Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for. Here's just a few: The Dog, our families, our good health, the good health of our families, our home, living in Boise and not in Dallas, our friends near and far, steady work, good food, fuzzy slippers, a sunny day, snow on the way, our memories, eyes to read with, ears to hear with, mouth to laugh with, heart to love with, nose to smell all the wonderful smells (not counting Mr. J's sweaty running clothes on the laundry room floor), fresh-squeezed grapefruit-orange juice, Mom's Christmas cookies delivered on my birthday, our beautiful nieces and nephews who I miss so much, our friend on the road to recovery from his horrific motorbike accident, The Dog's squeaky toy, my red curtains, raw cookie dough (even though I know it's sooo bad), Netflix and Hulu for those nights when we just want to veg, learning to knit, my cold sore finally going away, the places I've been, the places I've yet to go, my teachers and mentors, and most of all Mr. J. He is truly the best, even when he's at his most aggravating!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I actually don't have that much prepping to do at all. My sole contributions to tomorrow's big feast are a big vat of garlic mashed potatoes and some onion confit (a.k.a. caramelized onions) in place of cranberry sauce. I'm also throwing in a batch of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, just cuz. We did the shopping last night. Tonight we cook. And tomorrow we just reheat everything once we arrive at H's parents' house. Easy Peasy!

But it's this holiday and the next that always make me a little homesick, especially as my folks came out for a couple very memorable, very tasty Turkey Days down in Denver. Planning the menu, organizing the house so we could fit all 20 people, doing the shopping, preparing the food, all over glasses of wine (well except maybe for the shopping) and lots of laughter. Good times, indeed. But this is our first Thanksgiving here, and we are just establishing our connections. Our roots are very shallow. If I think back to our first Thanksgiving in Denver, I can remember our roots were just as shallow. I just didn't realize it. It was just us and two friends, who flew out from California, loaded down with a huge shopping bag of goodies from Trader Joe's (oh, how I miss them!--the friends and Trader Joe's). I don't even know if we made a turkey or what we ate. But I still remember the laughter and the good times. And I know that no matter what, we will always have that, no matter where we are. And I am eternally thankful for that.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Email from My Momma

I received an email from my mom today that I think is a prime candidate for Postcards from Yo Momma, but I'm going to keep it here on my little site rather than sending it out there for the "world" to read. It just cracks me up, so I want to record it for posterity, so I can come back for a smile and a laugh whenever I like:
Hi – Just talked with a man at church today who was talking about his birthday on Friday. Turns out he also turned 40. He has a wife, 5 kids, house and job. I was a little surprised when I found out his age but then when I looked at him, I thought yeah, I guess so. He is overweight so he looked a lot older than you but looking at his face, it was younger than I thought! Anyway, when he found out you were a day older than him, he wanted your email so he could get advice on “what’s next” from an older person. He really does have a good sense of humor but maybe you aren’t ready for that kind of humor quite yet! :) I’m glad you had a good birthday. I want the recipe for all the lamb dishes but especially for the drink! Nana needs a new drink! Well, I’ve got to take a shower and get ready to go to a friend’s house for dinner. What are doing for Thanksgiving? Do you have to make anything and are you going to share the recipe? I’m still undecided about the stuffing recipe. I don’t stuff the bird with it but I need a recipe. Any ideas? Oh yeah, Denise’s refrigerator died Friday and Jon went out and bought a Toshiba one today. They knew a year ago it was going, so they were shopping for types and brands. Made the day easier. Anyway, it seems he got a good deal and it should all be installed by Wednesday. Dad’s hard cast is on and he is going gang busters. Went to work right after the cast was put on, went food shopping with me that night, went to church and stood around and talked with people as they raked leaves and now is going out to dinner tonight. He offered to make the baked beans I am bringing but I said, it was ok – I’ll do it. As you can see, we too are a little busy. Have fun. Love, MOM

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Little thoughts came to me yesterday (actually, it's today, but I'm not going to post it until tomorrow, so that makes today yesterday). Anyway, here are some of those thoughts:

