Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas morning

The ingredients for the Christmas Feast have been sourced and the presents lay waiting under the tree.  Champagne is chilling for Bucks Fizz, and I'm up early, enjoying Christmas morning peace and dulcet tunes broadcast from a carol service in Buckingham Palace, brought to me by the magic of internet.  Soon, via that same magic, I'll be joining the relatives across the sea for a video chat.

D and I celebrate Christmas on our own with a feast of epicurean scale.  Due to an unfortunate back strain on the part of the husband, I've been called up from the minor leagues to undertake feast production duties... properly supervised, of course, because my lack of ability in the kitchen is legendary.  Fingers crossed our cooperative effort is up to the standards of his usual production.

I'm two days in to a long, long Christmas break in which I intend doing little more than watching ridiculous amounts of Christmas movies and TV, drinking ludicrous amounts of champagne and Absolut Vanilla vodka, and eating absurd amounts of chocolate.

To you and yours, I wish a Happy Christma-hanna-kwanzi-kah (or Festivus for the rest of us) and all the best for the New Year.  Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner of the net.

Happy Holidays All!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amongst my Favorite Things: Sonic Scrubber

D and I have been sporadically, and yet constantly, remodeling the little shack on the prairie for over 4 years now.  We work on it as funds and enthusiasm allow and frequently find ourselves lacking either or both.  But one of the things we (and by "we" I totally mean "he") accomplished some time ago, to my great delight, is the remodeling of our home's single bathroom.

And it is beauteous.  D single-handedly demolished the dire toilet, vanity, vinyl tiles and painted-over tin-tile wainscoting and wallpaper and rebuilt the bathroom around the only thing left - the old cast iron tub, which is in decent shape and too dang heavy to consider removing.  He replaced the ugly vanity with a pedestal sink, installed a new toilet, laid ceramic floor tiles, and most impressively of all, affixed over 1,200 subway tiles to the walls to replace the tin-tile wainscoting and create a tub/shower surround.

Here are before and after shots:

Quite a transformation, no?  When the bath renovation was finished, it was the most "done" room in the entire house and I was thrilled with it.  I was so excited that if I could have filled the tub with cushions and installed satellite television in there, I would have moved into the bathroom full time.  

Since we chose - some might say foolishly - white grout for both the floor and the wall tiles, we invested a little extra money and a LOT of extra pain-in-the-ass effort (on D's part anyway) for epoxy grout, which is supposed to resist staining.  One of the things I promised D, after all his hard work, is that I would keep the bathroom sparkling clean.  And I did... for a while.

Then life and my old bad habits got in the way and suddenly I found that I hadn't scrubbed the shower walls for a good couple of months and we were a getting pinkish scum build-up in there.  So I scrubbed, and scrubbed and scrubbed some more.  And while I could get the bathroom sparkling clean, the grout lines stubbornly hung on to their new pink hue.  Fecking epoxy grout - stain resistant, my ass.

I had seen an infomercial for the Sonic Scrubber and then noticed that they were sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond with the Dow Scrubbing Bubbles brand name added.  Perhaps this isn't the normal "as seen on TV" useless tat?  After checking out some good reviews on the interweb, I decided to try one out.

Combined with Soft Scrub with bleach, this thing works a treat.  No scrubbing or sweating, just slowly pass the spinning brush across the grout and presto, it's sparkling clean!  It's like a power toothbrush for tile - awesome!

And as a little follow up tip for anybody else that hates cleaning the shower as much as I do, I have only one thing to say: daily shower spray.  I never really believed in this stuff.  In fact, at nearly three dollars a bottle, which you can easily go through in a week or two, I considered it a bit of a waste.  But after diligently detailing my shower tiles with the Sonic Scrubber (which, while easy, was still time consuming) I decided to try it out - but found a recipe for a homemade version which is easy to mix up in a spray bottle and very inexpensive as well.

1/2 cup (4oz) Hydrogen Peroxide
1/2 cup (4oz) Rubbing Alcohol
2 tsp Jet Dry dishwasher rinse agent
A couple of drops of dish soap
4 cups (24oz) of water

I've been spraying this on my shower daily for about 2 months now.  The shower wall tiles still look sparkling clean and I haven't had to scrub them once. 

So there you are, friends.  If you've got a bunch of tile grout to clean, get thyself a Sonic Scrubber!

Note: I haven't been compensated for this review/recommendation in any way.  I just loved this thing so much I want to share it with the world.  Or at least the little troupe of you reading my blog.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Revelations in the dental chair

I went to the dentist this week for my 6 month cleaning and check up.  There was a time in my late 20s when I was traveling constantly for work that I got fairly, shall we say, neglectful about taking care of my teeth.  The HMO dentist I was seeing made you schedule appointments a minimum of three months in advance.  I generally couldn't tell you where I was going to be in three weeks, let alone three months.  After canceling and rescheduling, canceling and rescheduling, I gave up going to the dentist at all.  For like three years.

Then I went back.  They scheduled two separate deep-cleaning sessions because they weren't sure I was "going to be able to take it" in one session.  The hygenist practically climbed up onto the chair with me, bracing herself with her sturdy legs while going into my mouth with a pickax and a miner's lantern hat.  Or at least that's what it felt like.

And I vowed to change my ways.  I took up flossing with a vengeance.  I make my next dental appointment for bang-on six months away before I leave my current appointment.  And when I go back, they scrape at my teeth for about 15 minutes and do a quick polish.  And I'm all, "That's it?"  They warn me that I should be swishing with Act to address a couple of weak spots that could become cavities and send me on my way.  They've been warning about those weak spots for 5 years now.

So this week during the cleaning, I'm laying in the chair trying to relax my hands which have balled up into little fists, and release my back muscles that are trying to levitate me off the chair.  And the hygenist is scraping and scraping.  I'm wondering when this is going to end.  She does the whirry-polishing thing and THEN gets out her scraper for another go at my molars.  I'm wondering... is there something wrong here or is she just being more... diligent than my previous hygenists?

Then the cleaning is over and the dentist comes in and starts poking around my mouth and casually orders a filling on two teeth.  Two cavities - including one that wasn't citied as a previously-noted weak spot?  WTF?

Then I remembered.  My husband recently discovered these divine toffees in the bulk candy bins at our local grocer's.  And after I had a few, I made him buy about three pounds of it and we (and by "we", I mean mostly "me") ate it all in less than a month.  These things are chewy, sticky, buttery-caramely bites of perfection and they became my go-to sweet of choice.  I'd have a couple as "dessert" after lunch, and a couple more as "dessert" after dinner and, hell, sometimes I would have one if I was walking through the kitchen and feeling a bit bored.  Then, as quickly and mysteriously as this decadent treat had appeared, the shop stopped selling them so I had to quit cold-turkey.  It hasn't been easy, mind.

