Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sunshine and Bicycles

Today is gorgeous. About 60ºF, warm with the sun glistening off the harbor. I love it. It would be the perfect day for us to take a ferry to the Island to ride bikes...

I need a camera..

Favorite Quotations from the Weekend...

"The thought of actually dating someone makes me want to - " ~ Sophie
Interjection - "Throw up? Me too." ~ Whit
"What if we make out? I mean can you imagine...I don't know...." ~ Sophie
"Walk up to that line, and if you feel like you're going to throw up, throw up on the line." ~ Whit


"I wish I could Tivo my life." ~ Whit


"Hold on. Can we talk about your pants?" ~ Bird


"Hello? Hello? Sophie?" ~ Unidentifiable male
"Um, No, sorry, this is Zoë, can I help you?" ~ Sophie
"Click."


Standing in a dark kitchen in the middle of the night with a mouth full of cookie: "Do you want a cookie?"


"Do you think it's a problem that I've had a drink every night for the last eight nights?"
"No one has to know that." said while pouring another drink.


"Oh please, think about it, would you rather have a pedophile or a pervert representing you?" ~ political discussions@ Thanksgiving

You guys crack me up. I wish I had DVDs of all the hysterical moments we have all the time. Ahh, what great memories.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Introducing the Drink & Recipe of the Week

I am instituting a recipe of the week and a drink of the week in an effort to be more adventurous with my culinary endeavors. (Plus, now that I have my wine connoisseur, Chad, to help it will be easier and more fun.) I'll start this week, despite being midweek, because I've already had three fantastic meals, three fabulous wines, and two superb drinks. Oh, and "sharing is caring." So here goes.

Recipe of the week:

ENCHILADAS

1 lb of ground turkey
whole wheat wraps
2-3 garlic cloves
half a white onion
green onions
jalepeños
1 green pepper, diced
spinach (I used frozen, but I don't think it matters)
black olives
corn
mexican cheese mix (lots)
tomatoes, dice them up
tomato sauce
salsa
brown rice
cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder

Cook the rice according to the package. The Uncle Ben's Instant Whole Grain Brown Rice is good. Remember, DO NOT OPEN THE LID to check on the rice. It's fine.

Heat the oven to 350ºF.

In a frying pan, cook the turkey. In another frying pan, throw in the white onions and garlic with a little olive oil. Add the spinach to the onions & garlic. Once the turkey is cooked, drain it, then add the onions, garlic, and spinach to the turkey. Stir it up, then add the green onions, jalepeños, green peppers, olives, corn and diced tomatoes. Once all of it is cooked, add some cheese on top and cook until it's melted. If you like spices, add the cumin, cayenne and chili powder to the meat and veggie mixture as well as a little to the rice once it's done. After the oven is preheated, rice is cooked, and all the frying pan goodies are done, it's time for enchiladas.

Scoop some rice, some cheese, and the mixture onto a wheat wrap. Roll it up and place in a cake pan (you can spray the pan with cooking spray or place some tinfoil on the bottom). Continue to roll and place in the pan until there isn't any room. I think five fit nicely, which means you'll probably have two batches.

In a bowl, mix salsa and tomato sauce. Then pour it over the enchiladas in the pan. Top them with some cheese and olives (or whatever left over veggies you might have or want) and pop them into the oven to bake for 25 minutes or so.

This should make around ten. They reheat well in a toaster oven or oven.

Drink of the week:

Mango Margaritas

Tequila
ice
Mango Mix
a squirt of lime (because I love it)

HAPPY EATING!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Note About My Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. I know mine was one of the best and strangest. I do feel the need to share one event in particular only because I might still be traumatized by it. Here goes:

We headed north to my aunt's house for turkey day. It was marvelous to see the family and to visit for awhile, as I had not seen some of my relatives in a few months. It was also a pleasure to have my dad travel with me and my sister because he has been in hiding, conveniently during the festivities, for the past few years.

Dinner was sensational. Hats off to my aunt for making such awesome food. We had turkey, ham, green bean casserole (she loves me), broccoli and cheese, three different kinds of potatoes, squash, peas, carrots with bacon - just loads of culinary goodness all tweaked with little twists that are trademarks of Kelley. She doesn't like to make just mashed potatoes; they have to have ranch or something else mixed in them. Same goes for all the entrées. There were hardly any leftovers because we ate pretty much all that was laid out on the table. After dinner, we sat around chatting until my aunt announced she would go get the pumpkin cheesecake. She returned to the dinner table with a kitty litter box which she place in the middle of us with a poop scoop. The entire family looked at her horrified. I asked her why she put it on the table and she just busted out laughing. This was her idea of a practical joke that was awesome. Turns out, it was a kitty litter cake. It was disgusting. Everyone just starting laughing hysterically while trying not to vomit. She did convince a few brave souls to try it, but we made her cut it with a spatula in the other room. It was actually good but I couldn't eat more than two bites, as the association was too strong in my mind (It's just marble cake with cookies, pudding, and tootsie rolls). And here I was thinking, finally, I could bring friends home to meet my family...

However, she did go get the Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake she promised us, so dessert wasn't a complete disaster. Luckily, we all have a good sense of humor and no one got sick. There is always quality entertainment at my family's holidays.

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Food for thought...

"Let's suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterward, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the the other man's face is completely clean. My question is this: Which of the two will wash his face?"

~Paulo Coelho, "The Zahir"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary

The great poet, Homer, once wrote:

"There is nothing more noble or admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as husband and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends."

Happy Anniversary, Theresa & Fabio. I hope your first anniversary was full of confounding and delighting. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Things I'm Thankful For this Thanksgiving

In no order other than the way in which the following thoughts popped into my head, I present for what I am grateful:

A) Being an American. For as much grief as I give and for as many times I shake my head at the political, societal, and social stupidity of most of my fellow patriots, I am very proud and thankful for being born in this country. For the Love of Fireworks might not exist otherwise. Let freedom ring.

