Thursday, April 30, 2009

looking back

So I *almost* did it. I missed a single day blogging in April, but I nearly made up for it with two posts in one day a few weeks later. It was good practice, even if it didn't exactly mean I shared something scintillating every day. I will do my very best to NOT take a month off now. But I'll be glad that I can delete that 10 pm daily alarm that says, "BLOG!"

I will say, it was entirely unlikely that you were going to hear from me today. It's 7:30 pm and I'm still in my nightgown, nursing a colossal hangover. Emma Talent Night was, of course, a total blowout, and I drank too many berry vodka drinks much too quickly. It was super, super, super fun, of course, and I've been told that I didn't *act* that drunk, so that's a relief. I appointment myself one of the official photographers for the evening, and got some pretty great shots that got progressively blurry as the night went on. I'm sure just technical problems with my camera, right? But the fun wore off when I woke up on our bathroom floor at 4:15 am. These are probably details I could have spared my parents. But it's possible that my mom was doing a little drunk texting of her own, as I received this at about 10:30 pm:

G p frkn good no tlk yet posl yr m

Thanks, Mom. She was at a Glen Phillips show. Obviously.

You will most likely NOT hear from me tomorrow, as we'll be out of town for the first time in over a year! We're Hotlanta bound in the a.m., cruising by the Holy Mecca (I mean IKEA) and then checking into our very posh hotel that we got for a song because they just opened yesterday! Woot! Then on to Emily and Neil's wedding of amazingness, and I'm just super excited. We'll be home Saturday afternoon, hopefully in time to catch the last of the Market Celebration at the Farmer's Mkt. That seems like good karma, right? Plus, Snowballs! Then Scott Miller at Mercy Lounge Saturday night, YAY. I'm looking forward to the brief road trip with my Boo, it's not an experience we share very often and I think we're both ready for a minibreak.

Happy Quite Nearly May!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

about that frosting...

So Casey and Trent have the same birthday (wild, right?) and they alternate years getting to request a birthday cake. Casey is all about strawberries and whipped cream. This is Trent's year. He wanted CHOCOLATE. I set about tracking down the most chocolate chocolate cake I could find.

I found this cake on Epicurious (always my go-to when I want something that has already been road-tested). 1277 reviews and 91% of them would make it again? That's a hearty enough recommendation for me! I made the cake layers on Saturday with some hot Drew's Brews coffee from Sip. They came out absolutely gorgeous (I went with three 9" layers instead of the recommended 2 10"), dark and slightly sticky. I wrapped them up and managed to not alert Charlie Murphy the Chocoholic Cat to their hiding place.

Sunday morning I made a quick ganache for the frosting, according to the recipe, but I wasn't wild about the results. The cake itself was already so dark and moist and gooey, I thought a simple drapey ganache would be too homogenous. I stuck it in the fridge to chill and consulted Agnes when we popped by the Walden Market before lunch. We discussed the pros and cons of whipping a ganache or incorporating whipped cream. I thought I'd see how spreadable it was after the chill and play it by ear.

When we got back to the house (a mere two hours before the birthday party was scheduled to start, poor planning on my part...) that ganache was a solid unstirrable mass in the fridge. Oops. The spatula was sticking up at a perfect vertical angle. Hmm. Time to apply all of my dessert-making problem solving skills.

First I whipped the solid ganache with a hand mixer. This didn't go great. The bowl wasn't big enough for much movement, and the chocolate, while lightening significantly, clung to the beaters and was still not really spreadable. So I went WAY outside the realm of reason and popped that bowl in the microwave at half-power for a minute. It came out totally uneven and kind of lumpy, actually quite ugly. UGH.

So I went with my last resort and whipped up probably a cup and a half of whipping cream. I partially folded it in to the lumpy and runny ganache and then put the hand mixer back in there and whipped until everything was evenly mixed and fluffy. Gorgeous!

Now I'm off to Emma Talent Night! It's a shame I didn't manage to pull together a Baking Demonstration. Clearly, the skills!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the lies I tell to my diary

Sorry friends, you're looking at another half-ass post tonight. I'm in the throes of a battle of wills with my iPod and my poor decrepit iMac (aka The Jukebox). Why won't they talk to each other? Why won't they be friends? GAH.

I need my own personal Reggie for nights like these. Austin doesn't seem too concerned about my technical problems. I have important mix cds to make!

Monday, April 27, 2009

from the swamp

I had planned on bringing my readers a cautionary tale (with a happy ending) about making a fluffy chocolate frosting out of bittersweet ganache. And also a recipe overview of the Brazilian Black Beans (with beets, quinoa, pineapple and cilantro). But the truth is, my eyes are closing while I type. We had to be up early (again) to take Kenzie to have her stitches taken out, and then it was a busy day at work.

Then tonight I met Casey at the Belcourt to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a film we loved absolutely to pieces as little girls. All the songs were familiar, the choreography (which is really fantastic) recalled crystal clear memories, but the storyline was horrifyingly un-PC. I just typed an incredibly long recap and realized it was just a bad idea. Let's just say this is probably the last movie to endorse kidnapping as a mating ritual, sans irony. Although maybe the whole movie was completely tongue-in-cheek-wink-wink, and it went over my head just as much this time as it did when I was nine.

In-depth foodie talk tomorrow, complete with pics, I promise.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the procrastinator, on Sunday afternoon

what I should be doing:

- whipping cream
- whipping the ganache in the fridge
- folding the cream into the ganache
- frosting the very, very, very dark chocolate birthday cake
- boiling macaroni noodles
- stirring into the hot macaroni: cheese, butter, sour cream, evaporated milk, eggs
- mixing up the banana bread batter
- baking banana breads
- applying wrapping paper to the case of beer in the garage
- making quinoa
- sauteeing garlic and scallions with vinegar and jerk sauce
- tossing black beans in the garlic jerk sauce

what I am doing:

- finding things to look at online while parked at the desk in our office. because it's cooler in here. and there are no ovens on.

At least the potato salad is finished and ready to put in the car. We're taking that, a very chocolate cake and macaroni and cheese to Casey and Trent's for their birthday dinner. I also roasted some beets with herbs and butter, and those, along with the jerk-seasoned black beans and quinoa, should make up my lunches for the rest of the week, with some pineapple, cheddar, cilantro and sour cream. Yum!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

mental note to self

You know how they say you pay for what you get? And you get what you pay for? This apparently applies to appliances. This morning we were stuck at home with the FOURTH (fruitless) repair visit for our refrigerator. Our huge, nice, posh, glamorous, nearly brand-new refrigerator, the one that we would never have been able to afford if we hadn't bought it at the Sears Scratch and Dent store. A 25-cubic foot Whirlpool fridge for under a grand? Lucky us! Right?

