Monday, October 29, 2007

You're all winners in my book. You're just not all winners in my blue velvet bag.

Here it is, folks. The moment at least a handful of you have been anxiously awaiting. Or, more likely, the moment most of you have nearly forgotten about by now, but which I'm going to make happen anyway. That's right: it's time to announce my very first contest winner!

Before we get to the winner, let's review the True/False statements...

  1. I have both milked a cow and worked in a cheese factory.

    True. I couldn't decide if this was too obviously true... if everyone not born in Wisconsin just assumes that every little girl in the state has a pet cow in her backyard and all summer jobs are dairy-related. This is not the case, of course, but my family did live in the country and at least half of our neighbors were dairy farmers, so I did get to experience tugging on an udder at least once. Does that count as full-fledged milking? I'm going to say it does. As for the cheese factory, yes, that's true, too. I spent a whole summer there between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I would like to say it was a cheese-filled wonderland that I remember fondly to this day, but the truth is if I hadn't been sure I wanted to stay in school at that point, one summer in that place would have convinced me that higher education was a good plan for me.

  2. I have changed the oil on my own car.

    True(ish). To be completely honest, my friend Jessi changed the oil in my car, but I was her assistant, and she showed me what she was doing each step of the way, and had I wanted to attempt it again on my own while I still had that same car (a gold '84 Charger, if you're curious), I am very confident I would have been able to do so successfully. You know what, though? Liz has a point: there's a reason God created Jiffy Lube. Changing your oil ranks right up there with churning your own butter in terms of things really just not worth the effort, particularly when qualified professionals can do it for you for just pennies more. Come to think of it, though, Jessi probably churned her own butter, too. She was a sturdy girl with farm-kid roots, and her talents ranged the spectrum from handyman to domestic goddess. I often said she'd make both a great wife and husband someday... if that "someday" was the 1950s, of course. Whatever she's doing now, I hope her many skills are appreciated.

  3. I have eaten haggis... more than once.

    True. I spent a semester in Scotland, remember? And honestly, it's really not that bad. One girl in my study abroad group compared it to the ground meat in a Minnesota hotdish, and I'd say it's a reasonably accurate comparison.

  4. I have never had a cavity.

    FALSE. I know there are people out there who can claim this (One Smart Cookie, for instance, who assures us she is not a dental braggart, and since she seems pleasant and agreeable, I'll just believe her on that). I am, however, not entirely sure I trust anyone who even in childhood had such a fastidious oral hygiene routine... or whose teeth mysteriously have the titanium strength to endure wayward wedged pieces of a Butterfinger bar or Laffy Taffy bits. Really I almost feel sorry for people who haven't experienced a filling. Aside from it being a rite of passage, it probably builds some kind of strength... or at least, keeps the dentist-related anxiety in check. Getting a filling is sort of like chicken pox or learning to ski: it's best to get it over with when you're young. Exposure in adulthood is just bound to bring more terror and misery.

  5. I have incurred a balloon-related injury that required a cast on my foot and lower leg.

    True. I actually wrote about this a couple of times, but I sort of expected everyone to know this was likely even without reading those posts. Lara, thank you for being the only person who failed to believe I could be so uncoordinated as to hurt myself on a balloon, but I assure you, I really am. My athletic shortcomings know no bounds, and as a child, I clearly wasn't any better. When I was eight years old, I failed to successfully navigate the simple journey from our dining room to our living room (a mere 14 inches down). I jumped off the step, apparently failing to realize a rubber balloon was aligned between my foot and the floor. I slipped on the balloon, twisted my ankle, and tore a ligament, requiring a cast for a month. No, the balloon did not break. No, I was not smart enough to lie when people asked me what happened. Yes, I was laughed at. A lot. Let's just forget this ugly incident and get to the prize drawing, OK?

First, I tallied up everyone's responses to see how convincing my lies were. Apparently more of you think (rightfully, I might add) that I'm less likely to have any auto maintenance skills than that I've got mad dental hygiene skills. Nevertheless, it was a close race between #2 and #4.

Tally ho

Next, I used the very scientific method of writing the names of those who answered correctly on a slip of paper and hiding them in this pretty blue velvet bag. I keep this bag around specifically for times like this, of course. (And I wonder why my house is a cluttered mess.)