But it turns out, layering chewy, sticky, buttery-caramely sugar onto my teeth on a fairly regular basis without increasing the frequency of brushing?  Not so good for the old chompers.  So, NEWSFLASH: sugar rots your teeth!

Damn it.  I hate it when my mother is right.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Color my world

So, the new Harry Potter film is out, have you heard?  (I didn't really write a whole post about how I'm grateful for a Harry Potter film - I mean, I could have, but it would probably be way more interesting to me than to you, so just stick with me here.)

D and I have, over time, become huge fans of the series.  We resisted watching the films initially, tending to dismiss the "sheeple" jumping on the the latest bandwagon.  Then a good friend lent us the first DVD, insisting that we really should give it ago.  And a passion was born.  Over the years, we've done a couple of marathon series of Friday film nights to watch all of the films and we are planning another for over the Christmas holiday.  We won't go see the new film for a while... we may even wait for the DVD - which we have done with every other installment of the series.  But the Biography channel has recently broadcast a thoroughly enjoyable series of documentaries entitled "Creating the World of Harry Potter" which offers a fascinating peek into the process of bringing the books to life.

It was when we were watching a discussion of scoring the film and the evocative impact of a few spare notes in the "Music and Sounds" episode that I was struck by how fortunate I am to live in a world where brilliant, creative people exist with the passion to create works of art for the enjoyment of others.  People who face a blank screen, or sheet of paper or canvas, or roll of film (or camera sensor?) and are compelled to pour a little of themselves into it and share it with the world.  I'm astounded and humbled by the talents others manifest in language, music, film, still images or other media.  Works of art that amuse me, move me and inspire me.  Sure, some people do it for money, but for many the act of creation is its own reward.  They undertake that first effort with no surety that it will come to anything significant financially... rather with a simple creative urge that must be released.

And we are so lucky they do.  How many times have you been brought to tears or laughter by a book, film or blog post?  How many times have you been soothed or compelled to dance by brilliant music?  How many times have you been drawn to an arresting image?  How much bleaker would the world be if we couldn't escape the dullness of simple existence through these works of art from time to time?

So today, before I stuff myself with a feast my dear husband will create for us (another talent I'm supremely grateful for), I am pausing to be thankful for the artists that color my world... including you, my blogging friends.  To morph a turn of phrase from the Discovery channel:  People are just awesome.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Many Blessings

Photo by Little Man
There's nothing quite like posting memories of September 11 and then not writing again for over two months to highlight a blogging lapse.  However, since it's a holiday, I've decided to take some time to count my blessings and get back on the horse with this here bloggy thing.  In light of major upheavals in 2011, I have so many things for which to be thankful and today is an appropriate day to reflect on them.

I haven't been writing because I have been completely caught up in effecting some huge life changes, and writing moved down on the priority list.  Very far down.  I've been preoccupied and lacking inspiration, and I don't have the eloquence of the lovely Leonore, who recently wrote a brilliant post about that exact issue.

At the beginning of this year, D was struggling and I posed a question to the universe as I pondered a course of action.  I grappled with the urge to throw caution to the wind and make a big life change, balanced against the desire to be prudent in a bad economy.  My mental wranglings were compounded by doubts about the stability of my relationship and the potential for regrets about any big decisions made in the face of these issues.

The question:  
Do I leave a good job and a bad house and the comfort of a life where I'm from to follow D into the great unknown?

Then in the spring, my company got acquired and my job was scheduled for elimination.  As I've previously wrote:
I really couldn't have received a clearer answer.  It's like the universe was saying, "So you're not sure whether you should give up your job for the good of your relationship?  Bam, problem solved.  Now go sort it out with your man!"
This is where the blessings start.  You see, we felt couldn't leave the little shack on the prairie without completing the major renovations we had undertaken and left half done.  We needed some time before the big life changes could commence.  I got such a soft landing, because I didn't lose my job - originally scheduled to wrap up in June - until the end of July.  Then I spent three months working as a part-time contractor, mainly from home.  This afforded time to get the renovations underway again while still making an income.

November rolled around, and we had secured a good contractor (that rare commodity!) and progress had resumed on the renovation in earnest.  I had substantially wrapped up work with my old company at the end of October when the blessings continued: I got a call asking if I had interest in going back to assist a company I'd worked with for four years before moving on to a better opportunity in 2008.  My old position was vacated and they were looking for some help while they find a replacement.  I get to work with a few of my favorite people in the world and secure an income for a bit longer.  

That extra bit of money is going to come in handy, because D and I are moving back to the UK to be closer to his family.  This is a huge move.  Although we lived there briefly after our wedding, I'm leaving career security in a city where people frequently call me about job opportunities.  My accounting specialty is valued by the small population of companies that need my skills and my reputation in this town is a good one.  Those skills won't be as applicable in the UK and I'll have to start building a professional network all over again.  Our plan to move there without jobs in a struggling economy could be considered foolhardy.  But D and I are so excited that any career sacrifices are worth it to me.  Looking forward to the move, together, has changed the dynamic in our relationship resulting in a huge improvement.  That is priceless.

Here, the blessings begin to rain down.  Before I was laid off, I spoke to the VP of European operations to see if he could introduce me to people in the UK that might be good contacts as I search for employment.  His words: "I'd like to hire you!" Thus we began discussions about creating a position for me in the UK, though in a different function that will require some growth and expansion in my skill set.  There were budget constraints to overcome and it has taken some time for matters to progress.  All signs are go, and I'm now waiting for the final offer letter and the start date to be determined. If it all comes together, it looks like we will be moving very early in the new year.

Ah, but the house... we are still a couple of weeks away from putting it on the market, and a very poor market it is.  However, I have this optimistic conviction that if we can just get it listed, things will simply work out.  Everything else has.  This house will turn out to be a spectacularly bad financial investment - we will have lost a substantial amount of our life savings on it.  But you know what?  I don't care.  We are so very fortunate that we can get out of it without having to resort to a short sale or foreclosure.  That is a blessing too.

Looking back to the beginning of the year when I knew this change needed to be made, but was hesitant to take the actions to accomplish it - I can hardly believe how fortunate I am.  In part, you make your own luck.  We are in this position because I have been a dedicated employee and because we took on the purchase and renovation of the house with fiscal prudence - well, as much prudence as possible when you pay top dollar in an overheated market, invest a ton of money into renovations and then sell after a 20% drop in real estate prices.