Ugh. Today we had the pleasure of being informed by the repairman that the replacement part that we'd received (and had to wait a week to have installed) was unnecessary and not going to fix our problem. We also got to listen to him get in a bitch-fight with the tech support on his speaker phone. Then he called his supervisor to rat out the other combatant in the verbal squabble. Charming. He (and the tech support, and the supervisor) was stumped by our fridge's inability to maintain a proper temperature, and decided to blame the problem on faulty wiring in our electrical outlet. This is entirely likely, since there has yet to be an example of UNfaulty wiring in this house, other than the new outlets installed by my dad, but are you telling me that it took the FOURTH VISIT before someone checked the outlet? So now we have to bring in an electrician, have the outlet repaired (or have it confirmed that the outlet isn't the problem) and then sit tight for another two weeks until our next service appointment. Awesome.

The good news is, as with all the other visits, the fridge is plenty cold and making ice like a champ since they reset all the operations. It will probably work for another week or so and then start warming up. We threw away two garbage bags' worth of food out of the freezer this morning (last summer's peaches, sad). I dearly, sincerely wish we'd just not bothered with the bargain-hunting and just bought a perfectly fine appliance from Home Depot for the same price and infinitely less trouble. Lesson learned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Video

Because I don't know what tonight holds (other than meeting baby girl Stella Jeanette Cecil!) and because this made me bounce up and down in my chair with glee, I'm going the lazy route and posting a video today.

Thanks to Yewknee for the video alert. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

partial self-portrait

Delaney: Honey, what should I blog about tonight?

Austin: Susan Boyle.

Delaney: Babe. I don't even know enough about her to make it interesting, and I'm not going to be the billionth person to blog about her.

Austin: You should look up who performed AFTER Susan Boyle and write about that.

Delaney: This is not helpful.

Austin: I think that would be hilarious.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


1. Tonight marks day 5 of successful antibiotic dosage for Mackenzie. I don't know if you can truly appreciate the magnitude of this feat. On Friday the vet tech handed me that little green jar filled with pills and my heart just sank. The summer that Kenzie had kidney stones (she was three), the daily administering of (liquid) meds was like the apocalypse in our house. But miraculously, this time around, we just hide the pill in a small bowl of wet food and she has taken every dose without blinking an eye.

2. I had a movie date tonight with some lovely Emma girls. We watched Notting Hill at Hilary's house and ate pizza. Delightful company, delightful film, I can ask for nothing more.

3. When I got home, Austin was about an hour through Scanners. I don't know anything about this movie, except it is apparently not the same thing as A Scanner Darkly. I'm hiding out in the bedroom while he finishes it, and I can report that the soundtrack is very Buck Rogers-esque.

4. When I was five I somehow saw part of an episode of Buck Rogers, where a man gets incinerated by a laser beam or something. He is standing there, and then SHAZAM there is a charred puddle on the floor where he was. This absolutely TERRIFIED me. Clearly, I'm scarred, if I can recall it in detail 27 years later. I think we were at Uncle Dennis's house.

5. Has this seemed like a long week to anyone else? I can't believe tomorrow is only Thursday.

6. This weekend is the Walden Artisan Market in East Nashville, on Eastland across from Rosepepper. Last month it was a blast, lots of neat stuff from local craftspeople. The weather promises to be absolutely glorious (if a little hot, but I'm not complaining) so you can bet there will be a good crowd at the market. Come check it out! Some especially talented folks will be there (oh, you know, my sister Jenny and her husband Patrick. And Badness. And Carolyn. And Caitlin). Don't miss it!

7. I collect vintage slips and lingerie. Did you know that? I would estimate I have at least 100 slips. This weekend I sorted them into two of those big long tupperwares that go under the bed. All the practical ones that can actually be worn underneath dresses or shirts went in one, and the dressup ones went in the other. It inspired me to actually get them out and wear them more often, so the last few nights I've hung around the house in pretty silkies instead of scrubs. Just a little way to feel fancier (and Austin sure doesn't mind that I'm not wallowing in shlubby).

8. Mischa is so damn cute. She just hands out High Fives like they're free. She warms my heart.

9. I read this article today with a great deal of interest. Making your own cream cheese! What?! That seems outrageous to me. But I think homemade granola is in my immediate future, and homemade bagels are on the horizon. God I wish Nashville had some really good bagels. It's a bagel wasteland, I tell you, starting with the demise of Nashville Bagel on West End. Dad used to come home with bags of day-old salt and cinnamon raisin bagels, we'd eat them for weeks.

10. At least once every few hours, I get distracted just looking at the ring on my left hand. It couldn't possibly be any prettier. I look at it and think how lucky I am, and I can't believe anyone loves me this much.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I did it!

I invented a recipe! This was cobbled together from typing "chipotle chile slaw" into Epicurious. It came back with about thirty recipes; I pulled ideas from about four of them. I was mostly inspired by the chipotle mayonnaise we make with the Baja fish tacos from the Cook's Illustrated 30 Minute Recipe book. It's YUMmy.

Slaw with Chipotle and Cilantro

1/2 of a small head red cabbage
1/2 of a small head green cabbage

Slice the cabbage very thin (I did it by hand but you could certainly use a food processor). Place shredded cabbage in colander in the sink and toss with about two tablespoons of salt. Let the cabbage wilt for about an hour. Rinse cabbage thoroughly and drain (a salad spinner works great).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
3 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon of some of the adobo sauce in the jar with the peppers
2 T. honey
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

When the sauce is combined, add the well-drained cabbage and toss until evenly coated.

We served this Mexican-inspired slaw with ground beef tacos and a package of Mexican rice. I'd like to also try it with simple blackened salmon. ¡Muy delicioso!

post 120, how bout that?

Some sweetness from the laziest weekend

Monday, April 20, 2009


Today, I'm opting to go home early and take a nap rather than post a lengthy blog. Shame on me.

This made me really happy today.

And if you're looking for some goodies tonight, come on over to the Mercy Lounge. Part 2 in the Send Some Band to Bonnaroo series of 8 off 8th shows... come see all eight acts and vote one of them into a slot at the Manchester Mudfest. Why do I care? Oh, How I Became the Bomb is playing. Don't you want to force J. Burr to slog through the hordes of hippies and rave dancers? I think that would be hilarious. Lots of other great bands on the bill tonight: Autovaughn, Pico and the Island Trees, K.S.Rhoads, four more. Details here.

Now you see why I need a nap? Plus it's free! Whoop!

Oh, and to be fair, of course I would go to Bonnaroo. If it was free. I did once before, and wasn't even motivated by BRUCE Springsteen that time! Gah! The Boss!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I realize I'm not much of a food blogger...

