Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The rest of the story


His email said... "this afternoon ...the moment was there, I knew it, and I knew that if I didn't take it I'd regret it later. So I took her face in my hands and said, '... let's get married.' "

You know, a lot of people go to a lot of trouble to plan an elaborate proposal, but that's one of the best ones I've heard in a while. Simple, and genuine. Holly's quite lucky!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am getting a cold. I don't know yet who to blame, but this sucks. It's the weather. Warm cold warm cold cold warm warm warm. Dammit!

In other cheery news I went to a wake this afternoon. A good friend's father died, after having been gravely ill for a couple of months.

I cried. Dammit. Instead of comforting her, I hugged her and my eyes filled up with tears and I felt like such an ettiquette reject. I did not know her dad. I just care very much about my friend and was sorry about her loss, ...but she wasn't crying. She was more or less numb. So there I am wiping away tears and feeling like a schmuck. I mean, I know she appreciated my visit, and hopefully that WAS of some comfort, but I just felt guilty somehow.

In my own feeble defense I slipped in mud right outside the funeral home and almost fell smack on my face. So, I was extra frazzled just walking in there.

It was just icing on the cake, on a day where everything seems to be all out of kilter. This rainy, cold crap is making me nuts.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I know you love my random thoughts

Ok, this has to be a joke. Seriously? This would SO be something I'd do, but it wasn't me. I swear.

I just bought Natasha Bedingfield's new cd and it is full of good songs. The problem is, on some tracks the song goes on just a little toooo long. If you've heard "Unwritten," you know just what I mean. It goes on and on. Great lyrics, but she seems to work each song to the point where there's a keychange and a big swell of instruments and.... enough already. It's verging on a Manilow production. I would have liked one or two songs played as just a straight piano ballad all the way through, because I think she's got an interesting voice.



I believe you have my stapler


Don't you hate it when you try to staple something, then the stapler just won't staple, so you think that maybe it's empty? Then you open the stapler, and there ARE staples in it, and most of them fall out, but you put them back in, and close the stapler, and three try to come out all at once, and they mangle what you were trying to staple, and you poke yourself with one trying to pick the extras out? That's never happened to me.

Speaking of office supplies, office space.... raise your hand if "the Office" made you want to cry last week. (The part at the end where he's listening to her voicemails...) The rest, as funny as ever. Gross, but as funny as ever.


PS: Congratulations to my dear friend M., who got engaged!! I'd quote part of what he said about it in his email, but I hate to do that without asking. It was really sweet though. Another one bites the dust! (Just kidding!) I am so happy for you both.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rock Me Amadeus

So.

A mere 250 years ago, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart popped out into the world.

When I read that this morning, I immediately thought "Nothing I will EVER do in my life will be of any interest to ANYONE 250 years from now. " But, at least I'm not a notorious serial killer (yet).

Yeah, I'm a ball of sunshine first thing in the morning.

My son... he's another story. He manages to wake up cheerful damn near every day.

I suppose that's because he doesn't drink soda all day long and then try to rachet down by sipping wine in front of the tv. Hmm.

At any rate, he outdid himself this morning. There is a doorway from our kitchen to our living room. He stood in the doorway, and said "Hey, Mom" until I lifted up my eyes from the newspaper article about Mozie.

His right hand reached to the nearby lamp, which has one of those 3 way bulbs. He clicked it once, and did a little smile and a slight "Tadah" with his left hand.

Click again. Brighter light, bigger smile, more tadah.

By the third click, which added a little bit of a spring to the full flourish tadah and beaming smile, I was laughing out loud.

He's so freakin cute.

(One time my sister heard him singing in the bathroom. He was on the can, singing God Bless America. She peeked in and he had his hand on his heart like he was saying the pledge of allegiance. I'm telling you, it's never dull with him around.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More better-er

I was just voting for my favorite blogs and it lead to some wandering around, during which I found :

this ...A Walk Through Durham Township. Take a look, the photos are stunning (it is a page with dozens of photos so you may not want to try it if you have a slow connection)

and this which will let you print a 3 dimensional calendar to toss around your desk at work

and this which is all about food, and if she thinks a panini sandwich is a mere "snack", I like her.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sometimes...

I saw this little quiz over at JJ's blog (Purgatorian):



You are .gif Sometimes you are animated, but usually you just sit there and look pretty.
Which File Extension are You?