--OW! On Monday, I went to my first "real" workout class in ages (real meaning there were actual weights and lunges and squats and even push-ups?!?! involved). And each day since then I've been moving more and more like a pregnant cowboy (though maybe that should be cowgirl) (man, do I love parentheses or what?). I can't seem to get up off our low-slung couch or up out of my itty-bitty Honda without bracing myself and sort of pushing my hips up with my butt, so that I don't actually have to engage my aching quads, which feel as if someone has beat them to a pulp with a bag of oranges. So there's the pregnant part. And then when I try to walk, I sort of swing my legs out to the side, instead of bending at the knees, to once again avoid using my poor, poor quads. Thus the cowboy. Add this to my swollen cold sore lip, and I am one hot about-to-be-40-year-old. Watch out world!

--It is now today, which yesterday would have been tomorrow. I had other little thoughts, but never got around to writing about them. So I'll just say that Today is here, and I am 40, and I feel no older than I did yesterday. However, it seems that I suddenly know everything, or so I profess to Mr. J, as I expounded on all things philosophical and psychological and political over breakfast. After listening to NPR and solving the world's problem with one pithy statement, I proclaimed, "I know everything!" After analyzing our sister-in-law and discerning the reasons for her lack of child-rearing skills, I knew I was right about it all, because "I know everything." Mr. J's reply after each of my oh-so-modest proclamations was, "And you didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express." GIGGLE! And now I'm off to enjoy my day, which I know will be splendiforous, because I obviously know everything.

When You're Smiling

The only reasons for today's title are (1) I could not come up with anything clever or witty, and (2) I'm listening to Pandora, and right now it's Louis Armstrong singing/playing what seems like a very melancholy version of that song. And this sort of suits me right now. I'm in a good mood all in all, and I want to smile. But yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I was afflicted with the mother of all cold sores. Came out of nowhere and has now given me a big ol' fat lip, with all of the grossness of a cold sore and none of the sexiness of big puffy lips. Joy. So, not only does it make me grumpy, but it also hurts to smile. Boo. And tomorrow is the big 4-0 for me. I have anticipated this milestone for years. When I hit 33 or so, I finally understood Meg Ryan's lament in When Harry Met Sally: "I'm gonna be forty.... Someday!!" (I honestly did not understand that line when I first saw the movie in my 20s). And that someday is here. And of all the horrors I imagined (none of which have come true, by the way; no horrors--just sore knees, an achy lower back, and slowly deteriorating eyesight), I did not imagine entering my fourth decade with a whopping cold sore (the affliction of my teen years; the infliction that kept me from joining high school band, because you can't play the flute when you get a cold sore every other month). Anyway, what's next? A zit on my nose? Horrible teenage mood swings? What the heck, let's go for broke. Give me some braces, a thick pair of glasses, and ratty hair. It'll be like no time has passed. Apparently 40 is the new 16!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Monday

Well, I am obviously not out to win any kind of NaBloPoMo prizes, that is for sure! But I will sacrifice all the "glory" for another great weekend like this past one. Good times with friends, good food with friends, making new friends, slowly solidifying newish friendships. All in all a friend-filled weekend. And after a year in Dallas, where I had maybe 1.5 friends, it feels great.

I'm not the kind of person who must be surrounded by people in order to feel needed or loved or complete. I can entertain myself for days with nary a teary night of "woe is my, I'm all alone," as I proved so well in Dallas when Mr. J would go out of town. But laughter and sharing and good times with others is just good for the soul. And I'm eternally thankful for my loving Mr. J and the fact that he loves low-key entertaining as much as, if not more. than, I do. And although life is a little crazy these days, I do not regret for one minute making our sudden move to Boise. It suits us to a T.

But now the house is empty and the work is piling up. So time to get cracking. I imagine that with all this work surrounding me, I'll be doubly good about my daily posts this week, as that is just the way things go around here!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Procrastination Puzzler

How is it that when I have fifty million things on my plate, as I did last week, I can find time every day to post to my little blog? But when I only have fifty things to do, I can't seem to keep this up? Must be one of those weird time-warp, space-time continuum doohickeys. Or perhaps we should wait until tomorrow, when my fifty things of the week are due a day early because one of my very bestest buds is coming to visit, and I need to make scones and salsa and guac and clean house. I'm sure tomorrow, when all that is going on, I'll have all the time in the world for posting. (And no, I don't NEED to make fresh scones and salsa and various other tasty treats, but I WANT to, quite possibly at the expense of my ever-growing pile of work.)