Bag o' names

Then I reached in and drew a winner at random. And the winner is... [drumroll and all that]...

Yay Nabbs!

Congratulations, Nabbalicious! I'll be happy to send a prize your way. I may or may not have your current address, so if you don't want some jerk in a previous apartment to get your hard-earned winnings, perhaps you should send me an email to confirm.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

(Oh, and thank YOU, Jess, for reminding me that my camera has a macro setting and that I might actually have a use for it at times! Look! Clear* pictures! Of small things close up! Who'd have thought? Yay!)

* (If you click to zoom)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

OK, I'm in


I did it last year and it didn't kill me, so I figure I might as well try this National Blog Posting Month thing again. Unfortunately, the NaBloPoMo site got a whole lot more complicated since last year, and frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed. I just want to torture myself by posting for 30 days straight; do I really need to figure out a whole new social networking site to do so? People, I still don't understand Twitter, and I'm one of my generation's last remaining holdouts on MySpace and Facebook. In other words, I would love to add any of you who are also doing this NaBloPoMo thing as friends over there, but I'm too damn lazy to figure out how.

Speaking of laziness, however, I finally overcame that long enough to ditch the flowery pink template that I grew tired of long ago. If you're reading this in a feed-reader, click on over and take a look. Not so much because I'm looking for any sort of accolades, but because I'd hate for you to click through sometime a month or two from now and think you're in the wrong place. Nope. Same Stefanie. Same periodic ramblings. About to become less periodic for a full 30 days. Whoo-hoo.

P.S. Don't forget about the contest! I'll round up all the correct answers and draw a winner Monday night. Humor me and pretend you're on the edge of your seat waiting, OK?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Liar, liar

So here's a good plan for a blog post. Wait until the 48 hours when your traffic is at its lowest for the week, and THEN post a crowd participation sort of game. Great idea, Stef! Yeah, I thought so.


This "Two truths and a lie" game has been making the rounds lately. And if you know me at all by now, you know that any meme I can turn into a five-point list is bound to become a Friday Five, so I'm going to double the truths and do exactly that.

The other fun thing about this game is that almost everyone has decided that prizes should be involved, and since I hate to be the one girl who says, "You get NOTHING, sucka," let's call this my very first blog contest (blontest?) as well. I'll draw a name from all those with a correct guess, and if that name is yours (and you're willing to send me your address), a prize yet to be determined will be on its way. Are you excited?? WOULD IT HELP IF I USED ALL CAPS?? Good. Then we're ready. Let's go.

Four truths and a lie. Can you tell which is which?

  1. I have both milked a cow and worked in a cheese factory.
  2. I have changed the oil on my own car.
  3. I have eaten haggis... more than once.
  4. I have never had a cavity.
  5. I have incurred a balloon-related injury that required a cast on my foot and lower leg.

All right. Since it's Friday, and many of you have better things to do on weekends than see what I'm rambling about over here, I'll give this until Monday night before gathering right answers and declaring a winner. Have at it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I really should Netflix "Entourage," so I'd have an appropriate reference to use here

I was going to start this out with some sort of commentary on the strange phenomenon of blogebrity--about how interesting it is that I spent an hour tonight waiting patiently for an autograph in a book written by someone not only my non-reading sister has never heard of (you know--the sister who once referred to that little-known and obscure author David Sedaris as "[my] story guy"), but whom most of my "real life" friends couldn't identify either. Crazy Aunt Purl may not be famous in some circles (apparently even her co-workers have no idea she is an Internet phenom and would be shocked to hear that she's written a book), but she is to bloggers and knitters what I can only imagine __________ is to Star Trek convention enthusiasts.

I was just about to go Google an appropriate name to put in that blank, but then I realized admitting my own indifference to and ignorance of Star Trek merely proves my point. You may have no idea who Laurie Perry is, but for the standing-room-only crowd at Barnes & Noble tonight, she's a bit of a hero.

She was also warm and funny and adorable, and that's actually what I decided I should talk about, rather than rattling on examining the very specific ways we all embrace our nerdery.

If you've ever read Crazy Aunt Purl, however, then you're already well aware that the woman is down-to-earth and hilarious, so I probably don't even need to talk about that.

Instead, then, let's talk about how -R- is a famous Internet phenom as well. Let me explain to you a little bit about how tonight's meeting with Crazy Aunt Purl went.

