Monday, December 29, 2008

2008

One of the things I really like about writing this blog is that I can glance back and read about what I was thinking, doing, or eating on a random day or reflect on what I was doing last year at this time. Otherwise, for me, life just kind of gets all jumbled up and even the things I really want to remember get lost in the haze and pattern of everyday life and the details disappear. It's good to have the reminder and makes me think I should do a better job of keeping the blog updated, if not for the 10 of you who regularly check in, but for me in five years.

With that in mind, let's take a look back at 2008, before we look ahead to 2009:

In January, I traveled to Seattle for work where I seriously fell for the Pike Place Market. Upon returning home, Chris and I decided to decorate our bedroom with new grown-up furniture (that all matches!) and soothing painting colors. Chris refinished the original hardwood floors and the room came together to create a soothing oasis (if only laundry would put itself away).

February featured lots of cozy nights at home and an expansion of my yoga practice. I would continue to teach a yoga class through May, but this was the time I really hit my stride. The class I planned for Valentine's Day was one of my favorites.

March brought a freak snowstorm that blanketed the city and found us drinking way too much wine. Good times there.

In May we celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary and at some point in June we got pregnant. I then slept through most of July and August. I briefly woke up for a few days in August to take a family trip with Chris, my parents and my brothers to New York City. We had a great time exploring the city and being together. It was special to attend a Yankees game with my Dad and to meet my brother Joe's now wife. This was also the trip where the Olive earned the nickname Olive.

All the excitement of the trip wore me out, so I continued to sleep through most of September. This, unfortunately, had a poor effect on our garden because we harvested almost nothing out of this year. We might have picked a few tomatoes, but sadly everything else rotted or was taken over by weeds.

By October, I was more awake and ready for wedding mania. This was a good time to see old friends and family. Plus, these wedding dates were so close to our own first year wedding anniversary that it was very meaningful to sit in the congregations and watch others take their vows. October also marked feeling the Olive move for the first time and beginning to get ready for the arrival by purchasing nursery furniture.


In between all of the baby excitement during the Autumn months, I taught a class at the local community college. This was a good experience for me, but it was surely a learning one and if I did it again I would be better next time.

Along with the rest of the country, I was eagerly awaiting election results on November 4 and I was so happy to know that change would be coming to the White House. Throughout November we watched my belly get bigger until at this point in December, I can't even see my toes.

Christmas 2008 was a relaxing affair full of good food and fun times spent with close family. Really that might of been the theme for 2008: family. I will look back on this year as one full of almost weekly Sunday dinners spent laughing around the table. It will also be remembered as the year Chris and I started our journey as a family of our own. I can't think of anything better to frame the year around than love of a family.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And the Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney With Care...


After skipping 2007, Chris and I have fully embraced decorating for Christmas this year. I even talked him into a real tree, despite his fire safety concerns. The tree is adorable in a not too big, not too little way. It's a local Frasier Fir, and is Prada approved for both taste and smell.




We also decked out the mantle. I can't wait to see what Santa brings for the stockings! They are always my favorite part of Christmas gifts. Good things really do come in small packages.


The Olive is, of course, represented with a specially selected ornament. I know the shamrock snowman will be a favorite each year as we decorate a tree, but this year it is the only ornament not like the others on the tree. I love it!


Decorating has been a lot of fun this year. Our front room is so cheery and bright. It just makes me want to bake and start that shopping list, so I can spend time in my living room with a mug of warm cider, brightly wrapped gifts and fresh cookies.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Body Issues

I have friends who worry out loud about the changes pregnancy will have on their bodies. Before getting pregnant this just wasn't a worry to me. I've never been small and have always had curves, so I didn't think adding on a few pounds would mess with my head too much. After all, the weight gain and the physical changes are for the purpose of nurturing a new life and if pregnancy teaches you anything, it teaches you not to be selfish.
So it's been surprising to me these last few months, to find that gaining 20 pounds in 6 months really has messed with my head. Having the full baby belly is very cool and life-affirming, but having the full baby thighs, butt and arms is a little less miraculous. I really didn't think I would react this way to the weight gain, but it's been challenging to stop 15 years of worrying about the number on the scale.




As always, my old friend yoga really helps me get through the days I just feel huge. Breathing, looking inward and focusing on what my can do is a reminder that it's about more than physical and superficial changes to the body. And if I get too wrapped up in my head, a gentle kick has the power to remind me that the weight gain just doesn't matter.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cozy

As we move steadily into December, I've started the nesting process. To me this means making a batch of soup each weekend. Minestrone, chicken or turkey noodle and black bean have all been recent favorites. I've also been baking quite a bit. Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe because I love how my kitchen smells while whipping up a batch of cookies or quick bread. The smells of soup and baking just seem like home.

Chris and I have been trying hard to create a home since we've settled into this house, but that sense of home is even more important that it's not just for us anymore. We've been trying to keep things neater and clean up areas that haven't been organized in years. On some days, when the hormones are just right, a junk drawer or closet doesn't stand a chance around me. I've purged, organized and labeled what feels like war zones of closets and cabinets. I still have more to do and wish I had more time and energy to do it.

My goal is to have the house baby-ready by Christmas. That way, we'll be all ready in case anybody shows up early (though God forbid, that early) and I can just try to enjoy the third trimester. Chris has been working hard painting and rewiring the nursery. We chose a beautiful buttery yellow paint with white trim for the room. It's classic and soothing. I can't wait to spend time with the Olive in that room. It will be such a cozy space for him to be welcomed into our nest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Thanksgiving

This morning as we cuddled on the couch watching the splendor of the parade, with a cat sleeping on my toes and The Olive steadily squirming inside me, I couldn't help but to think again how much I have to be thankful for this year. I know this feeling will continue to hit me throughout the day as the family gathers and the food is served.

Last night making cranberry sauce I was even blown away by how thankful I am for colors. I guess these pregnancy hormones are not letting me take anything for granted and I'm enjoying that feeling. Enjoy my Thanksgiving colors and your whatever your own little are things to give thanks over.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Time to Give Thanks

Last year around this time, I was finishing up last minute wedding details and trying to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. And although I am in a totally different place this year, I am still enjoying the Thanksgiving season. I love that Thanksgiving centers on food and family. Really, those are two of my favorite things.

On Monday of this week, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary with traditional paper gifts and a fancy schmancy dinner out. This year has gone so fast, and I'm so thankful for everything that has transpired in it. The little Olive who is steadily growing inside of me is a testament to the love we share and the life we are building together. And that is a lot to be thankful for this year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

That Christmas Spirit

I know, I know, it's too early to be talking about the holiday season...but indulge me anyway. I'm typically a person who staunchly waits until after Thanksgiving to do any type of holiday of activity. So until the turkey noodle soup (made with the end of the Thanksgiving bird) is all gone, there is no gift buying, no wrapping, no caroling and certainly no general merrymaking. All of this grinchiness changed last night as I sat in the beautiful and ornate Ohio Theater and watched Harry Connick Jr. perform his Christmas concert. The show was fantastic and a lot of fun. On top of being adorable, it turns out Harry is totally goofy. The regal setting in the Ohio Theater couldn't be beat for a night of jazz and the snow falling outside was just an added bonus to really make it clear that Christmas is on its way.

Smiling as Harry made his way through the familiar tunes, I couldn't help but to think of the other not-to-be missed activities around Columbus this season.
  • I'll definitely be making it to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for Winter Wildlights. Bundling up and sipping hot chocolate as you stroll through the light display is half the fun, so no fair picking a warm day to visit (besides it's more crowded on the warmer days and way more crowded as you get closer to December 5).
  • Although I usually avoid the malls this time of the year, I am really excited to visit Easton Town Center at some point. The folks there have gone out of their way to make shopping into an experience. Beautiful decorations, carriage rides, pedicabs and photos with Santa are all featured. It's the Season of Giving at Easton and if you are caught feeding a meter, you might be rewarded with a gift card that is given out each hour.
  • The Holiday Hop in the Short North Arts District is always on my holiday must-do list. Not only is the Short North a great destination for one of kind gifts, but it also a wonderful urban holiday experience complete with fantastic window displays and unbeatable people watching.
  • For me the holiday season wouldn't be complete without letting some of that inner snarkiness escape (and it's best not to do that with family around), for this purpose there is nothing better than a trip to Catco's Santaland Diaries. You can't beat the works of David Sedaris for bringing out the levity in any situation and this one-man show leaves me in tears of laughter.

Next year, with an 8 month old baby, I know Christmas won't be about me anymore. I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait to put funny hats on the little Olive and take pictures under the tree, but this year I want to make sure I take full advantage of Christmas without a child. So from here on out, there will be baking and decorating and shopping galore. I'll make sure not to forget about the general merrymaking either.

