Tuesday, July 28, 2009

comic relief

Gabe and I are knee deep in empty boxes, newspapers, half-packed boxes, a bunch of crap we need to get rid of still - it's hot and humid - we still have a massive to-do list - there's a frustrating recent unnamed issue - I had a lovely but emotional day at work - and we have 3 days til move.

What's a girl to do but laugh at Chris Eliot impersonating William Shatner singing Elton John? I saw this a long time ago and laugh everytime Rocket Man comes on the radio. If you, like me, need a break, follow along:

For those of you who know Elton John's Rocket Man skip to next step. If you don't know it, or need a refresher, click here first.

Now here is William Shatner's version. I still can't figure out if Shatner's musical forays are sincere or consciously ironic, but in either case they are absolutely hilarious. Don't be tempted to quit the video early. It gets to a new level of ridiculous after the third minute.

If that is not enough funny for you, let's add a layer. Click here for Chris Eliot's dig or tribute to William Shatner.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a sarah palin haiku

I see you up there on my tv screen
mistakenly made a martyr of misunderstood and marginalized women.
It's so hard, girl,
to form sentences.

I really despise this woman. I cannot for the LIFE of me understand how people think she is an intelligent leader. I understand that if my day-to-day life was edited I could look like a person that can't form thoughts and express them coherently. We all have our moments. How her moments can last through an hour interview straight, and now for months and months... how is she not a national joke? How is she not hiding in some Alaskan fortress of solitude hanging her head in shame? Ok, she doesn't have to do that but for god's sake woman stop talking out loud to people. I don't understand how her republican approval rating is so high.

I am not a republican basher. I respect philosophical, theoretical and economic differences. (I have little tolerance for social policy that does not promote equality, however, and therefore usually align with democrats. Plus their comedy central shows are more fun.) I am actually feeling sorry for the republican party after everyone is now acknowledging the W disaster. And then the Palin disaster, which incomprehensibly not everyone is acknowledging. Do people willfully ignore the fact that those jumble of words don't add up to anything? Yes, she is a woman but that doesn't mean we all pretend she's great. There are so many smart, knowledgeable accomplished women in politics, there's just no need to defend this mess.

And now we're too believe it's for some greater good she's quitting in her first term. I am nonplussed. I would put some quotes on here but I don't even feel the need to explain if anyone has watched her for five minutes. Poor republicans, all the potential leaders are an outrageous joke (limbaugh), swarmy (romney), fearmongering (cheney) or earnestly stupid (see above). I can think of one I really respect. I agree with basically nothing he says, but at least he can make a good argument, doesn't play on fears, and I trust he thinks it through. That's why I'm calling it now: 2012 - Obama vs. Huckabee.

I am curious if any politically savvy reader can comment about the appropriateness of the two-party system. It intuitively seems reductionist but I don't know enough to really make that argument. (Though I could babble a magnetic poetry response for 10 minutes like Sarah.) Does it really work still? What do you envision in 100 years? What happens if you're fiscally conservative but socially liberal? Educate me, people!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Secret talent #1: Shooting

I am five foot tall and about a hundred pounds. I always thought I'd be a great spy because no one suspects me of anything. Least of all being able to do this:

I've gone shooting (or whatever you call it) just once. This was from 21 feet. Not bad, huh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

dream girl

I had such a vivid dream the other night. Gabe and I were living in a 2-story house I've never seen before. I was standing at the bottom of the stairs facing the living room and a little girl who had just learned to crawl was making her way towards me. I immediately knew she was our daughter - she looked just like me and Gabe both. I remember being surprised that her hair was dark and her eyes were blue. So anyway, as she crawled she crawled out of her socks and pants. They landed scattered around Gabe's clothes (he in real life has a somewhat annoying habit of shedding clothes as soon as he walks in the door and leaving them there indefinitely). So this little girl's socks ended up near Gabe's shoes, and her little pants on top of Gabe's big pants. I thought it was so adorable, and I grabbed my camera to take a picture from above so I could blog about it.