  • -R- and I arrive at the bookstore a half hour early, just in time to grab the last two seats, in the very back row.

  • We chit-chat to pass the time, taking advantage of the fact that we are not the only ones in earshot using the words "blog" and "comments" and "search engine hits." We are with our kind, and therefore don't have to speak in hushed tones to avoid being looked as though we've openly admitted to playing Dungeons & Dragons in our parents' basement every Friday night. Or so I tell myself, anyway. I may actually have been the only person to use the phrase "search engine hit." I care not. The woman in the row in front of us is writing down her own blog URL for the stranger she's just met, so I tell myself our conversation is completely normal in every way.

  • Crazy Aunt Purl comes out to rousing applause, reads a few amusing passages from her book, and then wins us all over with Southern charm and witty responses during the lengthy Q&A. Well, wins almost all of us. I'm just going to forget about the guy who stood in line simply to tell her that he wouldn't spend money on her book, and I very much hope Laurie forgets about him too. So much for Minnesota Nice. That man? Just a damn fool.

  • -R- and I wait patiently while an overzealous Barnes & Noble employee mad with power because he's holding a microphone corrals us row by row into an orderly line for autographs.

  • -R- and I are the second-last and third-last in line, respectively. I hand Laurie my book, along with the Post-it that Mr. Microphone gave me upon which to write the correct spelling of my name. Laurie says that her best friend in high school was named Stefanie-with-an-f, so she's always careful to spell it properly. I thank her, say I very much enjoyed her reading, and ask if she wouldn't mind terribly posing for a photo with us. She doesn't mind at all. See?

  • Next, -R- hands Laurie her book. On her Post-it, she's written [RealName]. She's ignored my advice to add "a.k.a., -R-, of And You Know What Else" below it. It matters not. Laurie looks at the Post-it, looks up at -R-, then back down at the Post-it, and says, "I know YOU!!" She jumps up from behind the table and gushes, "I'm so thrilled you came! It's so great to meet you! [Friend's name that I forget even though she's probably written it a hundred times] and I talk about your blog all the time!! You're so funny! You're an amazing writer! And you wear cute shoes!"

  • OK, I may be paraphrasing (I may also be forgetting the point of bullets and the itemized structure they're supposed to provide), but I am not exaggerating. I swear, she mentioned the shoes. And the writing. And the talking about -R- with friends. Crazy Aunt Purl totally knows who -R- is. She couldn't care an iota less about me if she actively tried. In fact, I do believe she forcibly pushed me out of the way as she lunged forward for another picture. One with just -R-. And on her own camera. OK, so I am kidding about the pushing. A nice Southern girl would never ever do that. But seriously. Crazy Aunt Purl? Fan of -R-. Check it out.

    I assure you, that is not what my inscription said. -R- is special. -R- is a rock star. But we all knew that already, right? Maybe she'll at least let me be in her entourage. It may be a thankless job, but I'm certain cute shoes would be involved. And maybe even microphone-wielding.

    A girl can dream, right?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Or-e-GAH-no? What the hell?

First off, I should warn you that I have been scrawling many assorted thoughts on Post-it notes for the past several days and have not elaborated in text on any of them. I have several ideas of equally inconsequential things to ramble on about, and I can't predict where this post will go and which ones I will share, nor can I promise your life will be changed for the better by knowing about any of them.

Secondly, I should tell you that I have had wine. An inordinate amount of wine for a Monday night, actually. But I consumed this wine in a classroom-type setting (well, banquet room of an area restaurant/bar/bowling alley setting, anyway), with pen and photocopied handout in hand, all in the name of culture and learning! And that makes it entirely OK, does it not? Plus, red wine wards off scurvy. Or so I keep telling myself, anyway. Our instructor in tonight's Introduction to Wine class sponsored by Surdyk's didn't actually say that was a valid reason to consume wine, but I'm going to keep believing it anyway.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly (and definitely most timely), I have to say that The Naughty Monkey rocks like the proverbial hurricane (if in fact, the Scorpions can be considered penners of any actual and recognized proverbs). I didn't really know what to expect when I responded "Prize me!" to her "Pay it Forward" post last week. Monkey promised a prize that would not suck, but I didn't know exactly just what that might mean. Well, in my case, what it meant was a box with the ever-exciting word "Sephora" on it waiting for me on my doorstep when I got home tonight.