B) The sense of touch. Of all the senses, this is the one for which I am most appreciative, for without it, I would never feel another hand in mine, the fabric of the blankets on a bed as I slip into it, the ringlets I curl with my fingers a thousand times a day, the fresh and crisp winter air fill my lungs, or the hug of some one I love.

C) Stars. They remind me we are all in this together, under one sky. Beyond the air, the invisible barrier, infinity exists- an incomprehensible and humbling truth.

D) Music. Knowing some one out there can put into words the feelings, thoughts, and ideas I cannot helps me deal with whatever I encounter in life. I know no matter how I feel, there is a song to help soothe, energize, or understand the emotions. I am not alone in my thoughts or feelings because an artist can relate and express the garbled matter in an enlightening manner.

E) Books.

F) Family.

G) Friends. I cannot tell you all enough how much I love you and am constantly blessed by your presence in my life.

H) Education. Personal growth and evolution are possible because of the things we learn. This one thing is the reason many lives change for the better and in many cases, is a ticket to freedom.

I) Mail. Sending and receiving mail is a rare delight. I relish each and every letter I receive for there is nothing quite like reaching into the mail box only to discover familiar handwriting on a personal envelope, post card, or decorative paper that is addressed to you. The personal message inside pertains only to you and is an affirmation that someone is thinking of you.

J) Laughter. I am tremendously thankful for all of it whether it be the small giggle, the belly shaking on the floor hysteria, or the sound of some one else's joy. I do not believe there is any sound greater than the sound of laughter.

K) Lastly, I am thankful for every day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The First Thanksgiving

According to the History Channel, the first Thanksgiving included lots and lots of meat, not very many vegetables and a great deal of seafood. The pilgrims had no cakes or pies and shared their meal with at least 90 Native Americans. This Thanksgiving lasted a week where the two groups came together to celebrate festival-style (The only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Every holiday, including birthdays, should last at least a week.) The men hunted fowl, lobsters, seals, and swans, all of which were on the menu. The food was consumed with their hands because they did not have utensils. What you got to eat was determined by your social status, which also determined where you sat at the table. People were not served individually; servers put the food on the table when it was done and GASP, people did not sample everything on the table like we do today, but ate what was closest to them. A great deal of the food was spicy, as the pilgrims roasted and dried their foods after seasoning them with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit, etc. While the colonists ate three meals a day with the biggest being at noon (it was not uncommon to eat what you had for dinner for breakfast), the Indians ate when they were hungry and tended to have pots all about them stewing throughout the day. Much unlike today, "Thanksgiving" was a one time meal. Hard to believe considering the die hard gluttonous once a year Thursday that now encompasses us. However, the raison d'être was the same: they were grateful. I like that part the best.

Honestly, I am not a fan of the Thanksgiving meal, as we've never really celebrated it at my house. Despite mom being an excellent cook, our family traveled to relatives' houses until I went to college, then I traveled to friends' houses that is until this year. For the first time since I was in high school, I will be home for Thanksgiving. I have no idea what is on the menu, only what is not and that is green bean casserole, which is the only thing I really like. I've declared this week "green bean casserole" week so I can try every recipe I can find to see which one I like best. I am open to suggestions. I don't need anything but a small platter of this fantastic casserole and I'm good to go. I happily will leave everything else on the table to the rest of the dinner guests. Stay tuned for the results of my experiments.

I am thankful I will not be traveling this year. I do not have to worry about what I should bring as a gift, how to behave, will his parents like me, what I should wear, spilling gravy all over the kitchen, my skirt, & the fridge, breaking his mother's pitcher, being on time, not bringing enough wine because I was falsely informed, having to rescue some one cornered by the crazy aunt and her son, or not being able to say thank you enough to the Rosenbaum's for yet another wonderful meal (I definitely miss Mrs. R's pineapple stuffing. Yum!) & I won't have to worry about missing the holiday completely because I don't have my own car (true story that isn't funny) or next to whom I have to sit or if I'll get lost on the way to "Uncle" Tim's and lastly, I won't have to worry about the boy I've been dating for roughly three weeks calling me to tell me he and his ex-fiancée are getting back together (luckily, I anticipated this so I was ok with it).

This year, all I have to do is show up. What a wonderful feeling.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO
EVERYONE :)


(original artwork by cupcake)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AMERICAN EXPRESS ADS

The American Express ads intrigue me. I recently read a magazine that included one for the reader to complete. I thought I would share my answers:

My Name: Cupcake
childhood ambition: to be President
fondest memory: watching winter from the kitchen window at home
soundtrack: "Lush Life' by John Coltrane
retreat: bed
wildest dream: to travel the world in one trip
proudest moment: graduating from Villanova
biggest challenge: letting go
alarm clock: my small battery operated Timex square travel clock, which is going on it's sixth year with the same battery
perfect day: the fourth of July
first job: babysitter
indulgence: magazines
last purchase: laundry detergent
favorite movie: "Inventing the Abbotts"
inspiration: my family
My life: is amazing


What would your answers be?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quotation of the Day...

