Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Okay. So It's Fall... (A two-part post)

**Make sure you read all the way to the bottom for an update on the NYC story from last week**

I have had to admit, today, that it is fall.

As if the change from 80-degree weather last week to 50s this week wasn't enough to convince me...

and the fact that the sun is WAY past crossing the street wasn't enough...

and wearing long pants to work all week (instead of shorts) wasn't enough...

and the Hallowe'en catalogs weren't enough...

finally, tonight after work, I went out and put the Fall Fertilizer on the lawn.

That pretty much seals the deal. This weekend, if we get a sunny day (we might get rain all weekend), I'll probably go out and start pulling up the annuals out of the flower beds and checking things over and starting to batten down the hatches for the season.


At least this means it's baking season. After all, it's much easier to get excited about baking when the house isn't already almost 80 degrees. (We've had the A/C off for a while now, and on really sunny days it's been a tad too warm to fire up the oven.) Time to dig out the cinnamon and apples and get to work. After all, it won't be swimsuit season around here for at least 6 months -- maybe 8.


UPDATES on the incident in New York City.

I was reminded while talking to my folks, yesterday, that not everyone has been able to follow all of the developments as easily as those of us only a couple of degrees of separation from it. Here are some updates:

1) Blake, Danny and Alec have been talking to the police and an official internal police investigation has been started to look into what happened.

2) In the first 24 hours, Blake got something like 8,000 hits on his website. He's posted almost every day about what happened and what has been going on. There are some really touching things that people have been saying. You should check it out: .

3) Blake has been interviewed by a bunch of news stations and there have been articles online and in newspapers all over the place. Most of the reactions and comments have been positive. Some have not. (It's amazing what people will write online under the veil of anonymity.)

4) The bar owner has apologized for any part in the situation, and offered to help in any way.

5) I just saw on Blake's blog that the three of them are planning to go back to the bar they were headed to on Friday night when it all started (which they never made it to last week), and celebrate the unity that has come from this -- instead of focusing on the bigotry.

It's pretty amazing, really, the amount of conversation that has happened in the past week. Hopefully it won't stop there. Hopefully real change will come and continue on.

To make that happen, we need more of this conversation.

So keep talking about it. Pass on the links to my blog and Blake's blog. Who knows what can happen if we just keep talking?

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Phineas and Ferb" on a Non-Movie Monday

I did see a movie last week, but it was... well... a tad forgettable. (If you're looking for an indy film to check out, I might suggest skipping Extract.) Of course, since I usually write about movies on Monday, I figured I'd just watch a Netflick or two this weekend and talk about those.

But, each time I started to watch a movie, the phone would ring. It happened about 25 minutes into X-Men Origins: Wolverine on Saturday, and then it happened again just about 5 minutes in to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans on Sunday afternoon. Which meant that, as of yesterday afternoon, I was still without a movie to write about.

And then I was changing channels this evening and stumbled across a new episode of Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel.

(from left: Perry, Phineas, Ferb, Candace)

Okay. I know it's not a movie. But it's probably one of the best half-hours you'll find on TV these days. And I have to thank my 5-year-old nephew and 3-year-old niece for introducing me to it.

In the show, Phineas and Ferb are stepbrothers with a sister named Candace and a pet Platypus named Perry. Pretty much every episode starts with the two of them deciding what they're going to do/build today.

Just as they get busy, Perry -- remember, he's a Platypus -- disappears (leading to the ever-popular catchprase "Hey, where's Perry?"), launching a secondary plotline involving Perry leading a secret life as a secret agent who battles the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. (Dr. Doofenshmirtz even has his own themesong, which you can hear here -- it goes fast, though, so listen quickly.)

It's kind of an amazing show. It's smart and funny and witty and clever. Plenty of fun for kids, as well as kind of hilarious for adults. (Well... at least for some of us. I know a few people who think it might be a little too juvenile. But they will remain nameless...)

And... well... the show's getting pretty good. I'm gonna go see how they'll get out of this mess.