I'm not necessarily an enthused member of the Sephora camp. Other people may have sold me on its intrigue, but for me, a trip to Sephora means a trip to a place I would rather poke myself in the eyeball than visit regularly, so I'm actually more of an Ulta and Target girl, I guess. Easy in, easy out. That's what it's all about. (Yes, -R-, I am still going with you to that awful place for Crazy Aunt Purl's reading later this week. Yes, the rest of you, I do realize I should stop linking like mad and move along already by now.)

Anyway, Monkey knows me better than I thought she did, because (A. she went to the magical wonderland of Sephora for me (well, "virtually," anyway), and (B. she sent me four (four!) brand-new lip balms! Apparently she read somewhere that I'm a bit of an addict. Not only did she send me lip balm, however, but she actually sent me two lip balms that I've been meaning to buy anyway. Several months ago, my pal Metalia emailed me with the express purpose of telling me about this lip balm that she insisted I simply must try, and were it not for the arduous journey in getting to my aforementioned evil closest Sephora, I'm sure I would have purchased it long ago. (Thank you, Monkey, most sincerely, for saving me the trouble.) Also, she sent me the Buzz Latte stick that the Bare Escentuals cult masters have prompted me pick up (and then put back reluctantly because hello, do I really need to spend eight dollars on yet another lip product??) at least four times in the past several months. How did Monkey know that I wanted that? I don't know, but I'm simultaneously thrilled and a little creeped out that she did. And finally, she sent me two other lip balms that I know nothing about but I'm sure are delightful anyway: Sephora's lip butter in Bananas Foster and Coconut Nectar. Yay!

In return for these lovely gifts, I need to pay it forward in some way. I don't think it needs to have anything to do with Sephora (or with Kevin Spacey or Haley Joel Osment, either), but I need to do something nice for someone in my life. I'm not sure that letting someone cut in front of me in the parking ramp last week counts, nor does spontaneously reattaching the wayward-hanging for-sale sign that I saw flapping in the wind outside a condo on my walk the other day, so I'll have to think on this and get back to you, I guess. Need a favor? Let me know. Asking me for it betrays the point, perhaps, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

This is not the first time I've gotten presents in the mail from a near-stranger from the Internet, and it still sort of blows my mind a little bit. I started a blog to get myself to write non-technically more often. I had no idea new friends and impromptu gifts might come along with the territory as well. And yet, I've gotten all sorts of unexpected benefits from living part of my life online in this weird yet warm little realm.

What I'm trying to segue over to (slowly and unsuccessfully, I might add... wine, remember? Blame it all on the wine, I say!) is recipes. Like I said, I started a blog to get myself to write; I didn't expect to get myself to cook. My culinary ineptitude is well known and well documented, and I wasn't particularly looking to change it in any way. And yet, I post a little resolution, put out a little call for easy recipes, and suddenly I've got people emailing me easy dinner suggestions they think I should try. And since I hate for anyone to go through any trouble for no good reason, I feel compelled to try at least a few of them.

So I'm revising that New Year's resolution. Forget about that damn Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Cookbook. I've got the Blog-friends of Stefanie Domestification Project Cookbook to get through instead. My goal was five recipes out of the Pillsbury book this year... I think I've made at least five from the former impromptu cookbook in recent months. Let's count, shall we? I've made...

1. Metalia's Pesto Chicken Rollup
2. Metalia's Honey Mustard and French's Onion Rings coated chicken
3. Giada's Chicken Cacciatore (passed along from Nabbalicious and Darren)
4. Scalped Pumpkin and Spinach Casserole (lifted from Cooking Light by Noelle)
5. Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta (passed along by BeingMcCrary)

Look at that! That's five already! And all thumbs-ups, no less! And yet, most recently, I also made...

6. Poppy's vegetarian chili (with potatoes... because damn-near everything's better with potatoes, I say)
7. Paisley's contribution from the Five-Ingredient Cookbook--a simple yet unexpectedly tasty combination of avocado, tomato, pinto beans, cilantro, and Italian dressing in a tortilla. Seriously, so easy (aside from the chopping), but you must make this.

Note: Recipes for any of those to which I haven't provided a link above are in the comments to this post, where you'll find several other inevitably tasty recipes as well.