What are your not-to-be-missed holiday outings or traditions?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Boy?

This week we had the ultrasound to check on the growth and development of the baby. The Olive has come a long way since he earned that nickname back in week 9! We could now see a fully formed and strong spine, all the chambers of a strongly beating heart and a cute little button nose. Chris and I were both on a ultrasound for the rest of the day Thursday and couldn't stop smiling.

The first ultrasound at 8.5 weeks was interesting and it did a good job of confirming that, yep, there is something growing in there. But this ultrasound at 22 weeks was absolutely amazing! At this point, I've bonded with the little guy and am getting used to the feeling of movement inside of me. I know what positions or food are likely to get a reaction and I know to expect a lot of movement around 4 p.m. each afternoon.

We watched the Olive swallowing and moving arms all about. I had had a few sips of coffee at lunch before the appointment and the Olive looked to be enjoying the caffeine high because there was very little sitting still. The doctor had us turn our heads while he was checking out the lower half of the Olive. I might have sneaked a quick peek before both the doctor and Chris reminded me to turn my head again. What I saw was inconclusive, but I still have a strong boy feeling.

For those who like to guess about the gender based on the size or location of the belly, have at it:




Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Weekend At Home

For the past three weekends, we have had the privilege of attending the weddings of friends and family. While it was wonderful to see old friends, catch up with family and witness the happy couples make a lifelong commitment to one another, I'm very glad to have this weekend to just be at home.

We celebrated our weekend at home by walking to Cup of Joe yesterday morning. We don't often walk that particular direction in our neighborhood, so it was fun to see the houses we aren't so familiar with as well as the trees in the end of their fall color. We also stopped at PattyCake bakery on the way back for a special vegan treat. While I can't tell you what they make their delicious baked goods with (seriously, what's in there), I can tell you they are delicious.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning as it is becoming more and more apparent that our little Olive is coming and is going to need some room in our house. I'm glad nesting has set in for me and I not only have the energy to clean, but also the desire. As always, I find nature to be very insightful and helpful.

Today is more of a lazy Sunday. We've come to treasure the rhythm of Sunday mornings that we have fallen into over the years, with fresh coffee straight from the French press, coupon cutting from the Dispatch and watching This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Later we'll head over to my parents for Sunday dinner. It's good to be back at home and back in the weekend routine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Next

After reading Obama's speech from last night, I'm even more excited to see our country walk together down this new path.

My little Olive will be growing along with his presidency and I'm eager to see how they both unfold over the next four years. Godspeed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

There are so many thoughts running through my head this election day. Here are a few of them:
  • Chris woke up early, threw on some clothes and walked to our polling location. He waited for about an hour to vote. I woke up earlier than normal, showered and then headed to the polling place. By that time Chris was home, having done his civic duty. He got dressed, I finished waiting about 45 minutes and voted. Then we met at Starbucks for our free voting day coffee and both headed to work. There are very few things that have Chris and me waking up early. Free coffee isn't one of them.
  • Being a life-long Ohio resident, I've always been pretty much assured real American status. We're in the heartland here and I never thought my level of American-ness would be questioned. After all, I live in a place with a really large state fair that features a cow made out of butter. With the butter cow, all the fields of corn, and the rich presidential history, I didn't think until this election cycle that my claim on being American would ever be questioned.
  • We live in a Democracy, but we also live in a representative Democracy. We don't each go and vote on each issue in Washington DC, that would be chaos. Instead we choose people to speak for us. We should pick the best and brightest among us. I've had beer with plenty of people, and I wouldn't trust any of them with the foreign relations of this country. Who you would like to have beer with is not, and never has been, a valid criterion for choosing our President.
  • Clearly the Olive was with me when I voted this morning. More now than ever before I want to make sure the world is going to be a good and safe place for whoever he or she turns out to be. A country of hate and division is not a place I want to raise my child. I want my child to have opportunity and to treasure education and to have access to both.
  • A couple of tears rolled down my face as I voted for Mr. Barack Obama to be our President. It was overwhelming to me to vote for Change and believe it might actually happen.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halfway Point

Friday marked my 20th week of pregnancy. In some ways it has seemed like a long journey since I stared in disbelief at that home pregnancy test back in July. In other ways it seems like not much has changed, except of course everything is now different. Time has flown, time has dragged by and time hasn't passed at all.

Our little Olive is now the size of a small cantaloupe and I can feel the movement as he flips through my day. She is also making her presence very known as my waist widens and I find myself reaching for the stretchy pants each morning.

In another 20 weeks, we'll (fingers crossed) have met our little Olive. I can't wait to get to know her, to share our world with him and to show the Olive what a loving family he was born into. If the first 20 weeks of this experience went so quickly and so slowly at the same time, I'm looking forward to uncovering the joy of the next 20.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Let it be noted that on the way to work this morning, I saw the first snow flakes on the season. The leaves are still on the trees and the kids haven't even trick or treated, but there were definite snow flakes this morning.

I guess this means winter is on the way. As much as I love the carefree days of summer and the crisp mornings of fall, this year I am ready for the self-imposed hibernation in winter. I'm ready to bake quick breads and whip up huge batches of warming soups. I'm looking forward to lighting candles around the living room and cuddling on the couch with Chris and Prada as we catch up on television and reading.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Hour for the Pregnant Girl

Upon entering the working world years ago, I came to treasure the magical time known as happy hour. Gathering with friends or co-workers at the end of a long working day quickly became my favorite way to spend the 5 - 7 p.m. time frame. We would catch-up, commiserate and gossip over pints of beer, glasses of a wine or fruity cosmos. A particularly tough week would call for an extra dirty gin martini and some extra half price appetizers.

Clearly, since the Olive has been on board, my happy hour time has decreased dramatically. Sure, when I need to make an appearance at a corporate event, I'll go and sip water and trade stories, but the happy hours with my friends have pretty much totally ceased. While I might miss the taste of a particular drink, it's not the alcohol itself I actually miss, but the time spent catching up and celebrating the end of another work week.

Luckily I have good friends and we have found a work around. Later this month, a couple of us will meet up for candle making and gossip (and they will have wine). Last night I met up with a friend for massages at a spa. We were able to catch up in our robes while sipping tea and then we both got all the kinks worked out. While I didn't leave with a buzz, I did leave very relaxed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green Baby

You want to know a secret? And it is a secret because we are not sharing baby names until the little guy or girl gets here. So here's the secret: for about a day, I really wanted to name our baby boy (if it is a boy) Kermit. I think it is adorable and quirky and strong. I looked up the meaning (without envy) and loved that it was of Celtic origin, but at the end of the day I just couldn't name the baby after a frog. Even if I really love that frog. The kid would go through his whole life hearing it's not easy being green.

And speaking of green, we are firmly on the green team for this baby. For those of you who don't frequent mom chat boards, that means we are not finding out the gender of the baby through ultrasound before he is born. To avoid calling the baby "it" we switch frequently between he and she. We also call her by the term "the olive" (I wouldn't recommend doing this, because you will never look at a relish tray the same way again).

To carry this whole green thing even further, we are also trying hard to have this baby be carbon neutral. Well, actually, we just want to surround him with the most natural products possible and make sure the baby's existence doesn't have a negative impact on the Earth. So we're planning as green of a nursery as we can get, I'm planning on cloth diapering at home and using disposables while out and about, and I'm all about hand me downs.

So, if the olive does turn out to be a boy, he won't be named Kermit, but he will grow up knowing it is easy to be green.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Class

So last week was the first session of the course I am teaching this fall. I had prepared discussion topics, found a blog entry for me to read and the students to remark on and had copies of the syllabus and session-long assignment. In addition to introductions and going over the roster, I thought we would spend about two hours in class. Except I forgot that I talk really fast and the students weren't as engaged in the discussion as I had hoped. I ended class after one hour.

Tomorrow, though, I'm ready to delve into the meat of the class. I have Power Points on the first three chapters and a little in class writing assignment planned, plus some discussion of the homework from last week. The class is scheduled for three hours each week, so I am determined to be there for at least the first two and half hours. Even if I have slow down my speech pattern and take two long bathroom breaks, we'll be there for more than two hours.

Monday, September 29, 2008

You Say Potato, I Say Stop Talking and Hand the Spud Over

I keep getting the question from people about what foods I am craving. People seem to want stories of me sending Chris out in the middle of the night for pickles and ice cream or other such nonsense. The truth is, nothing has been a craving that I MUST HAVE NOW. Sure, there have been foods, that I would like now, but nothing so serious that has Chris throwing on the iconic raincoat over his pjs and heading to the store (is it just me or were the 50s a strange and freaky time?).

