Monday, May 16, 2005

newsflashes for today

flash the first: baby blanket #3 is DONE!!! whoo hoo!!! it's going in the mail tomorrow come hell or high water. it is a DRAG to mess up and have to redo a huge portion of that type of project. the end wasn't much fun, but since i finished it, i have really been enjoying getting back to some of the things i had put aside in order to work on that blanket! crumpets, i should be able to start within the week!

flash the second: only 5 more days till we leave for the beach!!! excellent. i am making lists of stuff to take as we speak. i admit, i take half my kitchen and a TON of beachy stuff to the beach. this year i will also be sporting a fabulous new pink straw hat, new flip flops, and new sunglasses. meredith has all that, and a new beach bag as well--i am so jealous. i may have to get one, too. after all--i didn't buy a new suit this year. or a towel. hmmmm...

jackie's theory of life

sam reminded me today of my Theory of Life, which i shared with her and our friend steve a few years ago when things were kind of coming unglued for me. and really--i believe this is a sound theory, so i have decided to share.

i believe that life is basically divided into six categories: (please forgive the stream-of-consciousness-like nature of this list)
  • career - your job or school, your working environment, the stability of your job, your relationship with your boss, your level or work and work-related stress, etc.
  • money - your cash level, investments, debt, bills, savings, etc.
  • home - your entire living environment--how much light you have, how clean it is, how good/bad your furniture is, whether or not you can be productive in it, whether or not you find it aesthetically pleasing, how stable it is, is there time for you do do personal projects, etc.
  • love - by this i mean not just love and romance, but also the love you have for your friends and they have for you--basically, this has to do with how cared about you feel and how much effort you put forth making other people happy, too; and yes--i think pets count
  • family - your relationships with your family, including children, parents, extended family, and informal family such as your S.O. and his/her parents and siblings; how accepted you feel you are as well as how well you accept them
  • health - every aspect of your health--your weight, diseases, fertility/infertility, your psychological well-being, your spiritual health, your stress level, etc.
and my theory is simple--i think that these 6 different categories are always in flux--some going well, while others are just OK, and some pretty much sucking. for me, i can handle a couple of these categories sucking at once, but if more than three of them get seriously out of whack--I get out if whack. when that happens, i have to step back and look at making some changes in my life.

generally, i try to keep at least two of these on the great side and not let more than two get out of kilter at once. but i think the real key is to focus on the ones where you can effect some level of change, and throw the others onto the back burner until you can actually do something about them. this is the hardest part--not worrying about the ones over which you have no control. i sometimes get caught up in big-picturing myself to death when really i can only control the smaller pieces. that is when i do better if i can remember these 6 categories and say to myself--this is just one part of my life--look at how great these other 3 parts of my life are! you get the point.

a hokey theory, perhaps. but one that has helped me over the past few years none the less. maybe you will find it helpful, too.

Friday, May 13, 2005

30-minute dinner for two:
capellini with tomato and fresh basil sauce

i was talking to emily on my way home last night about what i was making for dinner, and she instructed me to blog these quick little dinners i am always making. so--here is 30-minute dinner #1: capellini with tomato and fresh basil sauce. the sauce recipe originally came from this great italian cookbook that meredith gave me for christmas a couple of years ago, but i have made it so many times now, i am not sure this even matches the original recipe anymore. this is simple, fast, yummy, and perfect for two people. leftover sauce makes great bruchetta, too!

  • 1 large can of imported, peeled, whole italian plum tomatoes
  • 5-ish cloves of garlic
  • 5-ish tablespoons of olive oil
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (if desired)
  • 8 oz. capellini (angel hair pasta)


crush the tomatoes with your hands into a medium saucepan. don't add the extra juice in the can, just the tomatoes and whatever juice they contain. coarsely chop the garlic and add to the tomatoes. add one tablespoon of olive oil for each clove of garlic. cook on medium to medium-high heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate. in the meantime, wash, pat dry, and tear the basil into small-ish pieces. prepare the water for the pasta, but do not cook the pasta until the sauce is done. when the sauce is done, remove from heat and immediately stir in the basil--it will wilt into the hot sauce. let the sauce rest while you cook the pasta, then toss pasta with the sauce until noodles are evenly coated. divide between two pasta dishes or plates, add fresh cheese if you want, and serve immediately.

my favorite version of this dinner includes a small caesar salad and a glass of fabulous red wine. mmmmm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

fabulous new shoes sure to brighten any day

ok--i feel much better after doing some productive little work tidbits and ordering these fabulous new shoes, which i really can't afford but could not resist. i am such a copycat! tina, who works across the hall from me, already has these very shoes. she is who talked me into getting them, however, so i don't feel TOO bad! plus, i found some great little pink shoes for her, which she immediately ordered, so i feel like i sort of paid her back for the tip. yay for new shoes!!! lord, i am such a frivolous girl sometimes...