If you want a little taste of them, they have a whole website, but I'd strongly suggest checking out their show, instead.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Change. Now. (Please?)

I was having a fairly positive feeling about the state of the world this week after seeing "Glee" the other night. I don't think I really went into the storyline, but it involved -- among other things -- a gay teen coming out to his dad.

What made me so happy about it was that the conversation between the two of them was honest. I was exceedingly happy that the dad was understanding, but also that the kid realized that a coming out isn't always easy for either party. It was a nice piece of sensitively treated television in a show that can be pretty over the top.

I finished watching it and had one of those "Wow. The world really is moving in the right direction. People are accepting each other for who they are, not what they do. This is really cool" moments.

And then I got up this morning and went onto facebook and saw that some of my friends-in-law (some people refer to these as "friends of friends") were the victim of an obvious hate crime in New York City last night. These three men were simply walking home and were confronted and assaulted by some idiots who tossed slurs at them while also throwing punches. (You can read the full story on Blake Nebel Hayes's blog.)

The cops were called, but all they did was make sure everyone was okay. They didn't take the thugs' names or information, which means that no charges can ever be filed. They just sent everyone on their way -- even though this was obviously a text-book version of a hate crime.

It just amazes me. Christopher and I take so much for granted on a daily basis. We walk down the streets holding hands (sometimes... not always... frankly, we know there are parts of town where that could be dangerous). We openly talk about our relationship in public. We have marvelously supportive families, great neighbors, and wonderful friends who know us as a couple.

And, when we travel, we take these things for granted, too. The last place in the world I would ever think we would need to worry is in the middle of Manhattan. I mean, if people in my hometown of less than 1,000 people don't seem to have issues with us, why would we worry about people in one of the world's most advanced metropolitan areas?

It's unbelievable. It shouldn't be this way.

And if someone is going to come at me with a "God didn't want it to be this way" argument, I'm gonna have to respond with the fact that God also said that we should leave the judging to him. In the meantime we're supposed to love one another, regardless. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we should beat each other up on the street.

Friends of mine are taking part in the National Equality March in Washington, DC, in October. Most of us obviously can't make it there. But we can all do our part to speak up and speak out in our own communities (online or otherwise).

Change has to start somewhere. Why not here? Why not now? Why not with one conversation, one word, one smile of understanding?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Look! Look! Look To The...

Okay. Some of you probably started humming along as you read the headline, and some of you were probably totally confused by it. I don't know if it will help when you know that the next word is "Rainbow."

It's a wonderful song, though, from a show called Finian's Rainbow. It's all about following a dream. Or, at least, about following the fellow who follows the dream.

Anyway... I'm going to be humming that all evening, now. And it really only has a passing relationship to the point of this posting.

As I was leaving work, today, after a not-awful-but-not-grand week at work, I stepped out of the front of the building and looked up to see a brilliant rainbow in the sky. In fact, it was not only so vibrant that all of the colors looked like they were out of a fresh box of Crayolas, but it even had a second rainbow just a little higher in the sky.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the work week!

**If you want to hear the song -- and I highly suggest it -- you can find it, here, on YouTube. The actual song, sung by Fred Astaire and Petula Clark, starts about 3 minutes into this clip.**

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Glee"-ful, or at least Happier

I had started to write a couple of different things into this posting, but as I was sitting on the couch watching TV, I had to switch gears. Call me predictable, but I was watching the new Fox TV show Glee.

You've probably heard of Glee. It had it's premiere/pilot/teaser last spring, and then -- after a summer of huge hype -- joined the regular Wednesday night schedule a couple of weeks ago.

Sadly, I wasn't thrilled with the first two new episodes. They were good enough, and they had some strong song-and-dance numbers, but the heart that was in the episode last spring just wasn't there.

So I was watching tonight's episode completely distracted and distractable. I was enjoying the music, and thought it was fun, but wasn't really paying all that much attention. Then, almost out of the blue, there were a couple of moments toward the end that made it all worthwhile.

