Monthly Archives: June 2007

Thursdays are the Best, Part 2

After work yesterday, I accompanied Porkchop to her haircut. Her stylist was recently fired from a salon which shall not be named here because she asked for a raise, so she now works on the Loop at V. Vegaz. Not only is this salon so hip it makes my teeth hurt, but it is also Salon of Stylists Past. You see, the stylist who we used to both visit also works there! After that stylist either left or was booted from our local salon, Porkchop stayed at the salon while I switched. Now Porkchop has followed her stylist (ssshhhh, don’t tell!) to her new salon.

The salon industry is kind of junk. Stylists should be allowed to notify their clients when they leave a salon. No questions.

Once Porkchop was all spiffed up, we went to Dewey’s for pizza (at the suggestion of P-chop’s stylist). I guess this is perhaps a small chain? Anyway, it was great! We had a pizza that was half Green Lantern (pesto, artichoke, mushrooms, goat cheese, yum) and half BBQ chicken. I also had a strawberry macadamia nut salad. Everything was terrific, except the place was totally Kid Central (I waited all through dinner to say this to Porkchop in the parking lot, “Man, that place was totally Kid Central.”). Nothing against kids…there were just a ton of them and the space was very echoey and loud.

After our great pizza, we trekked down to Webster Groves for Serendipity. YAYYYYYY!!!!

I was able to have gold coast chocolate and cinnamon. I definitely recommend this combination. Meanwhile, Porkchop had a GINORMOUS waffle cone of cookies and cream. HUGE! And, tasty!

On our way home, we stopped and rented Breach. Not my favorite genre, but we were both intrigued after hearing a NPR interview with the real (former) FBI agent who helped take down Robert Hanssen, the WORST SPY IN HISTORY (as you are reminded throughout the film). We were both a little disappointed. Maybe listening to the movie with commentary from the agent would be more interesting.

During the movie, I knitted. Because that’s what I need to do in all spare time. I wish I could knit right now, but that would be too obvious.

When I worked at the software company in Madison, one of my co-workers had a big recliner in her cube. Were I still there, I would totally go to her cube and knit. Because at a software company where the marketing video depicts a Nerf gun fight between developers (something that never happened in real life), you could always claim that you were thinking and brainstorming. Yeah. Here, it would just be considered not working. But, I digress.

Have a great Friday!

P.S. If you want to see updated photos of Porkchop’s kidney donation scars, visit her kidney blog.

P.P.S. I’ve updated my sidebar links to more accurately reflect the blogs and other sites I visit regularly. I’ll add more as I think of it. I’m trying to be better at updating the sidebar things. Believe me, I’ve read more books than currently listed.

P.P.P.S. Sometimes I don’t remember that the Feministing website is a .com and not a .org. If you use .org, you’re directed to a most stupid and vile website.

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Pretty vs. Ugly

I’ve started a new project that will consume all of my free time for the next 10 days. It’s just a scarf, but it’s the not-so-last-minute chevron pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I made one back in winter/spring of 2005 (and am therefore quite amused at the recent surging online popularity of the pattern), and I am confronting the same question that I faced back then. Is my yarn combination utterly beautiful or downright ugly?

The line separating the glorious from the homely is quite thin.

Perhaps a picture will be appear here soon.

A Good Yoga Night

Today wasn’t a super-great day, but it wasn’t that bad either. I was tired and not wanting to work and the day stretched on forever.

On the way home, I stopped to get my hair cleaned up (a free in-between little trim that they call a “crisping”) and started to feel a bit better. After eating dinner and waiting for an hour, I did some yoga.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a yoga plateau, but tonight felt like a bit of a breakthrough. First, my forward bend was a lot deeper than usual. Maybe it’s because I now unintentionally practice a type of hot yoga! Yeah, I’ve got my own 85+ degree yoga studio! Awesome!

Beside forward bend, I’m now nearly able to do a bind while in prayer twist (the lunging version). I really wanted to find a picture, but can’t. So, here’s prayer twist. Now imagine this guy reaches his left arm behind his torso, hooks his right arm under his upper leg, and grasps his left wrist with his right hand. I am almost there while twisting to the left (as usual, my body is more flexible on one side).

In other news, revolved triangle still gives me problems, and I still have to use my head during crow. Someday, I really want to achieve the scorpion pose…that will be a LONG time from now.

Tonight, I was able to go even deeper in my seated half lotus with a bind and was able to stay in wheel for a bit longer. I try to hold the wheel for a tiny fraction more each time.

Okay, after searching for photos of these poses online, I see that there are TONS more people so much more flexible than I am. But, that is okay. As Bryan Kest says (yes, these are the DVD programs that I use), flexible people just have to go farther to get to the same place.

Sometimes I still chortle during some of Bryan’s programs, but his spiel has actually become a bit relaxing. On Saturday, I was more than a bit wound up and stressed about the apartment (it was hot, still not unpacked, the floors needed to be swept, etc.) while doing yoga, and when Bryan said “don’t get caught up in the ebb and flow of life,” I realized that the apartment will still be here next week and there’s no need to get stressed out about some half-unpacked boxes. And about the heat, the landlady was going to fix or replace the A/C this week (the new unit is sitting in the dining room as we speak).