"No sense in hanging onto a dead horse." - My Aunt Kelley

"Kiss of Debt"

Ah, some recognition college is over priced & over rated, which is a burden to most of our generation. I guess there is some solace in knowing we are not alone in our quandary. However, I find it extremely alarming. Maybe we are just a little too ambitious or optimistic, or even we lacked proper guidance. Who knows? But something is wrong. Personally, I often wonder if it was worth it... Ask me in 28 years.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My first sparring tournament

On Saturday, I had my first experience with a karate sparring tournament. I dawned on my sparkly purple gear (head to toe) and jumped right in figuring I had nothing to lose by participating. The entire dojo spent two weeks preparing for the event, which consisted of three categories: Sparring, Katas (forms), and Self-Defense techniques. I showed up an hour early to warm up and practice with the boys (no other girls were participating from my class). For some reason, I was not nervous or anxious, but excited for the opportunity to learn something and to demonstrate the skills I've spent hours practicing. My state of mind did not change even when I discovered I had to go first for every event because of my rank. Nor when I was told I had to go TWICE each time because the first person sets the precedent and has to go again at the end to see how he or she measures up to the rest of the competition. I saw this as an advantage. The tournament began with the sparring competition - not my strongest event but the one from which I could learn the most. I was paired against my favorite red head - I definitely knew I was not going to beat him because I never had in class and despite my best efforts, I lost 5-2. It was fun though. Sparring happens so fast that you almost have no time to think. I learned the first punch or kick has to be the winning one in order to beat men and boys bigger and stronger than me. Maybe next time. I walked away from sparring with a good feeling about my fighting and on what I needed to work.

Next event was forms. I only have one kata so I didn't really have the option to show off for this event. I knew I had to be perfect in order to beat out the higher ranks with their very impressive katas, not to mention I had practiced pinan one over 100 times so it had better be good. I went out there with energy and power performing the best I had since I learned the kata. I was proud of myself in this category. I felt I did very well considering the competition.

The last event was the most fun and the most rewarding event, Self-defense. The premise was to perform three to five moves against a gang of attackers. Basically, it was a street fight. I had lined up a group of four men from class to attack me in various ways. I ended up using five moves to finish them off. It was spectacular. I also was part of the gang for the other competitors. Of all the events, this was my favorite. Despite competing against each other, we really came together as a group in this event. Everyone performed astoundingly well and impressed even the strictest senseis.

The third event signaled the end of the tournament, which is when the judges compiled our scores and handed out medals and trophies. Many wonderful praises were give to me and my classmates, much to our delight. I applaud all of my fellow classmates for a job well done. I cannot even convey how cool it is to watch the higher ranks strut their stuff. One of the girls is a brown belt who could probably take most of the men I know. It is amazingly inspiring.

So you are wondering, how did I do? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I won second place for katas, and drum roll, first place for self-defense. Needless to say, I was happy. The medals and trophies are my first adult tokens, which now adorn my bookshelf. I cannot express enough my enjoyment for karate and how much it has positively changed my life. Not only do I love the exercise and the sense of empowerment, but I value the lessons I learn from class and their application in my life outside of the dojo. I have learned tremendously from this experience and look forward to the continuous growth I will gain from martial arts for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fancy Hotels



(courtesy of travel+leisure.com)

Yesterday, I read an article in T+L about the Frank Gehry grand hotel built in Spain causing a huge commotion. Turns out, it's pretty cool. The Herederos del Marqués de Riscal winery commissioned the architect to build something bold to attract tourist to the sleepy conservative town, well to drink more of their wine, too. Each and every aspect of the hotel pertains to wine. For example, the funky titanium roof represents wine spilling into a glass. Just what I need, one more thing to spark my curiosity..But I find the whimsical design edgy and provocative. I think I will go find a bottle of Riscal Rioja for the weekend...

Did I miss something?

I know my sister's dealings with men are not normal, but since we share a gene pool, I am beginning to wonder if maybe I missed something growing up....

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought of mi hermana as "Helen of Troy". Once I uttered this label out loud, it stuck like glue, and Sunshine has lived up to the title ever since. It became a running family joke, which extended far beyond the walls of our house. In high school, males of all ages came to seek her attention. I never minded being the reference desk or the lead guide in their efforts so long as their intentions were good. Contrary to what most people think of me, I spent the majority of my adolescence in a book, on a court, at friends' houses planning my entrance into academia and avoiding the clichéd high school rituals, or at home playing pool & scrabble with my dad. I was quiet, private, and stuck to my very intimate circle of friends. I was more than happy to watch the circus than actually have to participate. Then, I went off to college...

I never really thought much about the attention men lavished upon my sister until she came to visit me at Villanova. Her entrance onto the drama queen's scene in Bryn Mawr caused such a stir, people are still talking about it. This is when it really hit me. I was use to people asking about her and kindly telling them to get in line, however, I was not use to having boys who supposedly were pursuing my friends complete an about face in my sister's direction. A little awkward, yet manageable. At this point, I began paying a little more attention to "Helen of Troy's" love life. I was astonished by my findings... Not only has she been rescued from the depths of living hell, but she's received numerous gifts, which are lavished unsolicited with alarming regularity, and she actually goes on dates, like real ones. Here's where you can picture me scratching my head...People outside of Hollywood go on dates? Seriously? Let me provide some awe inspiring examples of the gallantry she received this past year alone: a male friend took a day off from work to drive Kristen from New York City to Maine, another boy drove to Maine from New Hampshire to bring her a brand new DVD player with three entire seasons of "Lost" because she happened to mention she loved the show, oh and a fan to help fend off the summer heat while delighting in her new gift. Another gentleman drove to her house in Maine from god knows where to celebrate her birthday with her. Then there's the boy who bought her a car - yup a real live adult car and not a matchbox replica. Let's not forget the one who bought her a bed, sheets, and a hypo-allergenic pillow with a matching pillow case - she has allergies. Ah, and the weekly phone calls from boys from long ago feeling regretful, rejected, or brave calling to profess their undying love. Two pet kittens also made their way into her life as cuddly gifts... I could go on, but I gather you get the point. I mentioned these events are just the ones occurring this year, right? I have failed to point out the best part about all of this: she doesn't even give most of these boys the time of day. Yes, you read correctly. For the most part, their efforts are in vain because she's got exceptionally high standards (rightfully so), which rule out 99% of the suitors. I'm sure she doesn't even tell people the half of it out of politeness to us mortal girls and because she's quite modest about her striking model looks.