But bad things happen to good people all the time, no matter how much one tries to "create your luck."  So I know that I am also very, very lucky that things have worked out this way.'s a word I generally hesitate to use, because it reminds me that I can't control everything with the simple force of my will.  But lucky I am - pure and simple - and I'm going to own that admission for a while.  2011 has been a tough year - one that has forced me into some big decisions that needed to be made.  That is yet another blessing.  2012 will present its own set of challenges, but because I can count so many blessings, I'm facing the world with a grin I can barely wipe off my face.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Great Internet Bangs Smackdown of 2010

For most of my childhood, my mother insisted on styling my hair based on the firmly rooted tenet that I should be wearing bangs because I suffer from five-head.  Bless her, she never actually used that term, but I was painfully aware of my high forehead and therefore I wore bangs all the way through high school.

I had a love-hate relationship with my bangs, and with my baby fine super straight hair in general.  As a child, the bangs were the blunt-bowl-cut-straight-across-the-forehead variety.  Then in seventh grade I became the proud owner of a curling iron and I would curl those suckers and spray them up within an inch of their life.  Then there were the unfortunate perm years.  Oh the frizz, the shameful, shameful frizz.

Anyway, when I grew into adulthood, I let go of my five-head insecurities, grew out the bangs and thought little of it for a while.

However, recently I felt a tug to change my hair, which I've been wearing pretty much exactly the same way for damn near ever.  I won't dye it because I don't want to mess with the striking blond color - my hair's best feature.  I've worn it in short layers - hated that.  I've worn it long, but it tends to suffer under its own fine, tangled weight.  And recent consternation with forehead wrinkles, which I can indubitably attribute to a severe sunburn sustained on a 4-day houseboat trip on Lake Shasta when I was 25, led me to the conclusion that I should try wearing bangs again.

I did this once before, about 5 years ago, and the husband?  He hated it.  At the time, I was wearing them in a "fringe" (the British word for bangs) straight across.  This go round, I showed my stylist a picture of Reese Witherspoon's sideswept bangs and hoped they'd meet with the approval of the husband.

The response was lukewarm - but that's far better than before.  And to his credit, regardless of what he thinks of my hair he is quick to assure me that it's what I think that matters.  I think I like it, but I dipped my toe ever so gently into the water, with the bangs cut long so that I can quickly revert to my old boring style if need be.

So internets, help a girl out.  Don't sit on the fence, people.  Get out the vote and let me know what you think.

Before (passport mug shot, excuse the harsh lighting)
Leave a comment and let me know - should I go all in on the bangs?

A) No way.  D's right, what were you thinking?
B) For defs - this is a much better look.
C) OMG - get over yourself - nobody cares!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's your language; use it

I am inspired by this today... I could write for decades and never come close to such an indulgently sensuous use of words... but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.

Stephen Fry, on language:

"So if you’ve got it, use it. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t believe it belongs to anyone else, don’t let anyone bully you into believing that there are rules and secrets of grammar and verbal deployment that you are not privy to... Just let the words fly from your lips and your pen. Give them rhythm and depth and height and silliness. Give them filth and form and noble stupidity. Words are free and all words, light and frothy, firm and sculpted as they may be, bear the history of their passage from lip to lip over thousands of years. How they feel to us now tells us whole stories of our ancestors." 

I was tipped off to Stephen Frye's whole essay, Don't Mind Your Language, along with Matthew Roger's mesmerizing kinetic video excerpt of that essay by the good folks at Lifehacker, who this week are writing about... writing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Falling back

I love daylight savings time.  In fact, I think we should be on daylight savings time all year round.  Then, of course, it wouldn't actually be daylight savings time, it would just be "picking up our country and moving it one step to the right on the global time zone map." (Take that Greenwich Mean Time!)

I hate, hate, hate losing an hour of sleep in the spring.  And all the parents I know with infants or young children can't stand "gaining an hour" in the fall because children don't know they are supposed to wake up an hour later on their circadian bio-clock.

But I was struck today that, due to the ubiquitous nature of clocks linked to "the grid," I've all but lost a time-honored tradition in Keenie-Beanieland.  You see, I am a godless heathen who doesn't go to church on Sunday - and indeed, rarely makes a date for that lovely, lazy day of the week.  Even though I am godless, I take that "day of rest" commandment thing pretty damn seriously.

So in the good old days, I would wake up and trundle through my lazy Sunday blissfully unaware of the time change until the evening, when I might turn on the television and notice that my favorite show wasn't going to be starting for another hour.

And friends, this is a priceless gift, because just as I was starting to wind down the weekend and bemoan the fact that I had to be at work the next morning, I was handed another whole precious weekend hour.  How cool is that?  I would go around the house resetting all the clocks an hour back and revel in the found time.

That is way better than getting an extra hour of sleep.  My unconscious self has no appreciation for the gift.

But now on "fall back day," I wake up and check the time on my automatically-synchronized atomic alarm clock - mildly pleased that I seem to feel a little less sleepy than I usually might at this hour of the morning. I turn on the DVR whose clock has been updated by its satellite tether, note the (naturally) accurate time on the morning news, check messages on the smartphone with a clock reset by those clever folks at T-mobile, and fire up the laptop that somehow knows what time it is before I even connect to the net.  As it happens, the only clock I need to reset is the watch that I rarely consult anyway and apparently wear primarily for decoration, and only on weekdays at that.  I usually figure out the watch is wrong sometime around the middle of Monday, which if anything, makes me feel like I have to spend an extra hour in the office.

So as far as I'm concerned, I haven't gained anything.  Where is my precious found hour?  Sometimes technology is too smart for its own good.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not so good at the details...

So I went to a dermatologist on Monday because I've had this bit of contact dermatitis on the side of my hand for like, six months.  It isn't really all that big of a deal.  But after so many months of not being right, it had got to the point where it didn't feel like hand skin anymore... more like those calloused bits on the edge of one's feet.

I finally didn't want to have foot skin on my hand any more so I sucked it up and booked an appointment with a dermatologist.  I've never been before.  I felt kind of dumb going in with this eensy little problem, but I started to think, "what if this never gets better and now my hand is just like this for the rest of my life?!  And then it didn't seem like an eensy problem anymore - we're talking about the rest of my life, people!

Anyway, I went in with this little problem on my hand and when the nurse took my blood pressure, she handed me a gown and told me, "the doctor does a full body scan for skin cancer on all new patients so please disrobe and put this on over your underwear."

Um... you mean the raggedy ones I pulled out of the drawer in the dark so as not to disturb the sleeping husband this morning?  Practically the only ones left in said drawer because I hadn't gotten around to doing the laundry for a disturbing couple of weeks? Those underwear?

But it gets better, because I am so severely blond and my hair is so fine that I can get away with being, shall we say, a little cavalier about shaving my legs in the colder months.  So not only am I wearing grim underwear, but I'm sporting Sasquatch legs too.

