Friday, February 29, 2008


Although I have always tried to trend away from the geek title, I have to sheepishly admit I have an obsession with time and especially time travel. I was reminded of this while watching last night's episode of Lost. And while I was left shaking my head and texting my brother a WTF message, I loved every second of Desmond's travels through time.

This fascination of mine probably started with A Wrinkle in Time, but it was primarily fueled through Quantum Leap. I loved this show and couldn't wait to see what Sam Beckett would put right each week. The Back to the Future movies gave me more to think about, but let's face it only the first one was any good. Years later when I first read one of my favorite books of all time, The Time Traveler's Wife, I was totally hooked on the idea of transcending normal time constraints.

Maybe I am so into time travel because I am interested in history, in fact, I really liked the Michael Crichton book Timeline, but didn't enjoy the movie as much. Like the characters in this book, I would love to see periods of history first hand, but I would also want to revisit periods of my life like in Time Traveler's Wife. Tops of my list would be Elizabethan England, the American Revolution and the night I was born.

Since I never took a physics class and can't figure out how to time travel, I'll stay busy trying to figure out what is going on in the weekly Lost episodes. And leave you with this: if you could time travel, what would you experience?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It Might Matter After All

We Ohioans are used to being a pretty big deal in deciding national elections. We weren't one of those states who rushed into moving up primaries. Instead, we stuck with March 4 and figured if the candidates were already determined, we would have our day in November.

Who's watching the Democratic debate now?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Movie Night

Trying to remember the last movie I saw in a theater came up with blanks. I suppose it was the last Harry Potter movie that came out last summer. So since it had evidently been six months since I've helped the Hollywood box office, last night Chris and I headed to Studio 35 to see Juno. Studio 35 is a jewel of the theater and a wonderful Clintonville treasure. It is a quirky little one screen theater built in the late 30s with an impressive selection of beer on tap. Unfortunately, it is a treasure I don't patron enough, because the last time I was there was to see the second Harry Potter movie on opening night roughly six years ago. (I might have a slight problem, but at least I know I'll be returning to the movies at least three more times in the next several years as the final Harry movies are released).

I have to admit, I loved Juno. After reading this article, I wasn't sure I would. Actually I mostly suspected I would. I have really liked Jennifer Garner since her Alias days and Allison Janey from her West Wing days. Also, I heard the soundtrack was great (it was) and I was totally taken in by the early trailers. It is refreshing to see a movie about a teenage girl who isn't a Mean Girl or obsessed with fashion. The hipster, alternative look made the movie very palatable for me.

Seems to me this movie would appeal to all ages. I identified most closely with the Jennifer Garner character who is unable to have children and will be the adoptive mother. Those 10 years younger than I would probably most easily identify with Juno. the pregnant teenager. And baby boomers could see themselves as Juno's parents.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. To me Juno, is kind of like Little Miss Sunshine almost all grown up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

National Cat Brushing Day

Last night I declared to Prada that February 23 would henceforth be known as National Cat Brushing Day. Clearly, the ceremonies involved are brushing the cat and, maybe, some kitty treats. Prada hasn't been brushed regularly since our wedding three months ago. At that time, she was feeling some of the stress we were radiating, and in addition to the cat acne began losing patches of fur on her back from over grooming. I tried taking her to the vet when we got back from the honeymoon, but she scratched the heck out of my legs and since I was being careful not to get skin abrasions because of the MRSA, I let her win and no trip to the vet actually happened. Since then the cat acne has mostly cleared up and the fur has grown back on her rump. Now that we no longer have a bald cat, her regular sessions with the Furminator can begin again. Therefore, February 23 is now known as National Cat Brushing Day. Celebrate with your feline today!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kitchen Confessional

For the life of me I can't cook rice. I'm pretty practiced at cooking pasta to perfect al dente. Cous, cous, of course no problem. Rice noodles, check. If the mood strikes, I can even cook a rather fair risotto, but I can't cook the everyday white or brown rice. Each time I try it turns our too wet, too sticky, too burned one memorable time when I tried toasting organic brown, or too hard.

Tonight I made this super yummy meal, but the rice to sop up the spicy, sweet delicious sauce, not up to par. Any tips? Other than get a rice steamer? The last thing I need is another one-task kitchen appliance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Still Working...

This weekend saw steady progress in the Great Bedroom Makeover of 2008. As I may have mentioned before, my years of being a Trading Spaces fan (Paige is back!) have taught me the following:

- all ideas work out in the end (well, maybe not gluing straw to the walls)

- rooms can easily and quickly be drastically changed with $1000 and 48 hours

I am now shaking my fist, because not only are we closing in on a month of our bedroom transformation, but we are well over budget.