I still sort of can't believe I made chili. Yes, yes, I know people make chili all the time, but you can buy chili in stores and fast food restaurants. I don't generally spend the time making something that is easily available in ready-to-eat form. Spend four hours making dinner? An hour of chopping and mixing and then three hours of a stir-and-wait routine? I want to eat before 11:00 p.m., thank you, so this is not the norm for me. It was pretty tasty, though, and as it made far more chili than I could ever eat in a week, over half of it went directly to the freezer, so I can enjoy it on future cold winter nights.

As for Paisley's recipe, what struck me about that one is that it's simple enough that certain people I know would have instinctively just thrown it together with no instruction or guidance whatsoever. I'm always marveling at the salads my friends Carrie, Aaron, and Angela spontaneously concoct seemingly effortlessly. I'm determined to get an Iron Chef: Minneapolis competition organized to pit their skills against each other. They bring lovely and tasty things to gatherings, and I say, "But how did you know to put fig with cous cous and pine nuts??" They act like it's innate knowledge. I keep assuring them it is not.

Incidentally, in case you don't know just how far my culinary skills have come, perhaps I should remind you that it was only about five years ago that I finally bought salt and pepper to have in my home. Before that, I either felt no need for extra seasoning (most things that come from a box aren't intended to be doctored in any way, after all), or I'd just use a little Mrs. Dash. In order to make Poppy's chili the other night, though, I had to buy a couple things to add to my growing spice collection. And when I added the newly acquired chili powder and cumin to the spice shelf above my stove, I actually counted the bottles quickly and said, in the Marge Simpson voice inside my head, "Eight spices?! Some of them must be doubles."

Check it out:


In the interest of full disclosure, I actually have more than eight bottles of flavorings and such, but I'm not sure if salt, pepper, garlic salt, and the aforementioned Mrs. Dash count, and they're on the other side of the stove anyway. And I actually do have one double--an extra bottle of what Marge called Or-e-GAH-no that I must have purchased when I assumed I couldn't possibly have owned some already.

So I've come a long way, I guess, is all I'm trying to say. Well, I'm trying to say that, as well as thanks for the lip balm, as well as Hi, did I mention I went to a wine class tonight? I'd best sign off before I start telling you about my adventures in yard work this weekend. Maybe I should sign on for NaBloPoMo after all. Clearly profuse rambling isn't near as daunting as I sometimes think.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's late, and I'm title-less, and all I can think of is "Ritter-rific." I'm sorry.

Well, that poll didn't yield a lot of results, but that's OK. You'll get brain lint another time; right now I want to talk about Josh Ritter.

First though, I have a grievance to air. Mapquest? You are dead to me. DEAD, I say. Enough of you and your useless, confounding directions, your ridiculous attempts to draw the shortest distance between two points as a jagged diagonal line across side streets and small alleyways instead of taking me down well-known roads that create a more logical route. I know that missing piece of Interstate where a bridge used to be makes your job a bit more complicated these days, but do you really think the best way to get me to the West Bank is on tiny, poorly marked streets on a University campus that were never intended for through-traffic? Because if you ask me, that's just plain dumb, and I think the many pedestrians carelessly meandering about in the area would agree.

I can't hold myself to this, of course. I know I will continue to take the abuse, to circle near the river aimlessly, to be Mapquest's bitch. Why? Because when I use the alternative, my directions invariably begin three miles from the start point I've identified and/or include roads currently closed for major construction. I can't win, dammit. I'm forced to remain with Mapquest or resort to an old-school paper atlas. No thank you.

This rant is my way of getting to the fact that I did find my way to the Cedar Cultural Center on Wednesday night, no thanks to Mapquest and whatever useless and evil hamsters keep it running. And luckily, it was a show worth the frustrating and convoluted journey. Thank you, Josh, for that.

I first saw Josh Ritter back in 2003 (2002? 2004? Frankly, it's all just one big long year). I went over to Fine Line for his set on the recommendation of an out-of-town friend who said, "I'm a sucker for 'boy-plus-guitar,' and he's one of the best I've heard lately. He's coming to your city, and you should go." So my friend Lisa and I went, where we joined a lackluster smattering of attendees, many of whom had likely wandered in sight unseen with no clue what they were paying a cover for that night.