And I only remember about the scraggly remains of a weeks-old pedicure clinging forlornly to my toes as I'm sat there fidgeting nervously waiting for the doctor to knock on the door.  Dammit.

So I don't know whether to be relieved or dismayed when a medical student (it's a teaching hospital) steps into the room instead of the doctor and indicates that she'll be doing the exam.  Because she is adorable.  I bet her adorable little toes are sporting a perfect pedicure.  And we know how perfectly put-together women make me feel.

After quizzing me on my sunscreen habits (which are exemplary) and doing the full-body scan, including peeking between my pathetically manicured toes at the end of my furry legs, she says - "How old are you?" and I tell her, and she says, "You have taken very good care of your skin!"

So - lingerie, pedicure, de-fuzzing? Epic fail.  But minimizing sun damage: Aced it!

And she didn't give me permission, but you can be damn sure I had my clothes back on the very instant she walked out of the room to get the doctor.  Because there's only so much humiliation one can take in a day.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Ten years ago today...

D and I met while we were working for the same international firm.  I was based in Portland, Oregon but traveling nearly constantly.  He was based in the Cayman Islands.

We met at a company lunch on Grand Cayman, and the story goes that after setting eyes on me, he said to a co-worker, "She's a babe!"  He calls me Babe to this day.  I don't consider myself such, so I love him for the fact that he does.  He's a Brit and his accent charmed me immediately.  It's backed up by an acerbic, rapier wit that keeps me in stitches all these years later.

As a former bridge officer on large ships, he's extremely well traveled, having crossed the equator and transited the Panama canal numerous times.  He's sailed six of the seven seas and set foot on six of the seven continents.

I told him once that the chance that we even met, let alone crafted a relationship that led to a marriage, seems so astronomically unlikely it must have been fated.  I imagine us as little pinpoints of light on the globe... his circling the earth, transiting the seas... mine orbiting within the confines of my country, occasionally brushing Canada or Mexico.  Then one day our points of light collide in the Caribbean and turn into a shower of sparks.

At first, the distance thing seemed insurmountable.  We enjoyed spending time together for the remainder of my visit to the island.  And both of us were sad when it was time for me to leave but it seemed a brief island romance destined to become a pleasant memory.  This was before Skype, and it cost $0.25/min for me to call him on the Islands, and over $1.00/min for him to ring the States.  So even keeping in touch seemed an expensive proposition.

He sent me the sweetest e-mail the day I left.  He told me that he was listening to David Gray's "Please Forgive Me" and it made him think of me. Not that he had anything to apologize for - here is the lyric, which still melts my heart when I hear it:

Please forgive me if I act a little strange
For I know not what I do
Feels like lightning running through my veins
Every time I think of you

He had a business trip to the States the day after my departure, and I remember that we decided to take advantage of the low cost phone calls and had a few marathon overnight conversations.  Somewhere in those calls we decided on his visit to Oregon at Christmas, sacrificing his holiday visit to England to come see me.

So two months after those first idyllic days on the Island, I was nervously waiting at the Portland Airport - back when you could still meet someone at the gate as they stepped off the plane.

The sparks were still there.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Years Day completely absorbed in each other.  One evening, curled up on a sofa in front of the massive stone fireplace in the great room at Timberline Lodge, we noticed that when we were together, it was like we were in an insulated bubble for just the two of us.  I wanted to stay in the bubble forever.

Three years and three days later - across the international date line and on another island in the sea, we did this:

Happy Ten Years, my love.  You've made the world my oyster
and I'll never see it the same way because of you.

Photo: Miles Holden

Our wedding album:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Silvery-Pink and Orange Lining

"It's 0600... what's the "o" stand for? Oh, my God, it's early!"
        -Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam

You know back in 2007, Congress changed the start and end dates of Daylight Savings Time, to extend the DST period by an extra month each year?  I'm definitely a fan.  I think it's great that the precious daylight hours after work are conserved for a few more weeks.  But in recent days, the start of my morning commute has moved from "Oh, my God, it's early" to "O-dark-thirty."  I literally leave the house at the butt-crack of dawn.

I welcome fall, snuggling in as the heat dissipates and the leaves turn fiery colors.  It's time for nightly cozy fires in the woodstove and looking forward to Christmas - I love Christmas.  But as the days get shorter - darn that rotation of the earth around the sun! - it starts to get a bit depressing to leave for work and get home in the dark.  I used to work in cubeland where I couldn't even see a window... and if I worked through lunch during a busy time, days would go by where I'd barely set eyes on sunlight.  Last winter, at least, I enjoyed my very own office with an exterior window - a luxury indeed.

With the new job last spring, I'm back in cubeland.  But the enlightened designers of our company premises have placed all the execs in offices on the interior of the building, ringing them with low-walled cubes, some of which face right out the windows.  It's only fair that those who make the big bucks cede the windows to us schmucks toiling away in the cubicles.  It makes such a difference to have daylight flooding the workspace, and although I don't like leaving for work in the dark, if I get to enjoy this view as the sun rises over the city when I get there, it's a definite plus to the shorter days.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on Miracle the Kitten

A few weeks ago I told you about the kitten we rescued who was dubbed Miracle.  After contacting, Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, I received this message from the lovely Marilyn who coordinates the cat adoption program:

Miracle did come in this morning and is negative for FIV and Leukemia!  She is being fostered with my current kittens that are her size so she has three buddies, October, Prada and Boston.  She is a little out of sorts as all kittens are at first, a few grrrr's at the others but she will be just fine by this time tomorrow.
I cannot imagine how little and fragile she must have been when "the incident" occurred.  She is about 5-6 weeks old and weighs 1-10oz.   She is not shy or frightened and she is even trying to play in my office with the toys all around the room.  You are welcome to come visit any time. 
Thank you for caring - - I will follow with pictures but she needs a bath first.  Maybe tomorrow.......???

So the kitten is healthy, receiving excellent care, and now has a bunch of little buddies.  I'm so glad because I'm sure she was probably missing her littermates after her terrifying adventure.  The mental picture of this 1 lb handful of fluff growling at her new roomies cracks me up though.

D and I went over one evening to visit the kitten and meet her new crew.  There were eight kittens of various ages being fostered by Marilyn and her husband Steve at the time of our visit.   I'm restricted from taking them all in by my much more sensible husband, but if I was on my own, I could easily become a crazy cat lady. I would love to foster kittens - though Marilyn did admit to a bit of sadness when a cat has stayed with them for a while or required a lot of care and it's time for them to move to a forever home.  I'm so sentimental I would just be setting myself up for heartache.

But you guys, if watching a bunch of sweet little kittens at play doesn't make you grin just a little bit, well then you must be dead inside.  I love how Miracle's got these cute little turned-down walrus whiskers, a leopard spotted tummy and permanent bed-head fur.  Check her out here:

Now I only have to wait for the news that she's been adopted to a forever home.