...because I never post recipes. I cook from other people's (copyrighted) recipes so much, it's not right to share them, right? Hmm. Maybe later this month I'll find something I invented (or tweaked enough to make it my own) and throw it on the ole blog. Tonight I'm too wiped out from the kitchenstravaganza of this afternoon and evening.

First up: Coconut Cream Tart. A quick shortbread crust, a coconut custard filling, toasted coconut layered between and sweetened whipped cream on top. It's chilling now, I'll report back after the first slice.

The tart left me with three egg whites so I also tossed together a batch of chocolate chip meringues. Easy enough. I had all the other ingredients on hand (including mini-semisweet chips, oddly enough). My coworkers can expect the bounty to be shared tomorrow.

Dinner was a new recipe I pulled out of the "Good for You" page of a recent Cooking Pleasures magazine (which is the same place we found the Sicilian Pasta recipe, so I was optimistic): Orange Chicken with Quinoa and Carrots (or something like that). Chicken thighs browned in olive oil, then onion, garlic, quinoa, shredded carrots, raisins, orange zest, paprika, s&p, all stirred in until they start to get soft. Covered with broth and orange juice, brought to a boil, then shoved in the oven for 45 minutes until the quinoa soaks up all the liquid. After it was out of the oven, we stirred in flat-leaf parsley and chopped green olives. Served in big bowls with more of those awesome honey-roasted carrots.

Austin was concerned about the dish not having enough flavor, so he made a sauce of sriracha, sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey. I drizzled a bit on mine (he probably used more) and it was a very wise choice. I'm guessing this was something of a northern-African inspired dish? Definitely our first attempt at quinoa, and I liked it very much. I like the snap and texture. I think the meal would have been much, much better sans chicken. I don't care for thigh meat (and couldn't find boneless thighs meat, so spent a lot of time cleaning and de-boning those suckers) and the chicken didn't absorb much of the seasonings. But all put together, with the sweet and spicy carrots and sauce, it was a pretty satisfying meal. I'll keep trying different things with quinoa (maybe try to recreate the amazing quinoa tacos from Teresa the Taco Lady!).

Other than the cooking efforts (which really only started at like 5:30) it was a lovely and lazy day. We had leftovers for lunch and watched the third Bourne movie, which was fine if rather exhausting. So many chase sequences, so many fight scenes, it runs together. It's super rainy in Nashville today, so the dogs all hung out inside most of the time and we had some good family time.

Oh, and last night's undetermined dinner destination turned out to be Eastland Cafe, and apparently J.Burr's celebrity status is such that we got an entire patio all to ourselves for the whole meal. Delightful. We got an awesome appetizer (goat cheese brulee with local honey, roasted tomatoes and peppers and grilled flatbread) and I had a couple of absolutely swoon-worthy cocktails. The first was called the Three Rs, basically a rhubarb lemonade with rosemary syrup and rum. YUM. It was a tiny bit strong at first but as the ice melted became completely delicious. Then after the meal I ordered a Spicy and Sweet, which was muddled strawberries and a jalapeno slice in cava. So good. I just got a goat cheese salad (what, more goat cheese? who, me?) and mashed potatoes and fried green tomatoes for dinner, and Austin got a really delicious pork tenderloin. Jon had ricotta pasta, which was very good, and Ali also had side dishes: macaroni and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts and an iceberg wedge with blue cheese and Benton's (!) bacon. We couldn't NOT order blueberry beignets for dessert. Really a treat of a meal. Then we came back to the house and played another entirely lopsided game of Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture. Note to self: in the future, we're not playing Boys against Girls when one of the categories is Sports. Boo.

Kenzie has spent all day hanging out on my dressing table, which has to be an improvement over hiding under the bed. She stands up when we come into the room, and purrs when she's petted. All good signs. She's also taken three drama-free doses of antibiotic, and we head back to the vet at 8 am tomorrow to get those tubes removed and get her on the road to recovery. Whew!

Austin has just left the television on Spike TV: Zombie Strippers. I think I'd better recruit him for kitchen cleanup and some coconut tart before bed.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

pre-date postings

Rather than risk skipping another day of the blogs, I'm going to throw this one up here before we leave for dinner (location yet to be determined). I'm wearing a fun new green sundress and feeling rather cute, even if I kind of think this dress makes an exaggerated bulge out of my tummy. Austin swears no. My hair looks good, anyway.

I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon on Myspace, of all places, exporting all my old blog posts to my desktop (using that Print Preview: Save as PDF trick). I had forgotten that I spent most of 2005 only posting dumb internet surveys instead of actual written blogs, which is pretty obnoxious. I indulge occasionally in the list-format surveys on here or on Facebook, but back then it was 15 postings in a row. It is no wonder that my dedicated readership at the time consisted of two: Austin and Agnes, who were both completely obligated to read. Sorry to both of you, four years later. Would it be annoying to make a blogspot page for these old blogs, so that non-Myspace users could peruse them? I haven't decided yet.

Before I forget, Kenzie is doing ok today. She ate an entire can of wet food last night and again this morning, so her appetite is back, which is a huge relief. We even attempted the trick of hiding her antibiotic pill in her food this morning, expecting a total fail, and it worked! Shocking. So far so good. She's still camped out behind the bed, except for two random (mysteriously motivated) wanderings down the hallway into the bathroom (maybe the tile feels cool to her?). This involved a lot of complaining. Nothing new there. I wish I could keep her under closer observation, but I know she feels safer behind the bed, and I'm glad for the separation that keeps her pretty much unbothered by the rest of the menagerie.

As Mom pointed out, I was due for a third crisis this week (1. slashed tire 2. Kenzie vet drama), so I tried to cut the tip of my left middle finger off last night. It turned out to just be a rather painful, fingernail-invading slice, but nothing life-threatening. I was chopping an onion lazily, with a dull knife, so that's what I get. I need to get my chef's knife sharpened, but don't want to be without it for a day. If you're keeping score, that does mean we had Skillet Chicken Pot Pie last night, so delicious. And watched the Bourne Supremacy, which wasn't nearly as good as the first. I usually love Joan Allen (especially in Pleasantville, swoon) but didn't buy her for a minute in this film. And the Russian assassin's apparently psychic ability to find Bourne in any crowded metropolis was not exactly thrilling. He's just a dude who wears black all the time, how much could he possible stand out? Unimpressive. We'll still watch the third one tomorrow, Austin has it stashed on the DVR.

I guess it's dinnertime. We'll see if we end up eating Mexican food on a patio (which is definitely what the Boo wants) or driving to Joelton for catfish (definitely what I want). This will be a matter of filibustering until our co-diners (Jon and Ali) take a stand. Possible compromises: Sky Blue Bistro or Eastland Cafe, both places I like to eat that also offer porch seating. Bon Saturday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kenzerelli, that's what they call her.

