Friday, June 30, 2006


I forgot what it feels like to work 50 hours a week. And have a love life. And care for ailing parents. And be attentive to my babies.

My two year vacation was nice while it lasted.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I wonder if it was mere coincidence that both Ryan's and my car died in the same week. Last week.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

what a week

The past few days have been a real treat for me.

Wednesday, Ryan's family helped me celebrate my birthday a little early. His wonderfully skilled-in-the-kitchen Mom prepared my all-time favorite meal: red beans and rice with blackened chicken. We had chocolate mousse for dessert, and since Ryan is not a chocolate lover, I ate his, too. His parents gave me a Chef's Illustrated cookbook and a set of Woodstock wind chimes (Chicago Blues tuned).

Thursday, Ryan, Kirk, Kristi, and I headed out to Letchworth at about 6 am for the birding trip we've been trying to put together for weeks now. We had a blast, though it's a little late in the season to see very many warblers and vireos. Nevertheless, we had some good sightings (see Ryan's post on this for a more complete list). Even thought they're a relatively common bird, I loved the Cedar waxwings, who were gorging themselves on berries in the tree right above where we parked the car for our bathroom break.

Yesterday was my birthday, which we celebrated by going to dinner at Shamrock Jack's with my parents. I was showered with gifts, which included a cute sundress from my sister, a digital meat thermometer and 2 more of the Audubon stuffed birds from Ryan to add to my collection (Cedar waxwing and Rose-breasted grosbeak), and a sweet new pair of Pentax 10x50 binoculars from my parents.

After dinner, Ryan and I met up with Kirk and Kristi for drinks and Foosball. After that, we headed down to the East End to Whisky to hear Mooch and see some other friends. It was a fun, fun evening.

It's now only barely 2:30 and I'm totally exhausted. I'm hoping we'll get a chance to at least test out those nifty binoculars sometime this afternoon. AND, we're supposed to meet up with Matt and Julia later this evening. Whew!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

what you do not smell is called Iocane powder


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti


Thursday, June 01, 2006

welcoming June

I awoke at 4 to rain. My abdomen was screaming, clenched up with tightness, reminding me of who I am every second I was awake. I yanked on the window but it stuck open. It was dark; I could see nothing while absently groping my way back to bed. Sleep did not return. Instead, thoughts. Last summer; more summers. Years. The feeling of a tangible forever.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

the last supper

The annual Memorial Day cookout was a success this year, even if attendance was down from years past. It was just Ryan and me and our parents, the 2 cats and 1 dog. And 8 mouth-watering pounds of home-made pulled pork, which I had prepared the night before with a dry rub. I lovingly slapped it on the smoker at 6 am Monday morning. Ryan's Dad's home-made barbeque sauce was the perfect accompaniment. It was a divine meal.

Friday, May 26, 2006

barefoot in the garden

Yesterday I planted basil, thyme, rosemary, 3 varieties of tomatoes, green pepper, cayenne pepper, and marigolds for pollenation and to keep the bugs away. I love this time of year. Parsley, cucumbers, dill, cilantro, and squash to come.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

i'm annoyed

Am I being oversensitive because I'm bothered by people who don't use their turn signals? What about the motorists who cut in front of you when you're trying to leave a safe distance between cars? Grrr!

Also, today I was stopped at a red light on the way home from work. I looked over at the car next to me, and the female driver was craning her neck to see into her rearview mirror in order to pluck chin and neck hairs with a giant pair of tweezers. Some people have no shame, but I guess it was kind of funny to watch.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

birdfeeder excitement

Spring migration is in full swing these days. Lately, at the feeders there have been chipping sparrows, goldfinches, cardinals, jays, chickadees, titmice, and this morning's big sighting - a male rose-breasted grosbeak. I got a good look at this hadsome devil for several minutes while I dunked my teabag and he stuffed his face.

I'm anxiously looking forward to our birding trip to Letchworth next week...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

now I remember why

I met Sue at Plum Garden last night because she was jonesin' for Japanese. More specifically, sushi. Originally I thought, ok, I can order something that's not sushi. Hibachi, maybe. But no, we sat on the regular side of the restaurant, not the hibachi side. The last time I had sushi was a few years ago when California Rollin' first opened in Village Gate. I didn't care for it then and yesterday I learned I still don't care for it.

