held; otherwise they'd be called whims.

Reason No. 1072 that I love Jeffrey.

This is the closest to cool in outfitry I've ever gotten. I'm into these sort of modern-for-the-moment shoes, and Lauren put my unwarranted long hair into a bun. With a pencil! She doesn't realize I'm going to ask her to do that every time I see her. I'm also wearing my Queen T, an ironic nod to the fact that the actual queen of England was visiting the country. I made Jeffrey take a picture. Hee!

File this under "Lyrics I can't believe I've gleefully/mindlessly memorize and sung"

I heard "Don't Fear the Reaper" this week. I cannot believe this was ever popular. It reached No. 12 on the the Billboard chart. Seriously.

Come on baby... And we had no fear
And we ran to him... Then we started to fly
We looked backward and said goodbye
We had become like they are
We had taken his hand
We had become like they are

It's about suicide! They have the word Cult in the name! For real!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Musical junk food

I don't know why, but today I am nostalgic for Richard Marx. He was an 80s pop star who wrote these catchy ballads that would tell a little story. Whatever happened to songs that would tell a little story? Did they go the way of the concept video? (another crappy thing I miss) The song I listened to tonight was "Hazard." Instead of trying to retell the song, I'm just going to include the lyrics here (my comments in ital):

My mother came to Hazard when I was just seven
Even then the folks in town said with prejudiced eyes

That boy's not right ...


OK, yes, you've hooked me Richard.

Three years ago when I came to know Mary
First time that someone looked beyond the rumours and the lies

And saw the man inside ...


O, how lonely you must have been until you met Mary. You're telling me. And I get it.

We used to walk down by the river
She loved to watch the sun go down
We used to walk along the river
And dream our way out of this town ...
No one understood what I felt for Mary

A beautiful love story. But ... why do the chords sound so ominous?

No one cared until the night she went out walking alone
And never came home ...
Man with a badge came knocking next morning
Here was I surrounded by a thousand fingers suddenly
Pointed right at me ...

Oh shit.

I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town
I think about my life gone by
And how it's done me wrong
There's no escape for me this time
All of my rescues are gone, long gone
I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town ...

So who did it? I'll never know. I must listen to the song again.

Anyway, see what I mean? It's absolute crap, but it's pretty. And I seem to remember maybe a sepia-toned video, too? Anyway, I miss it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunny Sunday

We had a lovely Sunday today after a very long week at work. We had lunch with an old friend who is considering a job here. I haven't seen him or talked to him in a few years, and we had a really good time. I'd love it if he were here. He's a really authentic person, as Luis would say. His wife is very cool, too. My food was pretty good, and it was fun to talk about all the things I like about this place.

Then, Jeffrey and I did what we love to do: sit on our porch and read from a guidebook about Paris restaurants. He read about "trotters and bellies," which I'm told are pork feet and ... bellies. I don't know if I will eat that. But just thinking about the foods is exciting. I'm counting down the days. It was beautiful out there. And then we moved inside and played SSX Tricky, a super-old game for PS2 that I bought used and on sale maybe 2 years ago and never played. It was totally random and mindless and so much fun together. Jeffrey noticed how I purse my lips when I play. I push them together so hard that they get numb. How embarrassking.

It's the simple things, right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The good news is ...

The Euro is down .2 cents against the dollar! Yahoo!

I take what I can get.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's real

Jeffrey is asleep in the red chair, glasses on, a couple music magazines in his lap, one open on his chest. I watch him snoring, suddenly waking to ask a question, then falling back to sleep. And all I can think is how wonderful it will be to be together for the rest of our lives. We're both full of pungent French cheeses, a wonderful engagement gift from Bernadette and James. Our house smells like death and we couldn't be more pleased. We had a French picnic for dinner tonight with cheese and fruit and baguette and roasted garlic. Then we watched a movie with Audrey Tatou to get us further in the frame for France.

We went to see the boat today on which we are going to have the wedding. It's smaller than I thought it was going to be, so we're going to have to keep the guest list pretty tight. And it's going to be fairly cas, I think, because people are going to be eating sort of appeteaserish foods with plates in their laps.