**fair warning... slightly gruesome veterinary details to follow**

Kenzie and I had a not-great day. I took her to the vet this afternoon, after she hadn't moved from under our bed or eaten for three or four days. She's not exactly a trooper about being transported anywhere, and especially not anywhere that results in her getting pinned down to a metal table while a strange man pokes and prods her. It turns out she's had an abscess in her rear-end area, possibly for quite some time, and it's rather large now. Poor kiddo. The dr. sedated her, drained the abscess and inserted a drainage tube. They waited until she woke up and handed her back off to me.

I was pretty scared and upset the whole time, but once we got home and she came out of her kitty carrier covered in blood and looking like an effed-up science experiment, I totally fell apart. Her hip is shaved and she has rubber tubing hanging out in two directions. She is NOT pleased about any of the tubing/suture situation. She's been fiendishly bathing herself, and a moment ago I caught her tugging at the tube with her teeth. It's going to be a long weekend.

Really, it could have all been much worse, I know. She's twelve, and her half-brother (my beloved Boogie) dropped dead of a mysterious "sizeable mass" three years ago (and took a big chunk of my heart with him). She's been rather foul-tempered since her feral kittenhood, and it's hard to say if maybe she's been sick for years and we just chalked it up to being calico-ish. I spent the last 24 hours consumed with dread for a disease diagnosis that would involve dozens of expensive treatments that would add up to her as torture. A treatable abscess, a diagnosis of "She's going to be hurtin' for a little while," accompanied with a disconcerting wink, really, it's almost best case scenario. But I'm still feeling pretty volatile, and think I'd better go start dinner and lose myself in the next Bourne movie before I spend the rest of the night having fearful crying jags.

{The picture above is the first shot of Kenzie taken in our new house. She acclimated astonishingly well and was hanging out with me on the new couch within a few hours of the moving crew leaving. I took this picture with the built-in laptop camera, just to show how cool she was being (while my boys, who I would ordinarily think of as being much braver than Kenzie, were still hunkered down in closet corners, freaking out). I wish we had the scanner hooked up so I could post a picture of Mackenzie as a kitten, because she was absolutely the cutest damn thing, with a pansy face and so much trouble.}

Thursday, April 16, 2009

coming down off my expectations

Tonight I declined to watch 30 Rock with Austin and instead settled in bed with the laptop and visions of blog topics dancing in my head. And instead of composing the manifesto I've been manifesting all day, I caught up on my Reader. Google Reader is the biggest timesucking timesaver ever. Sure, it's better than methodically checking every single one of my bookmarks every day, like I used to. Now I know when my favorite sites are updated, and they're all listed in one handy place. But that handiness and availability makes me a little too subscribe-happy. I recently unsubscribed from Weddingbee, from the Twilight lexicon (what?) and from the East Nashville listserv. Among those three sites I would estimate 150 new posts daily. And sure, it's easy enough to scroll through them quickly and scan for pertinent topics. I won't say I didn't occasionally just click "Mark all as read," and not even lose sleep over it. But I don't even miss any of them now, after a few weeks of going without.

Maybe I don't need to know all the details from the White House blog. Cakewrecks is occasionally too prolific to keep up with. Bites has been very post-heavy the last few months, but it's all very topical to my interests and lifestyle. This month's blog challenge has added another 20 or so to my daily check-in, but they're sure entertaining and make me love my coworkers even more. Wedding blogs are really starting to stack up, though. There has to be a cutoff point, I can't keep inundating myself with so many brilliant ideas every day. Our wedding is only going to happen once, and will only be a maximum of 5 hours (plus related activities, but still...). There is no way I'm going to cram every scrap-paper cupcake flag and multicolored macaron into our Big Day. I'm not even going to try.

What's my point? Keeping up with my Reader is rather time-consuming, and probably prevents me from doing more in depth writing of my own. But I love my daily dose of LOLcats and Zooborns and Married to the Sea (who only recently added a RSS feed, thanks Drew and Natalie!). And somehow I managed to make a blog post about reading too many blogs, that's so meta!

Two things I can talk about tomorrow: Emily's surprise shower/chocolate tasting tonight (so much fun) and Mackenzie is sick (filled with worries). And how weird is it that tomorrow is already Friday?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the art of being flexible

I'm not always the best person at changing The Plan midstream. It's ok, I'm fine with my own borderline OCD-ness. It is the difference between kid Delaney, who used to lose her homework every day, and adult Delaney, who loves filing things. If it takes a near-disorder to help me keep my life straight, that's the way I prefer it.

So I make lists. And schedules. And sometimes I relish in ignoring them (see: yardwork plans for last weekend). But mostly, I have expectations for what the day will bring, the week, the vacation, the renovation, etc. And when Things don't go according to that plan, sometimes it takes me some time to adjust. Sometimes it's as easy as saying, "Ok, no biggie, we'll do lunch next week," and going and picking up a sandwich. Sometimes I have to write everything down and look at the big picture and rearrange some post-its and say, "Alright, so we'll switch the night we're making soup so we can meet Emily and Neil at Trivia Night, but this will only work if you drive and we leave my car at Casey's." Sometimes it's a big change, something I wasn't prepared for, and it can take me months, even years, to get past the regret, that tiny pang that something isn't quite right, and it hurts a bit when I remember what that something is.

But tonight is just a little tipover. I was leaving work a bit late, heading home to start dinner (skillet chicken pot pie). Austin was at a meeting in Cool Springs (horrors!) and I was hoping to try to time everything right so dinner was ready when he got home. But as I was pulling out of the Emma parking lot, my car was making a horrible noise and dragging to the right. I pulled right over and inspected the damage: a very flat tire. I know this is no big deal. But truthfully, I don't know if I've ever had one. Definitely not since I've had this car (almost four years) and probably not since college.

I ran through my options, pleased that my first instinct was not panic. I tried to remember what kinds of roadside assistance we still subscribe to (at one point I think I was covered under three different plans). I considered how long it could be before Austin's undetermined meeting conclusion, and if he could be any help to me. I wondered for a moment where Dad was. And then I came to my senses, backed up, and parked the car in front of Emma. And waved down the next coworker to leave the building, and lucky for me it was Chris Wood. First he waved back at me cheerfully, then realized that I was beckoning and pulled his truck around. We proceeded to unpack the spare tire out of the back of my car (I repeat, this has never been done before) and try to figure out the jack. Some of the fellows from the contractor crew who are working on Emma's third floor stopped to offer advice. Then Chris Nelson, aka Carlos Contusion, came out to help as well.

We got that tire changed (I say "we," ha!) in no time, with no drama. And I just kept thinking, over and over, my coworkers are my family now. If we had ended up living in California instead of Tennessee, I would have been able to call the Pros from Dover any time I had car trouble. As it was, I always called my dad. But now I have this vast group of reliable, brilliant, kind and helpful folks that I'm surrounded by every day, and they've become my support system. In so many different ways. It's not like there aren't bad days at Emma. But there are just good people. As I do at some point every day, I thought, "How lucky am I?"