UPDATE 11/19/2010: I found out from Miracle's foster home that she was adopted this weekend!  She went to a really nice family, a mom with two early-teen boys who have another young playful cat.  This news totally made my day. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010


In real life, I don't usually yearn for the metro-sexual, professionally manscaped hairless beefcake type.  And footballers aren't my type. But, oh sweet lord, this man is a work of art... brought to you by Armani.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 17, 2010

They called her Miracle

Last Sunday, we were out for a country drive - enjoying one of those golden late summer afternoons.  The white SUV that pulled out in front of us had only just got up to cruising speed on the 55 mph road when a bundle of fur fell out from under the truck and tumbled sickeningly onto the road.  We quickly sussed that it was a kitten that had fallen from the engine block of the moving car.

Without hesitation, D instructed me to turn our car around to see if the little thing was injured.  It was - staggering is the only word for it - off the road as we spotted it again.  It sought the safety of a hedge and we could see it was shaking and bleeding a little from its mouth.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Man, Oihou, Wild

My husband is one of those men that will be handy to have around when TSHTF at TEOTWAWKI (the sh*t hits the fan at the end of the world as we know it, to those on the bushcraft forums).  This is a man who always has several means of lighting a fire on him whenever we venture out of the city.  This is a man who carried me off a Welsh mountain when my sissy arse was in tears from the pain in my decrepit knee.

With memories of the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina renewed from the publicity surrounding the 5 year anniversary this past week, one is reminded just how close we dance to the total breakdown of social order and how quickly daily life could turn into a survival situation.  Even here in the good old U.S. of A.  And if the worst ever happens, I will be in good hands as long as I am with my man.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes they are actually worth watching (again and again)

I'm a firm convert to watching television via the magic that is the DVR.  It's so nice that I control the TV schedule, rather than it controlling me.  And by I, I mean "he," because I usually happily cede control of the remote to him. Ladies, am I the only one on that - or do the men in your life usually control the remote as well? I don't mind though; navigating the menus and dealing with the quirks of our circa 2006 DVR satellite receiver truly tries the patience.

Another advantage of watching DVR'd TV is that it becomes an interactive thing for he and me.  If it weren't for the pause button, I'd miss out on D's hilarious running commentary on the shows we watch.  Sometimes those pauses become a 20 minute digression, and we get to the end of the conversation and go "how did we get there?"

Anyway, I love that I can blast through the ads and get through an hour's worth of television in 40 minutes.  But every so often, I stumble across an ad that's worth actually watching.  It is a mystery to me how these get discovered, since theoretically we don't watch ads.  But I owe this particular one to D, who specially replayed it for me one evening after I woke from my nightly doze on the sofa. 

I believe this might have been a Superbowl ad, but it's recently gone into heavy rotation again.  We rewind to watch it and I laugh.  Every. Single. Time.

What have you got peeps - any ads that tickle your funny bone?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confidence (or lack thereof)

On Monday, Nicki posted about getting back on the workout wagon this week.  I really should follow her example.  Last spring, I had undertaken the P90X program and although I frequently cursed Tony Horton during the workouts, I did like the way I felt after they were finished.  But I got bounced off the wagon when I somehow injured my neck, and despite the fact that I'm better now, I'm enjoying being lazy far too much to pick up where I left off.  Maybe when it cools down in the fall.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Nicki mentioned that the motivating factor for her workouts at this point is because she's joining one of her best friends in a few weeks for a family vacation at a cabin (which sounds blissful).  Her best friend is probably going to see her in a swimsuit.  I'm fairly certain that Nicki's friend won't care one bit about how she looks in a swimsuit, but I totally get where Nicki is coming from.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The second leaving of Keenie Beanie

So, big news in Keenie Beanie land... I've entered the ranks of the unemployed.*  Sorta.

* "A-ha!" say a few of my wiser readers, who may realize that this kind of stress could precipitate an existential blogging crisis

For the few of you that have been around here for a while, do you remember when my job was eliminated last year due to a corporate acquisition?  Well, it happened again.

But it's a good thing.  Really.  I found out about the possibility last spring... not so very long after I posted this question to the universe.

Now I'm a godless heathen, but if I had been praying for a sign from a god, any god, I really couldn't have received a clearer answer.  It's like the universe was saying, "So you're not sure whether you should give up your job for the good of your relationship?  Bam, problem solved.  Now go sort it out with your man!"  Even better, I was offered a choice: a different job with the same company or a generous severance package.  And let me tell you, if you must lose your job, it stings a whole lot less if you feel you are captain of your own destiny.

I was originally scheduled to finish work near the beginning of June.  We'd had the leaving do (happy hour drinks) to wish me bon voyage on my last day, but the very next day another person in our department quit.  So I was asked to return to work full time through the end of July.  On July 28th, I snuck out to the elevator taking my last leave of the place as a full-time employee... for a second time.  I'm a sentimental fool and I hate good-byes, even good-byes to those who were never more than pleasant acquaintances.  It really sucks having to do them twice.  So I just... didn't.

But the blessings continue: for at least the next four to six weeks, I'll continue working as an independent contractor on a part-time basis, telecommuting from home.  Good-bye isn't a big deal when one is going to be popping in to the office for meetings now and then and interacting electronically on a frequent basis.  The added advantage?  Someday, I'll just fade quietly away and perhaps some people might think, "Huh, I haven't seen Keenie Beanie around the office in a while."  But we don't have to make a big deal about it.
I've nearly completed my second week of the part-time working-from-home arrangement.  It. Is. Awesome.  A girl could get used to this style of (sorta) unemployment.  No alarm clocks, no commutes, a little money coming in... all good things.  I am, however, looking forward to really digging in on the still-languishing renovation project once there are no further professional demands on my time.  Let's do this thing.

This change is the first of many to come, so I will keep you all posted as events unfold.  Thanks for stopping by and reading, and many, many thanks for reaching out when I needed a little encouragement.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Color me boring

Meeks over at Juggling Motherhood recently posted about her love/hate relationship with routines. She’s speaking of routines as the glue that holds her family together – making sure everything in the household runs as smoothly as possible… and although I don’t have children, it led me to consider the routines in my life.

As I’ve mentioned before I used to travel a lot for work. And if I wasn’t traveling, I was frequently working at a different client location every few weeks, so it seemed like my life - my work life anyway -was never routine. That bled into other areas of my life… for instance, trying to plan a dentist appointment when I had to book months in advance just to secure a slot felt an insurmountable task. What would I be doing in six months? How the hell should I know? After a long while where I didn’t plan much of anything and watched life pass me by accordingly, I got a lot more flexible. Make plans, keep them if I can, change them if I had to.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blogger on Blobbing

A while ago, I wrote about some of my favorite summer camp memories.  But we didn't have anything this awesome on the camp activity lineup.  As the video says, a "genius camp director" came up with a great use for a military surplus water transport bag.  How fun is this?!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Let's take some "E!"