While the final song played, we watched a massive range of emotions go by on the screen. For the first time in these three episodes, I felt a twinge of emotion. And I thought "Wow. This might have a chance, yet."

I really hope so.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Movie-ish Monday

Christopher doesn't always understand my love of musical theater. Which is fine, because I don't always understand his love of opera. And, yet, we both make time to go to events with each other. After all, that's what you do in a relationship -- you make time for each other and you do your best to enjoy each other's joys.

Yesterday afternoon we spent precisely 2h45m (really -- how often is the posted run-time spot on?) doing that. Christopher went with me to see the (live) musical "Mary Poppins" on the last day that the touring company was in Minneapolis.

It's a very nice show. Not perfect, but -- as is Miss Poppins, herself -- practically perfect in every way. It was a little disconcerting at times -- when I was expecting one thing, something else would happen -- but still familiar enough to be comfortable. There are songs that were written just for the show (meaning they weren't in the movie), and characters and scenes that have come or gone (for better or worse). But, at the center of it all, are Mary Poppins, Bert the chimney sweep, and the Banks family. And, after all, it is the relationships shared by all of those characters which make the show work.

Oh. And there are also some great songs, wonderful choreography (Who in the world figured out how to spell out Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with hands and gestures?), and they were nice enough to keep some of the truly iconic moments (riding the banister upward, for instance). And, since I'm always a sucker for the songs "Feed the Birds" and "Let's go Fly a Kite," I was happy to see those remain intact. But this version, as I had been told to expect in the reviews, also takes a longer look at the nuclear family and how jobs and "life strains" can tear people away from what truly matters.

When it was over, I found that I really did like the show. I found just the right sparks of magic in it, as well as the right amounts of humanity. And, even better, I got to share it with Christopher.

Overall grade: A- (we were seated way back under the balcony overhang and missed out on some things, unfortunately...)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Abounding Anachronisms

Sighted Saturday at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (a mix of good and bad, I'll let you decide which was which):

A "plus size" (oh... don't hate me... she was plus many many sizes...) woman in what looked like a "Belle" dress from the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.

A whole lot of kilts, including a couple of full-on over-the-shoulder wrap-style ones and, of course, a few "Utilikilts." (The latter made my plaid cargo shorts a little pocket-envious.)

A t-shirt which said "The Bible talks about Saint Paul, but never mentions Minneapolis."

A gentleman in full-on armor. (Remember -- this is one of the warmest Septembers on record. I saw him when it was about 85 degrees out. He was desperate for shade, and I don't blame him.)

WAY too many shirts with the word "wench" on them.

A guy who looked like he had taken a quilted sleeping bag, cut out holes for his head and arms, and cinched it at the waist as a tunic. (Again. In 85-degree weather. Ouch.)

My friend Kelly (not the movie-goer Kelly, another Kelly), who was singing with the Elizabethan Singers. (We got to hang out for a while -- very fun.)

Enough blowing dust and plant stuff to make my sinuses go "ba-zow-y" by the time I got home. (Okay... didn't really "sight" that... but you get the idea.)

Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. (Okay. I didn't actually see them. Kelly said she did, though.)

A contingent of the Red Hat Ladies society -- one in Renn Fest garb. (Gotta give her credit for finding purple and red for that.)

And, of course, some very well-attired folks, some very well-intentioned folks, and some very, well, "interesting" folks.

Perhaps another Mead would have helped.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Fraternity of the Hapless Hubcaps

I don't think I've told you about my car's hubcap-impairment, have I?

It seems that there were 2 model years of the Subaru Impreza Outback during which the hubcaps were kind of mis-manufactured. There was some defect in the clips that were supposed to hold the hubcaps in place and... well... after a while the hubcaps would fall off.

I don't remember when I lost the first one. Or the second one, for that matter. I know that the third one came off one morning while I was commuting from Saint Paul to Minneapolis. I remember that I was stuck in traffic, doing about 30 miles per hour, and I heard a strange noise next to me in the curb lane. I glanced in the sideview mirror and saw the hubcap just happily rolling away.