I figured driving home on a donut tire was unnecessary, so I hightailed it to the other family, my FIRST family, and hung out at Casey and Trent's house while Austin finished up his meeting and headed back from the evilburbs. We can just leave it at Carmax overnight. Now I'm rethinking the plan for tonight and the rest of the week. By the time we get home tonight it will be too late to start dinner. We can make chicken pot pie on Friday. Maybe tonight we can go to PM and have crab wontons and sushi bites. I can be flexible with my food scheduling.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Domestic Goddess, speaking

Housework I enjoy doing:
  1. Unloading the dishwasher
  2. Folding laundry
  3. Unpacking after a trip
  4. Dusting
  5. Straightening/putting things where they belong
  6. Making the bed
Housework I really just don't mind:
  1. Sweeping
  2. Sorting and starting laundry
  3. Washing dishes/loading dishwasher
  4. Scrubbing the bathroom
  5. Taking out the trash and/or recycling
Housework I simply despise:
  1. Mowing the lawn
  2. Vacuuming
  3. Cleaning the catboxes
  4. (Austin says to put "Showering" here. Which is accurate, if not entirely topical.)
If there was a category between "Don't really mind" and "Despise," I'd put Mopping there. I generally avoid it. I would say there is literally anything I would rather do than mow. I spent my entire adolescence trading my sisters every chore in the book to get out of having to mow. I don't really mind the rest of gardening, once I get out there and get my hands in it, but I generally procrastinate the act of just getting all the tools together and going outside.

Now, sauteing, chopping, trimming, toasting, shredding, folding, mixing, melting? Sure thing. Anytime.

Monday, April 13, 2009

lack of inspiration

I wish I had something really crackerjack to say tonight. I don't. I'm wondering how I'm even going to make it to bed, or manage to get my face washed before that, or get the dishes cleaned, or even get the remnants of tonight's dinner packed up and put away. Right now, I'm not positive that I'll ever get over the onslaught of Full by which I'm currently buried.

It was a simple meal. Sicilian pasta, one of our very favorite dishes, a puttanesca-type sauce with crushed tomatoes, zucchini cut into thick matchsticks, onion, garlic, basil and chopped Kalamata olives. The recipe calls for fettuccine, but we use penne. Served up with a side salad (just lettuce and dressing) and Texas garlic toast, it's pretty much a perfect meal.

But then we also had to eat some cake. Pineapple upside-down cake, still slightly warm. It is a rare occasion for me to get home before Austin (since we ride together almost every day), rarer still to have a couple of hours to kill while he works late. So I baked a cake. I imagine we'll save some for ourselves, and I'll present the rest to the book club girls tomorrow night, along with the requested deviled eggs and potato salad.

Right now, I guess we'd better get the food put away, before Charlie Murphy does for us (he already made off with one penne noodle). I hope everyone has pineapple-sweet dreams.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

the paranoia, it drives me

We did indeed make it to the Farmer's Market yesterday, where I got to meet the owner of B&C BBQ (aka Bacon and Caviar, the frontrunner for wedding catering). He was super cool, and the preliminary conversation made me feel good about that option for later. Still no word on the legality of having our boozy wedding at the Market, but I am optimistic and think we'll hear something soon. I had bbq pulled pork (with white sauce) and mac & cheese, both delicious. As we were walking out, there was a kettle corn stand where they were pulling hot caramel corn out of the popper. Ding ding! I walked away with a still-warm bag, and then skidded to a halt on the first bite. I've avoided caramel popcorn most of my life, because I'm usually disappointed by it. I realized, with that warm explosion of sweet and salty, that I'm always disappointed because my first impression of caramel popcorn was freshly popped on the wharf in Monterey, and it's never that good. Never. But yesterday, it was almost perfect. Austin said, "You want to have that at the wedding now, don't you?" and I just smiled and nodded, with my mouth full.

I was mostly lazy the rest of the afternoon, sticking around to the house to greet the fellow from the pest control company, coming to spray (botanically, organically) for mosquitos, and powder the crawl spaces upstairs for wasps. The pest technician turned out to be a former high school classmate, so that was a little weird. But I'm glad to get that taken care of before the weather gets warm; our backyard and kitchen were mosquito farms during our painting sessions in September.

Then I headed to the roller derby bout, which was a bloody blur. Bloody for the New Orleans Big Easy. Final score: Nashville Rollergirls, 211; Big Easy 34. Ouch! It was almost hard to watch, but not really. I can't say I wasn't chuckling and hollering along with everyone else while our girls skated their asses off. Loads of fun.

After that I went to the Five Spot for Claire and Sara's birthday party. Showing up there sober was probably a mistake. Most of the attendees had apparently shared a pre-party and were making a lot of nonsensical racket. Luckily there was a vast snack bar, and good conversation to be had with some lovely friends. I also managed to get my boogie on for a few songs. I bailed out after midnight and had to perform my favorite routine of peeling off my smoke-soaked clothes, ditching them straight into the washing machine and climbing directly into the shower. Sigh.

You might be wondering why I was doing all of these activities solo. Where was Austin? Oh, Austin spent about 10 hours on Saturday playing a Battlestar Galactica card game with J.Burr et al. Please, feel free to mock him mercilessly for this foray into outright nerdiness. It's kept me busy all day today. I don't mean to imply that he didn't come to the roller derby; he did, like a dutiful statsgeek, but he went straight back to Jon's house as soon as the bout was over and made it home around one a.m.

Today was quiet but productive. We got Mitchell's for lunch (god how lucky are we that the best deli in Nashville is a half mile from our house?) and Austin mowed the lawn. I got new stuffed dog toys while I was at the grocery store, and Digby and Mischa were so happy and hilarious about them. They always wreck their new toys within the first 24 hours, but the abject joy we get on the big reveal is totally worth the waste of $4 worth of textiles. I know that's not very ecologically sound. I am providing a video to help you judge me less. We got the house straighted up, the laundry done, and made amazing pizza for dinner: asparagus and potato with goat cheese and andouille sausage. So delicious.

We watched The Bourne Identity while we ate our pizza. I'd never seen any of the Bourne movies, and was really enthralled. I'm such a sucker for action thrillers! Particularly with Clive Owen! Swoon! We've had this movie from Netflix since January; if I'd known my boyfriend Clive was in it, I would have probably taken the time to watch it sooner. Now I'm ready to watch the next two, as soon as possible. Very entertaining.