However, great strides were made this weekend. Okay, who am I kidding, we still have a lot to do, but we did manage to get a decoration on the wall. There hasn't been a decoration on the bedroom wall since Chris moved in almost two years ago. So, that's some progress. We're, also, at least now able to sleep in the room again. The dust from sanding down the floors has been cleaned up and the bed has been put together. Don't ask about the curtains we have nailed to the window frames. Seriously, just don't ask.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Good Night for Chili

Nights like this...

... all snowy and blustery make me think of warming foods. Foods that are a mix of warm liquids and solids. Something with a little kick and lots of fun toppings. Yeah, it sounds like a good night for chili. Luckily by the time the snow really started to come down, I had a bubbling crock pot full of the easiest chicken chili ever. I'll share for the next time you're thinking chili to beat the chill outside.

Easy Chicken Chili

About a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

A jar of your favorite salsa (pick one with lots of flavor and veggies you can see)

Can of great northern beans; can of black beans

Can of fire roasted tomatoes

Spices to your taste (I used chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and dried cilantro)

Toppings you like (cheese, sour cream, avocado)

- Place chicken breasts and salsa in crock pot on high. When the chicken is cooked through (about 1 hour), shred it with a fork and knife. Return to the crock pot, also adding cans of beans and tomatoes. If it looks too thick, add some water (or other liquid). Turn crock pot to low and let cook. About 30 minutes before serving, add desired spices. Feel free to adjust the type of beans and add items (like frozen corn or jalapenos). Serve with the things you like on chili and corn muffins. Best served in large bowls and eaten on the couch. Stay warm!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kissing up to

This is what I wrote to enter a contest at The winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to some super cool kitchen wares show. How much fun would that be? I entered last year also, but sadly didn't win (they did however send me a gift certificate for my trouble). This year the folks at asked for 150 words on your favorite / most used kitchen tool. I dodged the question and used a little brown-nosing in my entry:

It's tough to pick just one favorite kitchen tool. Should I pick the item I most coveted before owning (KitchenAid Stand Mixer), the item that gets a surprising amount of use (OXO potato masher), the source of comfort and get up and go (Le Creuset Kiwi Tea Kettle to make tea and coffee), the unbelievably powerful (Wusthuf knives) or the cute and functional (colorful dish towels)? All are useful and all have a special place in my kitchen, however, it’s a rare night that my trusty laptop doesn’t accompany me while cooking. An endless source of recipes and cooking advice, my laptop provides inspiration in the form of recipes from chefs across the globe, also connecting me to great shopping and information at

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Opening the Heart

Because Valentine’s Day fell on my regular yoga class, I promised the group an evening of heart opening poses. One woman thought I meant open heart surgery, so I had to change the terminology to widening through the chest. Maybe because of this lingo challenge, I only had four people show up. However, we had a great time. We worked a lot on cobra, tried our best at half moon modified to against the wall and then on our knees and half of the class tried camel.

The physical asana was interesting and felt great, but the really intriguing part was the conversation after the class. When you open the heart in many yoga poses, you are also opening the throat and communication center. I wasn't totally surprised to hear then the things that were shared with me after the class.

They told me about their struggles with weight loss (one woman had had gastric bypass surgery and the other had recently lost 50 pounds) and how these last few months of yoga had given them confidence. Since I could relate, we had a long talk about the weight issues and how yoga can help. It did my heart good to know I have made a small impact on their journey.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


For the first time since I've been engaged (over a year) and since we've been married (just shy of three months), today I forgot to wear my wedding band and engagement ring to work. I was driving to work, going over the checklist in my head of things to do today, when I realized the familiar heaviness of my rings was absent. I briefly considered turning back, but the roads were icy and I was late to work as it was, no I would have to go through a day not wearing the rings. My heart sank and I called Chris to let him know I had forgotten them on the windowsill after mixing the meatloaf which was last night's dinner.

I didn't think it would be a big deal to not have the rings on for one day. A hunk of carbon and some white gold, does not a marriage make. But throughout the day, I was bothered that I wasn't wearing the symbol of our relationship. I realized that in tense moments during meetings, I unconsciously run the back of the bands with my thumb. I found that while composing e-mails, I stare at the brilliance of the diamond for inspiration. Without my rings, I realized just what a reassuring presence they are throughout my everyday life. Like an anchor securing me to what is important in my life, the rings stand for love, family and a circle unbroken.