Now having described a small snippet of her romantic life, can some one please explain this to me? I don't get it....How does she do it? Boys do this? I do not know another female who experiences these same events in the magnitude or multitude my sister does. Is there some magic skill to which I am not privy? Did my mom or aunts give a lesson on feminine powers of persuasion I must have missed? I never received that memo but then again, maybe I should have ventured away from my reading spot and the scrabble board... If you ask her about it, she just shrugs giving a typical "I don't know" response. Upon hearing the tales, my mom smiles in delight and my father just shakes his head and mutters, "those poor suckers." Meanwhile, I have to think of clever ways to tell the elderly African-American fedora wearing man at the post office I am sorry I don't drink coffee and you're really not my type seeing as though you are AT LEAST 25 years older than me. I am just baffled...Is there something some one isn't telling me? I MUST have missed something.

It probably does not help that boys scare me and I often dance around the subject or avoid them entirely-with good reason I firmly believe. However, in fairness to my observation, she is a model and we are complete opposites, but still, hello, the same gene pool should count for something?!? Right? No??? Shrugging, at least I tried. In awe, I guess I'll just have to sit back, watch, and learn.

Ummm, Yeah

Thursday, November 16, 2006

COLOR ME HUMBLED....

At least once a day I am humbled in some fashion and to various degrees. Today, I'm deeply humbled. If you click on the title, it will bring you to a BBC article about Islamists' debates on Rape Laws in Pakistan. The current Sharia law states a woman was raped only if four men witnessed the crime?!?! Um, If four men witness a rape and do nothing to prevent or stop it, they all should be castrated, at the very least. And to think that isn't the worst part, if she does not have those witnesses, then she is branded with the scarlet letter and persecuted for ADULTERY...hmmmm.....As much as I try, and I've been trying lately out of desperate curiosity, to understand the Islamic world, I cannot fathom laws such as this. No amount of reasoning, intellect, or passion could ever persuade me otherwise. Thankfully, the Prime Minister is trying to change the 27 year old law.

The power of words:

Mukhtar Mai was a victim of a gang rape in an Islamic country. She is now using the power of the Internet and spoken words - she cannot read or write - in conjunction with a BBC reported to write a blog about her life after being attacked. Justice and change are her pursuits.

Her Story

Her blog is in Urdu, unfortunately, but it can be found at

Her Blog

She does have pictures of the women she helps through education.

"Wishlist"

"I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me...

I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off your Camaro's hood...

I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down

I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up
I wish...
I wish..."

-Pearl Jam

I forgot how much I liked this song...

It's that kind of day...

I would give almost any thing or any amount of money to get a big huge hug from my dad then crawl into my parent's king size bed with the old fat cat perched at the end to watch Law & Order indefinitely.

Congratulations to Dan & Kristin




YAY! The Kobell's house is finally finished. Just in time for Thanksgiving and football. I can't wait to come visit. Good work guys!

(Do I get my own room before you start filling it with babies? Oh, and I'm very jealous that you are having enchiladas for Thanksgiving dinner.)

Meet Lupita





You might remember my comments about A Cat From Mexico ...
Well courtesy of Rich, here she is...Meet Lupita.
Isn't she cute?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Casino Royale"



This is a very rare occasion, which means you might have to mark your calendars: I'm SO EXCITED to see "Casino Royale" this weekend. I almost can't wait. I am not exactly thrilled about the "fair" Bond, but I will deal as best as I can. It is very unusual for me to be enthusiastic about anything related to the entertainment business after my previous employment, however, I am making an exception. I will admit it, I want to be a Bond girl...ok I said it, now it's off my shoulders thereby leaving me to go about my business as usual. Phew, I'm glad that is out in the open now. Two more days to go....


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

YAY! Hats off to Lisa for passing the Bar exam for New York!!!

Egg Roll Sunday

Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon making egg rolls with my sister. I made at least 100 egg rolls the weekend before, however, I still had almost 60 wrappers left. Kris and I find great delight in the California Pizza Kitchen and the Chili's tex mex egg rolls. We decided to be creative by combining the two into one scrumptious egg roll recipe. It was wildly exasperating. The end result of our experiment was far beyond anything we'd expected. I do not recommending eating 4o at once, in case you were wondering. However, do try them. Here's our recipe:

Chicken breast
spinach
red peppers
jalepeños
corn black
beans
mexican cheese mix
avocados
tomatoes
bacon (we didn't use it but I'm sure it can only help)
egg roll wrappers
an egg
oil for frying (I recommend the smart oil so you don't feel so badly about how many you eat)

You'll notice there are no numbers for the ingredients. Yup, that's right, you get to pick because it depends on how many you are making. Hint: think smaller. You'll be surprised how full a bowl gets with just a few of each item. We played it by sight. I HIGHLY recommend a food processor for this project. It makes it so much easier. It will still take about 2 hours from start to finish, but I promise it is absolutely worth it.

Cut the chicken into super small pieces then cook it in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Season it with whatever spices you like. This is really your only chance to do this. I recommend Chili Powder and Cayenne Pepper, if you like spicy. (Toss in a little salt & pepper, too.) If you are using bacon, cook the bacon, then cut it into very small pieces. Chop all the vegetables up with the processor. You want it to be a scoopable mix. Combine everything in a big bowl. Get the wrappers out. Crack the egg and mix it up with a fork in a small bowl. Lay the wrapper out in front of you in the shape of a diamond. Place two to three scoops of mix in the middle, then fold like an envelope (there is a diagram on the wrapper package if you need a visual). Seal with a little egg around the folds. Place the egg rolls on a cookie sheet until the oil is ready. Then fry 'em up! Plain old ranch dressing makes a good dip, however, you can make a chipotle one if you desire, which is also superb.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quotation of the Day...