What didn't I do this weekend? Oh, read Watchmen. I'm a book club flunky. We're meeting at Megan's house Tuesday and it sounds like a healthy portion of attendees have actually read the damned thing, but I'm never going to make it. I don't like reading it before bed, it makes my dreams weird. So that just leaves lunches at work for reading, and I didn't do much catching up last week. Oh well. I'm usually pretty good about reading the book club book; this is just going to have to be a fail.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

first fail

Here's what happens when we have a lovely dinner date with the Talleys, and then we all come back here and Austin and Brad watch Mighty Boosh videos and Anna and I gab about wedding ideas: I forgot to blog. Damn. Very disappointed in self.

I did the abs and butt pilates workouts Thursday morning, and have been so sore since then that I'm hobbling around like a cripple. I swear I've forgotten how to walk normally. I thought it would be smart to go to the gym after work yesterday, just to stretch my muscles and warm things up. I walked on the treadmill for a half hour, and am still just as sore. So my solution was to sleep for 12 hours last night, and I must have slept crooked because now I can't raise my left arm above shoulder heighth without a pinching pain that runs from elbow to jaw. This is it. I'm getting old. I'm in my early 30s and my body is betraying me.

Now, really, that's not true. My body is only reacting to the utter sloth and gluttony that I indulge in on a daily basis. I grew up thin. I come from a thin family. I have a fast metabolism, and for the first 25 years of my life, I could eat whatever I wanted, never get any physical exercise, and still never consider my weight or body fat. You guys can throw tomatoes at me; I know this isn't exactly something to complain about. Being thin is considered to be something anyone can comment on. I don't really miss being told, "You're too skinny... you're so thin..." all the time. As if anyone would say something if the opposite was true!

Since Austin and I have been together, and I'm creeping through my late 20s and early 30s, my metabolism is certainly slowing. It was a gradual process, and one that I was in denial about for a very long time. But the truth is, I'm packing on the pounds, adult pounds, ones that are not easy to shed. Fifty of them, to be exact. I think I've gained almost exactly fifty pounds since I met Austin in January of 2004. To look at it that way, like a total amount of body weight, is horrifying. That means I added an additional 30% of myself. In five years. I wouldn't say I was necessarily at my ideal weight five years ago (I was still in single-girl fight-or-flight mode), but I don't recognize myself in photographs now, and I know it's gone too far.

And I know it's obnoxiously obvious to want to lose weight for the wedding. But I have a red and cream flowered strapless dress that I wore for a few special dates in the first year we were together, and I really want to wear it to our rehearsal dinner. So I've got some serious work cut out for me. I'm trying to establish a regular exercise routine, and for an absolute beginner, it's a climb. I'll work out regularly for two weeks and then drop off for two months. If a specific goal of a wedding (and the hundreds of photographs that I want to treasure for eternity) is what it takes, at least I have probably the strongest motivator that I've ever had to lose weight.

The other side of this is obviously diet. And you all know this is not an easy adjustment for me. I think about food all the time. It is a huge factor in my happiness, and also certainly my hobby. I follow my cravings religiously. Denying myself is not my style. I'm not going to go on a crash diet. We tried the master cleanse last summer and it was a no-holds-barred disaster. Not for me. All I can promise to do is eat LESS of the bad things, and more of the good things, and try to maintain a balance. I cleared all the garbage foods out of my snack drawer at work. I'm making a point to cook with fish one night a week. I do crave salads, and I'm trying to put less unhealthy-but-tasty accoutrements on those salads (ok, not every salad needs an ounce of goat cheese). It's a number of small adjustments, but hopefully it will help me keep up the motivation on the exercise front, and all balance out.

Now I'm going to drag my crippled body to the Farmer's Market for lunch, and then rest up for the Roller Derby tonight! Good luck, All-Stars!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Nashville Sounds Opening Day

This must be the sportiest two weeks of my life:

Wednesday April 1: World Cup qualifier soccer game
Thursday April 2: Bowling with Emma peeps
Tuesday April 7: Predators hockey
Thursday April 9: Nashville Sounds baseball opening day
Saturday April 11: Nashville Rollergirls vs. New Orleans Big Easy

Plus we've played spades almost every night before bed. Not to mention this all comes after surviving the maelstrom of activity that is the NCAA men's college basketball tournament when you share a home with Austin Gray.

Sporty McSporterson. That's me. I hardly recognize myself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Photo Wednesday

Sandy Drive: Springtime

Happy Soccer Fans: Go USA!

Our view of the pitch: not too shabby!

Our co-attendees: Quite silly.

Thinking outside the vase: Lawn flowers in a failed butter keep (thanks, J!).

Tonight's Dinner: Foil Packet Tilapia with dill, honey tangerines, lemongrass and shallots with brown rice and honey-roasted carrots. Amazing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm going to the hockey game. Please enjoy this survey in my absence.

1. Who was your FIRST prom date? First and only: Scotty Hooper, after many months of scheming.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love? I guess that depends on who we're talking about. I'm going to say probably not.

4. What was your FIRST job? Writing peoples' names on Christmas stockings with Elmer's Glue and glitter at Hickory Hollow Mall, December 1993.

5. What was your FIRST car? 1988 Nissan Maxima Station Wagon: Imogene, the Cruisin' Machine

6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today? I haven't gotten any texts today.

7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning? Probably Austin? I don't remember thinking about anything when I woke up. Just dismay.

8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher? Mrs. Johnson. She is the teacher who informed my parents that I seemed bored because I was eating my crayons, and recommended I be placed in second grade. And I was.

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane? Nashville, TN. Our parents had already moved out here the month before, my sisters and I stayed with our grandmother while Mom and Dad got us settled. Then we flew out to see our new home.

10. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk? This question prompted me to search for Talora Gross on Facebook, because I haven't thought of her in years, and haven't spoken to her in much, much longer.

11. Where was your FIRST sleepover? I'm going to guess Aunt Dorothea's.

12. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today? The Boo. Assuming that Mischa doesn't count.

13. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time? Cousin Elisa's.

14. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning? Groaned.

15. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to? Pearl Jam on the Vs. tour, Murphy Center, March 1994.

16. What was the FIRST vinyl record you ever bought? I don't remember ever BUYING a vinyl record, until I got that fancy Radiohead one for Austin. But I think the first one that was bought for me was Michael Jackson's Thriller. Unless you count the little Mattel ones that were storybooks. We had Ewok Adventure and Alice in Wonderland.

17. What was the FIRST cassette you ever bought? Possibly Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue

18. What was the FIRST CD you ever bought? Garth Brooks, the one that was Black and White. That might be the name of the album, can't remember.

19. What was the FIRST mp3 you ever downloaded? Probably something from the Hitmaker!

20. Who was the FIRST famous person you ever met? Vince Gill, at a Belmont Basketball game.

21. FIRST tattoo? Still zero.

22. FIRST piercing? Ears, when I turned thirteen.

23. FIRST foreign country you went to? Jamaica, mon.

24. FIRST movie you remember seeing? Mary Poppins, on the Disney Sunday Movie.

25. When was your FIRST detention? In seventh grade, on a field trip, some classmates and I crossed the street to eat at Dairy Queen. We all got in school suspension.