By the way, in my previous entry, I totally cheated and altered the colors of the photo. Thank you, if you knew that already but didn't bust my chops for it. I was actually pretty happy with how the photo came out.

I shot it the other day. I worked at home, because there was so much snow coming down I was sure my kids would either stay home or come back home before long. Hah! It's Regents exam week in NY which basically means a blizzard could be bearing down and they don't really want to cancel school. They ended up having a full day. Mwahahaha.

So, I had peace & quiet all day, did some work and then around 4 pm I went out in my yard and took some pictures. I love the way tree limbs look in winter, just after a storm - with a thin line of snow on each branch. I used a JASC/ paintshop program that came with my new Dell PC last spring and just played with the color balance until I liked it.

I am very happy having a digital camera now because I can take a truly random picture (ex: the basketball hoop, Monday's entry) and no one says "Hey, that was kind of a waste of money, wasn't it?" whereas before when I did real film, I used to cringe seeing double prints of really crappy shots.

I need to start working with Photoshop (which came with the drivers for graphics tablet I just bought from a friend.) I've used the tablet already to edit an oxygen tube from a photo of a NICU patient and I was VERY happy at what a difference the pen made. I had to redraw part of her nostrils and the little crease above her lip. It was much easier, quicker, etc. Yay!

New Moon, Blue Moon



Why do calendars show us when there will be a new moon, or a full moon.... is this pertinent information to anyone outside of a delivery room??

It's certainly not as useful as, say, the possible fact (is that an oxymoron?) that antibacterial gel will take permanent marker off almost anything... according to my 8 year old son. I'm wondering exactly why he needed this knowledge, but I'm also afraid to ask... and why does it work? Is it the alcohol?

Did you know that Jan 23 is one of the most gloomy days of the year? (Post-Christmas blues, the return to work after the holidays, mounting bills to pay for the parties, the challenge of keeping New Year's resolutions, the slender prospects of fun in the weeks ahead and chilly winter temperatures for those in the northern hemisphere all add up...)

Maybe we're just fascinated with the moon. Hanging up there, almost close enough to touch, but always just out of reach. Somehow, I just like knowing it's there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

True You Fun


Go here and register (you don't have to fill in all the address info), then click on Quiz in the upper right area of the main page.

It's a funny little quiz that will also draw a portrait of you. This is mine.

I look like a weird variation of Jen Aniston. It makes me laugh. I have never, EVER worn a skirt this short in my entire life.

Anyway.

Here is the analysis of me... *

You have a high degree of talent, but are frustrated by a lack of opportunities to fully express yourself. Subconsciously, you are angry about this, but have learned to suppress your urges to alternately pull all the hair out of one side of your head and binge on lemon pound cake. You are principled, but feel that high standards in design are more important than high standards in personal hygiene. You look younger than your age, but sometimes lie about it anyway. You are a brilliant multi-tasker, but you frequently over-commit to the point of temporary insanity. You try to blame others for this, but no one believes you. The aspect of your personality you love the most is your optimism. You have a passionate but unresolved relationship with paper, which requires further investigation.

*(Obviously, I have bolded the parts that make me laugh/happy and ignored anything negative. It's how I survive, people. )

Apparently...

... it does matter for bats. Mwahahah. (That link was just too good not to post.)

... Phil Vassar has a new single (Last day of my life?) & CD coming soon. (Not sure why that popped into my head while thinking about big and little bats. REALLY... but I bet...nevermind.)

..the new Grease is High School Musical. My kids are obsessed with it and play it over and over. The DVR needs to have an accident so that gets deleted. I can't take it anymore!!

...I have NO shame, because I am still watching the Bachelor, to enjoy the trainwreck that is stupid women + far too much alcohol + cute, buff, single, AND-HE'S-A-DOCTOR". I think the casting director deliberately picks women with at least one screw loose, every season. Me likee.

...my son has this whole life I know nothing about, because his teacher mentioned that every day she tells her husband over dinner "the funniest thing that D did today". Her favorite story involves him sighing at what a ladies man he is (a first grader wants to marry him, which would be fine if she were in third grade like he is, duhhh, but she's in FIRST GRADE!!) Oy vey.

(Oh and by the way, Johnny, she loved the drawing and hung it up. Hah!)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Like a basketball hoop in the wintertime


Ever feel like your mindset is hopelessly out of synch from everyone around you?

Last night my church choir(generally comprised of sweet, quiet retired conservative Catholics) sang at a sort of ecumenical, evangelical sort of prayer service/ choral gathering of all of the churches in a nearby city.