All this being said, the food I end up eating the most often is the humble potato. I'm not too picky about preparation, but in the early weeks only mashed would do. Yesterday, I really wanted that weird hash brown thing with cornflakes on top and today my car somehow steered itself to Wendy's for a baked potato with sour cream (it's done this several times in the past few weeks).

According to the good folks in Idaho (actually, is there more than one person in Idaho?), my almost daily hankering for potatoes is really a good thing. Evidently I'm getting more potassium than from a banana (which is good because I just can't stomach those lately) and also a healthy dose of vitamin C.

Now if only they could make a potato ice cream, I would be one happy pregnant chick.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Block Party

To be honest, I didn't know block parties still existed. The idea of closing down a street and hosting a huge potluck, seems like a quaint event from my childhood. Except in the early 80s, we knew all our neighbors and a yearly block party was just another chance to have Mrs. Murphy's yummy potatoes.

Now, I'm the first to admit, I don't know all my neighbors. This actually surprised me when we moved to Clintonville, which is a inner ring suburb of Columbus with strong neighborhoods mostly built in the 1920s - 1950s. Our street isn't as close-knit as some of the streets seem to be, and we barely ever talk to neighbors other than our immediate next door ones. So, when a woman stopped us on our walk home from the farmer's market last week with a Xeroxed invitation to a yearly block party we decided to make an effort to attend.

The party was last night and it was quite fun and a great opportunity to meet some of the neighbors we may have just waved at over the past two years. We met people who have lived on the street for 50 years and have watched their families grow up and leave the nest and are still here. Although there were a few old-timers, the majority of the street has lived here for less than five years. It was decided that our street hasn't changed much over the years and there seemed to be a consensus that it is a good thing so many young couples and families are moving in.

With the baby coming, I feel like we should know our neighbors better. Last night we made a good start at that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn!

In honor of the first day of my favorite season, I'm sharing with you an incredibly easy pumpkin muffin recipe. I love all the tastes of fall, but pumpkin tops the list. These muffins are tasty with a big glass of milk or a mug of coffee. Enjoy!

Easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 box of spice cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

Mix together and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

(No, I didn't miss any steps or ingredients, they really are that easy!)

ETA - Thanks Heather for finding the missing word! For those who are interested, you can also use any flavor of cake mix, but I would then add cinnamon and nutmeg to spice things up a bit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Weddings!

I love weddings (which is convenient because next month we'll be going to three weddings, three weekends in a row). It's always so great to see a couple taking that plunge and making those vows. Since we've been married, I also like to hear those vows again and mentally answer yes. The homily (or sermon) also usually geive some good take-away nuggets of truth. Yesterday, my good friend Nicole married Gavin. The Deacon performing the ceremony, highlighted the need for kindness in relationships. So simple, but so important.

The wedding day was rainy, but we made the best of it swapping the outdoor photo location for a bar (fitting for the couple!). Nicole looked beautiful and Gavin was a beaming bridegroom. It was a great day and it was an honor to be part of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's Talk About the Baby Daddy

It's his birthday today. Clearly in the past seven years, the day September 11 has taken on a whole new connotation to Americans, but before it ever became that day, it was Chris' birthday and so we choose to still celebrate.

In the months we've been married, we've grown in love and everyday life has been peaceful and rewarding. People have kept asking if marriage is different than life before, and in subtle ways sure, but at the core it's the same safe and comforting place it has always been with him. He's a wonderful partner and I'm proud to call him my husband.

In the months, since we've decided to start a family, I've seen not only the great partner I knew I had, but also a budding father. He's the one who makes me warm lemon water each morning in lieu of my usual coffee with milk (which he made in the pre-baby days). He follows me around with a glass of water on the weekends to make sure I am staying hydrated. And every night he has been tucking me and the Olive into bed. My body and life is going through a much more obvious transformation, but he's going through one too and I can't wait to see what is the other side.

Happy Birthday, honey! Here's to many more happy years.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Milestone

Today has marked a milestone in this pregnancy. I was able to work all day and not come home and take a nap! It might not seem like a big deal, but I've been awake for more than 12 hours today and that might be a record for me. For the past 9 weeks or so, all I I would do is get into my car after work, trying my best to not fall asleep at red lights, and immediately stumble into bed upon arriving home. Chris would wake me up when he got home from work and more often than not, he would then go pick up some food for us. But today, I managed to not only stay awake, but also go to the grocery store and make dinner. Granted dinner was pasta with jarred sauce, but still I was super proud of myself. In addition to cooking the food, I also ate it, which lately has been no small feat.

I thought that pregnancy would be no big deal, at least early on. I figured that I was relatively fit and healthy, being pregnant wouldn't phase me. I was caught off guard by the extreme exhaustion and constant queasiness that accompanied my early weeks of being pregnant. I feel like I am now coming out of that fog and I can now make this pregnancy what I want it to be - healthy, natural, and joyful. Today was a good start at getting there.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weeks

Weeks have never meant much to me. Days sure, months yes, but I've not often paid attention to the passing of weeks. Weeks always just seemed to go along without notice with the passing of the days. Days would string together and form into months, and I would barely notice that they ever formed weeks.

Now, however, I'm eagerly waiting for Friday of each week to come along and mark another week of this tiny being growing in me. This past Friday marked 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, our little guy or girl is the about 2 inches long and it's eyes have moved to the front of the face. He or she is also growing finger and toe nails (which reminds me I need to get myself to the nail salon).

Now that I feel more comfortable with announcing pregnancy (and am not feeling the overwhelming desire to SLEEP NOW every 15 minutes), it's been really fun telling friends and co-workers. Come late March, Chris and I will be the proud parents of the newest member of the family. We're already excited to be planning for the birth and arrival and talking about our hopes for this child. As we go through the next 6ish months, I'll be sharing lots here, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

At Least It's Not Just Me

The reason we finally cancelled our subscription to Netflix, was because we had the same copy of Hotel Rwanda for 10 months. I never quite found myself in the mood to watch the story of genocide. Today, I found out that I'm not alone.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Tried, I Really Tried

A few years ago, I didn't think I would ever willingly watch a political convention. Yet, last week, I tried my best to stay awake night after night to watch Ted Kennedy do it one more time, to watch Hillary bow out gracefully, to watch Bill do what he does best and finally to watch history be made as Barack accepted the nomination. I might have been dragging each morning, but what they were saying made sense to me and I related to the words, ideas and passion. I found the dialogue to be respectful, thoughtful and dignified.

So this week, I've been trying to do my due diligence and watch the Republicans do their thing. I made it half way through a Huckabee speech last night before I decided to go to bed. He was giving me the creeps. It might have been all the sequined cowboy hats in the audience, but I was certainly feeling nauseous and uncomfortable. Granted, I don't agree with much of the Republican platform, but I am finding the snippets I've been hearing to be incredibly divisive and offensive. I've been hearing a lot of scare tactics and fear mongering and it makes me scared for the country. I don't believe the country can be lead effectively through anger, fear and resentment.

So tonight, I'm trying to watch again, but I have Slate.com open on my browser to ward of that creepy feeling I keep getting during the video montages.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yes We Can

Yesterday I had the opportunity to stand on the field of my old high school and hear (and sometimes see) the person who I hope becomes the next president. This was the stadium where more than 10 years ago, I watched Friday night football games, so it was a stunning reversal to see if packed with 19,000 Obama supporters.

Dublin doesn't trend Democratic, so I was a little surprised to see the turn-out. As we waited in line to get into the stadium, I told my mom and Chris how I clearly remember being the only vote in my mock 4th grade election for Dukakis. Seriously out of a class of 29 kids, I was the sole vote for the Democratic ticket.

Also, waiting in line, it was motivating to see the diversity of people waiting hours to try to get a seat at this event. People brought children and friends, there was black and white and Asian and Indian, we saw old and young. Undoubtedly, this candidate, this man is speaking to many different people and people are responding.

The speech was, as I expected delivered flawlessly. On television, I am often impressed with his oratorical skills, but in person, I had a better sense of the passion behind his words. Much of the speech was similar to his acceptance speech on Thursday, but the words and ideas still resonated with me.