Me: (While watching E! ads during Chelsea Lately) I wonder if Khloe Kardishan ever feels inferior?

Him: Why, because she's the ugly one?

Me: Well, yes, I guess you could put it that way.

Him: Well, she did marry an NBA player after about a week.

(Long pause.)

Me: Considering I've seen the Kardishan's show like twice and those times were accidents, it makes me sad you know that.

Him (resigned): Me too, babe, me too.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nobody but us crickets

Hello - is anybody out there?  All work and no play makes Keenie Beanie a dull girl.  For anybody following along, I took a new job in April and, boy, has it been taking it out of me.  I've been averaging 50 hour weeks, and I just met another big deadline on Friday, leaving me with a few moments to take stock.

Let's see, since I started this job, I've barely picked up my camera, I've nearly stopped writing, hardly made contact with my friends online or IRL, and have no energy or motivation to actually get out and enjoy my leisure hours.  There have been lots of OT hours on the laptop, exhausted early nights when I can't keep my eyes open past 9 pm, and weekend naps.  Come to think of it, the weekend naps have been bloomin' lovely.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Are you a boob man or a butt man?

Me (to the husband): If you had to choose one thing for the rest of your life, would it be boobs or butts?

The husband:  Um, butts I guess.

The husband: (Pause for thought) But if I could, I'd definitely choose one of each.

(He then makes a gesture that looks something like this, complete with hands making a little "honk-honk" motion.)

The husband: (Contemplating his flash of brilliance.) That totally works. I only have two hands anyway.

Me:  But then I'd be all deformed! (Picturing something like this)

The husband: Oh sure.  And you wouldn't be all deformed if your butt or your boobs were somehow removed?

Me: Well, at least I'd be symmetrically deformed.

The husband: This can't end well; let's just leave your butt and your boobs where they are.  They're perfect.

Me: That's a fair point well made.

(And he is a very wise man.)
* * *

The presentation of this missive from Keenie Beanie-land shamelessly imitates certain clever posts by the brilliant Lemon Gloria.  If you aren't reading her blog yet, you totally should.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You neared to me, but I couldn't quite discern you

For a long time I didn't want a child.

Then I married D who does want a child and brought my thoughts around to the same idea.  It went on our list of things to do "someday."  The time to have a baby hasn't yet felt right and there have been good reasons for this in the past.

For some time now now, I've imagined the presence of the child that would beThe little soul is floating around in some alternate dimension, waiting for the right time to come into our lives.

I've wondered... 

Are you a fluffy little blonde, like me? A dark, rough-and-tumble little boy, like D?  Will you be quiet and observant?  An old soul?  A chatterbox?  A social butterfly?  Will you have a thirst for knowledge?  Will you struggle in school?  Will you love the outdoors and collect rocks and bugs?  Will you cry when you're 3 years old and the ocean gets your skirt wet and the broken shells on the beach hurt your tender little feet?  Will I be able to parent you well?  Will we be friends when you reach adulthood?

Will I ever find out the answers to these questions?

For about 24 hours last week, I thought that perhaps you had decided that - planning be damned - the time was nigh.  I was simultaneously excited and terrified.  However, it came to pass that is not the case.  I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

This is still not the right time to plan for your entrance into the world.  But now I'm worried that I have waited too long.  I may never get to hold you, love you, watch you grown and learn and absorb the experiences this great world can offer.

And I wonder, if so, will I always feel the presence of the little one that never was?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer camp memories

Have you ever caught a scent so evocative of a certain time or place in your life that you were immediately transported there?  This happened to me on a recent morning as I strolled the three blocks between my parking lot and the office tower in which I work. 

Despite the mild weather that had me taunting winter back in February, winter did indeed return and took me up on my offer to hang out in the Pacific Northwest until May or so.  It's been one of the coolest and wettest springs on record, and we've only just reached the 80 degree mark in the past two weeks.

But this week it was finally warm enough to shed my jacket and enjoy the mild sunshine on my morning walk. I get into work by 7 a.m. to avoid the worst of the morning traffic.  Downtown streets are quiet, almost peaceful at that time of day, and my stroll takes me along the edge of the downtown core where it fronts a park running along the river.  As I passed under shade trees filtering the morning sun, I smelled the fresh air and all of sudden I was transported back to the sleep-away summer camp I attended each year from the ages of about nine to thirteen.  Something about the light and clean air recalled the walk down the lane from my cabin to the dining hall for breakfast, where I would happily indulge in Froot Loops - one of the over-sugared cereals my mother denied us at home.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Swagger Wagon

I saw this awesomely hilarious video over at Juggling Motherhood.  You don't have to be a mom to enjoy this.  Seriously, take the time to play the video... it's SO worth it!

And the little girl is totally my MiniMii.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pain in the neck

Out of nowhere almost two weeks ago, I woke up one morning feeling fine, but as I reached up to wrap my hair in a towel after my shower, my neck seized up.  I took an Aleve, turned my head gingerly for a few days and didn't think much about it... until this weekend when the dull ache that had never quite gone away grew into a severe pain that has spread across my upper back and leaves me wishing I had one of those halo brace things so that I don't actually have to move my head, or indeed, even use my muscles to balance it upright atop my neck.

I went to work on Monday and by the end of the day, I had to drive home leaning my head back against the rest on the car seat because it ached too much to hold it steady.  Leaning far back, reaching for the steering wheel with the hand on my "good side," i.e. the one on which it hurts only slightly less to engage the upper back muscles, I felt slightly ridiculous, like I should be cruising slowly down a street in the 'hood while hydraulics make the car do some crazy bouncing.  'Cuz I'm cool like that.  Not.

Then Tuesday came and I surrendered - no work for me - just miserably laying on the floor and endlessly heating water for my beloved rubber hot water bottle.  I felt fine actually, as long as I didn't have to move, like, at all.

As I type this now, I find the most comfortable position is to tuck my chin down, roll my spine into a ridiculous c-shape and hunch my shoulders over far as I can manage.  Even if I don't always maintain a perfectly ergonomic seated position at my desk, when standing I generally maintain reasonable posture - chin up, shoulders back.  Could balance a book on my head and everything.  So I find it I ironic that in my misery the most comfortable position would be horrifying to anyone who knows anything about spinal health.  But if I pull my shoulders back, my muscles writhe in painful protest and I just can't make myself do it.