For a while I was the youngest person in the room. Eventually though, as the other choirs showed up to rehearse, there were other people closer to my age.

I haven't felt so out of place in a l-o-n-g time. Catholics tend not to mutter "amen" and "hallelujah" aloud after every sentence the priest says. The priests don't punch the air with their fists, exclaiming "Yea, God!"

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not making fun of him. It was just... so different from what I've been attending for the past dozen years. (I grew up attending a Lutheran church, and when you consider that Luther was a Catholic priest who wanted to reform his church, you will grant me that I've really only been to a narrow "type" of church services.)

Everyone was joyful, and happy, and the songs reflected that, but I love singing the old latin hymns. I really do. The contemporary, "Lord I lift your name on high" sort of songs just don't work for me. (I don't mind singing gospel, though.. one of my favorite songs that isn't Latin was written by Thomas Dorsey and is written about here.)

There were some interesting preachers, though. There was one from Nigeria (who left his wife in his homeland with his eight children, which made me think "ugh... to be left behind... with EIGHT? I'd kill him, calling or no calling). He did this shouting sort of song of praise that I would have to do in person to really capture for you. (Put your right arm up in the air as high as you can, like you are holding the moon in the palm of your hand. Tilt your head back, close your eyes and wail "Oh-h-h.." Very Loudly. And not like Jamie Foxx, either)

There was another young preacher, about my age, who spoke very intensely about the lost in the city. He didn't use the word "souls" to describe them, just that they are lost. I found some meaning in what he was saying. I guess I felt a little bit like he was describing me.

It made me realize that I typically don't notice the sermon in my own church, especially given the fact that we're upstairs in the back, in the choir loft.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to switch churches, but is it enough to get more out of the music, than the message that you're supposedly there to hear in the first place?

More Randomness

Hey, this is fun if you had a Lite-Brite when you were a kid.

What is the proper grammatical form to say that your neighbor is awesome because they came over with their snow blower and cleared your driveway? Snow-blowed? Dunno. But my neighbor is awesome because... never mind, I know you don't really care. But 6" of nasty winter white is now out of my driveway - yeee hah. I didn't even have to make the kids do it.


But what I really wanted to tell you about is the book I bought the other day:

Sex and the City / Kiss and Tell

Pictures, and pictures, and MORE pictures, a one-paragraph recap of every episode, character studies. Updated (BARELY) to include the first 12 episodes of the 6th season. It's absofuckinglutely a great way to spend $20. (Pocket Books, in case you're interested)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tap

This is very cool, and I have to confess, I completely stole it from Steve.

Note, for me the letter keys didn't work, I had to actually click on the fingers. Effing Internet Explorer strikes again.

Go, try it!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Artist's corner


This is the latest by my son. He's improved a little since the pirates*, huh?

For Christmas I bought him a book on how to draw cartoons of animals. Since he has nowhere near the amount of homework his sister does, and likes to draw, I thought it would be a good way to keep him busy when I'm trying to help her with math.

It's actually a gift for his teacher, which is why it says "Hi Mrs. V" on the edge --part of that cut off when I scanned it-- it is NOT a shout out to Johnny.


(Now, it pained me to link to Johnny's version, for a few reasons.

1. It's Johnny, who already has a gazillion more hits per day than I ever will, and here I am sending people over to see him.

2. He was drunk when he wrote his version of the storyline, and totally mocking my baby.

3. Filebin ate my copies of the pictures a long time ago, so
my post with the real story in it has the dreaded squares with red X's. )

And, let me tell you, the "search this blog" function does not work. Beta= betta try again.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A riddle

Why does Snoop Dog carry an umbrella?

Fo' drizzle.

(Hey, that's all I've got today. What do you want from me? It's Friday.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Give Mimi a break


So, Mariah apparently has been (gasp!) eating. (Wine and bonbons in front of the TV, like me? ...haha) Well, I wouldn't wear THIS bathing suit, in part because I have 10,000 stretchmarks courtesy of my offspring... but can't everybody stop with the "Mariah is getting so fat" snark??

Don't we have enough teenage girls starving themselves into skeletal, brittle- haired waifs in this country? Can't people just say "eh, Mariah has curves, but amazing pipes".... and let it go? The woman's got a vocal range of five octaves or something like that. I guess she's a failure because she doesn't still look like the airbrushed set of legs on her CD cover. (Wait, wasn't that the number one selling CD last year? )



One of the greatest annoyances I had when my company merged with another several years ago was the culture in the other company. It was all about LOOKS and not substance. A document could be utter crap but "What font is it in?" would be asked at some point. (Yes, someone in our corporate HQ made a font and named it after our company and we were required to use it....)