I'm so glad we went to see this historic event and I hope the momentum of this campaign continues.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ring Your Bell

Columbus has a AAA baseball team who is moving stadiums come next season. While I totally support the move from the current location to the more vibrant downtown Arena District, I felt a few pangs of nostalgia as this baseball season is coming to a close. See, as a little girl, I spent many memorable summer evenings with my parents and older brothers watching Clippers games. We usually sat behind the Clippers dugout and at the time the team was the farm affiliate of the New York Yankees. This gave us the chance to watch rookies move up through the system, in the early 80s we would have watched Don Mattingly before he got called up to the majors. (Some good Clippers history here.) Actually, I was probably not so into the baseball at that time. I found it more fun to place the stickers from the Cracker Jack boxes to the seats in front of me and to spend most of the game ringing the cow bell that was for some reason part of the fan experience. There was a song that went along with ringing the bell..."Columbus Clippers our fans are half the fun, whether we are winning or if we've had a spell, Columbus Clippers ring your bell." As I got older, my brothers would hide the bell from me because I was evidently supporting the team a little too much.

So it was with all of these memories (and more) that Chris and I joined some friends at Cooper Stadium for the last Dime-A-Dog night in the current stadium. A perfect late summer evening, Monday night drew in many fans wanting to see the stadium one last time and probably like me, relive their own Clippers at Cooper stadium memories.


The stadium seemed smaller than I remembered and the souvenir stand was sold out of bells, but there is still something magical about minor league baseball in a small stadium brimming with young families. And while the Cracker Jacks came in a bag instead of the traditional box, there was still a surprise inside (sadly no stickers). I didn't hear the Ring Your Bell song, but the Clippers pulled out a win.


I'm looking forward to visiting the new stadium and creating new memories with our children, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for what I knew as Cooper Stadium, home of the Clippers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Olympic Spirit

Is anyone like me and staying up way too late watching the Olympics? For some reason, men's gymnastics and the individual swimming medley hold a sway over me. I can't turn the television off as I am completely drawn to the obscure sports and stories of greatness.

Although I distantly remember the Olympics of my childhood where we would gather around the TV on hot summer evenings, my true love affair with the Olympics began in 1992 with the Barcelona games. I even had the soundtrack to the games and I would sing along loudly with the guy from Queen and the Spanish opera stars. As a melodramatic teenager that year, I totally ate up the stories of the ex-Russian gymnasts who were competing under new flags...in an uncertain world...against unbeatable odds. The television coverage that year particularly lent itself to underdog stories and vignettes. I swear just about every athlete had lost a parent in a freak accident. It made the wins and losses so much more poignant.

I kind of checked out for the Atlanta Olympics...I had just graduated from high school was ready to head to college and had way more important things to do than sit at home and watch the Olympics. I started finding my way back for the Athens games, but with these Beijing games, I feel like I'm home.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

P Friend

Let's all bid my good friend procrastination a nice round of welcome back. I thought I had nipped this bad habit in the bud several months back, but he's made a come back. Well actually, procrastination is almost always around as Chris and I make our way through home projects (kitchen pictures coming soon, I promise!), but I thought I had kicked it to the curb in other aspects of my life. Not so much, I've discovered.

I have a great opportunity to teach a class at a local community college this coming quarter. Teaching this class will help me on a number of levels. First, I can use that Master's degree I earned back in 2002. It will also spice up my resume and earn us some extra money. I'm also really interested to see if this is a career path I would be good at and interested in pursuing more seriously in the future. So, all positives there, but I've been struggling to stay focused on creating the syllabus and making lesson plans. There is a lot going on in the GK household, and although I'm excited to tackle this new challenge, it's just been put to the back burner in favor of some other things lately.

Today I was able to buckle down and have had made some decent headway, but class starts next month and I still have a ways to go. I know if I stay focused and complete small projects, the scary though of "OMG I'm teaching a college-level class" won't seem so daunting.

Any positive thoughts are welcome. Of course, if you would like have procrastination over for a visit, that would be great, also.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Anne With an E

Have you all noticed the recent slew of articles about Anne of Green Gables? Yes, our favorite little red-haired orphan is turning 100 and someone in the Anne machine has done some great pr to mark the milestone. I've seen articles in Newsweek and on Slate and I'm sure there are others.

Let me first say how much I adored the Anne series. I read each of the books several times. As Anne progressed from the youthful exuberance of Green Gables, to the more contemplative Avonlea, to the good times of college on the Island and then to her teaching career, I was right there with her. Likewise, I read and wept as she and Gilbert as newlyweds lost their first baby while living in their House of Dreams and then again as she lost another son during WWI in the last novel of the series.

So Anne and I go way back, which is why I look at these recent media pieces with interest. Both seem to suggest (aside from noting the popularity of Prince Edward Island among Japanese tourists) that Anne is getting the short shaft in terms of her place in literary history. Anne isn't taught in schools and evidently she's hard to find in bookstores (Mom, don't throw out my old books just yet). Is it because the Anne books smack of feminism? After all, Lucy Maude Montgomery had to publish her novels as LM to gain the respect of her peers in a time when not many women were successful authors. All of the Anne books, especially the early ones, have the girls are just as good, as witty, as strong, and as fun as boys message. Reading the books all those years ago, I didn't notice this as a central theme. At the time, I was too interested in Anne's antics and relationships with the townspeople of Avonlea to spend much time thinking how strange it was that these books written 80 years ago feature a heroine. Besides, I was a girl and didn't need much convincing that girls were capable and fun. Reflecting back now, though, there is the girl power theme and the books are full of strong female characters who shape Anne into a strong woman herself.

Or are the Anne books not literary stars because they don't deal with heavy issues? Are these books with their pristine island settings just a little too wholesome to make critics pay attention? I don't think this is the case, because the books don't shy away from tough situations. Anne is an orphan and some people in Avonlea don't like her because of that. Also, these books show the realities of life and death (who can forget Matthew having a heart attack in the barn and Anne feeling guilty about it). And let's not forget the time Anne accidentally gets Diane drunk on strawberry wine. No, the Anne books aren't a Pollyanna romp through the a Canadian island, they're a bit more real than that.

I'm not sure what has kept the Anne books off the literary radar, but I'm so glad the books were part of my childhood. I'm also heartened to know girls now are still discovering the books, even if they are hard to find among the Gossip Girls series.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can't Worry About It

Even though you wouldn't believe me if you glanced into my closets, I'm not really a shopper. If an item of clothing fits, is cute and the price is right, I'll buy it. Because of this trait of mine, I was very happy when I found out I could wear the same dress in two weddings this September.

We had first picked out this dress for my friend's Nicole's wedding on September 12. Then it turned out Chris' brother is getting married September 27 and his fiancee needed a bridesmaid. I stepped up the plate (or the altar so to speak) and in chatting with her one night, she mentioned she was looking for brown dresses. I just casually said I had a cute brown bridesmaid dress. One thing led to another and now I'm wearing the same dress for both occasions.

So at first I was happy to wear the same dress to both weddings, but now things have taken a turn for the bad 1980s wedding because Chris' aunt just called to ask me about dyed shoes to match. Oh, the horror!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cursed

I've often suspected our sweet little (or big as the case may be, Prada has gained another 10 ounces which evidently isn't healthy) cat has a mouth like a sailor. Now, I'm pretty certain of it. Last week Chris took Prada to the vet for her swollen, ouchy paw. I made it just in time to rush into the vet's office and announce to the waiting room that my husband and cat were there somewhere and I wanted to see them. Um, yeah, that was a little embarrassing. The vet wasn't quite sure why the paw was swollen; it could be because of a trauma and subsequent infection or from some crazy kitty immune problem. The vet gave Prada an anti-inflammatory shot. It worked for a bit, but by Wednesday of this week it was a little swollen again and Prada wouldn't put weight on it. After much discussion with the vet's office mainly involving me saying no, I'm not taking the cat back, just give me the damn antibiotics for her, I was able to get some medicine and strict instructions to soak the paw in warm water twice a day.

So now between holding her down and plunging her paw in water and holding her down and prying open her jaw to get the medicine down her throat, the cat has made sounds I can only imagine are nasty bad words. And who knew that the same yucky pink medicine given to children with ear infections is given to cats with bad paws. Remembering plenty of incidents where I was held down and my jaw pried open to get Amoxicillin down my throat, I gagged at the sight and smell of the bubble gum flavored yuck. I guess not wanting to take medicine runs in families and evidently so does cussing a blue streak.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back at Home

I survived my work trip to Miami. Do you remember how I said I could do the Seattle vibe? Well, yeah, not so much the Miami vibe. To be fair, I was staying in downtown Miami without a car. Still, not impressed and found the city to be a dirty, hard-to-get-around, unsafe feeling, concrete jungle.

An interesting part of my job is that I occasionally attend conferences for groups that I would otherwise not have contact. I've attending meetings for an investors club in Atlanta, health departments in San Antonio and Air Force officers in DC. This time around I was crashing the party of gay choruses. Not only am I straight, I also can't warble a single correct note. However, these were some of the nicest people I've met (and what a flair for style) and they made the trip worth it.