My tolerance for pain is... well, admittedly non-existent.  The only thing that makes me feel better about this is the secure knowledge that it will pass as mysteriously as it came on.  It makes me wonder how I'd feel if I knew this pain would be chronic... that this is just how me and my body were going to get along from now on.  Gives me a glimpse into how people can get addicted to painkillers that have a street value.

I'll stop whining now, because frankly, spending time at my computer is not currently high on the list of things that make my neck and back feel better.  Plus I get to take a muscle relaxant now, and I'm not sure BUI (blogging under the influence) is advisable.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Too good not to share

From my awesome cousin and his wife, via Facebook:

Him: The Great Dishwashing Avoidance Challenge: all couples should try it, as nothing builds unity like a shared goal.  The goal: see who breaks down first and washes the dishes.  Eating cereal out of the blender, I can't be beat.  A friend suggested lining dirty dishes with Saran Wrap.  Remember that you knew the world champ before he was famous.

FB friend: So she gave in first?

Her: I so did not give in first! Just back from Paddy's Pub, in fact, and dishes piled to high heaven in the sink... (could I drink water out of a measuring cup, perchance?) ;-)

Him: If you eat fast enough and/or have a dog, eating soup from a colander works too. [ed. note: the mental picture delivered by this one makes me giggle!]

This topic is obviously one of those cultural touchstones, as it engendered quite a few comments.   I particularly liked one commenter challenging them to match his prowess in the Singles Class.  Come on, who else has been there, done that?  (Typed with one hand, since the other is raised in shame...)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time Capsule

Thanks to both Lisa and Amanda, I now know that June is National Blog Posting Month, and with daily prompts, one is encouraged to write each day.  I won't begin to claim I can keep up with that, but the prompt for June 1st is: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  (I can tell you this: my childhood dream was never to be come an accountant, but then again, who's was?)

However, I thought I knew the answer to this question.  I thought I wanted to be an astronaut.  In March of 1983, I was 10 years old, and my 5th grade teacher had us write a time capsule letter to ourselves, to be opened 10 years later.  I was sure that I had said somewhere in that letter that I wanted to be an astronaut.  It was nearly two years from the date of the first space shuttle mission - and before any of the shuttle disasters - and that floating around weightless in space looked majorly fun to me.  Little did I know at the time that the classes in the hard sciences and the G-force training required to qualify for such an occupation were well beyond the scope of my interest in either.

So this post prompt led me to dig out my baby book, where that letter has been safe-kept since it was written.  I didn't open it on time in 1993, only sometime in the late 90s... and I hadn't looked at it more than once or twice since then.  So I was amused when I dug it out again this evening.  Here, in all its embarrassing glory, is the letter I wrote to my future self [with notes from my current self] when I was ten years old:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming home

I used to travel for work.  Like an all-the-time, gold status on the airlines, Four Seasons leaving me a personal welcome back card and chocolate dipped strawberries in my room 'cuz I've been there so damn often (true story), kind of travel.  It was luxe, as business travel goes, and it's the kind of life that some people might enjoy.

But I am at heart a homebody.  This week I had to travel to Seattle for two nights and three long days to wrap up the work project that has been consuming my life for the past month.  I stayed at the W, where I had been many times before nearly a decade ago, so walking into the lobby started a round of flashbacks to a life I had long been away from and didn't miss.

The W Seattle is an uber-hip hotel, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm "cool" enough to stay there.  Once, a friend of mine sat down at the W's bar, looked to her right and noticed she was sat next to Harrison Ford, who was quietly enjoying a drink alone.  She told me they were there for like half an hour and she never once let on that she recognized him.  Cool as a cucumber, she was.

I walked through the revolving doors at the W after returning from work around 9 pm on Wednesday and was confronted with two turntables and a microphone.  There was a DJ set up in front of the door to mix tunes for the evening in the "living room" (as the hotel dubs their lobby/restaurant) which is turned into a club.  Fortunately it was early, so there weren't yet many of the beautiful people around to make me feel self-conscious of my slightly rumpled appearance after a 13 hour workday.  I am terminally uncool, and no one is at their best in those circumstances anyway.

The corridors leading to the W guest rooms are clad in dark wood and lit very dimly by the indirect glow of blue lamps, which means it always feels like night in there.  Kind of like Vegas, where time doesn't exist.  As an aside, I once spent months working in Las Vegas and stayed for a while at the Palms, another hip hotel, and there is something very strange about negotiating a Vegas casino labyrinth as part of your morning commute.  Stumbling out of never-never land into bright Nevada sunshine as you make your way to the office is surreal.

This week, the W gave me a giggle the morning of my departure.  The hotel reservations had been made for the team by an administrative assistant, so imagine my surprise when I received the invoice slipped under my door and I was registered as shown here.  WTF - really?  Have you seen me?  I must be the palest member of that club, ever.  (Not to mention possessing the wrong bits.)  The mystery deepened when we found that is actually the home address of one of our coworkers, a middle-aged Jewish white guy.  Not exactly your prototypical founding member of the club.

Back when I was traveling all the time, I gave up my apartment and commuted from whatever client location to D's apartment in the Cayman Islands on the weekends.  I was, quite literally, homeless - though never without a place to stay.  I kept a smooshable down throw blanket tucked into my carry-on bag wherever I went.  It could function for warmth on a plane or crumpled up as a pillow; I slept under it at airplane gates during 3-hour layovers in the middle of the night.  It made hotel rooms feel a little less impersonal.  Once, on a flying visit to Oregon when I had stayed overnight with my brother and his wife, I left the blanket behind.  My insightful sister-in-law was all "Oh, no, she left her blanket!"  My brother was like, "So what?" And she said, in a flash of understanding of something that even I hadn't yet realized, "This blanket is home to her, it's the only thing that is constant wherever she goes."  I still take that blanket on any long trips; that's probably one of my top travel tips.

My journey home this week started with cab ride piloted by this guy.  Seriously?  That's the best picture you could get, when it's required to be prominently displayed on the dashboard of your cab?  It either shows a wicked sense of humor, or a serious lack of care for the confidence (or lack thereof) to be instilled in your passengers.  No matter, I made it to the airport in time and in one piece, and that's what's important. 

Although I haven't lived here 100% of the time, Portland has been claimed as my hometown for nearly two decades now, and I have always loved flying home.  Watching Mt. Hood slip peacefully under the wing on approach... gazing out the window as we come in to land, eager to spot the landmarks of our beautiful city spread out below, as if I hadn't seen it tens and tens of times before.  And this week when I flew home, she did not disappoint.  We touched down at 9 pm in the glow of a truly phenomenal sunset, and 20 minutes later when I pointed my car west for the 35 mile drive home, there was still a pink, gray and blue twilight streaking the horizon under the night-black clouds shrouding the sky over the city.  I drove towards that light for 40 minutes, and although it dimmed, it didn't fade altogether and was still there when I pulled onto my own driveway.  It was like Portland had left a porch light on for me... and that made me smile.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Late arrival to the party

Lisa at curious girl posts beautiful photographs and hosted a "Color Week" beginning this past week and I was excited about participating, really I was.  Lisa took requests to assign a specific color to each day and then participants were to go capture color glowing in their lives and post the photos on the appointed day.