Monday, November 9, 2009


One week in and I have already missed a day of NaBloPoMo. I guess it doesn't matter too, too much, as I missed Day 1 anyway ( because I didn't know about NaBloPoMo until Day 2). So no big prize for me. But still. I can't keep up this daily posting thing for more than one week? Typical.

I am not really devastated or disappointed at all. I had a fabulous weekend, even if part of it consisted of work on a Sunday. But that work began after I enjoyed my most glorious sleep-in, make-a-yummy-breakfast, sip-my-coffee-while-doing-the-crossword-puzzle morning (which extended past noon). Heaven! And so, so, so, so needed.

While I worked, the wonderful Mr. J mowed up all the leaves and spread them throughout the flower beds and into the future fruit "orchard" on the side of the house. Then he spent the rest of the afternoon building shelves for his shed (yes, it's our shed, but I really have no interest in it, especially as it was such a pain in the arse to construct ... I still haven't forgiven it for that).

Then a leisurely night on the couch catching up on shows on Hulu and knitting (well, I knitted, and Mr. J just watched the "tube," AKA my computer screen).

Now here it is Monday again, but it's not nearly as daunting as last week. Today I even have plans to squeeze in a quickie mountain bike ride and maybe another trip to the Y (twice in three days? Miraculous). And if all goes well on the work front this afternoon, I'll get to end my day concocting dinner. On the menu for tonight: miso soup with chicken and vegetables. Hope it's as tasty as the recipe makes it out to be. Then again, if I keep writing here and not working, we'll be ordering out for pizza. Better get busy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Life Is Grand

The project from hell is over. Hooray! (Now that I have calmed down about it all, with the help of dinner with friends enjoying homemade pizza and copious amounts of wine and laughter, I can say it wasn't the authors who bugged me. It's not their fault English is not their native tongue. But it is the fault of the publisher to send it to me as a "normal" edit and to pay "normal" edit prices for something that really should have been translated by someone who understands the science of artificial intelligence before being copyedited. But nuff said. It's done.) Anyway, that project is over. I have a simple quilting project to finish by end-of-day Monday. And then life is back to normal.

And to prove it, this morning I slept in (well, until 8:00, but for me these days, that's a luxury). I tidied up a bit, played around on the computer, then hopped on my loaner cruiser bike (big blue bike with a wire basket and everything) and cruised around the North End on this blue-sky-with-white-puffy-clouds (I call them The Simpsons clouds) perfect autumn day. Crisp, cool air. People out raking and getting ready for winter. The smell of fireplace smoke in the air. Leaves falling from the trees and crunching under my tires as I cruised my way to the Y, where I actually worked out (what a concept). Then on the way out, I ran into a woman from down the street who I've been meaning to get in touch with for ages (OK, weeks). We've only lived here three months and already I'm meeting people I know on the street. I love this town!!

And on Thursday my bestest bud/former mentor is coming into town for a fabulous weekend of reminiscing, laughter, window shopping, drink tasting, and good food. Can't wait!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I was just performing my morning ritual of procrastination (oops, I mean browsing other people's blogs), when I came across this at Hidden Camera Show. I don't know if stealing from another site counts as a daily post, but this captured exactly how I am feeling right now and what I want for the coming weeks, months, year (note: the photo is all mine):
In fact, it [NaBloPoMo] is just one act in a series of things I kind of want to do with my life. That is, acts of reclaiming. With my atrocious study- and work habits, days just kind of drift, without me feeling like I'm in charge. So, I would like to (drumroll, please) reclaim my Sundays. Oh, glorious Sundays! A day of having a lie-in and a big breakfast, the Sunday paper, maybe going for a walk or into town, reading a good book just for fun, maybe watching a film, and so on and so forth. I honestly think that I need a day in my week which is simply 'me-time', no work no nothing. If I plan my week and my work carefully enough, I am sure having my Sundays off would be feasible. Imagine that, being able to sit around and not feel guilty about not doing any work!