All of the groups I work with (and there really is a group for everything) often make me think that I'm not passionate enough about one single topic to join a group and travel to a meeting. I tend to think some of these people are just too into their thing, but I also admire their dedication. I don't think I'll ever attend BlogHer or a national yoga conference, but in my own way I'm just as dedicated to these hobbies of mine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Since I'm leaving on a jet plane on Friday for an unexpected work trip, I wasn't too surprised when Prada came up showing some type of symptom of ailing cat. Before the honeymoon she came down with a nasty case of feline acne. Not to mention the huge bald spot she over groomed onto her back.

It seems the cat knows when I'm leaving and then deems it the appropriate time to have a kitty medical emergency. This time she is having some trouble with her left paw. She is limping around and doesn't like to put weight on her paw. She looks pretty sad and pathetic holding her little paw in the air. I can't get a good look at the paw pad, but it does look like there is some type of scratch that might be infected. The whole foot looks swollen.

I feel bad because our house has been a wreck lately and I'm afraid she might have stepped on some splinter of tile, a nail or other renovation debris. Plus, I'll be gone for several days and Chris will be on vet duty. So the guilt is wracking up for me as I begin to pack.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Crazy Old Coot

My brother T said it was a good thing I got married because I was starting to show the makings of a Crazy Cat Lady. To begin with, I don't know why it is out of line to ask if the cat can come to holiday meals. She is part of the family. Besides, what would the Simpsons be without the Crazy Cat Lady? For that matter, what would holiday meals be without impressions of the Crazy Cat Lady on the Simpsons?

So if I have narrowly escaped being the Crazy Cat Lady, I think I might have stumbled into even worse territory this weekend. After the torrential downpours ceased, I went to the garden on Saturday to assess the situation of what looked like drowned tomato leaves. What I found instead was a red aphid infestation. So naturally, I stood in the hot sun getting bit by mosquitoes for two hours spraying the tomato plants with a spray bottle of dish washing soap and water. I was wearing gardening shoes and a sun hat, because when you're a Crazy Old Coot, that's just what you do.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Back to the Weekend Routine

We haven't picked up the tiles from the store yet, so we could spend the morning in our usual summer Saturday way - walking to the Clintonville Farmer's Market. I still haven't visited the other markets around town this summer, but the proximity and quality of the Clintonville market doesn't give me any reason to try out the others. Plus, the Clintonville market has added some new booths this year, giving us new products to try out.

We got there there late this morning and it is still slightly early in the season for most vegetables, but we were able to pick up a few staples. The egg lady (Silo?) provided us with some darling and tasty little Buckeye eggs. She said the chickens were a heritage breed she rescued from a farmer who wasn't allowing them access to pasture so they weren't laying well for him. They're now laying lots of small eggs for her, but some are too small for Whole Foods to buy, so she was selling the leftovers for a good price today at market.

The new booths this year are dairy related. Earlier this year, I flirted with the idea of going dairy free for a 14 days to see what, if any, symptoms were alleviated. I couldn't kick the cheese habit and never made it more than a day or two without dairy. I'm sure glad I'm not trying to do the dairy free thing now, because fresh, local dairy is delicious. We picked up some whole milk (pasteurized, but not homogenized) from Snowville Creamery. The whole milk made for a nice addition to coffee and I can't wait to try making ice cream with the rest of the half gallon. We also bought some grilling cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy. It's a specially processed cheese where you can grill it and it doesn't melt, but gets a delicious salty, crunchy coating on it.

Since our tomatoes aren't ripe yet, we also bought a pound (really just two tomatoes) and then called it a day at the market. Trips to the Farmer's Market are one of my favorite things about summer weekends.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Long Weekend

If you've been paying attention, then you know a long weekend signifies Amy and Chris are tackling a project that is probably too advanced for them and won't be completed for another nine months. This edition: travertine tile back splash with lovely stainless steel accents. Really, it is going to be gorgeous and will really offset our new granite counter tops. Just don't expect the reveal anytime soon.

If we don't show up for your 4th of July cookout, please send a search party because there is a specialized saw involved in this project and I have my doubts.

And for our yearly dose of discussions of the Independence Day holiday, read this article and think about what being patriotic means to you. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just to Prove...

...that I can get a haircut and not bawl my eyes out. And we're not just talking trim either, this is a full-fledged new hairstyle. I don't think I've sported bangs since the days of the kindergarten through second grade bowl cut. I was hoping this 'do would be a little edgier, but I'm just not sure I can do edgy. Maybe too smiley, but that's better than weeping. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Garden Update

Well, the rains have come. Along with them assorted bugs and lots of weeds. At least the vegetable garden seems to be doing well. Quick run down:
  • Tomato plants are getting big and bushy with lots of green fruit. Barring any major problems, everyone I know will be getting tomatoes in the next couple of weeks. Because I just don't do the canning thing and don't have room for freezing.

  • Pea plants are adorable. I love them, the flowers are dainty, the little tendrils are curly-cue magnificent and the vegetable itself is delicious. Unfortunately, I don't think we planted enough of these guys as other than snacking we haven't done much with them because they are only ready 3 or 4 at a time.

  • Cucumber plants are getting their vine on. We had to replant as the first seeds didn't germinate, but this batch looks good.

  • Hot peppers are looking good, as are the regular peppers. I just can't get that excited about peppers.

  • Fennel is feathery and fragrant. This year I will know to leave it in past where I want to pull it for a really good bulb.

  • Lettuce is overgrown and a mess. Our little plants are starting to bolt and I can only imagine the leaves are bitter and not edible (not willing to try at this point). Will get yanked this weekend.

  • The carrots aren't doing great. One row is being overshadowed by a bully of a tomato plant and the other row didn't really take off. I think we may get one or two actual carrots, which doesn't seem quite worth it.

  • And finally, yeah, for raspberries ripening at the appropriate time and thank goodness I don't have to pay $3 a container for them at the grocery.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It Rained on Prom Day

Another ComFest caught me stuck in a torrential downpour, hoping the sycamore we were huddeled under would provide more shelter than it ended up doing. Rain really puts the community into ComFest.

After we dried off, it was time to get ready for Prom. Margaret and company did a remarkable job making it truly a night to treasure. I think that Margaret had more fun at this prom than she would have at any high school prom. High school proms, if I remember back to a decade ago, were fraught with all the high school insecurities of fitting it and wearing the right dress. Grown up proms, from my recent experience, focus more on the fun and the fact that everyone is now comfortable in their own skin. And there really isn't a better 30th birthday present to ask for than that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big Weekend

It's going to be a busy weekend in the GK household. Actually, this usually one of my favorite weekends of the year. It will kick off tomorrow night with dinner out with a family dinner in honor of my Dad's (60th!) birthday and my parent's wedding anniversary. Things have been busy and we haven't all been together in a several weeks, so I'm looking forward to it.

Then Saturday afternoon, I'll go watch the Pride Parade with my brother. I think it is so important to support Pride events to be there for all my LGBT friends and family and the parade promises to be quite entertaining. I wonder if I can find a Love Makes a Family t-shirt or maybe one of these in time for Saturday. Should have planned better on that.

After the parade, we'll head over to ComFest. Oh, how I love ComFest. What's not to love about hippies and hipsters happily carrying babies in tie dye, sipping mugs of beer, signing petitions to free Tibet and shopping for funky handcrafted jewelry. There's cool music, too. And lots of great people watching. Did I mention the mugs of beer?

And then after the afternoon activities, we are going to get all dressed up for prom. Yes, prom! A friend is turning 30 and since she never went to her high school prom, she has decided to have a prom-themed birthday party, which in turn is themed A Night to Treasure. I'm actually really excited for prom. I'm wearing an old bridesmaid dress (from junior year of college, either I wasn't as thin then as I thought, or I'm not in as bad of shape as I think now). We're totally doing the prom thing, and I mean all of it. Getting a limo, drinking Zima with Jolly Ranchers, getting into a fight with that bitch who is wearing the same dress and keeps flirting with my boyfriend. Er, we'll do most of the prom things.

So wish me luck in keeping the energy up...I'm tired just writing out the plans!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Something Back at Home

So I was in Nashville over the weekend attending a friend's wedding shower and bachelorette party. The weekend was fun and it was great to have some girl time. We drank and danced and generally had a great weekend. We even snuck in a quick trip to a spa for mani and pedis...ah bliss. However, I kept getting somewhat disturbing text messages from Chris. I knew he and a couple of buddies were spending Saturday morning doing demolition on our kitchen in preparation for our new counters which are being installed tomorrow. Even though I knew this demo was happening I wasn't totally prepared for what I came home to. No counters, lots of dust, no sink, no oven or range, pots and pans everywhere and one freaked out cat. It was a shock to us all. Which is why I, still wearing a dress, grabbed a paint brush and started touching up the cabinets. Who says girly girls can't do home improvements?




