Monday, December 31, 2007

Here goes...

See my little thingy over there to the left? It might mean one of two things: a) I have officially gone batshit crazy. or b) I have publically committed to posting EVERY SINGLE DAY in 2008, with exception of Leap Day, woo hoo.
I must admit that when I gave myself a schedule during NaBloPoMo, I was much better about posting. So, we'll see.

Everyone have big plans for this evening? We are having the neighbors over, nothing exciting, very low-key. We're having some Southern food (gumbo, greens, black-eyed peas), that I don't have to cook but will complement with praline pecans and some late night fondue.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Have you ever.......

This is kind of like the age-old drinking game "I Never". Only, I guess it should actually be called the "under-age" drinking game, because no one over the age of 21 plays it.
Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (too poor)
02. Swam with wild dolphins (ever seen "King of the Hill" where Hank gets molested by one of the dolphins?)
03. Climbed a mountain (have not, however forded every stream, nor have followed every rainbow)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid (did climb the pyramids in Mexico City, though)
06. Held a tarantula (went to the insectarium in Montreal- trippy)
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said I love you and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights (thought it was some crazy spotlight from local car dealership. Amazing, eerie green glow. I'm sure not as impressive as they would be further north)
15. Gone to a huge sports game (Rockies game, Nordiques hockey game in Quebec. Team is no longer.)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (every chance I get, it seems)
27. Had a food fight (not much for these)
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb (one year they had a living nativity at church, complete with lamb.)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run (uh, hardly. They called me "Casey" when I was in 7th grade. I've never quite gotten over it.)
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (just ask my kids)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (all the time)
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (although I had to check with my techie husband about this one.)
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (one of the perils of being the only American at a party in a tiny tiny Mexican village)
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing (believe it or not. 6th grade camp)
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs (and my spices...)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (married the love of my life)
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror(used to be a regular- went to the performance in Cambridge, Mass. Wow.)
96. Raised children (not done yet)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken some one's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild (but not gathered by me)
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet (never- over my dead body)
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (hello, jet lag)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed some one's mind about something you care deeply about130. Gone back to school
131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey (Cliff's notes of Odyssey)
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (um, no)
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (hello, ESL teacher)
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair (but only my hairdresser knows for sure)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved some one's life (not that I know of)


Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering...

You Are a Fruitcake

People pretend you're sweet and precious, but they know how weird you really are!

Kiss the Cook, hell! Just offer to do the dishes...

I'm tired and my hands smell like butter. Perhaps that is because since 1:00 pm this afternoon, I have cooked/prepared the following:

1. Potato-leek soup to be reheated tomorrow, when I will add cream to it.

2. Sugared/spiced pecans

3. Toffee bars(this turned out to be a baaaad recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, usually pretty good for the basics)

4. Gingerbread cookie dough for cutouts

5. Chocolate crinkles (to die for- also from BH & G cookbook)

6. Salad dressing for spinach salad I am taking to the T family gathering-it's a sweet/sour dressing - the salad has hardboiled eggs, bacon bits and sliced mushrooms.

7. crust and filling for "classic Colorado quiche" from the Denver Junior League cookbook. It's basically a spinach/cheddar/mushroom quiche that is supposed to have bacon in it, but I am opting for serving bacon alongside it.

8. salad fixins for tomorrow's brunch salad (fresh spinach, sliced almonds, thinly sliced red onion, tangerine with red raspberry dressing. This would also be tasty with a spot of blue cheese, I think...)

9. Pecan sandies (aka Mexican wedding cookies/Russian teacakes. I just call them a really good use of butter. They are the perfect cookie.)

Tomorrow's brunch menu:

Passionfruit mimosas (Loozo nectar and chilled cava from Spain)

Potato-leek soup
Italian peasant bread

Spinach cheddar quiche
Raspberry tangerine spinach salad
bacon- (extra crispy because that's the way it's the best)

locally made peppermint stick ice cream with Nestle's famous chocolate wafers

While I cook, I watch the Food Network- that Sandra Lee has got to go. All her damn ziploc bags that she squeezes everything out of. Her signature sound is the crinkle of those bags. And how does she - actually WHY does she have to make some wacked out cocktail for every freaking meal? Today she was wearing this off-the-shoulder sweater and all I could think of was the SNL bit about Martha Stewart's topless Christmas special.