We each bought CDs and then stood in a rather short line to have them signed. And Josh Ritter was, hands-down, the friendliest, most grateful and enthusiastic musician I've spoken to before. That might mean more if I'd actually met more than a handful of musicians in post-show signings, but I think it holds true nonetheless. "Thank you so much for coming!" he gushed. "How did you hear about the show?" "Thank you for coming!!" he said again. He had promotional postcards for his album on hand, and we had him write one to the out-of-town friend who'd sent us there. "Stefanie is gorgeous," he wrote, "And Lisa is the belle of the ball."

"I've never been the belle of the ball before!" Lisa mused. Frankly, we were both smitten.

The next time I saw Josh play, it was in the same venue, but a year or two later. In that time, he'd become big enough abroad to inspire Irish tribute bands and apparently respected enough here to warrant drunk frat boys belting out lyrics on a significantly more crowded dance floor. But through all that, the man seems as enthusiastic about playing, as genuinely thrilled to have an audience, as self-deprecating in his amusing stories as he did in that sparsely attended show as an unknown. And for that, I have to sort of love the guy, in a "he's like your friend's adorable little brother" sort of way. The music industry has far too many jaded, self-important assholes. I refuse to believe Josh Ritter will ever be one of them.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a Friday Five, so I'd best be getting to the enumerating, I suppose. For lack of any "Five Fun Facts about Josh Ritter" or "Five Annoying Things about the Josh Ritter Show," I'm just going to go with five of my favorite lyrics from his songs. He is a soulful lyrical genius, after all--a Lyrical Gangsta, I suppose, if a nice boy from Idaho could ever qualify as a Gangsta in any way.

These are almost all from Hello Starling, simply because that's what I listened to on my way to work this morning, but you should check out all his other fine work as well. And you should see him live at your next opportunity. Guinness Girl agrees with me.

  1. From Kathleen: "All the other girls here are stars--you are the Northern Lights." I've always loved this line, as well as another one from this same song: "Every heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied."

  2. From You Don't Make It Easy Babe: "Trying hard to love you; you don't make it easy, babe." It's not so much this line I love, but the memory of the story Josh told to precede this song at the first show I saw. He'd been driving across the country, through the flatlands and miles and miles of boring landscape, and he told the crowd that at one point, somewhere in Nebraska (sorry, -R-), he couldn't help but start singing that line to the state. I think of it every time I hear this song. Incidentally, I also really like, "Oh the heart has no bones you say so it won't break, but the purpose of loving is the pounding it takes," which has nothing to do with Nebraska, but is poignant anyway.

  3. From California: "I'm alone, but I'm not lonely." This is sort of my mantra... you know, along with that whole kayak thing.

  4. From Snow Is Gone: "It's been a long time coming but now the snow is gone." My affinity for this one is more about the vibrancy and enthusiasm in this song than about the lyrics themselves. Anyone in Minnesota or Wisconsin surely appreciates the sentiment. "Play this song and you will really believe spring is upon us," one reviewer at Amazon wrote. True, sure, but I think it's also not just about snow clearing and spring coming. Dusting off the old and breaking way for the new goes beyond that, I think, in this case.

  5. From Come and Find Me: "You don't know it's right until it's wrong; You don't know it's yours until it's gone; I didn't know that it was home 'til you up and left." I don't really have anything more to say about this; it just resonates in some way, I guess.

So. Josh Ritter. Check him out, particularly live. This isn't a music blog for a reason (namely, that I suck at describing music or musicians in any meaningful way), but I just thought I needed to share that with all of you.

All apropos of nothing...

Today is Friday, but this is not a Friday Five. I need to write one of those, but I cannot decide... would you rather have a "brain lint" sort of post listing various things I took note of but did not write about this week, or would you rather I gush a bit about the adorable and charming Josh Ritter, who I saw at The Cedar in Minneapolis the other night? You'll get one or the other; it just won't be until later today.

Meanwhile, I just had to tell someone (in this case, "someone" being "the Internet at large, or at least my tiny corner of it") what I just saw outside my window. Yes, I have a window (a patio door, actually... and to think, my friends sometimes neglect to recognize the few benefits a small company provides...), and I like to keep my coworkers apprised of various goings-on that I notice from this vantage point twenty feet above street level. I'm not unlike Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, except, you know, not in a wheelchair and not witnessing any sort of murderous activity (yet). So really, I guess, not like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window at all. Whatever.