I was hopeful that my tastes had changed and perhaps even matured. I slurped down my miso soup, ate my salad with gusto, eager to get to the "good stuff." I ordered a Maki dinner, on Sue's recommendation...California rolls, some tuna stuff, and eel. The only way I could choke it down was smothered in wasabi. I ate what I could, but apparently not only is sushi not palatable to me, it's also pretty filling. I tried to help Sue eat her green tea ice cream, but I couldn't even do that. Next month we're having Mexican.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

love the weather we're having

forsythia, rose of sharon
tulips, daffodils, hyacinths

creeping phlox, flowering quince and pear
exploding oaks and maples

hydrangea, weeping cherry, budding dogwood
ahh, how i do love Spring

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

made - with jasmine

The jasmine. I would order it at the corner coffee shop between classes, after classes, Saturday mornings. In the early days, pre-boyfriend, I ordered it alone. I would sit at my table, poetry notebook thrown open in front of me, notes and napkins strewn aside. In between the great novellas I was writing then, I would occasionally look up at the walls above the Barista's station, sucking on the end of my pencil, pensively creating the next life-changing line. Burlap sacks emptied of their coffee beans hung haphazardly on the wall below the ceiling. "Costa Rica" was stamped on most of them in a dark brown or umber color, obviously fading away.

Sometimes, Cheryl would join me, vignette masterpieces in tow. Cheryl liked her jasmine with a slight taste of sugar. I drank mine untouched so the dryness of the finish remained on my tongue until the next sip. We were both music majors but dreamed of secret lives in which we would only sit in coffee shops and write. Mostly poetry and short stories, although we both fantasized about writing a novel some day.

We were Atwood fans, primarily. Ten years ago, when we first read A Handmaid's Tale, we felt we had discovered a new literary universe. The only required reading by a female author in all my high school years was Wuthering Heights. Why hadn't our AP English teachers told us about this Canadian genius? Forget Conrad. Forget Dostoevsky and Kafka. Forget Shakespeare and Forster. Why was there no Atwood?

I bought tea yesterday. Stash peppermint. Right now, I am sipping English Breakfast with a dollop of honey, which I find soothes the rough morning throat. I haven't considered jasmine in years. Perhaps my tastes have changed, or perhaps I am avoiding memory.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


I can't believe I have to get up at 4am tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Jury Duty, Day 1: The Final Cut

Yep, I made it. The final cut. After spending an agonizing 6 hours being shuffled back and forth from the Central Jury Room to the Judge's courtroom and being questioned by 3 different attorneys for 2 1/2 of those 6 hours, I was selected to serve on the 8-person jury for a civil trial beginning Monday morning.

I don't know how I'll manage to sit through 5 days of testimony in that stuffy courtroom. It reeks of stale aftershave and cologne, with not a hint of fresh air from anywhere. Looking around the boring space, I didn't spot any air vents of any kind whatsoever. Hardly the regal, opulent type of courtroom you might see on Law & Order. But what did I expect? At least some fabric or maybe leather-covered chairs in the juror's box. Instead, I sat on a puke-linoleum-green vinyl chair for 4 hours, to which the backs of my sweaty thighs stuck the entire time. (It must have been 80 degrees in there.) At least the chair swiveled.

The entire time I was being questioned, I was thinking to myself, what can I do to get out of this? I have mixed feelings about jury duty. I've never served on a jury before and, after all those episodes of Law & Order, I think I would be good at it. I have an open mind. I'm fair and impartial. I don't think I am too quick to judge anybody, especially not by my own personal standards. So, when being questioned by the various attorneys, I answered everything as openly and honestly as I could in a room full of 58 strangers. Sometimes it got a little personal, but I got through it.

I'm now Juror #1.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

the approach of Hell Week

I'm re-naming Holy Week "Hell Week". Normally the bustle of Easter-tide is no big deal, however, this year it is extra-extra-busy.

Beginning this Sunday after regular church stuff, I'm doing a joint organ recital. Then Choir practice (we're doing the Vivaldi "Gloria," complete with Baroque string ensemble). Then comes regular band practice on Wednesday, services Thursday, Friday, Saturday Bell Choir rehearsal, sunrise service at 6am on Sunday followed by the annual pancake breakfast, then another service at 10:30.

What makes all this more extreme than usual? I got called for Jury Duty. During Holy Week. The busiest time of year for those of us employed by The Church. What are they thinking???? The System waits for no one, not even the crucified/resurrected. (Silent prayer: Please, please, please let me be dismissed!)

The only relief in sight comes Friday, two weeks from tomorrow, when I get to have Crochet Night with Sue. If I don't totally break down before then from lack of sleep. I can't sleep lately, and the girl time this month is making me NAUSEOUS. Apologies if I'm cranky.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

you're the inspiration

I have a weakness for Chicago ballads. Ever since those wildly romantic Karate Kid movies started coming out, I have been in love with the Peter Cetera-era Chicago ballads. As a kid, I sung them into my hairbrush every time one came on the radio. Later, I learned that one of my very best college friends, Meg, was also a Chicago ballad junkie.

One of my fondest college memories is of Meg, Erin, Mary Ellen, and I sitting on the floor of one of our dorm rooms, hunched over a pizza, various books and papers scattered everywhere, probably during a finals week sometime. Meg may or may not have had a bottle of Boone's then, too. Anyway, Meg popped in the Greatest Hits 1982-1989 album and I think the rest of the evening was spent singing into beer bottles instead of hairbrushes.