Yesterday our friends threw us a lovely engagement party. It was really touching. After we opened the gifts, which were wonderful and wholly unnecessary, Luis said, "With gifts, it is real now." But it's been real for a while, I think. Or maybe I haven't even seen the realness of it yet.

In music news, my private and public spheres collided today when my piano teacher did an arrangement of a Vietnamese folk tune my mom had sung to me when I was a kid. I sang it for Jane, my teacher, a couple weeks ago, and today she wrote it down. Then she played it back to me. It was astonishing: A Vietnamese song on an American instrument. It freaked my shit out. Seriously.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Awfulness

I hurt someone I care about's feelings today. Well, really, I did it a couple weeks ago but I didn't know until today. I was thoughtless.

I'm just feeling stupid and awful. At one point tonight, I thought to myself, why do they even let me drive? I just so dumb!

Drinking wine didn't even help. Maybe some Felicity?

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is there to say?

I haven't found much to blog about lately. I've been working a lot, while in the office, and away. Everyone has been. I've seen stories of heroism. I've seen stories of loss. Some days I wept quietly in my apartment. Some days I kept it under wraps.

And then I saw a tale of 168 people dying in one city on one day, for whom no memoriam would ever be printed. I questioned everything I could think of, and not nearly enough.

==

Jeffrey and I have been continuing with our plans. We bought our tickets to Paris for our honeymoon, and we got this great little apartment in the 7th arrondissement. We set a date for the wedding: October 20. We're going to have it on a boat, we think. Seriously. A boat. I sort of can't believe it's all 6 months away still. I'm very excited.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret

So Jeffrey and I have been watching these NOVA shows on the origins of the earth and of life on earth. I have to admit that this last one we've been watching, the origins of life, has been pretty disturbing for me. After chatting with my friend Erin last night about religion (she's harder-core than I am), I started reading "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. I haven't gotten very far. I guess I've hesitated in the same way that a roller coaster builds in some hesitation as it click-click-clicks up that first ramp -- because I know the ride that's coming is going to be crazy, and fast, and may possibly change me.

And then we started in on the origins of life, and it hit me like a brick how ignorant I am and have been. The reason I could always come back to for believing in God was because of life and the elements. I'd say, everything on earth, if you chop it up and boil it down, is made up of things on the periodic table, right? A ton of carbon, a lot of hydrogen, some oxygen, a few other things. But where does life, and more importantly, growth, come out of those things? What element is nascence? Which one gives crescence? You know? But that was so simplistic and ignorant that I want to cry now.

Because then I found out that more than 50 years ago, a kid at the University of Chicago recreated what was thought to be the composition of the atmosphere here billions of years ago. He stewed it together in a water bath, and then added electrical charge to simulate the lightning that surely would have been pounding the concoction. Sure enough, he created amino acids, the building blocks to life where there was no life. Bam. Just like that. And there have been other experiments since then (light + prebiotic soup = organic stuff).

And then there's the amino acids found in meteorites and space dust -- tiny little bits in a constant barrage aimed at the earth that are rich in life-building materials. So did the organic compounds that make us up come from space?

Do you hear that? It's the rumbling of my foundation being shaken.

Nice night

I spent today in an unexpected and inexplicable good mood. I talked to a couple friends tonight on the phone with whom I have not talked in maybe 5 years total, which is so nice. And then I came home to Jeffrey, who was making popcorn in anticipation of my arrival, and we curled up and watched a NOVA about the origins of the earth. It sort of made up for the low grade I got in Physics and Astronomy in college.

Now I am looking at apartments in Paris. I hope we get the one we want!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Documentary evidence

I just want to get this on the record: We are starting to plan both our wedding and our trip to France (which has become our honeymoon) and I'm not stressed out about it. I'm actually kind of happy about it and having a good time. I know that will change, so I just wanted to get it out there. Future Judy: Can you believe it? You used to be really happy and excited about this stuff!

Jeffrey called the JoP yesterday. She seemed very cool, because I heard him laughing an inordinate amount while talking to her. She'll go anywhere within our city but will not go to the other cities. That's a bit of a bummer, because we wanted to maybe have it on the beach. So maybe we'll have to find another person to do it, or move it to Norfolk. Also we have to figure out where the reception will be, because I would like for it to be foodish and dancy, while Jeffrey wants less of a focus on the danciness.