I don't remember when the last one fell off, either, actually. But these days I drive around without hubcaps. (I looked into buying new ones, but they're way out of my price range.) It has become a kind of game, where I drive around and try to spot cars of my Subaru's era so I can see how many hubcaps they have left.

The reason this came up, today, is because I had parked across the street from the Guthrie Theater (so that I could go in and buy tickets for this Thursday's performance of "The Importance of Being Earnest"), and there was a Subaru on the other side of the street from me. It was a white model, about the same age as mine. And it had one hubcap on the side facing me.

As I made my way into the building, I looked back and saw that there were no hubcaps on the other side. I wanted to strike up a conversation with the driver, but he pulled away before I had the chance.

Ah. We proud. We Few. We, the Fraternity of the Hapless Hubcaps.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Twice-A-Year Evening

Christopher and I live in a house which has a kind of odd orientation on the streets. Most of Minneapolis is platted out on a 90-degree-angle grid, with streets either running North-South or East-West. Well, where we are there are enough lakes that the streets kind of had to be adjusted for that. Resulting in (about half a block away) two "parallel" streets running into each other, and blocks kind of being catty-wampus.

Of course, geography is not the point of this posting. The point is that twice each year the sun sets directly down the street that kind of goes off from the front of the house. It's really cool. I mean... You look out the front door, and down the walk you see the street with the sun on it.

It happens once in the spring, as the sun is moving north, and once in the fall as the sun moves south. What's funny, though, is that it's really hard to pinpoint when it happens. I thought it was happening last week, but the sun only crossed the street, and still set to the north of it.

I think tonight was the night, though. Or at least it seemed to be. But when I got done taking pictures (my favorite of which is displayed, below), the sun still moved a little to the north. So maybe tomorrow is the right night. Either way, I think it's cool and I thought I'd share.

Of course, now I just can't wait until late March/early April when it goes back across the street the other way...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Okay... I'm Cheating, I Know.

I was sent the following article by a friend of mine (who is currently in Russia), yesterday. I know that I ought to write something of my own, instead of just copying it in, but... well... it's been a long time since we had a John Barrowman sighting, so I figured it was okay.


From Torchwood to torch singer...
by Daily Express

"A LOT of people say I should take six months off but I'm in this business to work," says John Barrowman, sitting in the stalls bar of the West End's Playhouse Theatre. Here, tomorrow night, he'll take over the lead role of Albin in the hit musical La Cage Aux Folles and don a wig and frock for his drag alter-ego Zaza. "No actor wants to be resting. If someone is in the corporate world, you wouldn't say to them, ‘Why don't you take a year off?'."

He seems to work nonstop. This is his first West End appearance since he starred in the play A Few Good Men four years ago at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket but he seldom seems to be off our TV screens. He's starred as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who since 2005; three series of the character's own spin-off series Torchwood since 2006; been one of the judges on the Andrew Lloyd Webber-led star searches for West End musicals The Sound Of Music, Joseph and Oliver!; skated on Dancing On Ice and hosted his own Saturday night show, Tonight's The Night, on BBC1 earlier this year. "Its motto is wish fulfilment through performance," he says of a show that provided ordinary people with the opportunity to realise their performing dreams. Barrowman's own life story is proof positive of living his dreams as a performer.

Glasgow-born but raised in America from the age of eight, he returned to Britain in his early 20s and made his professional West End debut as a complete unknown, taking over the lead role in Anything Goes opposite Elaine Paige in 1990. He quickly proceeded to ascend through the ranks of leading men, starring in the musicals Miss Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera, Beauty And The Beast and Sunset Boulevard (reprising the latter on Broadway) and earning a nomination for an Olivier Award for a 1998 musical The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse.