Friday, June 20, 2008

Salty and Delicious

Should I ever develop high blood pressure, I'll be in trouble and in more than the obvious way. I have recently started a love affair with all things salt in general and all fish bathed in salt in particular. It started with the anchovy bread salad at Marcella's last week and continued to this:

And yes, that is a greasy cheese pizza covered with yet more salty and delicious anchovies. Pair with wine for a truly gourmet dining experience.

The next stop in this affair is going to be a rendezvous with a big plate of spaghetti and anchovies at the new restaurant up the street from us (it's walking distance and has a liquor license!). They're not advertising yet, but I know people and have seen the menu and instantly zeroed in on Spaghetti con Acciughe as my entree choice. Because, when there are anchovies on the menu I have a tough time saying no.

And now I need to drink large quantities of water to counterbalance all that delicious salt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Regardless

The calendar might say we have to wait until this weekend to have a true start to summer, but I know we're already there. I have several welts on my arms and ankles as a result of mosquito bites and for me there is no truer sign of summer. As if to prove the season is here, I also saw my first lighting bug of the year last night.

Over the weekend, we also went on our first bike ride of the year. It was a perfect afternoon on the bike trail as we skirted between sun and shade. We rode up to the Rose Festival which is always a beautifully scented event. This year the event seemed to be particularly well attended. Made me wonder if all the free events of the summer will see a uptick at the gate.

After our bike ride, we made our way to my parent's house for a Father's Day celebration. Which in our case, meant steaks eaten huddled around the coffee table watching the last round of the US Open.

So regardless of what the calendar says, between the roses, the bikes rides, the bites, and the celebrations, I'm pretty sure summer is here to stay for at least another couple of months.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Than a Chance to Nap

When I lived at home with my parents, most late afternoon weekends would find us watching whatever golf tournament happened to be on. I got to know the golfers by name and by game. My dad was watching for the golf. My mom and I mostly watched for the moments after the tournament when the family of the winning player would make their appearances. Seeing Phil Mickelson's adorable young family was always my favorite.

We won't be seeing them tomorrow, however, because right now Phil happens to be 10 over in the US Open. I know this because all those years of watching Sunday afternoon golf, have become less how to pass the time before dinner and more of an enjoyable habit. And now, I actually watch golf on television by choice and by myself. Like I am right now, with a margarita in hand.

I like the calmness of the game and watching the emotional devotion it takes these players to stay in the zone. It's fun to giggle at some of the ridiculous things the announcers say to fill airtime. The scenery is usually exquisite. And you can't beat the background noise of television golf for taking a cat nap. Also, I've had the pleasure of watching golf in person and while it is fun, you can't beat television for the breadth of coverage. It's a game that I just think is better to watch from the comfort of your own couch.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Freaky Friday

While I don't expect to be switching bodies with anyone (let alone my mother), a la a classic movie remade into a subpar movie, I am having my very own mini Friday the 13th meltdown. To begin with the day just wouldn't end. All afternoon, it felt like it was 3 p.m. for a good four hours and in the normal realm, that's just not possible. By the time 5 p.m. did roll around, I made it home just in time for a loud and angry summer storm (note to the dead tree in the front yard: please stay standing). Then I managed to get myself worked into tizzy about things I can't control. It started with one thing and I somehow managed to bring 50 other things into the mix, which were, of course, all conspiring to make my life a nightmare the likes of which Michael Myers couldn't produce. After a 20 minute nap and a beer, I'm coming out of the nightmare and hoping Friday the 13th passes with no further freakishness.

Monday, June 9, 2008

When Will I Learn...

...that it is never a good idea to put something you know you will need later in a really clever location. You might as well throw the item into a crowd and hope it will find its way back. My latest purposefully losing something was done several months ago in the dark winter months. I found the key to the pool at my old condo location and I decided I would put it in my pool bag to be ready for the hot and humid days of early June. I clearly and specifically remembering putting the key in a bag that I would take to the pool.

Finally, after making it through months of darkness falling at 5:30 p.m. and a surprise snowstorm, the perfect pool day arrived today. I had taken a day off and after completing several loads of laundry, organizing my closet and cleaning up our bedroom, I wanted to reward myself with a trip to the pool. Laying by the pool with a book ranks in my top five favorite activities.

So I start to look for my pool bag. Which isn't as easy as it sounds because I quickly discover I have an even dozen of possible pool bags and I couldn't remember which pool bag I smartly placed the key in. With a gasp and a sinking heart, I remembered that I realized how ridiculous that was the last time I was cleaning out closets and donated several other possible pool bags to Goodwill. I'm afraid, because I've scoured the house for it, the key might have been part of the donation.
It's going to be a long, hot, cranky summer.

* Happy Ending Update:

I found the key! My memory is not quite as infallible as I had thought. Because what I specifically remembered is clearly not what happened. After searching through bags, baskets and junk drawers with no luck, I decided to continue organizing the bedrooms. Lo and behold the key was in a jewelry box. Not a smart place for it, but at least it hadn't been accidentally donated to Goodwill.
So I got my hour at the pool after all. And now, I'm ready for nap because nothing tuckers me out like five minutes of swimming laps and then 55 minutes of laying and reading. And no worries, the key is now in the pink striped pool bag so I know where it is for next time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Big Excitement

A few weeks ago my friend Sara sent me an e-mail letting me know Jimmy Buffet's new book was just released. Since I'm still trying to not buy books, I put my name on the waiting list at the library and now after (mostly) patient waiting, I am number 1 on the list. Woo hoo and please hurry up and return it to the library if you happen to be reading a copy from CML, m'kay?

While I am eagerly awaiting the e-mail letting me know the book is ready to be picked up, I'm not expecting great literature, here. I've read his past books and I know what I'm getting myself into - lots of island descriptions, short chapters, some fun action and quirky characters. I like the Buffet books for the ridiculous escapism they offer and the feeling that I, too, could be enjoying life on a beach with a boat drink in hand. It will be great pool reading over the next hot and humid weeks of June.

This is the same reason I like Jimmy's music. Again, we're not talking musical genius, but we are talking guy with a guitar, a raspy voice and some stories to tell that transport you to another time and place. Sure, it can get cheesy, but that's part of the fun. The other part of the fun is the vast amounts of alcohol consumed at concerts, but that's really a story for another time.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Beginnings

One of my sorority sisters from college is having a baby. Well, to be fair several of my sorority sisters have had babies, in fact at least one is working on baby number three. Today, however, I made the trip down to the Dayton area for a shower for one of those friends. I realize we're all about 30 years old, but it's strange for me to see this girl who I still think of as living in the dorm at the back of the quad as being all grown up and getting ready to be a mother. She's now set with all the onesies and burp clothes any new mom will need and I know she'll do a great job in her new role.

A trip to the Dayton area wouldn't be complete without a stop at Ikea! That place has gotten under my skin. It's fun, it's funky, it's inexpensive - what's not to love? Today we bought a new sink, faucet, counter thingie and medicine cabinet for the bathroom. I'm not sure when we'll begin that project, but at least we have the materials now. I'm so looking forward to the day our bathroom doesn't scream bad 80s decorating with lots of wood trim and yellow linoleum.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Slugs Are Back in Town

Our little uninvited guests are back. The first year in our house, we were amazed to see huge slugs hanging out on our garage door one night after returning home . They were fascinating in a prehistoric way and since we didn't have a garden other than a few volunteer tomato plants and lots of perennials we weren't too concerned. So the slugs were thought of a quirky edition to our new home, that is until I started having nightmares about giant slugs slithering all over me. To stop the night terrors and rescue the hosta plants, we set out a few beer traps and called it a year.

Last year, our garden was virtually free of the slugs. Not wanting to congratulate ourselves too much, but still sure our anti-slug efforts were valid, we thought that maybe our yard was the equivalent of a gay bar at a Baptist conference - some people would sneak in, but they weren't about to tell their friends. Now, I think last year's dry and hot summer had more to do with the absence of slugs from our yard than our pithy little beer traps did.

This year the slugs are back in force and they're no longer happy with chewing their way through hosta leaves. In fact, I think all the slugs from the first summer were just out on maternity leave last year and are now debuting their babies in this year's rainy slug haven. Our fennel plants look like a slug nursery all loaded down with slimy little bundles of happy baby slugs. Which is funny, because this site suggests planting fennel as a slug deterrent. Our slugs' love for the anisy flavor of fennel would be fine if they just stayed there or even on the hostas, but, no, I'm constantly picking the little buggers off the pea plants and our lettuce is inedible because we can't get all the slugs off enough pieces to make a salad.