I have started calling him my hu-bee (short for honeybee, but sounds a lot like that other word) around the house. Jeez, we're disgusting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sad passing

The news came across the wire late tonight that Kurt Vonnegut died. Dammit. I started reading his novels in high school, ripping his style off wholesale in 9th grade creative writing. I always liked how much fun his novels were to read, while also being thought-provoking and insightful. I'm going to have to go back and read all the Vonnegut we have in the house.

Damn.

A sort of funny (to me) story from today: Jeffrey ran into our newish downstairs neighbor today. He's a nice guy, a stoner with longish brown hair. I've talked to him a couple times, but only today learned his name is Ben. At any rate, Ben said to Jeffrey in passing, "You have quite a piano player up there, huh?" Jeffrey said, "Yeah, Judy has a piano and she's been taking lessons." He said, "Well, sometimes I just turn down my music and listen to her play." And I'm thinking, wow, he must be really, really stoned when that there happens.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

All the makings of a great day

Lots of piano, and then 18 steamed crabs to usher in my annual crustacean season. I don't eat them all at once, mind you. I always get them early in my weekend so I can eat them for just about every meal for 2 days. Jeffrey is immune to the disgusting site, coupled with sucking noises, by now. We really must get married before he changes his mind.

My piano teacher wants me to work on my phrasing, or "articulation." I tell her, "I'm like, you know, kind of already articulate youknowwhatImean?" At any rate, I need to slur my notes together in Minuet in G, so what I've been doing is moving my whole body fluidly forward as I play those notes. It's ridiculous-looking and the jury is out on whether it actually improves the phrases. I also do it while I walk around. You know, the house, the neighborhood, the office, wherever. Oh yes, I'll gladly give up my dignity for art.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rock the potty that rocks the body

The only thing that I can talk about from today is the fun I've had investigating/mocking our new bathroom music. The only time I let myself into our can today I heard the tail end of "Ticket to Ride," beautifully done with a full orchestra, and the very beginning of "Blue Moon," which I only know because Cybill Shepherd sang it on "Moonlighting," which I adored in like, 7th grade (there, that's how old I am). "Ticket to Ride" just made me laugh out loud, when I considered someone directing an orchestra (I imagined a short white man, not unlike Bob Balaban), with everyone dressed in full evening wear. Just a funny image to me.

Then, after work, Good and Evil Brians and I went to investigate the rumor that the music had a volume control that could be controlled by us underlings. Sure enough, the ceiling speakers have little round knobs on them, which we assume is the volume control, as the music in the men's room was much quieter than in the women's. None of us could reach them, though. Evil Brian threatens to "rock out" their bathroom tomorrow. "Just try and pee while Nine Inch Nails is blasting," he says.

It was the first time I'd seen the men's bathroom at work in at least 7 years. It is disgusting. It smells bad and there are just papers strewn about. Brians were very impressed at the niceness of the sinks in our bathroom, which I thought was funny until I saw the sinks in theirs. The whole place was seriously nast.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Let's go crazy

My friend Jim and I used to talk about how we'd flip out in the office. I can't remember, but one of us plotted to just curl up in fetal on the floor, rocking back and forth and singing dirges. Why the dirges? They just seemed right, I guess. Tonight I pondered some of my other options. Here's what I came up with:

1. Calmly, but exclusively, start speaking in Vietnamese. Answer questions only in Vietnamese, and do so looking like there's nothing wrong. Get alarmed only when others do.
Pros: No one would know what the heck I was saying and it's plausibly crazy. "Jeez, Judy just stopped speaking English."
Con: I would have to start over with the words I know very quickly.

2. Start to dress radically inappropriately for the weather. With spring coming up, that's going to mean one thing: layers. A lot of wool, maybe some tweed. And a wool hat on all the time.
Pros: It would be hard for co-workers to broach. It's also something I could start gradually, lending more realism to it.
Cons: Obviously, sweat will be an issue. I can't stand to be hot. I don't even like hot drinks on a cold day. So I would have to weigh the benefit of seeming crazy against actually driving myself crazy.

