Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Anticipating the Trip

For Christmas last year, I got hubby tickets for WhiskyFest in Chicago. I will never be able to top that gift. Actually, I could probably never give him anything else, and it would be ok. Not only did I get us the tickets, I reserved a room in the hotel it’s held at, so that all we have to do is crawl back up to our room. And, I ordered tickets for the Field Museum, so that all we have to do is walk up to the Will Call window, instead of standing in line forever with everyone else. This is something he has wanted to do for a long time, but we always had some excuse why we couldn’t go. I decided to stop making excuses and just do it. Yeah, it’s a chunk of money we could be spending on improvements on the house, but those improvements will be there when we get back. WhiskyFest may not!

Usually, the anticipation is the best part of anything for me. I daydream, I plan, I imagine how wonderful a trip will be. Then, reality hits. I have to do laundry, pack, make arrangements for the dog, stop the mail, stop the paper, get cash, get the hotel reservations, print out the airline reservations, gather the tourist information for what we’ve decided to do, and on and on and on. Errands ad nausia.

And then the nerves set in. We’re flying in, but not renting a car because we are going to Chicago. I’ve only been there once before, but I know we don’t want to drive a car in Chicago. So, we have to get to the hotel. There’s a shuttle to the hotel, but my first instinct is that hubby will complain about the cost. We could take a cab, but same as the shuttle. We could take the El, but it’s 4 blocks to the hotel and we will already be cutting it close to get there in time for the starting of the event. Plus, there’s no telling how long it will take us to figure out how to purchase tickets and then hope we get on the right train. My heart’s beating a little faster just thinking about that. I’ve never had to depend on public transportation, so I’m not really sure I can figure it out. I have a great fear of being lost and stranded. How can I be almost 40 and still be such a weenie?

But it will work out, and we will have a great time. I’m not a big scotch drinker, but this will be so much more than that. Just the same, I do kind of wish that my brother or some of Al’s friends were going with us so that he would have someone who can truly appreciate this event with him. I’m just excited about seeing men in kilts. Oh, and that we are going to eat at Frontera Gill. I’m excited about that! I’ve cooked so many Rick Bayless recipes, that it’ll be nice to let him cook for me.

Ooops. I hear the very polite “pings” of my dryer. One more load done and a couple more to go. Then packing. Then running errands. Then getting Daily’s stuff together . . .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Let's Play a Game

I watched one of my favorite movies last night. See if you can guess it by some lines from it:

Is you, or is you not my constituents?

I've counted to three.

He's bonafide. He's a keeper.

I'm a Dapper Dan man.

I'm gonna r-u-n-n-o-f-t

(and this one is a dead give away)

We...thought you...was a toad

Know what it is? Seen it?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Still Not Relieved

By way of my brother, by way of fellow blogger Lisa, I bought Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. I was intrigued by the subtitle "A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything that You Love." That would be quite the accomplisment because there is A LOT that I love. If I made a list of current hobbies and interests, along with what I want to persue but just haven't had the time, it would be so long that it would just depress me because I think there's no way I can do all that!

So, I may be a scanner. I fit her descriptions, some of them any way, especially the ones about wanting to do so many things that I don't do anything and once the discovery is over, I'm not interested and I move on. And I've always felt like there was something wrong with me and that I was inferior because of it. One time when I was telling my husband about one of my latest "maybe I should try" things, he was quiet and nonresponsive. When I asked him why he told me it's because I don't finish anything I start, so he doesn't have an opinion. Now, this was a long time ago. He's learned that being that honest with me is not a good idea.

But I thought he was right. And the result was two-fold: 1)I stopped thinking about all the different things I could do and 2) I stopped confiding in my husband what I was thinking and dreaming. (This is where everyone goes, "Oooohhhhh. That's sad.")

But after a while I realized, who was I kidding? I couldn't stop going in different directions and I couldn't stop telling my hubby about it. After all, why the hell did I marry him if I couldn't ramble on about nothing to him.