26. What was the FIRST state you lived in? California.

27. Who was your FIRST roommate? A girl named Mandy? Jessica? Something like that. She was from Kentucky and went home every weekend.

28. Where did you purchase your FIRST home? Inglewood!

29. Where was your FIRST child born? Nowhere. Never.

30. Who was your FIRST kiss? Again, Scotty Hooper. I hope he doesn't ever google himself.

31. What was the name of your FIRST elementary school? Ashland City Elementary School (ACES!).

Monday, April 6, 2009

minor rant

I've threatened to address this topic for years. But the magazine industry, in addition to being nearly obsolete, is an enormous racket. Subscription cards are a horrifying waste of paper and trash, for one thing. Even (maybe even especially) magazines that spend a great deal of their pages on eco-wellness and conservation can be tipped upside down to an avalanche of the familiar white rectangular cards. How many subscriptions do those things sell? I would guess less than one for every fifty magazines that are purchased. So what is the logic to putting FIFTEEN of the damn cards per magazine? Wasteful, annoying. If you'd like to hear a gross detail, ask me what I do with them. It's kind of like freecycling, but involves cat litter.

Additionally, the magazine renewal process is the opposite of transparent. The only way to know when your subscription is actually expiring is to figure out the encoded date on your mailing label (and if you already opened your magazine, most of which are encased in plastic now, you already threw away that label). Otherwise, the only gauge you have for the timing of your expiration is the CONSTANT letters you get encouraging you to Act Now! Lock Down This Special Introductory Price! You're Qualified for Professional Industry Pricing! I just received a subscription to a well-living magazine last month as a gift from my Aunt, and TODAY I received a "Renew Now and Save" letter in the mail. The amount of paper this industry wastes in pointless advertising (not to mention the actual printing of the publication, which rarely gets kept or reused) is astonishing.

And even if I was an absolute sucker, and I went ahead and mailed this company a check to renew at the special low price of $10 annual, it is never made clear as to whether that payment would add an additional year to my current (prepaid) subscription, or if I'm just paid up for the upcoming 12 months. I'm going to get those damned renewal notices no matter if I'm paid up for the next decade or not. How would anyone who didn't keep pristine payment records AND maintain a constant conversation with magazine customer service ever know? I'm pretty certain that, over the last fourteen years of subscribing to Martha Stewart Weddings, I have paid for at least eighteen years worth of service. Sure, at $16/year (as long as I can remember), it's not like this is breaking me. I am extremely loyal to this magazine, I have saved every single issue, and I read every single page. $16 is completely reasonable for that amount of value, and I will always pay them as soon as I get an invoice rather than risk missing an issue (and, admittedly, when I *did* miss an issue last fall after we moved, MSW replaced it immediately, no questions asked).

But this leads me to my last topic: I have worked for a magazine, and elsewhere in the journalism industry. I know that the only thing that keeps these publications' doors open is advertising revenue. The operating expenses for any magazine are paid ENTIRELY BY THEIR ADVERTISERS. If you are purchasing a glossy filled with cosmetic, automobile and entertainment ads, you just gave that publisher an extra $3-4 that they didn't earn. They should be paying YOU to read their magazine and support their advertisers! The fact that these publications still attempt to add to their profit margin by assigning (occasionally outlandish) dollar values to the service of placing their magazine on a newsstand or in your mailbox is astonishing.

We have subscribed to a major weekly entertainment rag for most of the years that Austin and I have been dating. One year we got it for free because my subscription to Premiere magazine was transferred to an EW subscription when Premiere met an untimely demise (RIP). After that, we got an obnoxiously high renewal notice and canceled. Then a few months later got a ridiculously low "new subscriber" offer, and signed back up again. This has gone on for years now. Last year, my 2-year subscription was running out, and I got a nondescript card in the mail that told me, in unreadably fine print, that the card I'd used to pay for the original contract was going to be charged $46 unless I contacted them in writing to cancel in the next 14 days. I did so and received confirmation of cancellation. The SAME WEEK, Austin got a "subscribe now and save!" card inviting him to take advantage of the special low price of $19 for two years. A $27 difference in prices for the same plan?! Outrageous.

I love magazines. Especially cooking magazines. I cut most of the garbage mags out of my life (I used to religiously subscribe to Glamour, Cosmopolitan, In Style, Mademoiselle, US, Elle and Allure). I stopped taking Food & Wine when I realized I was only cutting one or two recipes out of every issue. Now I get Entertainment Weekly, MSW, Bon Appetit, Everyday Food (which I'm not planning on renewing) and Real Simple. The only ones that I always read cover to cover are MSW and Bon Appetit. Would I be more likely to read the other magazines if they were free? Probably not. Do I look at all of those magazines' websites regularly? I do. Is it clear that the days of the slick glossy publication are numbered? I think so, although it will make me sad when I'm no longer adding to my neatly ordered shelf of Weddings magazines once a quarter.

Just like in the music business, the magazine industry's total refusal to overhaul their subscription system from the outdated service that made them piles of money several decades ago is, most likely, its death march. Magazines that haven't put all of their content online, in an easily searchable format, will continue disappearing without a trace. I just wonder how many more years I'll find those damned cards under the bed or receive "urgent" notices in the mail before they've all just vanished.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

insight in the moment

Tonight, instead of working on the thoughtful, actual-topic blog I've been pondering all day today, about female friendships, maturity, personality and relationships, I played spades with my fiance for three hours.

Did I make the right decision? From here, the answer is obviously yes.

On a food note, we made one of our favorite dishes from the Cook's Illustrated 30 Minute Recipe book: Italian Sausages with Onions, Peppers and Potatoes. Because this isn't nearly enough of a health-food dish, we traditionally serve this in a bowl with cheddar cheese grits (Alton Brown's recipe). Tonight, inspired by the shrimp and grits at Rumours, I made a balsamic reduction to pour over everything. It was syrupy and sweet (and made it hard to breathe in my kitchen while reducing). Delicious! Served with a little salad with that favorite wasabi-bleu cheese dressing. And chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

So that's fair warning, coworkers: chocolate chip cookies and cucumber sandwiches (aka leftover baby shower food) coming your way in the morning. Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

fulfilling my godmotherly duties

I'm shocked by how productive we ended up being today. So often, Saturday is the day of recovery, Sunday is when we get on the ball, and then on Monday morning I'm pining for *another* day of recovery. It works out better this way, with a flurry of errands and cleaning on this first day of the weekend, and an obligation-free Sunday. Well, tomorrow isn't exactly obligation free (brunch plans + baby shower) but certainly nothing demanding.