Look past the package.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Today I feel droopy


Maybe it's the rain that has been POURING down all day. (My roof leaks - isn't that terrific?)

You know, $4.00 just doesn't buy what it used to...I bought these roses yesterday. I'd write a litany of the other things that have made me grumpy, but I'm trying to be more like that one bloom there just off center, that's still trying to hold its head up.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The nose knows

I'm crazy about Yankee Candles. I can't walk in the store for under $25. Bad, bad. I went to the megamall near me today and the YC store is huuuuuge. It calls to me, like a mermaid on the rocks. The kids sort of sigh and grumble about "when can we go to build-a-bear?" and I say "just one more minute... ooooh - smell this!"

I like the holiday ones like Cranberry Chutney and Mistletoe. The autumn ones like Mom's apple pie, or some of the Vanillas. (no on the pumpkin or coffee ones, though...) My other favorites are the florals - roses, lilac, tulips(lovvvvvvve tulips) , calla lily, and now they have Lotus. Which, of course, I bought today. Bad!

The best part of the trip, though, was when we were walking through the mall, I noticed two mall security guards, and one was carrying a package. It registered dimly, the way a slight static does, that this was Not Right. Guards don't shop while they're on duty. When we got about 15 feet past the two guards I heard a scuffle and turned back around. They were wrestling some teenage shoplifter to the ground - I guess they'd been taking her back to the security office and she tried to bolt when the crowd had gotten thick around them.

The expression on my kids face was priceless. Jaws hanging open, eyes 4" wide as they watched someone kneeling on her back, handcuffing her.

It was a beautiful Teaching Moment: "That is what happens when you steal from a store. They're going to lock her up, then call the police, then her parents.
The police will get here first."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Squawk

Whenever I have to cantor(sing the responsorial psalm and the alleluia/verse before the gospel), I have to use the microphone.

I suck!!

I stand there, and I feel like someone has reached in and wrapped their fingers around my windpipe, and they're squeeeeeezing so that I can barely breathe. I try to take deep breaths and I feel like my ribs are fused together.

I can't project my voice at all. It's thin and I feel like I am reaching desperately for notes that I can hit easily when I'm back in the ranks just singing along with everyone else. The only thing saving me from complete destruction is that I've done this verse 20x at home, so the words roll comfortably from my tongue.

I finish, and the wierdest thing happens. Other members of the choir tell me that it sounded nice, and they seem like they're really sincere. I'm thinking, "were you LISTENING TO ME??" but I smile and say "oh, thank you" in what I hope sounds more like humbleness than disbelief. Stanley even gave me a verbal "gold star" today*. Huh?

Honestly, I SWEAR to you, it did not sound nice to my ears. The combination of thin tone, the alteration by the microphone, and the mini panic attack/shortness of breath -- I'm embarrassed every time, thinking, "man, I could have done so much better than that."

I could never be on something like American Idol. I'd drop, right there on the stage.


* First, Stanley looked at me. Then he said "are you ready?" and I replied "Yes." Then he smiled and asked again "Are you ready NOW?" and I said "YES", and he replied "are you ready yet??" At this point I was laughing but practically said "PLAY, dammit, Stanley!!" and since the microphone was on, that would be a bad thing. And I wonder why I'm nervous? and then when I was done, he said "gold star"....

Friday, January 13, 2006

503

I am approaching 10,000 visitors...wheee! See, when I started sitemeter I hated the thought that I would have to look at the thing and see "3 visitors" and so on, and so I bumped it up to 503 right from the get-go. I know, I'm a freakin' idiot.... but I can admit things like that about myself and laugh, you know?

While most of my actual "I've spoken to them in person" friends have a steady stream of visitors to their blog, probably 5 times the visitors that I do, I'm just strolling along, one visitor at a time. This is OK by me, but de-lurk once in a while, people! Say hi and tell me one thing about yourself.

As my boss pointed out today, it's a full moon (almost) and it's Friday the 13th.How's that for a combination? Rather than hide in my closet, I've got a girl's night out planned. Well, actually, I am taking my daughter out and we're going to work on scrapbooks with a friend. It sounded so much hotter before that last sentence, huh? (I have no illusions. Only one man in my life has ever told me that I was "hot" and I will secretly love him forever. Shhh. Don't tell anybody.)