Also? The Starbucks eggnog chai latte is a bit much. The peppermint mocha is a much better choice, as is the gingerbread latte. I'm just sayin.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bif and Muffy's holiday

At our old house, we had neighbors across the street who were the quintessential WASPS. They did yardwork in khakis and penny loafers. The wife used to work for a prominent Republican US senator. They drank scotch before dinner. They played golf at the country club. They only read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. They ONLY ever listened to classical music and did not permit anyone working for them (painters, pool cleaners, etc. ) to listen to anything but, either. They had dysfuntional relationships with their grown children. They were all about keeping up appearances. They all but spoke with the preppy "lockjaw" dialect.
They were very tidy people, not given to doing much decorating outside their home, save for a very proper American flag hung on a pole outside of their door, not on a telescoping flagpole with a spotlight, mind you. So it was no surprise to us that they had no outward recognition of the Christmas season- no wreath, no tree, no lights, no nothing. Many others on our street really got into the spirit of things that year- lights on bushes, on the house, trees prominently displayed in windows. Claire, who was about 5 at the time, noticed this. She asked why they didn't have any decorations up. We replied honestly that we didn't know why and that not everyone decorates during the Christmas season, and reminded her that not everyone celebrated Christmas. She nodded her head, obviously remembering some of what she'd learned in school and some of the story books we'd read together at home. Then, she very sweetly and earnestly offered "Maybe they celebrate Kwanza!"
Um, yeah. Maybe they do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the Second Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me: 2 Presidential Candidates and A Former NBA Star

As if the last day before Winter Break wasn't going to be crazy enough, we had to have it be a 2 hour early dismissal day. In high school student lingo, this translates into "let's have a party and do no work". Grinchy-Claus that I am, I planned to have my Spanish 3s take a quiz. We met for an hour, thhere's a lot you can get done.
Well, as if having a 2 hour early dismissal wasn't going to be crazy enough, the Hillary Clinton people decided that our school would be a perfect place for them to make an appearance. She's trying to visit 99 counties in 99 days or some such. As it turned out, Hillary didn't come visit, but her husband and inarticulate family friend, Magic Johnson DID. Have any of you had a president or vice president or former president ever come to your school? It's kind of a pain in the ass- the secret service people come a day ahead and "sweep" the building- it'd be nicer if they ACTUALLY swept the building, but no...
When I taught middle school, Vice President Al Gore came for a visit and it was insane. The press people didn't like our shabby stage curtains, so they ended up bringing in some kind of panel to put in front of it. The kids didn't quite get how big a deal it was that the vice president was coming and mocked the secret service people, walking behind them, swinging and singing "Secret! Agent! Man!", which was, in fact, quite hilarious. There were snipers on the roofs of the neighboring buildings; we were all ushered into 2 classrooms after he left and we had to stay there for 20 minutes; we were all wanded before entering the gym and absolutely had to be on The List.
So this Bill visit wasn't such a big deal, although there were s.s. people in the building and they built a little fence around the platform from which he spoke. I think he forgot that his target audience was a bunch of high schoolers, because he was talking about mortgage reforms and healthcare and yada yada yada. He also kept referring to Magic Johnson as "Magic", which I think is absurd. I know it's his name, but really. Does he have children named Smoke and Mirrors? He seems like a nice enough chap, although public speaking is not his forté. It was almost embarrassing.
I won't even go into the students' reaction to Bill, other than to say that I am very surprised at the number of ultra conservative students out there- probably their parents' influence.
Here's a photo- whether you are a fan or not, it's still kind of a thrill to have any former president come visit your school.

Oh, and here are a few people Mr T saw at a banquet last weekend:

The winsome, albeit long-winded Joe Biden.

Yes, the above picture is of Walter Mondale. When my husband told me he was going to be there, I of course replied, "Is he still alive?". No, that bottle of Bud you see is not his- I cropped out the part of the picture that shows our friend- he's the one holding the bottle.

The caucuses are just about 2 weeks away. People from all over the country are here doing their thang for their candidates. And it's freaking COLD! And snowy! And icy!
As exciting as it all is, at this point, we'll be glad to have them over with.

Monday, December 17, 2007

7 Random Things Meme

I have been tagged by the lovely Ms.Teacher. I know this is one that's gone around the blogosphere, but I've not actually participated. If you are a regular reader of my blog and are so inclined, consider yourself tagged.
The rules are:

- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Uno: My birthday falls in the exact half of the year (June 30), which I think is kind of cool. My astrological sign is Cancer, and the glyph for that sign is like a yin-yang. I was born in the year '69, which is also a yin-yang sort of thing. I think all this together is why I like symmetry.

Dos: I worked a third shift job at the newspaper once- running the insert operator. It was very noisy, very dirty and I worked with some very shady characters. To pass the time, I sang the entire Rickie Lee Jones album to myself. Chuck E's in Lu-uhv, Chuck E's in love....

Tres: While I appreciate how tricky it is to make, I do not get why people eat divinity. Yuck.

Cuatro: Grumpy people with no sense of humor who don't "get" me bring out the devil in me and make me say and do things when I'm around them just to mess with them.

Cinco: When I was a kid, gym class was so traumatically unenjoyable that I to this day have an aversion to doing anything athletic. As part of a wellness initiative at my daughters' school, they are inviting parents to come to school for physical fitness tests- I'd rather pass a kidney stone. Seriously.

Seis: When I eat candy that is multi-colored like M&M's or Skittles, I tend to sort them into piles by color, then eat enough of each color so that I equal numbers of each color in each pile, then eat them one by one so it all comes out evenly. I was once publicly ridiculed by my RA for doing this while I was in college. I thought she was such a dork and so worthy of my own ridicule and scorn, that I was not bothered by this in the least.