OK, that's all I got right now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Face the Music is brought to you by the number 7 and the letters W, T and F

I guess I would characterize today thusly: Unnerving discoveries. Here are the things I learned today.

1. God is everywhere -- including the bathroom. So, I came back from Iowa to find that there's now music being piped into our incredibly non-corporate bathrooms at work. I think it's meant to be calming, because I'd heard they set it to smooth jazz. But a weird thing happened when I went in tonight; there was no music. Then, when I went out to the lounge area to investigate where the music had gone, it suddenly started up again, but this time, there were lyrics. And they were God-ish lyrics. Is God trying to tell me something in the women's room?

2. I'm disgusting. I went in to the work refrigerator to clean out a dinner I'd brought in last week and hadn't eaten and I discovered another dinner from a while ago. Not realizing how long ago it was from, I opened it up and emptied it out into the trash. It was from so long ago, I don't even eat that kind of food anymore. You feel me? It was rancid. I was telling someone else about it, and Josh piped up, "That was you? I literally thought a dead human being was in our kitchen. I walked in there to get something and I walked right back out."

3. You just never know. This is just hearsay, so I'm going to include the conversation in which I heard it. Evil Brian: You know (name withheld)? When I went out to smoke, I saw him (pause) feather dusting his car. Me: Inside or outside? Ev. B: The bumper. I had to turn my eyes away from him when he saw me watching him. Me: I've never seen him with a feather duster. Ev. B: That's because he keeps it in his car. And it ain't in the trunk, either. It's on the passenger seat.

3a. You really just never know. Karl Rove raps and Alanis Morissette does "My Humps." I can't say which one is more haunting.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Glandwatch 2K7

I've been sleeping a lot (I mean A LOT a lot) during my trip and since I got back, so I'm on Glandwatch 2K7. So far, nothing. Jeffrey is on record as saying that I do not have mono, and also on record as putting me on notice.

For those keeping score, this is not quite as dramatic as The Great Trichinosis Scare of 1996, in which I ate raw pork and Bisquick balls that my roommate's visiting friend had made. I said, can I put these in the micro? She said, sure. Somehow I missed out on how long they were supposed to be in there -- and 30 seconds just didn't cut it. Then I walked around the Times-Picayune newsroom with a hand mirror, asking, "Do my eyes look swollen? I mean really? You're not even looking!"

Monday, April 02, 2007

I hope I wake up in my own bed

I'm back! I got back into town this afternoon to a gorgeous sunny day. I slept, accumulating grime and stench and bobbing my head weightily, through both early-morning flights. I'm able to fall asleep on a plane before it even gets to the tarmac, which drives Jeffrey mad. True story: Once, I fell asleep so deeply on a plane that every other passenger had gotten off of it before I woke up. The crazy thing is that it never left -- it had been deplaned for mechanical problems.

I just spent a couple hours in the sun on our balcony, sometimes being hit directly by it. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Now I gotta clean before Jeffrey gets home!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa.

No comment here, except that I'm very glad that I wasn't high or stoned or, um, tripping? when I saw this guy.

It's odd, because I think of Iowa and family as being wholesome, but this trip has been, essentially, an exploration of many sins.* I've been eating in a way that I really have no right to, and then napping and full-on sleeping at any time of the day. That's gluttony and sloth, right? I also found myself gambling on Saturday night, for the first time since I graduated from college 10 years ago. Now I know that's a sin. I also know, from the research I immediately did upon returning home, that there are no such gambling facilities in my current state of residence. As is my way, I immediately called Jeffrey and informed him that I probably have a gambling problem. Like with my drinking problem, it's something I never actually do but think about doing on occasion.

It's been a really fun, if very short, trip. We went on 2 Easter egg hunts this weekend, as well as having a birthday party for my nephew, Luc, who is newly 2. Check him out here in his egg-hunt glory. In case you can't tell, his basket is empty. He was into having a basket; filling it not so much.


I'm ready to be home, though. I haven't seen Jeffrey in a week, and I miss us.

* At least what I remember from the movie Se7en, which I didn't see but have heard about from people who did, and other general conversations I've had about sins, as defined within Judeo-Christian tradition.