Of course, the trick is that whole word plan. I need to work on enhancing that P-word in my life and eradicating the other P-word (procrastination, of course).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Will Stop Venting About This Project

Really, I will. As soon as I finish it up and send it off to the publishers. But until then, here's an example of the latest text to fall under "things that annoy me about this project":

Hence the number of frequencies to be selected must be judiciary decided. The same holds two for the other analysis technique i.e. Short Time Fourier analysis and wavelet analysis.

This needs a whole lot of fixin' on a whole lot of levels, and I know it's my job as editor to do that fixin' to the best of my non-science-brain ability. But I am beginning to think they "wrote" this book by dictating it into the very speech-recognition software that they are describing how to build (the subject of this particular chapter). Couldn't they have at least given the chapters a quick proofread before sending everything off to be published?

And on another note, I now have an image of the authors looking like Lili von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles, singing "Morning, noon, and night, it's dwink and dancing / Some quick womancing / And then a shower."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Quickie ... Really

I can't seem to help myself. I have every intention of writing a short, sweet blog post, but when I'm done writing, I realize that it takes several to many scrolls of the mouse wheel to get to the bottom of it all. Can I really have that much of interest to say? Actually, no. I'm just a rambler. I can't help it.

But today is really just a quickie to get in my daily dose of writing. I am burning the candle at about five different ends. There's the project from Hell (in this case, Hell is India)--a horrible, horrible book on soft computing and artificial intelligence (don't ask) written by three people who may speak English on a daily basis but who are not native English speakers. And it shows. If I have to change one more instance of "In this section, we would be discussing the issues of some or the other artificial neural network (ANN) technologies . . ." I "would probably be very much going to" throw my cute little laptop right out the window. But it's a paying gig, and I am the one who did not say no when they offered it to me! So, oh well. As my friend says, it's job security in these crazy times. Too bad said job security is making me crazy! Then the big geography textbook project is coming to an end, which means lots of little loose ends to be tied up by right this very minute. Add to that a short indexing project (due today) and then a quilting edit (due Friday, but I'm pushing for Monday), and I think perhaps I may have overextended myself just a tiny bit. Not to mention that I have a random group of women coming over tonight for a Lia Sophia Jewelry party that I have been shanghaied into hosting. (OK, so they got me with the $78 dollar necklace that I get for $15 just for hosting; but I still consider it a sneaky move on their part.) This, in turn, means I need to clean house (Mr. J has volunteered his services), scrounge up some munchies and vino (hallelujah), and actually make myself somewhat presentable (no more sweats and PJs for me tonight.)

But all of that doesn't stop me from going out to enjoy yummy diner breakfasts with Mr. J two days in a row. How I love me some bacon and greasy spoon coffee! Especially after pulling several near-all-nighters in a row. Besides, these days, it's the only time I have to actually converse with Mr. J; otherwise our conversations would consist of me thanking him as he changes out my caffeine IV drip. Oh, and speaking of bacon (mmmm), if I lived anywhere near Colorado, I would have dibs on this cute little piggy owned by my new buddy over at Little Farm. Growing. Yum! (sorry piggy)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3

I realize that is not a very original title for a post. But I chose it for a couple reasons, and not one of those reasons is entirely due to laziness.