"Great Spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Einstein

Saturday, November 11, 2006

dinner, a movie, and dancing...


I forgot Cuba in my list of places to go. I definitely will visit Havana at some point in time, a not so secret fascination of mine, which was only fueled by my HOT date on Saturday night. For the first time in seven weekends, I found myself home of which I took full advantage. I made a fabulous dinner, drank a bottle of Italian wine - I highly recommend the Villacerrina Italia Montepulcianco D'Abruzzo 2003, a birthday gift- watched "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," and had a dance party. It was spectacular. I loved this movie. Not only did it inspire me to learn how to dance as soon as possible but also, I realized I would happily have Diego Luna's babies. WOW! He is delicous. "Havana Nights" was much better than the original. It could be I'm partial to the Latin aspect as well as the small cultural undertones, but also, I thought the dancing was fantastic and the chemistry between the actors was smoking at a more intense level than the first "Dirty Dancing." Let's not forget I am biased, what can I say? If you are feeling saucy, definitely watch this movie. In addition to viewing the film, I listened to the soundtrack. I really enjoyed it's upbeat tempo as well as the latin and hip hop mix. I recommend it too. On a side note, I have secured myself a dance partner, which makes me very excited to learn to Rumba, Salsa, and Tango. Now, I just need to learn to wear girly shoes...

My dad always tells me I'm too independent for my own good. I am beginning to think he's right. I really should not be left to my own devices....

I cannot wait to go to South America!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Ten Places in Ten Years...


In the next ten years, here are the ten places I will visit:

1. Dubai
2. The Maldives
3. The Azores, Portugal
4. Egypt
5. The Bay of Fundy
6. The Greek Isles
7. The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia
8. Australia
9. Ireland
10. Hawaii & Alaska

And eventually, Cuba.

If you could go any place, where would it be?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Perspectives...

My friend, business partner, and whisky loving buddy, Matt, sent me one of the nicest emails the other day. His message rattled me a little because on the day it arrived, I came to the same realization he expressed in his note yet about a different individual. As the majority of us know, Matt is always (I mean always) in motion. If not traveling to a different locale for work, which is almost every three months, he's gallivanting the world one month at a time from one remote destination to another. Our lives could not be more different, however, we both have learned one very important lesson this year: people change. Whether it be for better or worse, the people we've come to love and include in our lives are not the static individuals we have in our hearts & minds. Our perspectives of them and the role they play in our lives is not constant. Despite the few character traits inherently bestowed upon us, humans are forever evolving. I might always think of Matt as my neighbor, Tim's dear friend from college, or the EXTREMELY picky grocery shopper who kisses girls on docks, yet that is not permanent. I do not know what his life is like in Virginia. I do not know who his neighbors are now or who he drinks whiskey shots with in my absence or what his hair looks like now that it's long like Albert's. The same goes for him regarding me and my life. Yet even though transformations have occurred, we are still friends, for which I am grateful. While Matt and I were contemplating different situations, our conclusion about perspectives was identical. With this said, it was still humbling to realize people are not always who you think they are. The images we carry and the involvement we assign certain people we encounter and hold close to us are not always absolute. It is easy to forget how holding these impressions will make it easier for people to disappoint, surprise, or humble us. I know this much is true though, I hope each and every one of you see "optimism and satisfaction" when an analogous realization dawns on you regarding the relationships, friends, and family in your life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Day I Will Never Forget...

I have this one day in my mind, it's a day I will never forget for no reason other than my state of mind. Sometimes, I desperately try to get back to it, to remember exactly how I felt, to be there, and to capture it to bring to the future. I try to grasp the contentment for as long as I can before it slips away because in the reality outside my mind, I cannot have that day or that feeling, it's in the past. It was one of the last days of June in 2002. I remember exactly what I was wearing, what I did that day, where I was, how I felt and almost every human sense I experienced. Nothing remarkable happened. I had moved into "121" a month before, and I lived alone at the time, which meant the house was absent of furniture, people, and history. Dan's small boom box was still there from when he and Eddy were painting. I had the radio on to listen to the one station I liked. All the lights were on downstairs and the deck and porch doors were open to let the soft breeze invade the stuffy rooms. The most vivid image I replay over and over in my mind is of me doing the dishes. I can still feel the suds on my small hands as I watched the bubbles in the sink rise to the cupboard tops. I can see myself swaying slightly to the music. The ceiling fan is on above my head so I can feel the whirling as the warm water runs over my hands. All of the sounds from the street outside are muffled. Somehow, I secretly knew I would forever cherish that one moment; it would linger in my mind for years to come because it was peaceful, quiet, and private. While standing there engrossed in a simple household act, I was smiling with no other thoughts on my mind. I had found a moment of utter contentment...

"20 Things to Get Before You're 40"

I cannot express how much I enjoy reading the info on msn.com (a habit I share with my dad) or on forbes.com, especially the "forbeslife" section. The following list came from MSN. I figured that since we have the time, we can get started now... Oh and, this is for the girls.

"1) A DEAD-SERIOUS PIECE OF TIMELESS CLOTHING
MC recommends: The YSL tux for women. yes, at $3560, it costs the equivalent of 350 pairs of leggings, but it will outlive them by several decades.

2) A LOOK
You’re not Madonna; enough already with the bimonthly reinventions. Are you a Dietrich throwback? A reconstructed punk? Figure it out and shop accordingly.

3) A PIECE OF ART
Yes, the birch trees in that framed Ansel Adams poster are v. v. haunting, but consider an investment piece with which to start an actual art collection. Living artists cost less; how about a Cecily Brown print or a limited-edition Tom Sachs multiple?