When I got home, I immediately put the rings back on my left hand. I don't think I'll be forgetting them again anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

COTA Adventures

When I woke up this morning, I was slightly surprised to see snow on the ground. Columbus weathermen often seem to get a little too excited about what they see as the impending doom of storms. You are led to believe Armageddon is knocking on the door, and all you get is a couple of flurries. So when I saw the snow, I thought they might be on target this time in calling for wintry mix later on in the afternoon. What is wintry mix? Not really sure, but it doesn't sound like enjoyable driving. So after the internal battle of whether or not to call in sick, I opted to take the bus to work. Before switching jobs in the fall, Chris took the bus each day so he was able to give me some riding tips. It's a little embarrassing to admit that as a lifelong Columbus resident, I have taken the bus only three times. In light of this, Chris' knowledge came in handy. Together, we got me all bundled up with coat zipped, boots on, ear warmer in place and correct bus fare in my pocket to find my way to work in the impending doom of wintry mix.

The way there was rather uneventful. Chris told me to get on a bus with a #2 and stay on that until I was close to work. Then I had about a five minute walk to my office. It was pleasant and I appreciated someone else was doing the drive. I didn't have my coffee this morning, so the walk helped to wake me up.

The way home from work was a little more of a challenge. I consider myself an intelligent person, but I was having trouble figuring out how to get home. The COTA website isn't terribly clear and I was confused as to when a bus would be coming and where I should wait. All the real time busses seemed to be heading south while I wanted to go north, so this was a little concerning. No worries, I thought I'll just go find a bus stop and eventually a #2 should come along. And it did, right as I was trying to cross the street. Then four other busses came before another #2. I missed this one because I didn't know I had go to it (it was the third bus in line on the curb). Another #2 did finally come and other than the person who was loudly snoring behind me, the ride was uneventful. I got home a little later than usual, but because the COTA experience was overall a positive one, I'll be more willing to take it periodically.

I don't feel I can complain about the mass transit options in Columbus unless I am a consumer of the services. I would like to see it expanded, but I think what we have is a start. I'm glad it was there for me today when I just didn't want to drive in the snow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sneak Peek

Because I'm beginning to think our bedroom make-over will never be finished, I am offering you a sneak peek of the paint colors. It's a little blurry, but the paint chip shows the blue and tan of the rooms. Two walls are the blue and two walls are the tan. The white is the trim. The dark wood the chip is on is the new furniture.
Now I'm off to paint the trim for the fourth time. Why again? First Chris insisted on priming the trim, then we used eggshell paint on it which looked a big pasty mess. Then Chris sanded the whole mess down. Then we got to prime again. A sanding and priming fan, my husband is. I can honestly say I never primed nor sanded anything until I met him.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

He had People

Being an overly dramatic and romantic teenager who devoured books, I was incredibly drawn to Gone with the Wind. Not only did it have a high spirited heroine of a bygone era, it was also long. And give me a long book which I can get lost in and I'm one happy girl. Fiddle-dee-dee. So when, while I was in college, the authorized sequel came out, I was thrilled but also rather apprehensive. Could someone else recapture the feeling of Clayton County, Georgia and its favorite daughter? I liked the book well enough. It satisfied my urge to know what happened after Scarlett said tomorrow is another day. True, that sequel turned the whole thing into a fantasy romance. Scarlett buying the original Tara in Ireland? Rhett rescuing her in her moment of need? Fine, whatever. I'll take it, but I refused to watch the made for TV movie version. There is only one Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, right?

So it was with a tepid response I had heard another authorized book came out, this one focusing on Rhett. I guess the author, Donald McCraig, didn't like the ending in Scarlett either, because he gives us a totally different story to ponder. If you're a GWTW nut or like historical fiction, check out the book, but don't expect to be taken back to the Scarlett and Rhett you are expecting. I guess some things are better left to the imagination.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Season of Renewal

Lent is the time each year in which we are asked to look inward for 40 days before rejoicing at Easter. Or at least that is what I take it for. It seems a lot of my beliefs these days are a mixed bag between my Catholic religion and the more I learn and understand about yoga practice. So looking inward and having awareness makes sense to me and really it is the point of both disciplines. For the first time in years, I went to Mass on Ash Wednesday where I was marked with the sign of sin. For the rest of the day, I was stared at; deciding how to react to that is in itself an act of faith. I skipped out on an evening reception I was scheduled to attend to head home and make tuna noodle casserole. Probably not the best reaction, but renewal doesn't come overnight.