In my dream I woke up and told Gabe about the dream. He asked what our daughter's name was and I said, oh I don't know, I'll fall back asleep and see if I can know. I fell back asleep (in my dream) but didn't get a name.

Anyway, just wanted to share. It was SO vivid, I remember it like a memory not a dream. And I also thought it was hilarious to be dreaming about blogging.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

weekend of whirling wind

I can't believe I'm sitting on the couch and not in a car. Last Friday Gabriel and I drove to NJ, promptly passed out, and woke up to a wonderful Saturday. My sister was there with her baby Niko - he's gotten exponentially cuter since last I saw him.

I got to hear him laugh! I asked Kim how she ever gets anything done - doesn't she just stare at him all day and make him laugh? I can't stand the cuteness! Saturday was an engagement party at my mom's house - we were busy talking and eating and playing and I got not one picture. Lots of people and lots of fun! I know my mom took a cute pic of Gabe holding me and we were both wearing sombreros - when I get it from her I'll post it.

Sunday we had a little engagement party - mimosa brunch at Natalie's house, which used to be my dad's house. Niko puked on everyone, so I think he really enjoyed it. It was so nice to see everyone and my Aunt Neicey gave me a gift that made me cry - I'll write about that in another post. We had to eat and run, but got a prom pose first:

We got in the car around 2 p.m. and arrived in Chapel Hill, NC about 10 p.m. I think. The radio stations changed as we got closer, and I'll always remember my first Piggly Wiggly ad told by some guy with a thick drawl. I started to panic a bit. I had convinced myself that we were moving to a place basically the same as Boston, just smaller and with better weather. But it hit me that it will be really different, and we know no one. One day I'll say Piggly Wiggly without cracking up. AAAAHHH!!!! I think the marriage reality had set in too, after all the engagement parties and people asking about our (lack of) wedding plans. I looked over at Gabe driving and realized it's just me and him, going off to some new experience - all we've got is each other, and damn good thing I really like being around him. We pulled into town in the dark - my first impression was just trees and crickets.

We stayed at the fanciest inn in town because my sweetie got an amazing last-minute deal on Priceline - we paid less than the least expensive hotel in the town. Here's our fancy breakfast. It was so good Gabe didn't even stop chewing when I took his picture:

We got up and saw our first apartment at 8:30 a.m. We drove through Chapel Hill and Carrboro and I started to feel anxiety again. It was soooo sshhhh.... quiet. Like ghost-town quiet. Bird-singing-and-nothing-else quiet. I think I told Gabe "it's so quiet here" 30 times that first hour, just to hear something. There are trees EVERYWHERE and you couldn't see more than a block in any direction. It felt more claustrophobic to me than the middle of a city.

Then we got caught in the whirwind of apartment searching - we saw 12 or so that day, and I started to get excited imagining us in each place. In the middle of the day Gabe had a couple-hour orientation at work, and his new boss's wife took me on a guided tour of the area. I learned so much, and learned all the reasons I know I'm going to fall in love with the place. I came back super excited and Gabe said wow, something happened out there. (The turning point was driving one block outside the town and seeing horses and cows.) I love that there is so much going on in this town, but country escapes are a hop, skip and a jump away. I can never decide if I'm really a city girl or a country girl, and perhaps I've found a place to keep both sides happy :)

Eventually Gabe and I decided on a place. Gabe loved a house in the midst of the woods, with no neighbors. Passive solar, brick floors, woodstove, screened in porch with tin roof. We decided against it, because we thought it would probably be harder to meet people. I could imagine myself writing my first novel there, but it's probably best to not have my life mirror The Shining. Here's me being silly at the lake near the place in the woods:

We did decide on an equally eerie place. It's in a self-contained apartment complex (just this would usually have Gabe and I run screaming in the opposite direction). There's a church, school, doctor, dentist, movie theatre, shops, gym, etc. A village green that has a farmer's market, outdoor movies, and concerts. Our apt. is a one bedroom, while everything else was a 2 bed, but it's bright, modern and clean with a nice open kitchen and vaulted ceilings. And a fireplace and big balcony! It is literally across the street from Gabe's work. And gym memberships are included... we checked out the gym and it was the only one I've ever seen with sculpture scattered throughout the exercise machines.