"I would have been perfectly content to still be doing what I was doing, which was playing leading roles in musicals, and would have been happy to watch my career change as I became the father and older man and then the granddad in musicals as I got into my 60s and hopefully beyond! But then, Doctor Who came along, and because I'm not one to let opportunities pass me by, I jumped at it, and it took me down a completely different path."

BARROWMAN has had a foothold in the theatre world in the four years since by doing an annual (and highly lucrative) stint in pantomime, which this December will see him appearing in Robin Hood in Cardiff. "People sneer at it but I ask them why are they behaving like this? It's a great introduction to theatre for children. I don't buy into the whole snobbery of the entertainment world, where something is beneath you. That's not the work ethic I was raised with."

Yet he says it's simply been difficult, until now, to fit in a longer-term return to the theatre. "I haven't had the time to commit to any West End productions. That's not to say I wasn't still being offered them. Last year I was offered six shows on Broadway, and there was talk of doing a production of Barnum here, all of which I seriously considered.

"I'm talking as a businessman also because John Barrowman is a business, and I want to have a career that is diverse and has longevity. At that point the BBC was giving me my dream of my own Saturday night entertainment show and I couldn't take off a Saturday night from the theatre to do it. I've grown up in the theatre and you just can't, unless you're really sick. Audiences are paying to see you, and you've got to be there."

His increased profile also helps to bring in those audiences.

"I remember when I started out in this business, there were big theatre names that people knew they wanted to see."

Now fame, in a reality TV age, is more fleeting, and part of his desire is to put theatre names back into popular currency, which is partly what the reality TV castings for musicals have achieved.

"I want to be part of the resurgence where it's not the shows that are famous but the people in them who are. It's the people who actually make those shows work, who sing those numbers every night and deliver the dialogue eight times a week, and they need that recognition."

Barrowman, 42, has also openly spoken out for the recognition of gay relationships, making no secret of his 16-and-a-half years with his partner, architect Scott Gill. "He has a desk job, then goes on site and wears construction hats and workmen's belts and brings them home!"

It gives him a special understanding of his role in La Cage Aux Folles, where he plays a man who has been in a long-term relationship with another man.

"Albin and Georges have been together for 20 years, so I can relate to an awful lot of it. It's a show about hitting a bump and moving on from it, and it happens to us all."

Despite the openness with which he has lived his own life, he was turned down for a role in camp American sitcom Will And Grace for being "too straight. It's a total irony isn't it but how fabulous," he says. What's the secret of his and Scott's own longevity? "If I had a formula for it, I'd bottle it and sell it and I'd be really, really rich, Andrew Lloyd Webber rich! What you have to remember is that we're two men with very individual personalities. You have to let those personalities live. You can't ask the other person to put it away. And if there's a bump in the road you're travelling down, is it worth giving up everything you've worked and believed in for so long?

"We all make mistakes. If you get a little drunk one night and give someone a snog, it's not the end of the world. It's silly but it's not going to destroy who I go home to at night, or the actual person I am in love with."

Home for Scott and John, plus two spaniels and a Jack Russell called, not surprisingly, Captain Jack ("He's a thug!") is a London house and another just outside Cardiff, where Doctor Who and Torchwood are both filmed.

"We have a house on the beach there. Scott always said it was his dream to have a house where you look out the back window and it's like Peter Grimes. I said that's fine, as long as he didn't expect me to be a fishwife drowning herself in the middle of the water!"

The supremely self-confident Barrowman doesn't seem to be out of his depth wherever he is. He is currently in discussions for a fourth series of Torchwood and doesn't rule out a return to Doctor Who.

"All I can say is that if and when the Doctor needs the assistance of Captain Jack, he will be there."

And Barrowman himself will be anywhere else he is asked to be, too: "Celebrity has come with what I do and I welcome it and embrace it but I'm here to work. If I'm asked to do a gig, I'll do it!"

John Barrowman is appearing in La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre until November 28. For tickets, call 0870 060 6631 or visit

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's in the Stars, Obviously

This week, I was watching the news and saw some amazing new pictures which had been sent back from the Hubble telescope. I think it was the same night that Christopher was cooking, because I remember calling him in from the kitchen to see the photos on TV.