So, now here's a book saying that I'm a scanner and that it's OK. And it's possible to use it to my advantage. I haven't gotten very far into it yet, only about 40 pages, but I'm going to read the whole thing. Even though my pattern is to skim and jump around to the stuff that's interesting to me then put it away, never to think about it again. Yet another symptom of a scanner--all gung ho and excited to get started then lose interest when something else comes along.

Anyway, let's see how this goes. Then I'll pass it along to other scanners I know because I'll be knee-deep in some other project.

Dream Job

Taste tester for Ben and Jerry's ice cream. How do you get a job like that?!? I was just watching a special on the Travel Channel about ice cream palaces.

I want to go to Vermont. I want to work there--in R&D and Taste Testing, of course.

Actually, I'd be happy taste testing just about any ice cream. Espcially the chunky stuff. Every now and then I just want vanilla or vanilla with chocolate syrup, but usually, the more ya pile in it the better.

And on this show, the narrator was giving a list about things they put in ice cream, ending with "even pretzels." What's wrong with pretzels in ice cream? I loooooove pretzels in my ice cream.

Well now I'm having a craving. I'm the ultimate consumer--suggest it and I'll want it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

All Tuckered Out

It wore Daily out to supervise our snow shoveling.

Over a Foot!

When the snow finally ended, we had over a foot. The roads are pretty clear, though, because they were so warm before the snow fell. It was really beautiful this morning. This picture is looking out our back door.

How Scared Must Bush Be

A news conference out of the blue? A blatant political move to boost the conservative cause in a time of important elections, that's what it was. Bush is the lowest he's been in the polls, the Republican are in real danger of losing their standing in upcoming state elections, and there is no front runner Republican for president. What's a good little boy to do? Why, go on TV and talk about how much good he's done and how much good conservatives have done and how we should keep the "conservative" course. I sure hope Americans are smart enough to see through this.

An article about the conference is here.

One of the money quotes for me when asked about a day there won't be a troops in Iraq: "That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq," he said. Great. Throw us into this horrible war that you didn't realize would be going on this long and that things would stay so bad, but it won't be your problem to finish it. That'll be the next president. I think it's a tactical error because when I heard that quote I thought, "You're damn right it will be someone else's decision--a Democrat's decision!"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Anyone for a Snowball Fight?

This is the only bad thing about snow. Al even shoveled a spot for Daily in the backyard, but she still has to do a perimeter check and walk through the deepest snow. Hmmmmm. Something to be said for a hairless dog.

And It's Still Snowing!

We have at least 5 inches, and should have 12 to 14 by the time it's all over. Good thing I bought more hot chocolate!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

JK Rowling Raises Money for MS

Besides being a wonderful and creative writer, JK Rowling also devotes her time and money to support MS research. She hosted a charity ball at Stirling Castle in Scotland on Friday night, raising £200,000. The article is here.

Rowling's mother died of MS, that's why she is such a strong supporter. There was a scavenger hunt, with Rowling writing the clues. How fun would that be?!?

There was also an auction. And one of my favorite writers, Ian Rankin, donated a chance to have the highest bidder's name to be used as a villian or hero in his next Rebus book. How cool is that?!?

What fun that would have been.

Snow Coming

Apparently, snow is heading towards us. I think it's pretty typical to get one more snow in March here in the midwest. It's a last hurrah for those of us who actually like the snow and the cold. Poor hubby. He's cold. He's been cold since October, and his mood is very much connected to the temperature of his feet. We're going to have to retire to differnt parts of the country, I'm afraid. I don't like being hot, and he doesn't like being cold. How have we lasted 16 years!?!

Anyway, snow. I hope it does. I hope it just dumps feets and feets of snow. Large, wet, heavy flakes that snow us in for at least 2 days. I want a good excuse to curl up on the couch in front of a fire, drink hot chocolate, and read a good book or finish knitting the hat I'm donating to the hospital for chemo patients. And Al doesn't have to work for the next 4 days, so if he wants to get out and drive around for fun, he can. Although, he's taken the snow tires off the Miata, so I guess he'll have to just drive the truck.