Anyway, I work in a fairly modest sort of small-town neighborhood, a Stars Hollow-esque burb outside the city where ridiculous and pretentious vehicles are at a minimum. And although a famous movie star used to live a mere seven blocks from here (with her almost-as-famous long-term boyfriend and their children), there isn't a lot of hoopla or big-name hob-nobbing immediately adjacent. So I have no idea who the presumably important (or at least superfluously wealthy) man was who just pulled up in a shiny, fancy, black-windowed car in front of the condo building next door. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in real life when I've seen a backseat passenger wait while the hired driver got out, walked around the car, and opened the door to let him or her out. On the few times I have seen it, it has not been on a random street like this; the driver has not been sporting a messy ponytail and black windbreaker; and the passenger-of-honor has not been a surprisingly average-looking guy in last decade's jeans. Either that's the most down-to-earth millionaire in the Twin Cities, or that guy is making weird use of a "driver for a day" contest he presumably won. That or the driver is really just the guy's best friend, who probably has a decidedly un-girly name like Watts and who he talked into driving him around just to help impress a girl he wants to date. It'll never work out, of course; the girl won't be right for him, and the guy will just end up giving his life savings in the form of jewelry to Watts instead of her. Incidentally, I may have seen Some Kind of Wonderful a few too many times over the years. Moving on.

In entirely unrelated and equally not-so-noteworthy news, I balanced my checkbook last night for the first time in seven months. SEVEN MONTHS. I know that will not be shocking to some of you, as I am apparently one of only ten people in the entire world who still feels the need to balance that little book of lined pages rather than just trusting the number that displays in my account balance online, but I am still an old-school girl at heart, and I simply cannot understand a life in which I keep no personal record of the nebulous numbers floating in and out of my account. I let this task lapse through a couple bank statements, though, for no good reason other than my usual laziness, and when I finally gathered my unaccounted-for statements to balance at some point last summer, the total came out so drastically off, I didn't even know where to begin remedying it. So last night I tried again, checking my math on every page of my register since my last "Bal. OK" notation, and I damn-near did a dance of joy in my living room when I got the number to come out correct in under an hour. As an added bonus, I found $400 that I inexplicably just dropped from my balance sometime in August. (Math is hard, yo. Or I am just exceedingly careless.) So... whee! Perhaps I will do something smart with that unexpected extra cash, like put it in savings where it belongs. Or perhaps I will do something ridiculous, like hire a windbreakered ponytail girl to drive me around for a day. Must think on this, I guess.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quick question

Does the fact that I go through more wine than milk mean I'm drinking too much wine or too little milk?

If you'll excuse me, while you consider your answer, I'm just going to pop a calcium supplement or two, m'kay?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jumping on the bandwagon late as usual (pretty much par for the course for me)

I suppose you've all heard this already, but today is was Blog Action Day. As far as I can tell, this means that we're all supposed to post about the environment in some way or another with the express intent of getting Al Gore's attention so that he will either (A. run for President again or (B. marry one of us. Much as I'm a fan of the man, he actually seems pretty happy with Tipper, so if I'm rooting for either one of those, I'll go with A.

I like to think I'm fairly environmentally minded... I am probably the only one at my office who actually turns off her monitor when she leaves, and I routinely fish aluminum cans out of the garbage can in the kitchen and transfer them to the recycling bin a mere two inches away. At home, I wash my clothes in cold water and hang almost everything to dry. I've replaced most of my light bulbs with compact fluorescents (and I have perfectly logical excuses reasons for not replacing the few regular bulbs that remain). I recycle everything I can, even when it means cleaning out a quite nasty neglected jar of something or other that's grown moldy in the fridge. I use rags instead of napkins or paper towels at least 98% of the time. I reuse Ziploc bags and wash or recycle aluminum foil. I don't bag and toss my grass clippings; I leave them messily on the lawn. I pay extra on my Xcel Energy bill to support Windsource wind energy. I have a programmable thermostat. I turn the water off while I brush my teeth. Hell, today, I didn't even take a shower! That's my contribution to Blog Action Day! OK, actually, that's my contribution to the cause of "Damn, I was tired this morning, and another twenty minutes of sleep sounded way more important than a shower, particularly when I showered yesterday afternoon." Potato, po-tah-toe. Pish posh.