First of all, it is that time of year again. Yes, it's autumn, the leaves are falling, the air is crisp and cool, there is no excuse not to savor a mug of hot cocoa every single day, and I love it. But it's also that particular day of the year when I go absolutely berserk trying to find out who is running and for what position, what the different bonds and ballot measures are, and various other voting information. You would think this information would be at my fingertips, what with the wonders of the Internet and all. Yet for the past several years, I have tried to do my civic duty as a semi-intelligent voter, and for the past several years, I have failed. And it's not just this state. For each of the past three first Tuesdays in November, I have been registered to vote in a different city, county, state. And in each state, I have had absolutely dismal luck finding the relevant information needed to cast a confident vote. So I bitch and moan and do my best. And then I leave various ovals blank, because I can't just fill in any old random vote. And this just goes against my grain, because I suffer from a serious case of SAT-itis, which means I have this need to fill in an oval for every "question," even if I'm just making my best guess, using the process of elimination, or going with my gut instinct. That kind of stuff may have helped to get me into a good college, but it just doesn't fly in the voter booth. [image courtesy of]

Having said all that, I did go out and vote today, with Mr. J, who voted for the second time in his life, having only recently become a full-fledged U.S. citizen. It was quite entertaining to be back in a semi-small town (Boise may be the capital of Idaho, but it is far from being a big city--which is why we love it!). The polling station was like a ghost town, other than the workers sitting around, catching up on the latest gossip. It wasn't until halfway through the three-minute process that we realized we were being serenaded by a choir of elementary school children, who were hidden somewhere behind the big curtain on the gymnasium's stage. I think that was a first in my voting career. In addition, no one quadruple-checked my driver's license or anything. I just confirmed my address, signed a book, got my paper ballot, went into a cardboard booth, filled in the one oval I felt confident about (yes, it was the guy who wined and cheesed us at his wine and cheese event), and then slipped my sadly incomplete ballot into what looked like a large shoebox. Then it was off to Jim's Coffee Shop for a celebratory breakfast.

But I seriously digress. A much happier reason for the title of this post, and for the celebratory breakfast, is that today marks what would have been my grandparents' 79th wedding anniversary. Although Grandpa died four short years ago (yes, that means they celebrated 75 years together! Amazing!!), he is never far from our hearts or our thoughts. But Nana is still alive and kicking and is actually going in today to determine whether at 90 years old she is a good candidate for a cochlear implant (or as she calls it, a nuclear implant, which just makes me giggle). For the past 15 years or more, she has sort of laughed off the idea of trying to improve her hearing, saying that she'd probably be dead in a year anyway and why spend the money. But seeing as she was just at my cousin's bon voyage party, dancing up a storm, I think she's finally realizing that she's here to stay for a while! In fact, at her 90th birthday party last March, she was still happy and alert and pleasant at 2 a.m., recapping the events of the day and exclaiming how nice everyone was to come to her party (she had always thought that people came to her parties because they all loved Grandpa ... hmmm, and I get my insecurities from where?!). I, on the other hand, was quite disgruntled and zombielike and exhausted, ready to pass out right there on the couch.

So in honor of my Nana and Grandpa, I send out positive, life-loving thoughts to all of you. May we all have even an iota of the love and laughter my grandparents have shared with this world. And may we all do our best to pass on that joy to those who are special to us . . . or even to those we just meet on the street.

Monday, November 2, 2009


So I just realized that it's that time of year when bloggers go crazy and post a post every single day as some kind of challenge, fun, writing frenzy, something . . . . I have not participated in the past, and I'm not sure I'm participating now. We'll see how I do. Of course, I already missed Day 1. But that's because after the incredible festivities of Halloween night (such fun), it took Mr. J and I a full day on the couch, catching up on Netflix and Hulu, while munching on whatever easy food we could prepare and never once getting out of my robe or slippers to make myself more presentable (whew) to recover. I'm so glad he loves me for who I am and didn't try to "help" me recover from my crispy-around-the-edges feeling by pushing me out into the beautiful day that it was in order to haul my tooshie up a hill on a mountain bike or some such ungodly thing. Granted that probably would have been much healthier than our alternative. But sometimes you need a completely lazy day. Especially as this week I have, oh, I don't know, five horribly icky work projects! (Yippee.) Another reason I'm not sure how well I'll do on this post a post every day for a month thing. Oh, and I also love him because he sat through three hours of Lost in Austen with me, and actually found it entertaining! What a guy!

Finally, can I just say that daylight savings is being very good to me today. I just realized it is only 9:30 and I've already been working for more than an hour (usually, I'm just finishing breakfast and catching up on emails at this time of the morning).