Yes, snow tires on the convertible sports car. You know you're a redneck when . . .
The first time was when we were in Ohio. My brother, who was up for Christmas, called me at work after our first big snow storm there. He said, "You're husband has a funny idea of fun." He told me he was putting snow tires on the Miata. The next thing I knew, I got an email from my crazy husband. It was a video from the inside of the car, and he was doing donuts in an empty parking lot. Maybe he could handle a little cold weather after all.

So, what should I read? I'm up to Black and Blue in the Rebus mystery series, but I haven't gotten it yet. I'm still reading The Artist's Way, but I'm taking that a week at a time so that I can actually do the exercises in the book (gotta get my brain going). Maybe Bel Canto? I've had that on my "read me" shelf for quite a while now. Or maybe The Historian? I can finally get that from the library without waiting for months at a time. I just don't know.

But first, I have to go get some more hot chocolate mix!

Doctor Who

The Sci Fi channel is showing the latest (2005) Doctor Who incarnation. Now, I'm not a "Who Geek." I swear. Although, I used to watch it every time it was on all those years ago on PBS. It was just great hokey fun. And I really liked Tom Baker's long, colorful scarf. Hmmm. I bet I could knit one of those!

The latest series, though, was really cool. They showed the premier last night--two episodes back-to-back, and I watched them both times! This new Doctor is so good. Very funny, very intelligent, very eccentric, and just so darn cute. He's Christoper Eccelston, and I've been a fan of his for a while. Since I instist on having BBC America where ever we live, I've seen him in several things. And if you've seen The Others (and you should) and/or 28 Days Later (and you should), then you've seen him, too. He was Nicole Kidman's husband and the terrifying military leader, in those movies.

Anyway, it was pretty good, and I'm looking forward to the next episodes. Especially next week because there are ghosts in it! I love ghost stories. Unfortunately, he only stayed in the role for one season. David Tennant, Barty Crouch in Harry Potter GOF, has taken over the role, filming now in the UK.

Check it out!

Friday, March 17, 2006

For Ireland

In honor of St. Patrick's day, here is one of my favorite Yeats poems. I love it because it captures that feeling of romantic daydreaming about being in a comforting and peaceful place. Probably because he was in London at the time, daydreaming of being home in Ireland.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Morning Pages

I've been reading The Artist's Way on the recommendation of my good friend, Rose. It's pretty interesting, and I am finding myself in the author's descriptions. That "shadow voice" that tells you that you aren't good enough or creative enough, so you find other ways to be involved with artists instead of being one yourself. You buy pieces of art, you become a patron of the local theater, you take a job where you support other creative people, all because you are afraid to try to do it yourself and find that you are creative after all.

One of the exercises and something the author recommends doing every day is called "Morning Pages." I love this idea. It's just you, a pen, and a spiral notebook. You write steam of consciousness for 3 pages--whatever comes into your mind. This will dump all those extraneous thoughts in your head so that you can focus your thoughts on what you need to do that day. It also dumps all those self-conscious and destructive thoughts because you can write them out of your head instead leaving them in there to fester.

I had no problem filling 3 pages. And I did feel better. So, I think I'll keep trying it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I'm craving cookies, so I think I'll make one of my favorites. I call them Road Trip Cookies because I always make them and take them on road trips. Brilliant, huh? We drove from San Antonio to Las Vegas in our Miata, and these cookies helped get us through those long stretches. Enjoy!

Road Trip Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 18-oz jar smooth peanut butter (I prefer Skippy!)
3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups regular oats, uncooked
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips (actually, I used almost the entire bag)

Using a mixer, cream butter, then gradually add both sugars. Beat well. Add eggs, peanut butter, syrup, and vanilla and beat well until all incorporated. Add oats, soda, and salt and mix well (you can do this step with a spoon since the dough gets pretty stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, drop dough 4 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet, or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly press each cookie into a circle with fingertips. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes (centers of cookies will be soft). Cool slightly on cookie sheet then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Where's the Outrage?!?