Have a good weekend everybody!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Random thoughts

RT #1: Everyone is saying that Brad & Angelina's baby is going to be the most gorgeous baby ever. Have you ever heard of recessive genes, people? I hope this baby's uuuuugly.

RT #2: I have to sing a solo this weekend at church. Just the responsorial psalm, and I get to hide back up in the choir loft. No big deal, but I can not sign that thing on key no matter how hard I try. It's just a skoootch too high for my range and I think it sounds yucky, but Stanley is going to make me do it anyway. I am praying for a blizzard. Empty seats! That's what I like.

I will especially stink out loud compared to last week's mass. We sang a song before mass that is called "The 12 songs of Christmas" or something like that and includes various hymns like Joy to the world and winds up with a big finish (part of the Hallelujah chorus.) Well, it went extremely well and the congregation actually applauded it when we finished. You don't see that often at a stuffy old catholic mass. Stanley of course immediately said "we're doing that again next week."

RT #3: my mom makes excellent Christmas cookies, but she still has so many left over that she wants to give me a fresh new batch. I mean, they are awesome, and I will eat them, but it scares me that they're about a month old now!! I have no shame. (I will have to fight off everyone else in my household for them) We use old danish recipes that mostly start out "take a pound of butter and a cup of sugar".... accept no substitutes!!

RT #4: I hate winter. I hate winter coats, which never fail to get all twisted and bunched up when I try to get into the car, and then I just about strangle myself in the effing seatbelt. I am longing to go somewhere warm and sunny right now.

RT#5: Ok, what the hell was that "beast" made of black smoke? I hate them for doing that supernatural copout crap. And why does every character have to be paired up? Not that I mind that it looks like Hurley will be getting a little some, (won't she be REALLY happy when she figures out he's a gazillionaire) but geez.

Rt #6: Because I am 40 now, I need to have a mammogram. Every year, from now on. Dammit. I know this is TMI for y'all but, dammit!! Just what I want, my melons squished into pancakes, between two cold metal plates. Why don't these men doctors squish their boys between those plates to check them out? Something tells me we'd get a kindler, gentler testing procedure right quickly. (If men had to birth babies... don't even get me started)

That's it... that's all I've got. Just like in "Call me Al", I've got a short little span of attention, and ohhh my life is so long...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sense

It's killing me AND the son that Spiderman 3 won't even be out THIS year... but here's a good article about Harry.

Damn, 478 days.

And what is it with the trend toward glorified recap shows? Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Lost have all done it at least once. It's fine if it's on the same night as a new show, I suppose. Then people unfamiliar with the show can get caught up. But instead of a new episode? I hate you people.

Seriously?



THIS woman made the worst-dressed list??

You've got to be kidding me, Blackwell

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Whatever

Playing with my new tablet... (click for full size... and yeah, it's just nothing, but it was fun with the pen- I was experimenting with some of the features in Jasc Paintshop Pro Studio, which came with my pc.)


Anon

Why is it that some people feel compelled to make fun of other people? Where does the smug superiority come from?

When I get off the elevator I have to swipe a badge to get through glass doors before I can walk to my office. For quite some time now (a couple of years) there have been these golden reindeer, each one about 18" tall, arranged in various scenarios in that lobby you stand in when you get off the elevators.

(Actually in the very beginning it looked more like reindeer games, if you know what I mean. Now they're more "cutesy" scenes, nothing even needing a PG-13 rating )

Listen. It sounds stupid, and I admit that I've said that they're dumb. They've been in various scenes for holidays, (trick or treating and so forth), and right now they're "dressed up" for an upcoming dinner/dance that management is having next month, free for employees & spouses.

It's not my thing. But someone thinks it's fun, and apparently they've got friends who have said "oh, that's cute" "that's funny" or whatever because this has been going on a long time and I saw at least 3 women working on this particular scene last week. So, fine. I don't really care what they do with the reindeer. For all I know, in my company, it could be a line item on someone's annual review to do the decorations there in that lobby area. It really wouldn't surprise me.

But back to the point -- yes, Suzy, I know I never get to the point.. :-)


Someone felt compelled to write a note and leave it in the middle of the display today, saying something like "to whom it may concern... please kill us before we have to face another costume change, signed, the golden reindeer".