Today we lunched at Kien Gang, much to the abject joy of my future husband. That boy, he dearly loves his vermicelli #3. I'm still not 100% sold on Vietnamese food, or at least haven't found anything there I'm crazy about, but managed to do my own bowl of vermicelli justice. Then we stole some produce from the K&S Market (ok, we didn't steal anything. That's just how it feels, because that place is alarmingly cheap). I found a couple of gorgeous Asian pears that smell like perfume, and a handful of honey tangerines, and lemongrass for the tilapia we're cooking on Wednesday. We also stocked up on a vast variety of fruity sodas made with sugar instead of HFC: ginger beer, grapefruit and apple sodas. Then we made it back to the east side and finished our grocery shopping, drama free, at the Eastland Kroger. I'm so tired of leaving the Inglewood Kroger angry every week. It's worth it to me to drive the extra five minutes (or ten or twenty) to not be tempted to storm out of the store midway through my shopping list. It is my dearest hope that the wild rumors of a Wild Oats, Trader Joes or Publix coming to East Nashville will come to fruition soon.

When we got home we cleaned the house, including mopping the floors and shaking out the area rugs. Every week has felt like spring cleaning lately, but it's so, so, so worth it to wake up in a clean house that I don't mind walking around in my bare feet. We watched a favorite episode of Firefly, then threw together a delicious dinner: fried eggs and sage country sausage, a fruit salad (pineapple, cantaloupe and one of those honey tangerines) and fried plantains! This was our first foray into plantain (don't ask me why) and we were both thrilled with the result. Yes, this was a fry-heavy dinner, but somehow didn't feel too terrible for us. I only used a tablespoon of butter, which makes me feel better.

Now we're holed up in Leia and Richie's tv cave, doing the easiest babysitting job of all time (the boys were already asleep when we arrived). They have that fancy Netflix box where we can call up movies at will, so we're about to start Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which I've never seen. Austin swears I'll enjoy it. I do love the soundtrack, so that's a good start, right?

Movie time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

a silent house

Today was, as expected, another experiment in chaos. Phones were finally restored at the office around nine, and emails didn't end up getting TOO backed up. But even as I'm typing this, I'm remembering two different things I didn't finish today that I completely lost out of my brain. Damn. Sometimes I thrive on crisis detail, and let adrenaline and busybody-ness kick up my productivity. But sometimes it's all just too much, and I literally forget important things that I was in the middle of working on. Luckily, my MacMail saves drafts even when I close the program. And I've got two unfinished emails that are going to go out tonight.

But that's ok. I'm tucked in on the couch with my red blanket across my lap and my puppy across my feet. Tonight we snuck out for sushi and I have big news: Samurai has sake now! A whole menu of nine different kinds. Mercy! In related news, I'm probably going to be asleep before ten. Right now I'm catching up on my Reader (so much additional activity with all the coworkers blogging!) and maybe I'll start on my astonishingly backlogged stack of magazines. I got the new MSW LAST FRIDAY and have only made it through the first few pages. Who am I becoming?! It's like I'm a stranger. To myself.

Honestly, everything else I've thought of to talk about can wait until later. Gotta save other topics for the next 26 days! Plus I just got so distracted by this video that I am just going to give up making any sense tonight. Instead I'll make a grocery list and be ready for a productive weekend that can at least partially be spent hiding out. Is April always this busy?

Any typos or grammatical errors tonight are sponsored by unfiltered sake.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

sweatin' to the oldies

After a chaotic day, I have one major pronoucement: I LOVE DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION. Or DDR, as the game regularly refers to itself. If I had this in my house, I would not be (quite so) out of shape. I'm currently researching my options for owning DDR for my very own. Maybe we can register for it?

Let's see, what else? Oh, right, we had crazy storms in Nashville today. I love storms except for when my dogs are outside by themselves. Then it mostly makes me sad. Austin got home before I did, where he found some very, very muddy animals. They're all high strung even now.

The storms knocked out the power at work today for a little while, and once it returned, we were sans phones and email for the rest of the day. This is quite crippling to productivity. The good news is, instead of laying around on the floor and playing I Spy in the downtime, I threw myself into some problem solving conversations with several of my genius coworkers, and am excited about some of the solutions that were uncovered. It's 11 pm now, and we still aren't getting emails or voicemails, so I'm a little terrified to come in tomorrow to the deluge. I am also feeling the pain of some of my systems coworkers, who will likely be awake all night trying to restore our internal office communications by the time our customers on the east coast are in their offices tomorrow morning.

Oh, and I went bowling, also with my coworkers (maybe they're my only friends) (just kidding). It was super fun. The bowling alley was the site of the DDR throwdown with Emily and coworker/non-sister Casey. All in all, it was a busy but good day.

Tomorrow I am working from home in the afternoon while Sears comes to repair our (very nice! dammit!) refrigerator for the THIRD TIME. It is looking likely that we are going to have to cash our warranty in and get a new one before the year is out. Very frustrating. Monday we took a 60 degree reading out of the fridge. Unacceptable. Also in the afternoon, the Personal Farmer gentleman from Gardens of Babylon is coming to give us a consultation on what and where to plant for our vegetable garden this summer. I'm super excited about this project and will hopefully have more details tomorrow.

Buenos noches!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

challenging myself

Recently I noticed that it had been a few weeks since Molly had updated her blog. I decided to hassle her about it, then realized a more productive approach might be a little friendly competition. I issued a blog challenge, for us to each post every day for the month of April (like NaBloPoMo, but less lonely). We both got so excited about the challenge that we opened it up to the rest of our coworkers. So now we're twenty-three strong, which is pretty awesome, and so far it looks like everyone is getting off to a crackerjack start!

Tonight I don't have anything in depth to contribute. We went to see the US Men's Soccer team compete in a World Cup qualifying match vs. Trinidad & Tobago, and it was super fun (especially with the final score: US triumphs 3-nil!). I ate a horrifyingly delicious pepperoni pizza from Papa Johns, and like a third of e.o'block's funnel cake (they smell better than they taste, I always forget). Now I'm trying to get caught up on my Reader. I'm going to have to unsubscribe from Weddingbee. It's wearing me out. Like a dozen posts a day, and I just can't keep up, and if I scroll too fast my Firefox locks up.

I'm excited about a month of daily writing practice. I'll make the standard advanced apologies that I certainly can't guarantee that I'm going to have anything *interesting* to say. But I need to work on this habit, of putting words to my daily life. My dad tells me, "Your blog's broken," when I haven't updated in six weeks. And by then, I have too much to say. So back at it, here I go, with no specific theme, although I'm likely to talk about wedding thoughts here and there, and mostly food otherwise.

Sweet dreams out there.