4) A FIRST EDITION . . .
of To The Lighthouse, the ur-Woolf.

5) FANCY LUGGAGE (A MATCHED SET, PLEASE)
No more schlepping through airports with midcentury Samsonite. MC recommends: Gucci’s new Guccissima line, which makes the goofball trolley look like a major style statement ($3350).

6) ENLIGHTENED
Go see the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. For his schedule, visit www.dalailama.com.

7) A FINANCIAL ADVISOR
No, the hedge-fund dude one stool over doesn’t count.

8) A MUSEUM MEMBERSHIP
Whether it’s the Met, the Getty, or the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, it’s time to earn some culture cred. take your place on the gala circuit—perfect for that YSL tux.

9) A MAMMOGRAM
’Nuff said.

10) A GOOD CAUSE
Stop considering yourself your own favorite charity. Amnesty International? Oxfam? Amfar? Then get your new financial advisor to determine what chunk of every paycheck you can commit.

11) A REAL WATCH
No, you can’t wear rubber on your wrist with the YSL tux. MC recommends: the Cartier roadster ($3,950). Mechanical movement with automatic winding that works off the heat from your skin. Kinky. ..

12) A BIG-ASS TV

MC recommends: Philips 50-inch ambilight, $3999. Hello, size queen.

13) A SMARTY-PANTS SUBSCRIPTION
Foreign Affairs, The American Scholar, The Economist. To be read, not fanned out on the coffee table.

14) A SERIOUS RIDE
Adieu, Budget! MC recommends: the Cadillac XLR roadster, $78,495. Not your daddy’s Caddy, trust us.

15) AWAY
Forget the brocade cushiness of the European capitals. Whether it’s overnighting in a ger in Mongolia or experiencing Vietnam before Mcdonald’s takes over, enjoy a soul-expanding, life-changing Third World vacation.

16) SOME CLASSIC CDs
Verve just released the to go series featuring discs of Coltrane, Ella, Billie, and seven others. Buy all 10: Jazz makes you look cool and gets you laid; even better, you’ll be listening to these long after you’ve stopped caring about both.

17) SOME CLASSIC DVDs
Try MGM’s Billy Wilder Collection: everything from The Apartment to Some Like It Hot. In terms of classy wit, makes The Devil Wears Prada look like Loony tunes.

18) A DECENT CUP OF COFFEE
Wake up and smell it. MC recommends: the Illy X1 Francis Francis! Espresso Machine ($800)

19) A DESTINATION HAIRCUT
Whether it’s Leonor Greyl in Paris, or Chris McMillan in L.A., spend serious bank, at least once, on something crazy-chic.

20) OTHER THINGS TO GET?
Busy, ready, pregnant, on with it. (Did we mention a YSL tux?)"

(originally from Hearst Communications)

I have or will have accomplished six of these (7, 10, 13, 15, 16, & 19) this year. YAY! I'm trading tea for coffe in 18. I'd also like to add for us to start a Wine/Champagne Collection, if you like it.

If you could buy any piece of artwork ever throughout all of history, what would it be?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why My Home Town Rocks on Election Day...

I woke up at the crack of dawn today to go "home" to go to the dentist and to vote. Some may ask why I drove 74 miles north to do these two things when I probably could have stuck around town and done them here... If you are asking, then you don't know me, and I feel no need to explain myself for reasons obvious to me.

It is a time warp to venture down KMD Drive through my old stomping grounds. I always chuckle and shake my head, as I am amazed this is from where I came. Usually, I am flooded all at once with fondness and relief. Down to business: First, I had breakfast at my most favorite breakfast spot. Then I headed to my parent's house to read up on the Gubernatorial Race. I already knew what I was voting for the two Proposals and for Congress and Senate, however, I have been struggling with the Governor. The Democratic incumbent is not impressive and the Republican challenger is even worse, but luckily and unfortunately, there are two Independent candidates from which to chose. This is where the Economist in me exercises the game theory. First and foremost, either candidate is a spoiler for the Dems, which just means either you vote for the painful blue man so that the scary red man doesn't win or you vote for one of the better Independent candidates, pray that others do too and watch the blue man lose to the red man because not enough people played the game right. Houston, we have a problem... As far as politics go, I am too passionate about them to actually write or talk to people because I scare myself. (I'm working on that). I will admit though, that I am an Independent. I cannot, for good reason, associate with either party. I find both are too extreme for my tastes these days. I also think instead of drawing lines in the sand based solely on party, we should consider the issues at hand and the best characters for tackling these issues. Party lines are not for me. So needless to say, I picked the most economically sound and socially aware Independent. My fingers are crossed in hope that others did the same. I liked her bold initiative. Plus, it's about time a brave female took office in the Blaine House.

I must describe my voting experience because it's too good to keep to myself. I roll up to the lovely American Legion in town, park on Main Street, greet the Police officer directing traffic, then meet a "Betty" who asks me with what my last name begins. I tell her, then she directs me to a line of elderly women sitting a table who ask me loudly what my name is and what my address is. With a huge smile, I tell them. I get my ballots and head to the polls. On the way, I notice all the people running the show are senior citizens. No one asked me for my ID, and I recognized an alarming number of people from my high school library manning the stations. It was slightly intriguing. I cast my ballot, ran into a girl with whom I went to high school, signed her petition, and then best of all, got my sticker as I left the building. Yes, we get stickers. I love it!

NOW GO VOTE!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quotation of the day...

How appropriate:

"ENJOY YOURSELF. It's LATER than you think..."

~ Chinese Proverb

Confessions of a Random Girl...





Are there random things you really enjoy? Maybe you are the only person who knows you find contentment in these experiences or items? Here are a few I feel I'd like to share just because I like them. Maybe you do too..