It just annoyed me, and still annoyed me (which is why I still think I know who did it, even though I know he'll never admit it to me). It smacks of cowardice to leave an anonymous note, bagging on something that someone is just doing something for fun and to try to make things a little nicer for other people. If you don't think it's funny, who are you to harrass the people who do? (If you're a FRIEND of the people decorating the damn golden reindeer, fine, take them aside in person and say gee, don't you think this joke is getting a little old?", sure...) Why take the time to type a note, print it out, sneak out there, and tape it to the display? Who's the real loser here, honestly? (Me, I guess, I'm blogging about it all...)

So ANYWAY, I took the note. It bothered me, and I took it and threw it away.

I was hoping that the people who DO decorate the damn reindeer didn't see it, won't hear about it, and just generally don't even have part of their day ruined by a faceless coward who just felt compelled to make someone feel stupid.

Because I've been the person who gets bagged on, and all through highschool I had to practice not letting on when someone has hurt my feelings, and it sucks mightily. I guess I'm not "cool", but I've never been cool, and if being cool means being a malicious jerkoff, I don't want to be cool.

Besides, my kids think I'm cool. And the eccentric lady at the supermarket who left her purse in her shopping cart thought I was cool when I handed it back to her. The clerk who was helping her look for it thought I was extremely cool, because I took a huge headache off his hands. And even though my kids made fun of me all the way home (repeating "OH, you're an ANGEL" in the same tone of voice that The Lady used while I was telling my kids get.in.the.car... through gritted teeth, over and over...) it was soooo different. Just not the same at all.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Graphic content

My friend is upgrading to a larger graphics tablet and he sold me his. (Well, technically I haven't paid for it yet.) I'm psyched because I plan to use it to edit photos for NICU families and I think it may make the job easier. It freaks me out a little that the mouse that comes with it doesn't need a battery. If it's on the tablet, it works. Freaky. Technology I can't understand is scary.

Wheee! Now if I didn't feel like a total klutz using it, I'd be all set.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Not exactly takeout pizza

I had THE most unbelievable meal last night.

When we got to A's house there was a giant ice sculpture loaded with seafood. There were giant shrimp/prawns, cracked king crab legs, split lobster tails, and raw oysters on the half shell. I had some of everything. (Oysters are not rubbery or tough or gross, like I thought they would be. I had two.) Really, check this out:



I laughed with A's mother because there is no way she decorated that fireplace... the funny thing is she doesn't cook either so we were teasing her husband that this is the most cooking that's ever gone on in the house. It has a tiny little kitchen, the chefs must have been out of their minds tripping over each other.

There were also sushi rolls(I had more caviar, too) , a fruit and cheese plate with crackers and such, and some little skewered/grilled thing with beef and red peppers. (I cannot eat red peppers, they don' like me.) They also passed some sort of cheese/potato puff that was great.

During this period were were served a sparkling wine from Italy. Honestly, they could have just done this food and it would have been a fantastic party. I was enjoying the seafood and trying to not eat it at the same time because I knew there were so many courses yet to come. (We got to-go containers later of shrimp and so on. Yummy. That's what I'll be eating tonight.)



We were seated for the meal and they set this lighted glass before us, (crappy picture, lights were down low for effect, sorry) - it contained an asian-style chicken wing on a bed of seaweed salad. Yummy. I think we had pino grigio with that. (Wine Guy told us all about the wines but no one else wanted to listen so I may have to call and get the names of all the wines we had.) Bobby - my friend's brother- wanted a plate of wings and some beer. Pfft. Men.

Soup next. The bowl had a yin/yang sort of design with carrot soup and celery root soup. There was truffle oil sprinkled on top. (At this point I am tempted to put words like "effing" in front of "awesome" "delicious" and "amazing" to describe it ALL. So just remember that I pretty much felt that way about all the food.)

I think we had a spanish rose' with the soup. The chef would come and tell us about the food and remind us "take a bite, take a sip of wine, take a bite". You could see this guy absolutely loved his job and was so proud of the meal he'd put together. What I also liked was that the regional president of the company (who we'd met at the test kitchen) was there working as a waiter and washing dishes and just generally right down in the trenches with his guys. I had a great deal of respect for that.

After that I believe we had the pasta course. It was tricolor pasta that Chef laughingly referred to as "mother in law's tongue" which Mr. Carly of course had a field day with. It was in a bolognese sauce with veal and pork and plenty of cunks of tomato and onions and so on. Great visual when they put it in front of us, so many colors and textures.