The following day, while I was at work, I had a few moments and decided that I wanted to change my screen image to one of those starry shots. I searched through them and read all of the descriptions, and finally came across one that spoke to me both visually and descriptively.

Here is the beginning of what the caption on the website says:

This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly. But it is far from serene.

What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour—fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes!

A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope.

I'm not sure what it says about me -- or about my mental state at work -- but I find the image to be more beautiful because that delicate look was caused by something so overwhelmingly cataclysmic.

So, with no explanation attached, I posted the picture on my computer at work and didn't think much else about it -- at least until I came home that night.

I was puttering around the house, and wandered into the office where Christopher was working on his computer. It took me a moment to notice that he had changed his screen "wallpaper," and another second to realize that he had also chosen an image from the Hubble photographs.

In fact, although we never discussed it, he had chosen the exact same one.

How cool is that?

**For the full scrapbook of new Hubble photos, check out their website, here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Dish Best Served Warmly

After months of planning and re-planning, Christopher and I finally got the chance to get together with Katie and Kris and roadtrip up to St Joseph (about 90 minutes northwest of here) to have a "Private Garage Sale" at another cousin's house.

You see... I have the rare good fortune to have a cousin-in-law who is a potter. And a very good potter, at that. He has been part of our family for 30+ years, and since he joined the family many of us have begun collecting his wares. If you ever make it over to our place for dinner, you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least one thing served from a Loso dish. And, while Jim Loso, the potter, is currently in Omaha at an art festival (I'm not sure, but I think he's here this weekend), Jean Loso (my cousin) offered to host the four of us as we came up to do some shopping.

** Relativity Sidenote ** Although I always refer to Kris and Katie as my cousins, they are actually my "first cousins, once-removed." My actual cousins are one generation older than each of them. Jean, on the other hand, is my first cousin. She is also Katie and Kris's aunt. Theresa (whom you'll meet in a couple of paragraphs) is another of Jean's nieces -- and one of Kris and Katie's cousins (another of my first cousins, once-removed). Confused? If I had a diagram it would probably work better. Or, for that matter, if you had spent 40+ years going to family reunions with this bunch, it would be old hat. ** End Relativity Sidenote **

Christopher and I picked up Kris and Katie about 9:30 this morning, and started our roadtrip. We spent the next hour or so of the warm, sunny, early-fall morning in the car talking and chatting and laughing and telling stories. We got to look at their pictures from the Breast Cancer 3-Day, and made it to St Joseph in what seemed like no time.

We chatted with Jean and another cousin, Theresa, for a while, then dove into the garage for about an hour of "shopping." It was amazing. Shelf upon shelf of gorgeous pottery, porcelain, and Raku. Browns and greens and black and white and blues. From the practicality of mugs and casserole dishes to the most amazing art pieces. There were some "A-ha!" finds, and some "wow... look at that" moments. But, mostly, there was a lot of conversation and catching up.

We finished our business, then headed to Kay's Kitchen -- a diner about a block away -- and had lunch (3 out of 5 of us had Tater Tots!), and talked for another hour or so before we had to part ways and head home.

Here's the thing... When I got my first piece of Loso Pottery it was a kind of rite of passage meaning that I was finally adult enough to get my own pottery -- a green-rimmed warm-brown popcorn/salad bowl. Over time, I've collected more pieces, but I still have the remnants of that first piece -- and it's still my favorite. (Yes... remnants. I dropped it during one of my moves, but I couldn't say good-bye to it.)

I know it sounds over-dramatic, but I think that what will be most frequently served in these pieces is memories. And the ones that come from a perfect fall day like today will make using these new additions even more enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Holy Cow. This Smells Amazing.