OK, South Dakota makes it's stand against abortion because life begins at conception. In France, The European Courts of Human Rights has ruled that Natalie Evans can't keep her frozen embryos by an ex-fiance and they must be destroyed. Hello? Where are all the self-righteous pro-lifers? The articles is here. There's another good article here.

Basically, Ms. Evans had cancer and they had to remove her ovaries. She and her then-fiance fertilized her eggs and had them frozen. But they broke up and the ex has decided he doesn't want to be a daddy and withrew his consent for her to use them.

Maybe the right-to-lifers don't care because this happened in another country? Hasn't stopped them before. Baptisits make it part of their calling to go to other countries to get them to change their ways to Christian values.

Maybe they don't feel like they can fight British law: under British law an embryo does not have independent rights or interests. Interesting. I wonder, do we have a law like that? Is fertilization not the same as conception? Is it only life if it's in a womb?

Or maybe it's because it's ok for a man to have a say about when he has children, but it's not ok for a woman? In the article, the ex is quoted, “The key thing for me was just to be able to decide when and if I start a family. So, that's been the basis for it,” he told journalists in Cheltenham, England. Yikes! Why does his say over-rule hers?

The article for the The Globe and Mail said that they were asking the embryos not be destroyed in case Evans can think of something else, but the article in my paper said they were going to be destroyed.

Again, where is the outrage?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hope Against Hope

In my next life, I'm coming back as Kiera Knightly.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Charmed No More

I'm sad. Charmed is ending after 8 seasons on the WB. It was supposed to end last year, but was renewed one more time. But this will be the last year.

And I only have one thing to say--They better bring Leo back and have him and Piper live happily ever after!

I'm sad to see it go, but there are always the reruns. And I haven't been following it as closely this last year as I did before, so I guess it's time.

But still.

Buffy, Angel, now Charmed. There's nothing for Al and Jay to tease me about watching now.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Got My Aura Back

When I was a teenager, I was the babysitter--kids loved me. And all through my 20s and my early 30s, when my friends where having babies and I was surrounded by kids, kids loved me. But then I hit that age where my friends' kids were growing up and there weren't any more coming along. Then we found another couple who were DINKs like we were, so I wasn't around kids any more. Then I went into the "the dark period" and didn't care if I had friends at all. And somewhere in there, I lost my "kid aura."

Babies didn't lunge for me any more. Kids didn't come running up to hug Miss Kelley any more. I realized this the hard way when I volunteered to babysit my friend's 3 month old, who screamed and cried the whole time I was there. This is like separation anxiety to the extreme! I felt pretty helpless, calling my friend apologetically wondering if she should come home. But this was her third kid, so she said he would calm down eventually. Well, he didn't, no matter what I did. Actually, he calmed down a little when I turned on Dora the Explorer, but that show lasted only about 20 minutes, dammit. So, he cried until his mom came home. And even though I've never been haunted by the ticking clock, I felt bad that I had lost some kind of bond with kids that used to be so natural to me.

Until yesterday. I have a friend who after giving up on having a baby, of course, got pregnant. Her little boy is 3 months old, and I was hesitant to be around him. It had been 2 years since the last 3-month-old cryfest, and I hadn't been around a baby since. Luckily, I had nothing to worry about.

While Mom put together a frame (framing has become a necessary hobby), I held the little one, who was fussy because he needed a nap. But as I held him, he smiled and giggled and seemed genuinely happy to be held and cuddled. After doing that stand and sway thing for a while, and him still awake, my back yelled at me sit the hell down! So, I did. I rubbed his tummy while he sucked on his thumb and before I knew it, he was aleep! Hmmm, that tummy rub works pretty well--just like a little alligator without teeth. I put him back in his car seat, and Mom promised me lunch next time we go out. Score! Sleeping baby and a free lunch!

So, I guess I didn't lose my aura completely; it just went dormant for a while. Hmmm, I wonder what other things will perk up?