Anyway, sometimes Bryan Kest’s self-helpy talk is nice. But some things on his website are still a bit whacked.

Speaking of whacked, I caught the end of a really odd program on channel 64 (TBN??) tonight. At first I thought it was just an organic cooking show (good!), but then I realized it was a religious program (not so good!!). After making grilled halibut and tabbouleh, the show cut to the host talking about the benefits of sunlight and how none of us have enough vitamin D and that’s why we’re all depressed. I didn’t think this was so crazy until he said that the sun doesn’t cause skin cancer….hmmmm, really? Because I think there’s some sound evidence counter to that. Anyway, then the show ended with a “one-minute snack” to introduce raw food into our diets. It looked pretty good – blended up avocadoes and agave juice and something else topped with bananas, kiwi, and strawberries. During the credits, there were ads for a book called something like “The Maker’s Diet,” written by the host who doesn’t believe that too much sun can cause skin cancer. So, the show was some strange blend of organic cooking and religion and sunshine. Is this a new trend? Can someone research that, please? Anyway, THAT was strange. Bryan Kest, I can handle.

Plugged In

Porkchop and I recently purchased new cell phones for a couple of reasons…we were tired of our Iowa area code (319 is a lot like 314 and lots of people don’t pay attention or they think the 9 is a mistake) and our phones were starting to fall apart.

Even though we don’t have iPhones just yet, we have one that plays mp3s. I haven’t used this feature yet because all of our music files are on the desktop computer, which isn’t hooked up and I’m too lazy to reload CDs onto my laptop.

I am, however, all about the FM radio on my phone. I can’t tell you how nice it is to once again listen to NPR on my way to work. Even though the news is usually depressing, it’s better than having to talk to the creepy guy on the bus.

Yes, I was stuck sitting next to Mr. Creepy again this morning. But, instead of acknowledging his hello, I kept my head turned and attentively listened to NPR. I love headphones/earpieces/whatever. I have something in my ears! Can’t hear you! Will not acknowledge your presence!

So, I love my new phone.

I never thought I would say that.

I also never thought I would wear a phone headset, but it is terrific! Yay for hands-free talking!

Saturday Sweatiness

Our apartment now has two window air conditioners. There’s a small one in the bedroom courtesy of my parents (it’s one that I used while in college) and a larger one in the dining room provided by the apartment owner.

Previously, the bedroom was hot and miserable; now it’s the cool refuge in the whole apartment. The larger one in the dining room isn’t working so well now…which makes for a very hot apartment. The kitchen is never pleasant, but at least the dining room and living room used to be tolerable. Someone is supposed to take a look at it tomorrow…I hope this person doesn’t think I’m stupid. The unit puts out cool air, but it isn’t cold enough anymore to cool off those two rooms.

Anyway, the point of this is that yesterday, after morning yoga, I decided to continue being sweaty and gross and did things like hang up pictures in the hot rooms, take out the trash, and make baked rosemary-garlic chicken.

Even though I had to suffer with the oven on 375, the chicken was fabulous. I think it was extra tasty because the rosemary came from our plant. Here’s a pic:

The salad you see was also tasty. It’s couscous with spinach, basil, green onions, and pistachios. The basil also came from our own plants.

I can’t wait for our tomato plants to spring forth with fruit. I’m looking forward to lots of tomato and basil dishes.

Okay, so my schedule for today looks like:

  • Yoga or other exercise.
  • Buy kitchen cart from Weekends Only Furniture. I haven’t written about our woes concerning kitchen carts because it’s boring. I’m glad to have found some locally that won’t be damaged during shipping and can be easily returned if they contain incorrect parts. A kitchen cart is necessary because we still have a few boxes of kitchen items and no where to put them.
  • Go to a coffee shop and read and/or do internet things.
  • Go to Six Flags. Today is Family Appreciation Day (family, as in Six Flags workers’ families). Since it seems no one else will use these tickets, I’m going to go in the late afternoon. Porkchop and I will be able to ride a few things after she finishes drawing at 7:00. In the hours between 4:00 and 7:00, I will hang out at the caricature booth. I’m looking forward to watching Porkchop do some caricatures, but I don’t look forward to having be around other people at Six Flags.

All for now! Have a great Sunday!

Oh, Nino

Circus Flora was tops again this year (ha! tops! big top…tops…no?) with great new acts and reliable local acts.

Sometimes I think the whole ribbon-aerial thing is a bit tired (you know, Cirque du Soleil has done it to death), but there was a duo this year that really amazed everyone. I’ll have to look at my program again for their names (they’re these people). You could definitely sense the bond between them, and everything was amazing and beautiful.

The Flying Wallendas weren’t as spectacular this year because they only did a 3-person pyramid instead of a 7-person one. Yes, we quickly become spoiled. A 3-person pyramid with 2 people on bicycles on a tightrope without a safety net is still freaking amazing.