Siete: I once took one of those on-line religion quizzes that aligns you with a religion according to how you answer questions. It said I was a "neo-pagan Catholic". I think it's pretty accurate, crazy as it may sound.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Holidays

Well, I was a successful NaBloPoMo participant and have shamefully slid back into my slacker ways. Maybe I should make a public declaration of how much I'll be blogging EVERY month. The hope of winning a prize is always helpful, along with public/cyber humiliation at not having met one's goal. Is this the principle behind Weight Watchers?
We had a snow day yesterday- I was like a kid on Christmas morning-up before dawn checking the computer to see the list of cancellations and giving a resounding "WooHoo!" when I saw our district listed . Actually, it was more of an ice day- all the trees look pretty, but we need a thaw or we are going to be in some serious trouble. My heart goes out to the people of Oklahoma.

Just for fun, here's a holiday meme. Feel free to steal, as I don't want to unwittingly put pressure on anyone to use this - especially if it's just not your bag.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Definitely the wrapping paper, although I always have a stash of gift bags. I'm kind of a paper freak, too- only choosing cute designs and I try to coordinate. I also buy separate wrap and hide it for the Santa presents. I am too cheap/semi "green" to throw away gift bags, so I save them and reuse them. I have family members who do the same and damn if I don't keep getting the ugly ones back!

2. Real tree or artificial? Real, real, real. I love the smell and my cat likes to eat it and then barfs chunks of it up for the first few days we have it up. (maybe that should be a reason NOT to have one, huh?) I have an artificial one, too that someone gave me. I put it in the dining room- I love the lights.

3. When do you put up the tree? We always buy it Thanksgiving weekend, put it up the following. I hate to have it up before December- just like air conditioning before June and the furnace before October.

4. When do you take the tree down? Once I tried to go all old-school and leave it up until Jan. 6, but by then, it was just depressing and the tree was downright crunchy. Can you say "fire hazard"? Right around New Years is when I usually take it all down. To get me through January, I do have "winter" decorations-snowmen and snowflakes and lights for the mantel. Otherwise, it's just too dreary.

5. Do you like eggnog? It's one of my favorite things. Spiked (with bourbon, not rum), unspiked, eggnog shakes from Whitey's Ice Cream, latte's, as coffee creamer. Yu-um. I also like eggnog candies and fudge.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hard to say. I think the year I got my own record player was a good one. I played the heck out of that thing.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I have several. Lydia's got the Fisher Price one- very interesting, since baby Jesus was last seen riding in the back of a mini van-not in a child-restraint, I might add, with some woman (his nanny?), Santa was in the driver's seat, with an angel riding shotgun. I also have a tiny one that we had when I was a kid and a sparkly one I bought in Mexico and a more traditional one that the girls play with despite the fact that they have the Fisher Price one. It's all very Mr. Bean around here.

8. Hardest person to buy for?Mr. T, hands down. Every few years I do it right. The in between years he gets a sweater.

9. Easiest person to buy for? It's a toss-up between Lydia and my mother in law. Lydia loves everything and my mother in law needs so many things and is always so gracious about whatever she gets- it's fun to buy for her.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got? Pilsbury dough-boy utensil holder and spoon rest. Um..? It went straight to the white-elephant at my work Christmas party the next year.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I am all about the Christmas cards- I do a letter, too.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? hard to say. I love Elf and A Christmas Story, but White Christmas is a good one, too. I know It's a Wonderful Life has been played to death, but it's so sweet. Every snowstorm, I run out into the street at night and yell "Bedford Falls"! Yep, been doin it since college, when I was living up on the Tundra otherwise known as Northern Iowa. Brrrrr.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I don't think I ever STOP Christmas shopping. I'm always finding little things to put in my stash. I go full- on in about November.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh hell yes. See #10

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Almond-bark covered pretzels and the Ritz cracker peanut butter patties dipped in almond bark. I also like a candy cane- sucked to a dangerous pointy-point.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? big colored ones- the old fashioned kind that get hot and are probably a fire hazard.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Traditional:Silent Night always brings me to tears; also O holy night. Modern: All I Want for Christmas Is You (anyone seen Love Actually?)Least favorite? That damn Christmas Shoes song. Ugh.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, thank goodness. The holidays are stressful enough. We did go to Denver by train one Christmas- that was fun.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? of course! And Rudolph is not really one of them, no matter how sweet the show is. And on that note, I can't really watch that without thinking how much Rudolph looks like Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid ever since my college roomate pointed it out to me. Pretty much ruined the whole show for me.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have a sparkly, gaudy star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? On Christmas Eve they are allowed to open one present, otherwise it's Christmas morning after breakfast. Santa and stocking stuff can be opened before breakfast, though.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The frenzy of doing doing doing and people not respecting others' wishes to cut back on social commitments.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The traditions, and the idea that during this season of darkness, people are still celebrating with song and presents and food and parties and genuine good cheer.