Here's just a couple pictures of our new place:

We left Tuesday afternoon, drove nine hours to NY and stayed over at Gabe's uncles' place. A gorgeous home in the woods - just beautiful. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast outside and were off for the last few hours to Boston. I drove and here is Gabe in the passenger seat. This is how we both felt 5 days after we first started out.

It was nice to be home, even if it's our home only nine more days. I missed the cats so much. We could tell Ookie missed Gabe because she hung out with him like this:

It would have been nice to come home and rest, but there's a bizillion moving-related things to do. And I have a presentation at work at 8:30 that I need to do some significant prep work for. So I'm off to bed for a 5:30 alarm. I suppose I can't complain though - only six more days of work left.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

it's not bigger than a breadbox

...or an Ookie.

This so far is my favorite box that I've packed. It's small! And you know what's in it? All the winter accessories we are packing! We whittled a giant box of scarves, hats, earmuffs, head warmers, mittens, etc. down to this! Granted, my winter boots that I wear all of February and March are in another box. I feel I won't need them but the Bostonian in me still can't quite believe I won't be trudging through ice/snow/mud.

Okay, back to packing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

mucho stresso

Oh man. Today got hard. Wedding planning disaster. Work stress. House is an absolute disaster. The muffins I made to salvage the day were a disaster. Sunburn disaster. Uuuughhhhh. My coping skill of obsessive list-making only made me more overwhelmed. Gabe and I are leaving right after work on Friday for NJ, then to NC on Sunday then a 13 hour drive back up next Tuesday or Weds. so a big chunk of our little-remaining to-do time is gone.

High point of the day: I figured out all by myself how to make day-old cornbread edible. I put it on a plate, poured milk all over it, and microwaved it.

I'm not usually a hateful person. But given my stress level, I succumbed tonight to several minutes of musing on who I hate the most: Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, or Sheryl Crow. Jury is still out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

rice pudding & recap

Last night I decided to cook. We had roast pork tenderloin with apple-onion-mustard gravy along with the best ever sage and brown butter roasted potatoes. Since the oven was on 325 degrees I decided to try a recipe for oven-baked rice pudding I had pulled out of a Gourmet magazine the other day. WOW! It's easily the easiest dessert I've ever made and it was super yummy. Gabe had a pouty face when he discovered there were no more potatoes or rice pudding. I reminded him our wedding is fast approaching and we need some beach bodies :)

I'll give you the actual recipe, and then tell you what I did:

*Preheat 325 degrees. Butter 4 (6-8 oz.) ramekins.
*Add 1/2 cup milk, 4 teaspoons arborio rice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and a pinch of salt to each ramekin. Grate some fresh nutmeg over each, and stir.
*Put ramekins in shallow baking pan and bake 1 hour, until most milk is absorbed and there's a golden-brown skin on top. Cool 1 hour, and at least an additional 30 mins in fridge, covered, if you want it cold.
*Discard skins and stir in 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Serve.

I had smaller ramekins and didn't exactly measure out anything. I put in less sugar, used powdered nutmeg, and added a drop of vanilla. Afterwards I stirred in a bit of half and half and I think you could get away with just milk. In a flash of inspiration I added chopped up fresh cherries which were amazing. Try this and enjoy!! Sorry not to have pictures - we ate it too quickly.

I have been on a packing rampage this past week in preparation for a moving sale this weekend. We don't really have a yard and don't have any tables so I'm not yet sure of the logistics. I have been on a terrible sleeping schedule this week - going to sleep four to six hours behind normal-people schedule. I'm not into pills, whether medical or magical, but I would take one to alter my daily rhythms for sure. I love nighttime but it's just not practical in this world. Maybe I can get a job as a night watchwoman in NC.