In my quest to focus on smaller moments in my blog posts, I give you this immediate moment in time:

It is 7:05 on Wednesday evening. I got home from work around 5:50, Christopher got home around 6:20. We had already decided last night that we would cook a pork tenderloin (which has been in the freezer for a while) for dinner. And Christopher was voted cook for the meal.

The last time I was in the kitchen all I could smell was freshly-chopped garlic and a little tarragon. And just a tiny hint of mustard.

About 25 minutes ago, Christopher came into the living room and turned on a CD (okay... maybe it's his iPod hooked into the stereo) of Gilbert Becaud (a favorite of my Aunt Marie in Montreal -- the same singer whose music we enjoyed while visiting her last summer).

Now, as I sit here, listening to the great music, there is the distinct sizzle of cooking in the kitchen. And the aroma... the most amazing aroma of pork and black pepper and olive oil and garlic roasting.

It's making my mouth water. I was a little hungry earlier, but now I can't wait until dinner.

Ah. I just heard Christopher sharpening a knife. Sounds like a dinner bell to me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flights - Of Fancy and Otherwise

Today has pretty much completely gotten away from me. I've been trying to do some editing tonight, but my computer is not happy with the file. So I've spent much of the past 2 hours waiting for things on my screen to move. Not fun.

On the other hand, yesterday Christopher and I spent much of the afternoon hanging out with a friend of ours (and her cats). We ordered in good pizza. We ate yummy homemade shortbread. We went through 3 bottles of wine in 6 hours. And we talked alot about travel.

You see, the first movie we watched was "In Bruges" -- a strange little movie that I thought was supposed to be a "dark comedy," but ended up mainly just being dark. Interesting movie, though, and we all ended the afternoon thinking that maybe Bruges would be an interesting place to visit. (B+ - There were a couple of throw-away storylines that it could have done without.)

Our second movie of the afternoon/evening was "Paris, je t'aime" which is an amazing little movie, made up of 14 short films all looking at Paris in their own ways. I've seen it multiple times (always with Christopher), and it's such an incredible look at Paris that each time I see it I can't wait to plan my next trip. (A+ - But I might be biased.)

And... Speaking of trip planning...

After talking about it for at least a month, Christopher and I have finally booked flights to New York City for a long weekend in October! Well... I'm taking a long weekend. Christopher is going to splurge and take a full week.

For the first time in a while (May, in fact), we've got a vacation to look forward to. It's amazing how that little change could make us both very happy at the end of a rather long day.

(Oh. And also speaking of travel... Have fun in Omaha this weekend, Libby! :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mum's the Word

We have now become one of those houses which, in fall, puts in mums. I've never really thought much of the whole "changing out the flowers" thing that people do in their plantings. And, yet, since we put planting pots at the front of our walk this summer -- and since the dahlias and petunias are beginning to die back -- today we headed to the gardening store.

In theory, we had only gone to Gerten's for some tall, interesting grass to add in either near the driveway or to replace the 99% dead willow shrub outside Christopher's office window. We found out, though, that the gorgeous little reddish, feather-topped grass we like so much is actually an annual, not a perennial. So, instead, we bought some tall grass with interesting red and green stems which will coordinate well with the barberry shrubs in the same planting area.

When we got home, I plopped the bright yellow mums into the middle of our planting pots, and then turned my attention to the grass. The willow came out of the ground with no resistance (further proof that the roots hadn't ever grown), and I went to drop the grass in. I'll skip the saga of finding more dirt to fill in the hole, and simply say that the grass looks really nice.

I'll try to wrangle Christopher's digital camera in the next day or so, so you can see how everything looks.

Hopefully it will grow next spring and spread a little and fill out that planting bed. If not, I think Christopher is going to either pave that area or at least put in something non-organic.

Oh. And next spring we just might find some of that nifty reddish feathery grass for the front pots, after the mums come out. (Or are the perennial? Anyone?)

Follow-up to the call for "polite digs" from yesterday's post...

So far, we only have one addition to the list:

beket said...