Then the 65-hour work-week hit and it didn't even wait until Monday to start. Something had to give.  But I had gone out looking for color and so, despite not being able to post on a timely basis, here is my contribution to color week - a rainbow of shots, better late than never.

There's a blog roll at Lisa's site with all the people who did actually participate in Color Week, so check them out and put a little color in your life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

She lives!

Hello bloggy peeps! It's been a while.  As my last post indicated, the new job has proved quite challenging.  In addition to working hard all day at the office, it has consumed quite a few of my "leisure" hours too.  And in the hours when I'm not getting enough sleep there are all those DVR'd episodes of Lost to get through before next weekend's series finale is broadcast.  I don't know why I care, but it seems catching up on the final few episodes after the rest of the world has already figured out what is going on there is anticlimactic.

So in between working too hard, sleeping too little and ignoring my "Upgrade Your Life" project altogether, I've undertaken another project (with less dedication than I'd like): to get really fit again.

Like many of us, I have a patchy history of dedication to the gym.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, an athlete.  I lack hand-eye coordination.  (You should see how slowly my mouse is set to track so I can manage to control it - pathetic!)  Let's just say I lack coordination full stop.  Watching me dance is probably only slightly less painful than this classic from Seinfeld... (I don't actually know because, blessedly, there is no videographic evidence of my dancing talents, or lack thereof):

Thursday, May 6, 2010

9 to 5...

Okay - more like 7-to-7 (plus).

I've worked two weeks at the new job, and they have been doozies.  I happened to join the company, according to one of my new coworkers, during a "perfect storm" and we've all been working our tails off.

But since I'm a glass half full kind of girl, here are the positives:
  • I've done every one of my overtime hours in the comfort of my own home - plus Fridays working all day at home.  This is a new luxury, of a sort.
  • At least it's not working for the craptastic management that took over my old company.  This past week they laid off three people with only a day or two's notice.  Makes me not feel so bad for giving them two day's notice when I left.
  • Plus - I don't have THIS guy's job (yikes!), but I do get to enjoy that view of the river and the city:

Saturday, May 1, 2010


These are favorite words that have appeared on my blog. 
(Click to enlarge)

The most intriguing thing to me about this is how it takes words completely out of the context of my use and, through proximity in the jumble, creates totally new (or sometimes painfully familiar) concepts.  Kind of like those fridge magnet word kits.

My favorites from this jumble:
  • wicked wish
  • growing confidently fortunate
  • unlimited potential
  • searching mess
  • unspoken awareness/hidden life
  • embrace unanswered frustration
  • baffles gorgeous sense
  • genuine unlimited soul
  • envisioned exquisite quiet infinity
  • craved manic motion
  • accept challenging grateful experience
  • embrace scattered thrills
  • fidgeting affinity
  • beginning surprised delight
  • clutter masterpieces (boy, do I have a few of those)
  • beloved wandering delicious creature 
Isn't that fun?  Now you go.  Head on over to to create your own.

(By the way, I cheated a little by copying in a bunch of my favorite posts and then eliminating the lame words to leave my favorites from the selection - otherwise my words would be all, like, you know, boring.  Also, you have to screen shot it to turn it into a picture.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


There are many foods that my British husband misses living over here in the US that either can't be had or can only be found at a very dear price.  The only food I truly missed when we were living in the UK was marshmallows.  I once bought what passed for marshmallows over there and tried to toast them over a campfire. It was awful - saccharine tasting stuff that just melted without toasting - and one of my favorite treats, hands down, is toasted marshmallows.  We have installed a wood-burning stove at the little house on the prairie, so I can pretty much toast marshmallows whenever I want throughout the winter.  You'd think the novelty would wear off, but no, each and every time I have a toasted marshmallow, I think it is the Best. Thing. Ever.

The way I like to eat them, I toast them ever-so-golden brownish - best done carefully over really hot coals - then gently pull the toasted outer layer off as a whole and pop it in my mouth.  The slightly crispy, caramelized sugar shell is absolutely sublime.  This leaves a ball of slightly melted marshmallow at the end of the stick, ready to repeat the process.  I think I once managed a record six "pulls" on one marshmallow.  I recently discovered that if I toast and pull a marshmallow shell off once or twice then simply eat the marshmallow ball left behind, I get delightful melted marshmallow covering a bouncy unmelted center.  Yu-um-my!

My dear husband is often kind enough to point out when the fire reaches perfect marshmallow toasting conditions, and on a recent evening when he did so, I confessed that I only had two marshmallows left in the bag and had decided not to buy more because I found it difficult to resist the siren call of my favorite treat.  And that reminded me of this video, over which we shared a giggle.

I love the little blond girl who nibbles away about 2/3 of her marshmallow then examines it and puts it back on the plate, like, "nah - they'll never notice."


Monday, April 26, 2010

Keenie the Beanie and the Blustery Day

So, as I mentioned, I started a new job on Wednesday.  Well, I actually "started" for the second time, and for real this time, on Wednesday.  In the first week of April, when I still couldn't leave my old company due to an impending bonus payment that I had earned, dammit, and I was going to hang out to collect no matter how long they put off paying it (ahem)... I had taken a day of vacation from my old job and joined my future coworkers for an 8 hour long presentation about "who we are and what we do" to a group of, um, external constituents shall we say.  Confidentiality rules forbid disclosure with more clarity.

And, can I just say, that was the best first day of work I could've had.  Because as an accountant, I could pretty much work for any company in the world (assuming they would have me, which I'm not).  Every company needs someone to count the money - even if they're losing it.  As a result, I come to positions with a good idea of what I can do for them, but only a general idea of what it is they can do for their customers.  I mean, if you are a doctor, librarian, book editor, whatever - you probably know what it is your company does, but the person counting the money... not so much.  Particularly if you've just joined a company (as I once did) that makes "semi-conductor link processing systems."  Whaaa?  I still don't know what that means and I worked there for 4 years.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Road Rants

Day two of the commute, and it's going well (not).  Inspired by Pippi, I bring you notes from the road.

My dear husband, without even realizing what a tough day on the road it had been, offered me his Crystal Healing CD (the soundtrack to my Japanese Garden slideshow) for the car.  Isn't that sweet? It's hard to be stressed when these dulcet tones are playing... at least that's the theory anyway.  Ohhmmm....

Post-its courtesy