Li’l Donald is still with the St. Louis Arches and once again brought us to tears with his cuteness. So small! He could easily fit in one of our pockets…

Also, Nino had a little Nino this year who was also SO CUTE and pocket-sized.

If you live in St. Louis and don’t go to see Circus Flora, you are SO missing out!!!

I love reading the performer bios and imagining what it would be like to be born into a circus family, as many of them are. Growing up on the trapeze or with an elephant? Crazy!

Speaking of things in St. Louis, if you’ve never been to Serendipity, you’re also missing out. Porkchop and I finally went last week, and the ice cream is fabulous. I had gooey butter cake and cappuccino chip. It was a good combination, but next time I hope to have cinnamon and gold coast chocolate.

Can you tell that I’m either:
1. Not so busy with conference things.
2. Ignoring other work and taking long internet breaks.

OR
3. All of the above.

More with the Gap Card

So, I’ve noticed that I still get quite a few regular hits related to my post about how much the Gap card sucks. Most of these hits result from searches on “how to cancel Gap card.”

Here’s how to cancel your Gap card folks:

  1. Locate your Gap card.
  2. Call the toll-free customer service number listed on the back.
  3. Listen to the automated menu and select the option entitled, “Cancel your card.”
  4. Cut up your card and trash it.

Yes, it’s surprisingly easy. No customer service reps, no hassle. While Monogram Bank of Georgia often makes it terrifically difficult for you to pay your bill, it’s quite easy to cancel the darn thing.

CAN-CEL! CAN-CEL! CAN-CEL!

Yay for the Circus!

Today will be nothing but rainbows because we’re going to Circus Flora tonight!

Yay! So many Yays!

You might recall that last year’s show brought us to tears over and over. I’m looking forward to more tears, an elephant detective, and a circus snack.

More with the Work
There is a chance that I might be forced to go to the conference next week.

Okay, it would be a bit exciting, but lots of hard work. Hard work when jet lagged and stuck in a hotel equals no fun to me.

There are also other reasons for my non-excited state, but that would be saying too much.

Can I just please stay here in St. Louis and have a few days to do OTHER work? Yes, I do actually have other work to do! Thanks!

UPDATE!
I am NOT going! Yes!

In/Difference

In Asia, cell phones are referred to as “handphones,” and this is noted in address books as HP. This is a tidbit that I’ve learned during conference planning. I find it fascinating.

Our trip to Arkansas was terrific, and we won $20 from a scratch-off ticket. The prize money was reinvested in powerball tickets.

My work week has SUCKED. On Tuesday, I had 3 conference calls: 7:00, 11:00, and 1:00. All lasted over an hour.

This afternoon, I took a quick jaunt to the immigration office downtown on behalf of a co-worker. It’s a looooong story. Anyway, TIP: schedule appointments with the immigration officers in the afternoon. It’s much less crowded then. Heck, I was the only one there. Also, immigration office building…the best people-watching.

Anyway, I am tired and no longer care if I make mistakes in things like contact lists and bios.

*SIGH*

Mildly Disappointing Curry

Last night, I was excited to make this recipe because it has all the makings of a good curry, for example, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, onions, curry powder, and coconut milk.

But, the name of the recipe is spot-on. It was mild. Too mild. My taste buds were bored beyond belief. The dish isn’t gross, it’s just ho-hum. It’s a curry that you could eat while battling a stomach ailment with no problem whatsoever.

I thought the lunch leftovers might be better, but they weren’t.

Anyway, I did learn something while making this dish. I learned that, if you are grinding up ginger, onions, garlic, and lemongrass to a paste, you should not put your nose directly over the concoction for a good whiff. I did this and was temporarily blinded from all of those concentrated fumes! Wow, that hurt! I guess I should have remembered my high school chemistry teacher demonstrating how to correctly waft fumes.

Tonight and Beyond
Yay for Thursdays! After Porkchop picks me up from work, we’re going to find something good to eat and then find some presents for my family. We’re making a trip to Arkansas tomorrow. I usually make a trip in early June to help celebrate my brother’s birthday, my mom’s birthday, and Father’s Day.

Last night, I requested that my dad make his banana pudding. I’m no longer declaring that my dad makes the best freakin’ banana pudding ever because I don’t want to offend Porkchop and her family’s banana pudding, which she claims is the best ever.

Ah, banana pudding…a hotly contested subject it seems.

Anyway, my dad somehow developed his own recipe, the base of which is the filling for a vanilla creme pie from one of my mom’s mom’s cookbook. I really like that my dad developed his own recipe.

However, I made my mom promise that my dad would make it with real sugar; he’s been using splenda a lot lately, and I think that is disgusting. And unhealthier than real sugar. I also made my mom promise to monitor my dad and make sure that he doesn’t put in any add-ins like protein powder.

Last year, while making chocolate gravy, I hear that he destroyed the batch by adding protein powder. If you’re eating chocolate gravy, do you really care about the health aspects? Sometimes my dad just simply puzzles me.

But, his banana pudding…totally awesome.

Now I also want chocolate gravy, hold the protein powder.