In the next three weeks I have 2 engagement parties, wedding planning, moving sale, interviewing/2 presentations/wrapping up at work, trip to NC to apartment search, job search, packing, moving 13 hours away, unpacking...yikes! There is something missing from the list, though. We're breaking our lease by moving, and offered to post an ad and look for new tenants for our landlords. Turns out they decided to just sell the house! One thing crossed off.

It's a busy month, but wonderful.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

I have begun packing. I have done this several times since leaving for college. I moved four times in the first semester. Overall, I'd guesstimate I've moved 20 times. That's a significant number of times to have accumulated this much crap. Each move I have whittled down possessions, but I suppose I have collected more and more.

This time I decided to REALLY simplify. Partially because this move is out of state. Partially because we don't know how much storage we'll have. But mostly because Gabe and I are starting our married life, and we're ready for OUR things. Not a mish-mash collection of individual things we really don't even need. Do I really need 2 boxes of fabric when I don't know how to sew? Do I really need the dried up acrylic paint? Do I really need that memento from someone whose face I cannot recall? Do I need 800 magazines for when I get the urge to collage? No! So my new rule is to throw out/sell anything that will just stay in a box in storage after the move.

I thought I'd have trouble with my self-imposed simplification but it's so liberating. I have lugged around journals full of rants and bad poetry for years. They're currently on the way to be recycled so someone else can write journals full of adolescent wonderings. And my books - this is always the tough one. I'm proud to report I'm selling at least 50% of my collection. I'm selling/donating well more than half of my clothes - if I haven't worn it in four years I'm probably not going to repurpose it into a killer handbag like the clutter-devil sitting on my shoulder always insists. I have narrowed down my art supply 'room' to one small box I can fit under an arm.

The only bad part about moving is violent allergies as soon as I open a closet or move a box. I'm in for a night of body-shaking sneezes, sandpaper eyes, wheezing throat, and my nose constantly dripping snot and blood. It's really yucky. I'm allergic to dust, cat hair and mold and apparently they're in every corner (the fact that it's rained 70% of the past month doesn't help). If anyone has a magic or pharmaceutical potion that would help please help a sister out!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A boot in your ass, it's the American way...

Part of my excitement in moving to North Carolina is that I'm sure I can find better country and bluegrass music, live and on radio, than I can here. I mentioned this today as the country station was on and I was cooking, and Gabriel looked very, very worried. I believe he thought this was a phase, as did I, but country is now my go-to music.

I still surf all the other stations while in the car, and this week the alternative station was having a contest of the most embarrassing patriotic song - most were country. Immediately the Toby Keith song below popped in my head, and that was one of the nominees. As much as I like country, I get hives when they play the uber-Christian, gun-toting xenophobic American sub-genre. The country station here plays God Bless America everyday at noon. I suppose the purpose of country music is not to encourage a complex worldview, but I don't think it needs to boil down political dynamics as a recess fight, either. I remember hearing this song for the first time and saying, really? is this a real song? really? So for some patriotic torture this Fourth of July, lyrics and video are below - enjoy!

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue
(The Angry American)

American girls and American guys, will always stand up and salute.
We'll always recognize, when we see ol' glory flying,
There's a lot of men dead,
So we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads.
My daddy served in the army where he lost his right eye,
But he flew a flag out in our yard 'til the day that he died.
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me.
To grow up and live happy in the land of the free.

Now this nation that I love is fallin' under attack.
A mighty sucker-punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Instrumental break.

Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An' you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
'Cos we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Oh, oh.
Of the red, white and blue.
Oh, hey, oh.
Of my Red, White and Blue.

If you want to hear the song, in all its stars-and-stripes guitar glory, you can find it here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

nighttime fashion police

I would say I have an above-average sense of style. If I knew how to sew I think I could survive at least a few weeks on Project Runway. I could shop for the What Not to Wear contestant. Due to lack of motivation, funds, and will to iron anything, my style does not nearly reach 1/8th of its potential. Cat hair around the house doesn't help either.