antsy, man

ugh! how i hate the slow work day when there are a million things i want and need to do at home! things like cleaning out the fridge, vacuuming every inch of the apartment, dusting--god how i need to dust!!! and really, i am SO antsy to be knitting today! i am so anxious to start crumpets, but i promised myself i would not touch that beautiful yarn i bought until baby blanket #3 is in the mail. i was cooking away on that baby blanket, but then i fucked it right up. i made one little, teeny, tiny mistake that threw the entire pattern off and then failed to notice this until i was about 23 rows past the mistake. so yeah--i pulled out pretty much a whole skein of yarn and started re-knitting. and now, i just want to be DONE with it! i'm SO close... i only have 2 or 3 more hours to go on it, but i can't seem to fit it in--it's driving me CRAZY today! i had grand plans last night, but then i got kind of sick, and those plans went right out the window. tonight i will try again. but then--who will clean my house while i knit??? *whine* *whine* *whine* listen to me WHINING today! i am just going to shut up and go try to find something constructive to do till 5 o'clock.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

ripped off!

ok, let's talk about restoration hardware for a minute. they are expensive, yes, but i generally feel like i get my money's worth when i buy something there. take, for example, the fabulous bell lights i bought there a couple of summers ago: the strand is about 25 feet long and i found them on sale for half price, which made them $20. they are long enough to go all the way around our little porch--perfect. and we LOVE them!

so yesterday, when we bought the mayfair lights i was all gaga for, i have to say, i expected something similar, if not better--the mayfair lights cost almost double the bell lights, even though they are nearly identical in style. imagine our unpleasant surprise (since we made stupid assumptions and failed to read the box--silly jackie and hippie!) when we opened them to hang them on the patio, only to discover that the strand was a mere 10 feet long. less than half the lights for more than twice the money. hmmmm. cute? yes!worth 40 bucks? no! just say no to the mayfair lights. we already took 'em back.

now, we will be picking these babies up from crate & barrel on the way home. 26 feet of lights for 20 bucks! that, my friends, is more like it. today, crate & barrel trumps restoration hardware.

Monday, May 09, 2005

patio days and patio nights

this was a great weekend. i didn't get as much done IN the house as i wanted to, but man--outside, the weather was fabulous, and the hippie actually took the whole weekend off, so we managed to fit quite a lot in! (a first in MANY weekends!) friday night we went to our fave restaurant in raleigh, frazier's--excellent as always. saturday we took a trip to the farmer's market with emily and shane, where we got flowers, honey, fresh peas, tomatoes, and the best strawberries i have had in years. SO GOOD! then we went to lunch and a target run, then came home to chill and do some house-y things for a bit. the hippie even got in some ceegar time on the porch. our upstairs neighbor, alison, came for dinner, which was salmon, asparagus and red peppers, jasmine rice, and fresh strawberries with balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and sweetened mascarpone cheese--mmmmm. oh, and some wine. :)

the hippie and i spent some serious time on sunday working on cleaning up the patio outside our basement door to make it a cute and usable space rather than a scary one filled with the detritus of renters past. we threw some stuff out, swept it all up, did some creative garden hose routing to get that thing out of the way, trimmed back the jungle-like bushes that had been blocking access to the space, and made a few purchases and additions to spruce things up a bit. at lunch today we bought these bell lights you see here from restoration hardware, and i am DYING to get home and hang them up!

weber grill
yesterday, we went and bought this fabulous grill, for which we have been saving change since last summer. we have been talking about grills forever, and i told the hippie yesterday--it's all you, baby. i am such a girl--i know NOTHING about grills, so i figured he better pick it out. this one certainly looks great to me--i can't wait to fire it up. maybe dinner tonight? we need jenn and harry to really christen it properly, but maybe we need a couple of trial runs first.

we also picked up a big clay pot and a hibiscus bush, along with a number of smaller plants. i am going to flesh these out some this coming weekend with some creeping herbs planted around the bottom of the hibiscus and maybe some more flowers as well. i need to go back to the farmer's market for a plant run--their plants are better and cheaper than the mess we saw at lowe's yesterday. did i mention that i LOVE the farmer's market? cause, man, i love it.

last night, when we were tired out from that working, we had a beer on the patio at the little bistro set we inherited from my grandmother's house, surveying the new domain as it were. for dinner, we walked up to the mellow mushroom for some pizza and beer and good outdoor seating. then we ended with a movie on the couch while we had ice cream and strawberries. i even got in a little knitting, although i am still way behind!

all in all, a damned fine weekend, if you ask me...