I love silicone bake ware. I actually do not own any but whenever I am in a store that sells it, I always feel the need to check it out and to play with it. Does anyone own any? Have any thoughts on it? I would buy some if I wasn't moving to a foreign country for a year. It might be the first purchase I make when I get back with maybe the exception of a bed. I'm intrigued by the bake ware's fluidity.

Since the season is rapidly approaching, I am happy to announce my Christmas music is almost ready to jump into the cd player. I am waiting until the day after Thanksgiving though. I despise holiday skipping. I have quite the collection thanks to a few individuals. I am very excited to start listening. I love holiday music. For some reason, I am very much looking forward to the holidays this year. Yay, a 1940s Christmas cd!

This one is going to come to a shocker to almost everyone, while I do not like to shop, I do love to go into the Abercrombie & Fitch store. I just love it. It's too loud, no one talks to you, and it smells like boys. The only time I go in there is to look for a t-shirt to add to my collection (another surprise, I'm sure), but when I do enter the store, a huge smile crosses my face as I head to the back tables. Not one sales person will approach me, no one will be able to talk to me because the music is booming, and it just smells heavenly. What more could you ask for if you despise shopping?

I also have a random affection for useless yet fun cake pans. I have no idea why. For example, the stadium bundt cake pan offered by William & Sonoma. I want one. I do not need it, but every year I could make a cake for football season and the Superbowl if I had one. I can decorate it for my favorite teams and serve it up to the guests at the parties. I also would like the sand castle bundt cake pan. Again, do I need it? No, I just have a fondness for it. Every summer, I could make sand castle cakes for everyone. It would be spectacular.

My last random confession for now is regarding my extreme zeal for arcades. I think it is because I grew up with video games (of course I love those too) and a pool table. Arcades are full of child like excitement and fun filled gadgets. I adore it, especially air hockey. Foosball is fun, but I always lose to Gitchman. OH, and there's packman and video poker. Who does not love a good time at the arcade? Did I mention how much I love air hockey?

What are a few of your favorite random things?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Murder Mystery Party

First and foremost, I'd like to thank Erin for making the evening happen. We greatly appreciate your efforts in securing the location. I would also like to thank Chris and Marissa for making special arrangements to join us for our party. It was so great to have you here! I would also like to thank Amanda and Allison for contributing excellent artwork for the Four Deuces Club. The posters definitely made the ambiance.

I doubt I will be able to convey the hilarity of the evening but I'll try. I am still not sure how we pulled it off, as two hours before the show was to start, we were scrambling around desperately trying to make sure everything was ready. But despite all the panic and hard work, everything came out amazingly.

The setting was at the "Four Deuces", a 1920s speakeasy in Chicago. We decorated the room with posters we made during the week (they were so good, they now adorn my walls at home), strings of lights all around "the bar and gaming tables", candles, jazz music playing in the background, Charlie Chaplin movies on the TVs and the best gin and juice I've ever had. It was dark enough to scheme, extort, and bribe. The setting was excellent.

Every one showed up looking fabulous. I was extremely impressed and proud of all the effort that went into the "characters." You guys are awesome! Marissa, starring as Rebeca Ravioli, and Mary Martha, starring as the Baroness, won best costumes. The honor of best actress went to Mary Martha for her fantastic performance of the Baroness. I think she'll always be remembered for the following one liner: "Just because I lost my son, doesn't mean I can't flirt with the law!" as she winked at the Inspector. And speaking of the Inspector, I have to give a great deal of credit to Krista for tackling the difficult role. I think you did a great job considering how little you knew going into it. I would also like to tip my hat to Lindsay for being a trooper and playing the male role of Capo "TOTO" Tequila. Once again, she adorned a moustache in the name of fun.

Once everyone arrived, we began the night mingling and chatting with each other in the club. Each character had a goal he or she was to accomplish before the murder. Also, the one to be murdered had to accomplish a list of things before we staged the death. I have to say this went surprisingly well because I think only one person really knew what was going on when the lights went out; although most probably suspected something might happen. After the murder occurred, every one received their "Confidential Booklets" full of good juicy secrets, then the Inspector presented the evidence. We then spent 10 minutes looking for four hidden weapons. Obviously, not everyone found a weapon as about 15 people were present. Those weapons were for secondary murders, should a character choose to commit one. Following the hide and seek of weapons, we spent some time bribing and scheming information out of each other while we accomplished the goals in our confidential packets. The best part of this was the secondary and unnecessary murders. While I was using the bathroom upstairs, Madame Meme (Meg) came rushing in almost hyperventilating from laughter because she just killed someone. I almost died laughing. I asked her why she did it and she said, "because she looked bored." It was awesome. Not five minutes later did "Don Wannabe" (Tim) come tell me "Tequila" was dead on the stairs. It was just hysterical. Every one was so funny and so animated with their characters.

The game ended an hour later once all the "whodunit" cards were handed in and the money was counted. The Inspector read the solution and the mystery was solved. What a wildly delightful evening! I highly recommend this game and a party like this to everyone. It was the most fun I have had in a really long time.

Some other mentionable highlights include:

Tequila looked at the egg rolls (which were homemade) and said, "What is this, foreign shit?"
Vicky Ravioli responding to Carrie Crooner-Ravioli by saying "We all know your mama was a whore." The word floozy was used about 1000 times. The Congressman had slept with all the characters and told everyone he was "going to be the next President." Little did he know, his wife was having an affair with the mayor! I think of all the characters, only two were not having affairs.

How super awesome all of you were! What a lovely experience. Sarah, Amy, Mike, and the rest of the crew, thank you again! It was mayhem. I am sure I missed some things, so feel free to add in the comments. Also, please feel free to add feedback regarding the party and how it could be better or changed, etc.