Here is the evolution of yesterday's outfit. I wore something decent to work, came home and put on comfy pants and a yellow t-shirt. Then it got cold. Yes it's July, but I don't know if we hit 60 yesterday and it was rainy (it's been so rainy all my clothes are slightly damp despite being inside). So I threw on a purple hooded sweatshirt. I went food shopping. I came home and was even more cold. I call the pants I was wearing my 'expressive therapy' pants. They are cotton, wide-legged and end about 5 inches below the knee. The rest of my legs were freezing so I added knee high socks. Just as I was settling in I realized I forgot a particularly necessary ladysomething from the store. I had to go back out reluctantly at 10:00. My sandals were right there. Ridiculous! my internal fashionista declared. But I argued with her logically, saying sneakers or shoes would look just as bad. But it looked SO funny I just had to take a picture.

You can rest assured that when I did get to the store I took the socks off, so as not to offend Rite-Aid shoppers' delicate fashion sensibilities.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a new adventure for a night owl

It's just before midnight and I am basking in the sunny knowledge that I have no work tomorrow. I am curled up with the cats, watching the Colbert Report, and eating a Klondike cookies and cream bar. I am thinking of all the things I could do next. And there are suddenly a lot of urgent options - because we are moving to North Carolina in a month!!!

Gabe accepted a job offer yesterday, and we're off to Chapel Hill August 1st. Have we ever been to the area? No. Would I have been able to identify it on a map before all this - probably not. But see any random previous post to see evidence of my restlessness and wanderlust. This is the perfect antidote! I LOVE that we are moving right when we are marrying, so we can begin our married life in a new place. I LOVE that we are moving someplace warmer. I REALLY love that we are moving someplace warmer. It it supposed to be a diverse, liberal, and educated community. A beautiful place, so says everyone I've talked to who has been there. It's on top of lists of best places to relocate, best place to raise a family, best economy, best place to have it all, etc. And to top it all off, Alton Brown tells me Chapel Hill bbq falls into the vinegar-based vs. tomato-based bbq sauce -yes!

I gave my notice at work today, and it is bittersweet. I am sad because truly I work with the nicest, most caring, wonderful talented people. We just moved into a new space, just built a hospice house, and I had a mind and heart full of new ideas. But there also is some relief in leaving...I am just so excited for a change. I am also happy that they have decided to hire a new expressive/music therapist - my boss said I've taught her the value of this, and it's part of their hospice now.

Gabe and I have decided to use this physical change of location as an opportunity for some other changes. Eating better - oh my goodness!! there are some great farmer's market's down there!!! And I can have an herb garden!! I might even have a yard!! Can you tell I'm excited?!!! So I will cook healthier meals (this Klondike bar is an anomaly, I swear). We want to get in a better financial place so maybe one day we can buy a house. (Our rent will be about half of what we currently pay in Boston - crazy.) We've also resolved to do more outdoor activities together, and take weekend trips. The mountains will be to our west, and ocean to the east. We may get kayaks at some point. And the most important change for me... writing! It's what I love, and what I'm good at (sssshhhhh, just go along with me here) and something I just always saw myself doing. Alas, I suffer from bouts of massive undiscipline. So my new plan is perhaps to work 4 days a week and write for the 5th. I don't care if I sit in a chair and stare at a screen. I'll have my writing time. This is Gabe's idea actually - he said he would love to support me in my writing. He's the best future husband a girl could ask for, it's true :)

I am currently job searching, but wondering about a self-employment option... perhaps consulting for hospices, hospitals, assisted livings and such. I also am holding out for a brilliant Internet business idea to pop into my head.

If you have any thoughts on Chapel Hill leave a comment! We'll be down there the third week of July to look for an apartment - I hope we like it down there :) I'm VERY excited. Especially since in Boston it was July 2 and I had my car heater on.


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