For the sorbet (which was mango, YUM) we each got a carved block of ice put in front of us with the scoop of sorbet on top.

The main course was a filet mignion WITH bone at the edge. There was a remark from the chef about how there are only two per cow, and that set of a round of joking that I can't recall verbatim, (by this point I was somewhat inebriated, obviously) but the people I was dining with are extremely funny and I have known the whole family for many years.

The meat was arranged on a bed of various beans like kidney/fava etc. Medium rare, just the way I like it. This was served with a red wine that was a blend of cabernet sauvignon and something else (I'll have to find out because we really liked this wine).

The chef then said he was going to cleanse our palate again and I thought "excellent... more mango sorbet..." but no. We got a salad. It was the only part of the meal that I wasn't completely bowled over by, because it was some artsy greens, some proscuitto, and.... a soft boiled egg. Bleah. I thought it was fresh mozzarella and that would have been better in my little brain just then. Truly this was the only thing that wasn't out-of-this-world fantastic.

I have to show you dessert, which was served with a nice port wine:



Tiramisu, some sort of custard in a pastry shell, and the chocolate volcano cake. A little snack on top of a light meal! The port wine was delicious and I was stealing people's rolled white chocolate stick (it's draped across the chocolate cake)

By the way if you're wondering if I drove everyone crazy taking pictures, the answer is "I hope not" and I tried to not do every course, and I took pictures of all of the guests because the hostess couldn't find her own camera with everything going on.

Only in America can you eat yourself insanely full and drink wine all night and say to yourself "I did it for charity". But my friend's husband did make a large contribution to the charity that had auctioned off the party, so that's my lame excuse.

So, in summary, this is SO what I'm making for dinner next Christmas. Hahahahahaha.

Friday, January 06, 2006

For scrapbookers

check this out....

Scrapbookpictures.com

Wasabi

A good friend of mine went to a charity function and bid on/won a "prize" that is a catered 5 course dinner, wherein the guests (including moi!!) will be picked up by limosine service.

Part of the prize was to go to the food distributor providing the meal and spend 2 hours in the kitchen with their chefs. It was awesome. The time just flew by.

(We also toured the warehouse. In brief, it was a big cold room with boxes of pantry goods. Then there was another, colder room with the meat and dairy products and THEN there was the gigantic freezer warehouse which:
a) Was enormous, no REALLY, and
b) so frigid I coudn't get out of it quickly enough, and
c) costs $30K a month to keep icy cold.

Every time we turned around someone was zipping by us on a forklift. My friend and I wanted to race on the smaller forklift vehicles but they wouldn't let us. Dammit.)

Back to the kitchen part -

The first thing we did is roll sushi. The chefs (who all addressed each other constantly as Chef, for example "Chef do you have any salt and pepper over there?") had all of the ingredients prepared and arranged and it was very colorful and mouthwatering.

(Yes, we got to help with it all and try everything we made, and it was fabulous.)

We had king crab legs, roasted red peppers, portobello mushrooms, cucumber, avocado, mango, carrot strips, etc...all sorts of fillers and we each used something different. By the way, don't mix up Japanese and Chinese soy sauce because they are very different.

The rice brand was KoKuHo, and do with that name what you will. If you make your own sushi, which we found out is not very hard to do, be sure to RINSE the rice over and over (before you cook it) in a mesh colander until the water runs clear. When you start spreading the rice on your nori (seaweed paper, more or less) you want to have your fingers very wet so that the rice doesn't stick to them.

Forget the bamboo mat. Wet down your countertop slightly and lay a piece of plastic wrap on it. The plastic wrap will more or less stay in place and this helps you to roll tightly. You put your nori on it (seaweed paper, which my friend unfortunately could not bring herself to try), and cover about 3/4 of it with an even layer of rice, and then starting a little in from the edge you lay your other foods. (Not too much or it squeezes out the ends when you roll it, like Cynthia's did and we laughed hysterically at her)

The saran wrap is, in the opinion of Tony(aka Chef 1), much better than the bamboo mats because NOTHING STICKS to it. Listen, if I can get it right on the first try, it's not hard. The important thing is to press the roll together as tightly as you can while you roll it and not get the saran wrap inside the roll. Just keep lifting the saran wrap away from the edge you're rolling into. (Bonus, they're all wrapped and you can put them in the fridge until your party - you can leave the saran wrap on when you slice it, the wrap will slip right off the slices easily. )

We made one round, and then he did a reverse roll (rice on the outside, again easy because it doesn't stick to the saran wrap) and pressed it into a teardrop shape and rolled it in black sesame seeds. Gorgeous! When you slice that you can arrange the pieces to look like flower petals.