So, the beer traps are set, and I'm thinking of hand washing some of the leaves of the lettuce and peas with Shaklee detergent. Yes, I'm planning on individually washing leaves of vegetable plants with high-priced natural cleaning products. That is the madness of slugs and I'm expecting the nightmares to commence any day now.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Some Things I Know

My garden is happiest with rain from the sky as opposed to rain from my watering can.
*******************************************************************
It's best to go to Target with a time constraint. Having only 30 minutes there prevents from spending too much money on random items. In fact, 30 minutes is ideal - enough time to grab the basics and just a smidgen of time to gawk at purses and clothes before standing in line for the checkout.
*******************************************************************
The Greek alphabet, but only if I sing it.
*******************************************************************
The older I get the faster time goes, unless, of course I'm waiting for something. Then time crawls or simply stops to make up for the sprinting.
*******************************************************************
The never fail me quick recipe for a healthy dinner: tofu and veggies in spicy peanut sauce.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

See it With a Pink Drink

Sipping a cosmo and waiting for my friends to meet me at the theater tonight, I was able to look over the balcony of the theatre and watch the long line of women ready to see Sex and the City. All the girls were dressed up, wearing cute shoes and standing in small groups of friends. A few brave men made the trip, but the audience was predominantly female.

I'll agree with the critics who said no new ground had been broken in the making of this movie. It really is a couple of long SATC episodes strung together. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, I loved the movie. Loved it. In some ways I feel like I grew up (at least through those formutive early twenties) with Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha and Carrie and it was so good to see them again. If you liked the series even a little bit - go see the movie. I guarantee you absofuckinglutley won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Key

In picking out the color for my inaugural pedicure of the season last night, I couldn't find my usual favorite shade of red - I'm Not Really a Waitress. Instead I chose a slightly orangier red named the Keys to my Karma. Clearly, part of the fun of trips to the nail salon for me is reading through the OPI bottles.

Today as I was contemplating how cute my cheery red toes looked poking out of my open-toed white flats, I had a moment to further reflect on the Keys to my Karma name. Sure, what goes around comes around, I get that. What I send out into the universe gets reflected back to me, got it. But, is there a sliding scale here? I don't think I am a bad person - I don't lie, steal, cheat or kill. I don't even illegally copy DVDs. I do, however, gossip and eat meat. I also occasionally hurry into my house when I don't feel like chatting with the neighbors. Are these offenses bad enough to result in a negative karmic reaction?

The last time I went to the nail salon, all I had to worry about was how clean the utensils were, not major philosophical questions. Things were much simpler when I wasn't really a waitress.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Six Months

About this time six months ago today, I was nervously and excitedly waiting to walk down the aisle. I should have eaten something (and maybe laid off that prosecco), so I wouldn't have had that unfortunate blood sugar crash later in the day. But should have, would have, could have. Other than eating breakfast or lunch, I wouldn't change a thing about our wedding day, overall it turned out to be a great day and the perfect wedding for us. Some parts of the day are kind of a blur, but I know I'll always remember the happiness we both felt that day. All of our wedding pictures feature me with a huge smile on my face and Chris looking thrilled. Several people said I was the happiest bride they had even seen. I was living the princess fairytale with the added bonus of getting to live with the prince for a lifetime. We both felt so blessed and lucky to have such a beautiful wedding and to be able to share our special day with our family and friends.



In the six months since we married, the leaves on the trees have finished changing color, fallen, made it through the winter, flowered and are now in brilliant green once again. Likewise, we've fallen into the comfortable rhythm and cycles of married life. Lazy weekend breakfasts, yard work, dinners at home with a bottle of wine. Waiting eagerly for Lost each week and cuddling on the couch. Talking each other down from work crises (okay, really, Chris talking me down). We're enjoying this marriage partnership.
Today we are celebrating with more of the same, really. A small cookout tonight, cleaning up the house and yard today. We did find an overlooked wedding present that somehow made it's way to the garage (thank you card is in the mail now!), so that was kind of fun. I'm also listening to the mix cd my brother made for the wedding, which is such a great mix. It must have pained him, but he included some of my favorites - Madonna, Jimmy Buffet and Jack Johnson. The songs bring back all the wedding day memories for me and it is a favorite of mine.















Today

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bones

Last night I finally made it back to the yoga mat. For one reason or another, I hadn't practiced in two or three weeks. I sorely missed it. Not just because I'm happier, calmer and have an overall better sense of well being when I maintain an active practice, but I was also just sore. These muscles need to stretch around these bones.

Lately I've come to realize just how important healthy bones are to a person, especially to women. Two weekends ago, my grandmother fell and broke - shattered, actually - her hip and her wrist. I saw her at the hospital after the surgery to help repair the breaks and immediately went home to take a calcium supplement.

I thought of this all last night as my yoga teacher was lecturing the class on the safety of headstand prep. Headstand, and all yoga inversions, are widely beneficial to the body, but they can also be dangerous, so it's important to work up to the pose. One of the benefits of headstand is that the pose strengthens the top part of the spine. While the teacher was introducing the pose, she mentioned she works with seniors and has seen an epidemic of hunched shoulders and curved necks due to osteoporosis of the spine. Then she said, most of that generation of women never got the chance to mindfully do weight bearing exercise to help stave off osteoporosis.

It was an aha moment for me...of course, my grandmothers at the age of 30 didn't spend a Wednesday evening enjoying a night of yoga. They had kids to tend to and a house to run. Sure, they got plenty of exercise working in the yard and maintaining a home, but I don't think they were pondering the benefits of headstand. I felt at once humbled and proud. I know in these bones of mine, how lucky I am that these women went before me. I now have the opportunity to practice yoga and maintain a home. So I can benefit both from their experience and from headstand.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In

A co-worker stopped by my desk today to ask a question about a good teacher gift for a friend of a friend. After some snide comments, I got down to suggesting some cool ideas of things to do in Columbus which can be gifted - cooking classes, bottling your own wine, a night in an recently renovated historic hotel. I hope whoever gets this gift enjoys it - I know I would. The co-worker then asked about the weather and the chance of his afternoon plans being dampened. I suggested he pull up the weather.com hour by hour predictor and take an umbrella just to be sure. He said thanks and since I always have all the answers (um, right), maybe I should put out a sign ala Lucy - the Dr. is in.

Lucy has long been my favorite Peanuts character. My co-worker isn't the first person to suggest I'm a little like Lucy. Maybe it's my love for the color blue and my dark hair, or maybe it's my way of solving problems, but I must admit there are some similarities. Just to be clear, and I don't know what you've heard, but I've never pulled a football out from under any neighborhood boys learning to kick. I'm more the kinder gentler version of Lucy. The pluckiness of Lucy, but with some of the little red haired girl thrown in for good measure. While some would call my Lucy tendencies bossy, I prefer to think of them as helpful. Okay, I can sometimes be bossy, but I'm working on that. But, like Lucy, I do think I have some pretty good ideas on solving life's little issues. So, consider me in. If you have ever have any questions I can help answer, just let me know. I won't even charge the 5 cents.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

His and Hers

We've been married for just shy of six months now and today for the first time we did something I'm pretty sure only married couples who love each other very much do. No, not that. We bought matching phones and signed up on the same phone plan. Seriously, the same phone except that mine is maroon and his is black. We thought there had to be some slight difference to discourage morning mix-ups.

In spite of the icky-degree of cuteness associated with it, the same phone actually makes sense. We can use the same charger which will make it easier for vacations and what not. Also, Chris is way more into techy stuff than I am. He's spent the afternoon enthralled with the buttons and settings. I took a picture of the pretty iris in the backyard, made that my wallpaper and got on with me day. Luckily for me, now whenever I have a question about how to do a phone related task, Chris will know the answer.

I understand this type behavior can be a slippery slope, so if you ever see us and Chris and I are wearing matching outfits, please intervene.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dealing With It

From reading many women's magazines over the years, I understand there are those of you out there who, when confronted with hormonal surges or one of life's curve balls, respond in healthy and positive ways. Evidently people exist who go for a run, call a friend, meditate or journal until you feel better. Let me say for the record, I am not one of you. I prefer to cry, take long naps, and eat breakfast foods all day. Preferably in that order. I can sometimes be cajoled into shopping or watching chick flicks, but I really would rather be doing the aforementioned activities. Let's just consider this a fair warning, shall we? And now, I believe I need to scramble more eggs and crawl under a blanket.