Still another Chicago ballad memory I have is from one summer when I visited the Cape with a certain former boyfriend. One afternoon we drove to Boston, listening to the very same Hits album in the car. Honestly, I can't remember who brought this traveling music along - he or I - but it made for an interesting car ride, nonetheless.

At that time in the relationship, I knew in my heart of hearts, that things were not going to work out. That was our last vacation together and I knew it.

We rode up Route 6 in his 1993 Geo Metro Convertible ("formerly-pink-now-painted-red-because-I'm-not-gay"). I got a little teary listening to "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "You're the Inspiration." We were not soulmates afterall, and it turns out we had a pretty messy breakup when it eventually happened seven years ago. We don't speak to this day, probably because I sued him for back rent.

And now, I am in the midst of the demise of yet another relationship - a marriage coming to an end. Finally. Thank God. The irony is overwhelming. The day the divorce papers came in the mail, the first song I heard in the car on the way to practice that night was "You're the Inspiration."

Friday, March 17, 2006

random Friday

There's nothing like a little randomness on a sunny afternoon, especially when it's St. Patty's Day and the evening's plans are looking promising...

last 10 random tunes on iTunes:
1. Eurotrash Girl - Cracker
2. Daysleeper - REM
3. Frim Fram Sauce - Diana Krall
4. Never My Love - The Association
5. Your Body is a Wonderland - John Mayer
6. More Than This - Matt Nathanson
7. Saints and Sailors - Dashboard Confessional
8. Turn Turn Turn - Judy Collins
9. Somebody Put Something in My Drink - The Ramones
10. Ruby Through the Looking Glass - Tori Amos

random news item:
Didn't anyone else hear about Sandra Day O'Connor blasting her own party during her speech at Georgetown the other day on NPR?

random anecdote and photo:
Tonight, Ryan and I are headed out to dinner at Beale St. and then to an Amerks game - a belated birthday date. We haven't had a date night (technically) since last month when we were up in Sacket's for a weekend. We were supposed to be winter camping, but that fell through due to some extreme weather conditions (see below photo of Ryan on the frozen tundra that is supposed to be Henderson Bay). Anyway, I'm looking forward to my crab cakes tonight!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

say what you mean, mean what you say

It's Lent again. Again. Seems like it was just fast the last year has gone by. Dutifully, I played the Ash Wednesday service this week, but I felt better about it than last year. This is probably because even though things are crazier and more emotional, in some respects, than last year, I am at peace with my past decisions. Finally. I feel more spiritually centered, less doubting, more hopeful.

Protestants don't necessarily follow the Lenten "sacrifice" of giving something up. By making a sacrifice I suppose you are supposed to feel closer to Jesus, because he is the one who lived - and died - the biggest sacrifice of them all. I don't give anything up and instead focus on my own personal spiritual journey. How can giving up say, chocolate, for Lent, compare to giving up a life? It can't. And if one is not spiritual at all, how does giving up chocolate mean something? Little steps, maybe, if one has a path or a plan for becoming more spiritual in whichever way one chooses.

But if one's intentions are obviously maligned, what then, is the point? Seriously, how hard is it really to give up something like chocolate? Why do these kinds of "sacrifices" need to be material in nature? Why not consider giving up holding grudges? Or eliminating road rage from your driving habits? Or curbing your urge to tell racist jokes? Living by example is really, in my opinion, the only way to change the things that are wrong in this world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

how to kill time while in a noisy lobby

Last week, while Mom and I waited 13 hours in the hospital for Dad to get his new hip, I knitted 3 pairs of slippers.

What else can you do when it's too noisy to read?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More books in 2006

I've finished two books this year already. Not a bad start, I'd say.

My new addiction is Library Thing, were you can catalog your personal library and keep track of it all online. What a fabulous invention. So far I've cataloged 132 books, and those are just the ones I keep in my bedroom!

Books Read in 2006:
1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (1/6/06)
2. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (1/10/06)
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1/27/06)
4. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (2/8/06)
5. The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler (2/16/06)
6. Celestial Navigation by Anne Tyler (2/25/06)
7. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi (3/18/06)
8. Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler (3/25/06)
9. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (4/7/06)
10. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler (4/10/06)
11. Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (4/11/06)
12. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler (4/11/06)
13. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (5/6/06)
14. A Slipping-Down Life by Anne Tyler (5/13/06)
15. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (5/24/06)
16. If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler (5/29/06)
17. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (6/4/06)
18. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro (6/18/06)
19. Tracks by Louise Erdrich (7/10/06)
20. Four Souls by Louise Erdrich (7/21/06)
21. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout (8/3/06)
22. The Bobby Gold Stories by Anthony Bourdain (8/4/06)
23. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (8/26/06)
24. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (9/9/06)
25. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott (9/24/06)
26. The Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler (10/5/06)
27. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (12/11/06)