reading: A Stroke of Midnight

A Stroke of Midnight, by Laurell K. Hamilton
ok, my expectations of laurell k. hamilton are really not all that high. she is a pulp fiction style writer who tells fantastic stories about vampires, were-animals, and faeries in modern times--this is somewhat cheesy but in general, works for me. i expect a certain amount of fluff from her, but also a quick escapist read that will be entertaining. lots of sex and bloodletting--a guilty pleasure the hippie and i (and his mother) share. it used to be that i thought if her like phillip k. dick--an author who makes up for so-so writing skills by being such a great plotter. lately, however, she has been disappointing me. she dwells so much on the details of every sex scene in her last few books that she is actually stalling in the story telling. they are degenerating into soft-core porn novels with no real plots--it's sad.

a stroke of midnight is one of her faerie books, continuing the story she (sort of) started in the last one, a caress of twilight, but in neither book is there ANY conclusion to anything at all. the end is just like the end to a chapter, with no loose ends tied up, no thing to think about till the next book comes out--no cliffhangers even. *sigh* this book ended just as it got going. overall a blah experience. she would have done better to have waited till the story was complete and then published one big fat book.

looking forward to better book experiences, i am planning to finish up jonathan strange and mr. norrell before we leave for the beach (in less than two weeks!), and i have my beach books all lined up:

Friday, May 06, 2005

wedding weekend

i can't believe it's taken me so long to write anything about last weekend--i have had too much actual work to do at work, and at home, i am just trying to catch up from not being home on the weekends for the last month! anyway--kimmie is all hitched up now, to her beloved scott. they are chillin' in st. lucia, and i am terribly jealous of their week in the tropics.

as for me, i came through my latest stint as a bridesmaid relatively unscathed. this is largely in part to the presense of the lovely people you see here: my fellow bridesmaids jenn and kristin, as well as kimmie's cousin ann-marie and her fabulous husband, bruce. we hung out with these guys more than anyone else last weekend, and they made things quite a lot of fun. so, let's see: the earrings were a hit, the dresses look shinier in the pictures than they really were, and were pretty OK except for their tendency to show every drop of water that came within ten feet of them (gotta love taffeta), my silver charles david shoes were as fabulous as i knew they would be, and my manicure and pedicure both survived the weekend. (a miracle for the manicure--i am hell on my hands!) ann-marie, that rebel, had some glitter on her manicure and some little purple flowers painted on her toes--i admit i coveted those flowers! also wonderful to see was how in love with each other ann-marie and bruce are--they have been together 20 years and married for 14, and they are still like teenagers--flirting and laughing together. so cute!

a highlight of the wedding reception was a song that we the bridesmaids wrote and sang for kimmie during the toasting. kimmie has SO many great stories, but unfortunately most of them are not really meant for public consumption, especially by people like HER MOTHER! so, while sitting at our table drinking, we started toying with this little song containing some rather cryptic versions of many of her "adventures"--it was actually pretty damned funny, and ALL the bridesmaids participated, and ALL the bridesmaids actually got up in front of the 250-ish guests and sang the thing to her. she laughed; she cried. so i am calling that a success.

the updo
in other wedding news, this was the first time in my life i have had an updo i actually LIKED. i usually feel like the updo looks like straightend and re-curled ass glued to my head with 4 cans of hairspray and 200+ bobby pins, but this time--no! it actually looked more kate-winslet-ish than i ever knew it could. i swear, if i lived in atlanta, i would make an appointment with this woman who did my hair in two seconds--she has curly hair herself, and i think it made ALL the difference. have to highly recommend the blowout salon on paces ferry road if you are are ever down that way and need some hair care.

the hippie
and i can't say enough about the hippie at this wedding. it was not the most fun weekend for him, but he was just great. he kept me company and helped me get ready for all the events, and came to the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the reception and got his social on--he chatted with strangers, got to know the other bridesmaids, and was in general VERY supportive of me. plus he looked just HOT all weekend--he cleans up well. plus--as if that's not enough--i learned this last weekend that the boy can DANCE. he LIKES it and makes other people dance, too! he is so awesome--love my hippie.

i would say that the biggest downside to the weekend was the wedding photographer, who made us go outside before the wedding, where the ground was wet, and do things like RUN toward her in our formal wear, and play ring-around-the-rosie around kimmie, and kept saying, "can't you guys go any faster?!" i think she was unaware of the fact that we were, in fact, grown women in taffeta skirts and 3-inch heels sporting $50 updos that are easilly jarred loose by RUNNING! hello?! plus, she glared at ME when i took any pictures. grrrr.

all of that said--the woman really does take great pictures--i am forced to admit this after pursuing her website, Lori Suzanne Photography. she may have rubbed me the wrong way, but she really is a great photographer.

oh, and the flowers were moldy. ew.