So for these 40 days of Lent, I will abstain from meat on Fridays, attend church each week and look inward. Rather than being the punishment some people perceive it as, I am looking forward to it. For more on how others will celebrate Lent in Central Ohio, click here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


A Thursday afternoon ritual has been making a quick "lesson" plan for my yoga class that evening. By all rights (these people are paying me after all), I should be carefully crafting this throughout the week so I have a beautifully balanced and flowing sequence of poses to teach well in advance of the Thursday class. But it's me, so this usually gets done in the 60 minutes before class begins. I really enjoy the 15 minutes or so at work I devote to yoga planning each week. As I start thinking of the poses I'll be leading the class through, my mind visualizes not only the physical aspect of each pose, but how I can describe it to the class and what they'll be feeling. It's really calming for me to just do the yoga practice in my head. I don't move any muscles other than what are used to take notes on my paper, but in planning each movement I feel like I have already begun my practice. Yoga for me in the past has either been prescribed to me as in I would do the poses the teacher was leading the whole class in or I would complete a sequence from a magazine; or in that it just came naturally as I would be practicing home and do whatever poses came to mind. So this experience of planning a class has been different for me and a good challenge. At first I would use the classes included in my training book, but I quickly became bored and sensed my students would be also. Over the weeks, I slowly began branching out and trying new poses in different sequences. This made me think of different ways of describing poses and linking them together. It also had me consider the people in my class and how they would react to the poses, their perceived and real limitations.

As I've mentioned before, teaching yoga has been an eye-opening experience and one which continues to surprise me in how I react to it. Who knew my favorite part of a Thursday at work would be stealing a few moments to plan that night's poses?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Candy Everybody Wants

This article made me stop and think for just a moment. For those who do not click through, I'll summarize: in the face of ten years of self help books and society in general telling us to be happy, some people are beginning to drop out of the happy lifestyle and embrace melancholy. I found this to be an interesting concept - everyone wants to be happy, right, what is wrong with that? But then I thought about it a little more and I realized, that no, I don't always want to be happy. Sometimes being a cranky bitch and taking a night off to watch chick flicks in my pajamas is way more soothing than always trying to be happy. The article also mentions that without unhappiness we wouldn't have some of best writers, musicians and philosophers. It seems the human condition isn't much furthered if everyone is content.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Better Woman Than I

Chris had to work late last night and then head into the office today also. While this is irritating to him and also throws a wrench into getting our bedroom up and running again, it gave me the opportunity to read Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen. I had reserved it from the library several weeks back and it just came in earlier this week. This is a quick read, light and fun. The basic premise is this girl who is turning 30, stuck in a dead-end job and unhappy with life in general decides to tackle a project of cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.

No surprises here, it gets to be tough going for a while and Julie's hysterics don't always help, but through the project she gains fame and a sense of purpose. The book is a little disjointed in parts, but that is to be expected because it is taken from her blog where she faithfully updates her "bleaders" on attempts in the kitchen. This book hooked me from the beginning. The author is very relatable and I can imagine sitting down with Julie, having a gimlet (vodka for her, gin for me) and some girl talk. However, I can't relate to the challenge she takes on. Livers, calf brains and sweetmeats, oh my! I like to think of myself as an adventurous cook and appreciative eater, but not only do I not think I could finish the project; there isn't even a part of me who would want to give it a go. So, I give her the all the credit she's getting for this work and I'll leave the French cooking to the masters.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's About the Stuff

Has anyone watched the video at this website: It does take 20 minutes, but it is interesting, educational, and slightly entertaining. The thing that really struck me is that only about 1% of all the stuff we buy is still around 6 months later. So the other 99% percent of the stuff is either in landfills or hopefully being used by someone else through reuse or recycling.

For a long time it seemed that the holy grail of the environmental movement was getting everyone to recycle, but now it doesn't seem to be enough. Remember Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Even though recycle was the last on the list, it was viewed by many to be the rallying point. Now, even though we all recycle more than we did 20 years ago, we all consume a lot more, too. So really, we're back at a starting point of too much consuming.

I have to admit, I get a bad mark in the consumption category. My house has had to make room for many closets have a lot clothes and shoes...our kitchen has a gadget for each task and we own about four monitors per capita in our home. I had totally bought into the conspicuous consumption mentality, but now I'm trying to opt out.

I'm trying to opt out not only for environmental reasons (even though these are especially valid), but also for emotional reasons. Sometimes it's hard to think with so much stuff around. It gets hard to focus on more important things - family, friends, career - when there is so much stuff to acquire. So in baby steps, I'm opting out. I'll be declaring February a no purchase month. I know I have discussed these months of mine before, where I don't purchase anything new, eat lunches in and keep grocery shopping to a minimum, but I haven't had one in several months and I think it is well past due.

Anyone want to join me? C'mon it's a short month!