Now... trying new foods... I am not big on raw seafood but I will try it all if it's cooked, along with almost anything else. My friend wouldn't eat the rolls because she didn't want to try the seaweed (nori) and blah blah... My philosophy is TRY IT. You just never know. In the course of the day I tasted the following for the first time:

  • caviar (it was dyed black with squid ink) - we put some on top of the sushi rolls - not much flavor but cool the way it pops in your mouth - there were 3 bowls of it for us (one wasabi, one was red but I didn't catch why)
  • wasabi - holy crap it's hot....no more for me thanks but at least I gave it a whirl
  • pickled ginger - awesome

Next we had another chef talk to us about reducing sauce and then he made mayonaise (the real way by mixing eggs and vinegar and oil ) flavored with mustard, garlic, and herbs

The next part was fruit carvings. This guy can seriously carve anything out of fruit and veggies.... check this out...the parrot pineapple, the pepper frog, it was so cool and he did all of what you see here in about 30 minutes.





As a bonus, we all got gift bags, with aprons and recipes and a set of 3 excellent knives. A bread knife, a large chopper, and a paring knife.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Well

I figured out that using McAfee Privacy service is what kills my poor little avatar. Hmmph.

Any of you nice geeks out there want to recommend other security / privacy software? McAfee came with my Dell last spring. Is zone alarm better?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

De-coder

So,

I have an avatar that I made in Yahoo, which looks nothing like me, of course, but hey, a girl can dream.

I'd say "it's in my sidebar, go look at it" - but that's the point. I tried to put it there. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't. WTF? I never change the template from one time to the next. (Today I took out the weather pixie because I got bored with it - that's not what I'm talking about)

So somewhere in my html I have one comment opener too many, but it doesn't make sense, because it should be in between the links and the recent post stuff and I've checked that area.

This is probably why I'm not a developer. Want me to nicely tell a client that "you don't tell us delivery dates; unless your project is for the CEO, WE set the delivery date"? I'm all over it. I get projects funded, I do any and all status reports that management wants, whatever. But I don't code. (So far.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Flickr this

yes... I admit.. I actually bought a disposable camera because I thought it was THAT nice out. Only used about 6 or 7 shots though.

Sometimes it's fun to give the kids a camera and say "here - use it up". That may be the route I take.

It's early to be so annoyed

Never has my backyard looked more like an Ansel Adams photo

  • the new snow has made the entire lawn white
  • the black tree branches are all outlined with a 3'' coating of snow
  • the sky is a smooth gray


and my camera is at my best friend's house, where I spent New Year's Eve.

damn, damn, damn!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

In case you missed it

...because you were sleeping, canoodling, or too drunk to notice...

Times Square ball drop

(you might have to click on the tv screen to get it started, if I did the link wrong)

Beth and I are SO going down there someday (when she is older).

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Come to Holiday Inn

So, I searched and found Holiday Inn for sale on Amazon, and bought it as an Xmas gift for Mr. Carly. Before it had even arrived on my doorstep, I saw it for sale (for less if you count shipping) in Target. This crap always happens to me. So yes, I spent more than your average sentimental fool on it.

Seriously, if you like old movies, this one is awesome. Bing AND Fred Astaire. Shut up and buy it.

Before we dropped it in the dvd player tonight we went outside for 5 minutes. Someone got married at our church the other night(Friday) and had handed out sparklers to everyone attending the church service. When the bride walked out of the church doors on the arm of her groom everyone waved burning sparklers at her. That's either horribly tacky, or very wistful - sigh-worthy, depending on how much wine you've had. I've had wine tonight.

At any rate, a packet was left behind and fell into our hands. They were incredibly hard to light(I *AM* a clutz, yes, but I had a box of nice wooden matches) and when I finally got Dan's going, he just about crapped in his dinosaur pajamas (donned after a coming in to a warm bath, from a fierce afternoon of sledding face first down our neighbor's backyard hill).

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year



My friend once told me whoever enters a house first in the new year will rule it.

Every year since then, I'm first. Last night we were at my friend's, babysitting her 3 "angels" and when we got home... I was first. Bahahaha! I rule.

Mother Goose & Grimm/ Mike Peters