***In spite of wanting to do this, I got my butt out of bed before 7:30 this morning to go participate in the Race for the Cure. I can now see why those pesky and perky magazines suggest exercise as a great way of alleviating the blues. During the race (which I walked most of, running only very little), I felt great. There is also something uplifting about seeing 40,000 people joining together for a cause. There were bands along the route to pump up the runners and walkers and it was a beautiful morning to be out and get caught up in the spirit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Liberal Guilt

Today I had lunch with a friend from high school and somehow over our wraps and iced tea, the topic of liberal guilt of came up. We both have it. That's either to be expected from two highly educated white kids from an affluent suburb or an oddity. Our other classmates seem to be on one end of the spectrum or the other. As a whole, our graduating class was given a head start in the world. We all came from fairly well-off families and we each had a solid college-prep education. For me these opportunities also come with the feeling of needing to do more for the greater good. In some sense, I feel like because I was given this head start, I should help those who weren't as lucky in the gene pool lottery.

Sometimes this feeling manifests itself in healthy ways - volunteering, donating to worthy causes and being overall empathetic. But sometimes, I just feel silly liberal guilt which doesn't help anyone much. Case in point is the whole Prius thing. I only drive about 30 miles a day and a part of me feels I should leave the Prius, because they are in such demand, for someone who needs it more and drives further each day. In the grocery store, I occasionally feel guilty for not buying organic. And don't even get me started on the conflicted feelings I have when I ride the bus.

Recently, though, a catalog came in the mail which I was thrilled to see (after I made yet another mental note to go to one of those stop junk mail sites). The catalog was from Fair Indigo, and it is all fair trade cute clothing! I think I heard the angels rejoice when I also noticed the free shipping to new customers offer. So now shipping to me from Wisconsin (somewhat local, right) is a new wrap dress, darling peasant blouse and new sandals. And best of all, I don't have to worry about the child and or sweatshop labor that went into making these clothing items. Fashion without guilt, that works for me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nicknames

Growing up the little sister of two older brothers, I was subject to my fair share of teasing. The name that stuck for a good 25 years or so (and still occasion from my oldest brother), was the name Bill. Because it is a somewhat obscure reference to a TV movie from 1983, let me explain. Bill was a mentally disabled man played by Mickey Rooney. In pre-PC days, some teacher must have thought it a good learning experience for her students to watch. My brother and his friends, being in the 7th grade, missed the intended compassionate message and instead started calling anyone who did something "retarded" Bill. I was five and the name stuck. I was reminded by this yesterday when we all got a good laugh at the adopted child mother's day card (in my defense, there wasn't a label!).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Is it me or is Mother's Day really hyped up this year? Every advertisement I hear or see seems to be trying to induce some of type of guilt-based buying behavior on me. I heard Earth Day was big because Easter was so early, but Mother's Day is huge. I think the recession - er economic downturn - has made large businesses go into Mother's Day overdrive. I refuse to be sucked into the madness and do anything different than I normally do. Call me a bad daughter, but I usually stick to a card, a plant and some fun girly things you don't think to buy for yourself (face masks, pjs, pink flip-flops, lotions). I'm pretty sure my own mother is fine with this routine and I hope any recently added family members will be as well.

Typically I really enjoy picking out a cute and well-meaninged card for occasions, but this week's trip to Hallmark was an exception. Apologies to all you Mother's out there, but most of the cards were silly and insipid. And not even irreverent, just irrelevant. The woman next to me looking through cards kept giving me dirty looks because I couldn't help to make gagging noises at some of the cards. New rule for me and card buying - if it takes both sides of the inside of the card to get the message across it is ridiculously wordy and probably saccharine sweet. Gah. I finally got out of the store with four cards that didn't make me throw up in my mouth (although three of the four are not up to my usual card standards).

After all the drama at Hallmark, I got home to let Chris know he was responsible for mailing the cards to his mother and grandmother. I braved the card store to pick them out after all. Uh, yeah, they are still on the table. What's worse though, is upon signing the card I picked out for my mom, I realized I misread it at the store. It's really intended for an adopted person to give to his or her mother (it says I can't thank you for my DNA, but I can thank you for all the other things you have done for me)...oops. Well, my brothers always said I was actually found in a dumpster and not really related.

Regardless, I'm wishing all you mothers out there a special day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Picture This

It's become a cliché to say that a picture speaks a thousand words, but after visiting this exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society yesterday, I would say the adage is completely true. The exhibit is made up of Pulitzer winning photographs from the last 50 years. It's an intense visual journey through history.

Several things struck me about the exhibit. To begin with, these are 11x20 or larger prints of the photos. Usually when you see a great example of photojournalism, you see it on grainy newsprint and in a small box above the fold. The size of these photos really brought the emotion they were depicting to life. Pulitzer prize winning photos tend to show raw emotion, but are composed perfectly.

As you are walking through the exhibit, it's important to read the accompanying text as the words work together with the picture to put it in perspective. Without the text, it would sometimes be hard to understand the photo. Some of the images, though showed such heartbreak you didn't really need the complete story. Fear, pain and suffering is the same on the face of a starving child as it is on the face of a civil war embattled widow.
It's also interesting to see how the technology and the focus of the photos have changed in the last 50 years. The accompanying text for the early photos tells of photographers changing flash bulbs at just the right moment to get the shot. The text also told of photographer in the 70s and 80s, smuggling film out of war zones. The photos eventually switched from black and white to color and then some back to black and white as the format changed to digital. It also seemed the early images were more national in subject while the more recent are international. All are powerful.

Some of the images, such as the soldier being greeted by his family in the 70s and Babe Ruth's last game in the 50s, were familiar. A few of the images, such as the fireman carrying the baby out of the rubble of the Oklahoma City bombing in the 90s and the little Vietnamese girl with her clothes burned off in the 70s, were painfully identifiable. There were many pictures of war and famine. A lot of the images dealt with the civil rights movement, a lot more dealt with the Vietnam war and several of the images were of places and times most Americans wouldn't know about if the photographers wouldn't have traveled the world.

Many of the images and related text moved me to tears. The exhibit is laid out with a large reflecting room in the middle. It has couches and plenty of Kleenex and is mostly a visually devoid space. I skipped the reflecting room, but maybe shouldn't have because I did feel rather overwhelmed after walking the exhibit. We had only planned on being there for a little bit, but ended up staying for almost two hours. If you're local, it's worth the trip. If you're not local, don't be so quick to dismiss the photographs on the front page of a newspaper, as they could be telling an important story. I know I won't be so fast to dismiss the next piece of photojournalism I see.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In the Who Knew Catergory

I make it a point to learn a new thing each day. I do this so I am a more interesting person and so I won't develop Alzheimer's. On Sunday, I learned two things I wasn't quite ready for.

It began when Chris and I took a road trip to Delaware, Ohio. It's only about a 30 minute drive, but to me anything longer than 15 minutes is a road trip. So when we stopped for gas on the way, I made sure to stock up on water and lottery tickets. Wouldn't want to get dehydrated or bored during the trip, now would we? We were heading to Delaware because I wanted to test-drive a Prius. We'd been researching them online, but before I went any further, I wanted to see the colors in person and make sure the driver's seat has comfortable lumbar support. Yes, that is how I choose a car. Of course, there are Toyota dealers within the Columbus city limits, but not Toyota dealers who were offering a $50 gift card to Buca for test driving the Prius. So off to Delaware we went. And, yes, I see the hypocrisy of driving out of our way to test drive a hybrid car. If it makes you feel better, I planned some trips in the area (we'll get to that later).
Little did I know, the Prius is so popular since the recent increase in gas prices, that the dealer had no cars to look at or drive. Not a one. Not even a Hybrid Camry. Only plain old gas guzzling cars were on the lot. The salesman thought he had a used Prius we could see, but, no even that one had been sold earlier in the day. I knew the Prius was a popular little bugger, but I had no idea it was waiting list, can't keep the cars on the lot, popular. And, oh yeah, you usually can't pick your color (if you really want one, you get what they have) and you pay sticker price (or at some dealers a little more.)

So after not getting to test-drive the car, we backtracked to the Polaris area to go to The Great Indoors. The Polaris Fashion Place is only about 15 minutes from our house, but it is outside of 270 and so I very rarely go there. We were headed to the Great Indoors because a very nice person had given us a gift certificate from there for our wedding. We didn't need anything, but it was $50 not coming out of our checking account and we were there, so gosh darn it, that $50 would be spent. We looked at doormats, I drooled over the Le Creuset section, and then we pondered how much use we would actually get out of a margarita maker. As we were wandering around the store, wondering again why we aren't rich, we saw the huge selection of faucets. Then we remembered, oh yeah, we do need a faucet to go with the new granite counter tops coming later this month. But, seriously, why are faucets so expensive? I was dripping(!) with sticker shock. Needless to say our $50 gift card barely put a dent into the faucet purchase.