One of my favorite ways to say that (non-food way) is "he's got a hole in his marble bag." And I always use the phrase "not the brightest crayon in the box." But a food version? Hmmm, maybe -- a pancake short of a stack?

So keep them coming!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Few Thoughts Short of a Blog Post

It is mid-Saturday, and although Christopher and I had an incredibly pleasant "night away" last night (we spent the night in a hotel and ordered in food -- I LOVE doing that. I'll tell you more about it, later), I'm feeling just a tad like we've already lost most of the four-day weekend we have at our disposal.

Among other things, I feel like I don't have anything interesting to talk about.

Luckily, I have the help of one of my good friends -- Christianne -- whose blog Tiz and Ass (which I read daily) is one of those listed along the left margin. Earlier today, she wrapped up a particularly enlightening post with the comment that the person in question was "A few ladyfingers short of a trifle."

I commented on that post, saying that I found that to be my favorite new "polite slam" comment, and she replied to my comment by throwing down the gauntlet, challenging me to come up with as many "foody" versions of that dig that I could.

With that in mind, I've been pondering for a little while, and have come up with:
  • Two sugars short of a latte.
  • One egg short of an omelette.
  • One banana shy of a split.
  • Trying to make s'mores without any marshmallows.
  • One slice short of a sandwich.
  • Three pepperoni short of a pizza. (I don't know why, but "three" sounds better, here, than "one."
  • One apple shy of a pie.
So... With those in mind... I hereby pass the challenge on to you. Put your suggestions into the comments, and in a few days (assuming some of you actually comment) I'll put them in another posting.

Remember to keep them food-related, and remember to keep them relatively polite (not necessarily nice, but terribly polite ;-). And, above all, promise to only use your powers for good.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Dual-Focus (aka Bi-Focal) Post

Focus #1:

It is Thursday night, and I do not work tomorrow. And, yes, Christopher and I actually have plans, since he also has tomorrow off.

Of course, with tomorrow off, this is the day when my seasonal sinus/allergy problems have decided to drain, causing throat ick and plugged ears and the whole bit. Isn't that fun? I started to notice it all at about 4 this afternoon. I'm hoping that it will play itself out now that I've taken sinus meds and ibuprofen. Wish me luck.

Focus #2:

I went in for an eye exam this morning. It's the first one I've had in about 18 months (maybe longer), and I'm happy to say that my eyes have only gotten a little worse. I've been contemplating the whole "New frames? Not new frames?" dilemma for the past few days. Originally I was assuming I would keep the frames I have. But, now that I found out that my insurance pays for exams, but does nothing for frames, I'm starting to look around at all of the back-to-school specials.

Even better, since my current glasses aren't that different from what my new ones will be, I could keep these, too, and have two functioning pair of glasses for the first time in years. What to do, what to do?

Oh. Yeah. And apparently this is my last chance to get really "fun" glasses. You see, the optometrist spent quite a while today explaining all about how distance vision and close-up vision are very different and change as we get older. Yep. In other words he was telling me that, in the very near future, I'll probably need bifocals.

If that's not a great excuse to get new frames, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Laptop World

I should start by saying that Christopher and I had a very enjoyable dinner. We had some great applewood smoked pepper bacon alongside some scrambled eggs with large glasses of milk. Breakfast-for-dinner. Is there anything better? We ate while sitting on the couch watching TV, and just kind of hanging out.

Unfortunately, after that, we both powered up our laptops and headed to our own corners. Christopher went to his office, where he has been for the past 3 hours or so, working on a couple of projects for work. I went to the dining room table, where I spent a little over 2 hours working on an editing project, then I moved to the basement for a little TV-watching while folding laundry. (And blogging.)

On the one hand, the wireless internet and our laptops are a blessing. On the other hand, except for about 10 minutes this evening, we haven't seen each other all night. We're both at home and all, but... well... it's not exactly a cozy night.

Although... Plus side... Now that I'm working and have editing projects to do, I had something to do when Christopher left the room to go sequester himself with his work. That's a good thing, right?