I would also like to say, I do not think I ever want to be an ex-wife in real life. Despite the very large ruby (thank you "Big Jim") and as much fun as I had antagonizing "Carrie" (Amy you are the best!), It's not for me.

I hope every one had as much fun as I did. Just listening to the conversations and watching all the people try to get information without giving any away was priceless. I wish we had a DVD-recorder of the evening. It was superb. Pictures are to follow.

P.S. Chris, what a trooper! Thank you for all your help in setting up and being dragged around all over town to organize this party. Your efforts were tremendously appreciated.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My love for John Mayer's lyrics...

Since I do not actually know him personally, I cannot say I love him. I can however, express my undying love for his lyrics. I believe Dan the man is the only person I know who understands, appreciates, and shares my profound admiration. It is very nice to have Dan around with whom to discuss, to analyze, and to make sing to me. (It's like having a real live John Mayer at my disposal!) However, I wanted to share one thing with those who do not necessarily have the same affections Dan and I do.

After a little research, I discovered Mr. Mayer has a blog on which he writes regularly. Last week, he posted something that really hit home, as it's what I've been thinking about constantly these days.

On, 10/28/2006 he wrote:

"'CHANGE
I've been thinking about something lately.
Imagine this:
You're on an airplane, sleeping with your head against the window, your heart set on being home this time three hours from now. All of a sudden, something goes very wrong. The plane stops moving across the air and instead starts falling through it. The lights are flickering and the movie is skipping. The plane dips hundreds of feet in seconds, and the yellow cups fall from the ceiling. They're a brighter shade of yellow than you remember, because unlike the demonstration, these cups have never been handled before. "Flight attendants take your seats now", you hear, the pilot's voice trembling over a cacophony of alert tones. You get that smell in the bridge of your nose like you've just been hit with a football. That's what the fear smells like. The plane is going down.
Four more drastic drops in under a minute. People are crying. For all the folklore about how your life flashes before your eyes, you're remarkably fixed on one vision - your parents. They're sleeping at this very moment, in a bedroom so quiet they can hear the clock in the kitchen. And you can see them, clear as can be. You wish you could see a playground or a first kiss, but all you can see is your parents sleeping. Huh. Well, that's that.
Several long minutes go by. Then, all at once, the lights come back on and the plane somehow rights itself. Some people cheer, but most people cry harder. The plane lands about an hour later, and as soon as you feel that touch down - hell, even when you were within 50 feet of the ground and could still technically survive a fall - you realize that however you brokered the deal between you and God worked; you've just been granted life in overtime.
Here's the question: what do you change? Whom do you call that you haven't spoken to in years? Whom do you realize has been toxic to your heart and drop with surprising ease? What trips do you cancel, and what trips do you book? What can't you be bothered with anymore? What's the new you like?

Think about that, and then ask one more question. Why not just change it all right now?


(Working on it...)

POSTED BY JOHN MAYER AT 04:48 AM FROM SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA"

A man after my own heart...maybe we should meet to chat? Oh, how I do love his music...

Continuum = FANTASTIC, go buy it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Night...

Finally, I have time to write about Halloween:

The day did not go well, which is fine because the night made up for it. I met Lindsay after work to organize her costume and to get ready for the evening. After rummaging through her place, she finally came up with being a samurai with a mustache. It was hysterical. I assembled my digs, put on my lamp hat, and the night commenced. We stopped for food on the way to the bar, which was the first encounter of the evening with the costumes. We were greeted by two older men who just thought we looked fantastic. It was a good sign. Lindsay was very humorous because she was so excited about my outfit that she felt she had to make sure everyone understood what I was, therefore, she asked everyone "do you get it?" For the most part, everyone figured it out. I can't tell you how many people thought it was the best idea ever (thank you, Sunshine). We were one of the first groups at the "crime scene" and enjoyed shots of whiskey and margaritas to kick off the holiday. Andrew was a little freaked out to see his wife in his jujitsu gi with a moustache, however, slightly proud of her creative abilities. We spent the next few hours socializing and scoping out the competition before we thought we'd check out the neighboring bars. At the next establishment, we encountered two arrogant young male smart asses posing as ancient authors. I have to admit I enjoy speaking to men like this because I think the majority of their arrogance is a result of insecurity, which allows me to use my powers of psychoanalysis to make them feel uncomfortable thereby less arrogant. I love it, especially when I have no intentions of talking to them again. (Horrible, I know.) We got bored chatting with them so we decided to head back to 51 Wharf for the remainder of the evening. Of course, I made friends with the DJ, Suppa, and his friends "Sugar Daddy" and Bigga. I have no idea how these African American men ended up providing music for this Halloween party in this "city" but I am glad they did because it was quality entertainment. Bigga asked Linz if she really practiced martial arts, she said, "no, but she does" pointing to me. This is where it always gets interesting in conversations. After some convincing and promising I wouldn't actually hurt him, he let me practice a new combination. (I find it HYSTERICAL when these six foot 300+ pound men ask me, 5'4" 130 pound girl, not to hurt them.) I was successful in flipping him over and pulling him down. It was awesome, and I was proud. After the karate expo, we headed to the bar for drinks. I offered to buy one for Bigga since he was so gracious enough to let me beat him up a little. He declined. I then said, "You must be a Muslim." Shocked, he said, "How did you know?" I just smiled and headed to the bar for more gin and juice. Sometimes, I wonder how I get away with these things... You really can't take me anywhere. Lindsay, Kiera, and I spent the rest of the evening drinking and dancing. At the end of the night, I was declared the winner of the costume contest, which finally allowed me to take off the lamp hat. Happily victorious, Lindsay and I headed back to her house to sleep.

P.S. Allison, you won the over and under.

Picture Blog

FYI, Pictures are now being posted on the photo blog.