Anyway. My point is, I thought I was doing enough small things as to be considered a fairly greenish sort of girl. It's the small things that add up and matter, after all, is it not? Then I took the Earth Day Footprint Quiz (which Sognatrice linked to in her Blog Action Day post today). And OH MY WORD. Suddenly I'm looking at people in Hummers drinking out of Styrofoam cups and saying, "Oh hello, Kettle. I'm Pot. You sure do look black."

People, I don't even want to tell you how I scored on that quiz. I am far, far, far too ashamed. I did so poorly that, if our results were cataloged in some national database for our nation's leaders to peruse, I would probably be invited to the next $1,000 per plate dinner put on by George W. and his crew. If those results are right, then if everyone lived like me, we'd need 72 planets to sustain us. OK, so I am exaggerating. It wasn't anywhere near 72. But it was a far cry from the 1.2 Sognatrice scored, so it jarred me anyway.

I'd actually like to take issue with the Footprint Quiz, as I think there are plenty of things it doesn't measure that could marginally balance out the things it does. The things that hurt my results most severely are significant, sure, but they'd also involve major lifestyle changes to remedy: (1. I drive too damn far to work, and there is no feasible public transport to take instead, and (2. I'm a lazy, convenience foods sort of girl who doesn't pay near enough attention to how far her food traveled or how many resources were used in packaging it. The latter I can work on (baby steps, baby steps). The former is tougher to remedy.

In truth, though, there are a whole lot more things I could be doing. I could renew my recently expired TerraPass, for starters. That would assuage at least a bit of my driving guilt. I could remember to bring my Chico Bags every time I go shopping, instead of just one in three. I could turn off my kitchen light when I'm not in there. (And how often am I in there, really? You all know how infrequently I cook!) I could refuse to buy any more Lean Cuisines or Healthy Choice lunches until they package them in burnable paper (like Amy's Organic and Cedarlane) instead of non-recyclable plastic. (Yes, burning is a problem as well, but in Minneapolis, burned garbage is converted into energy, so supposedly none of it goes in a landfill, making it at least a partially justified trade-off, anyway.) I could do some of the things mentioned in the posts and comments at Bleeding Espresso and Marmite Breath today.

Or, I could do some of the things all of YOU suggest. Tell me, what are YOU doing to make sure we're not living in a horrific wasteland by 2016? We'll get back to my normally scheduled frivolity soon enough, really, but for now, I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on this.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For the man who said all he wanted was a favorable entry on my blog...

...and for the handful of friends who didn't understand why I paid him any attention in the first place.

Why? Lots of reasons.

  • Because he left a surprise gift on my doorknob one day.
  • Because he appreciates a good vocabulary.
  • Because he may be the only guy who's ever brought me flowers for no real reason more than once.
  • Because he thought my nerdy, play-by-the-rules self was "edgy."
  • Because he cried during Once.
  • Because he thought it was cute that I took a list of movies I wanted to see to the library and searched through 34 titles before finally finding one that was in stock.
  • Because when I texted him (from 30 miles away in the midst of a work day) to say I'd blown a tire on my car, his immediate reply was "Do you need saving?"
  • Because he has more style and a better eye for decor than I could ever hope to hone.
  • Because he thought I was beautiful.
  • Because of the way he kissed my neck.
  • Because his social conscience exceeds mine.
  • Because he thinks I'm a better writer than I really am.
  • Because maybe I'm not as completely independent as I let on, and it felt good to land in one place for a while.

It may not have been right, but I'd never say it didn't mean anything.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More proof that nothing good has ever followed the words "We need to talk"

A few days ago, I left a comment on another blog that made 3Carnations respond, "Whoa! You have been holding out on us!" (No, I am not telling you which blog it was. No, it is not in my sidebar. And it's not in 3C's, either, so no sense looking there.)

Yes, Internets, I have been holding out on you. There was a boy. And now there is not a boy. And I don't really want to tell you a whole lot more about it than that, for various good reasons that I also don't want to share. All that really matters is that it didn't feel right. People always say to trust your gut, and mine was telling me that this wasn't the one. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe it was no one's fault. Maybe I'm being even more gunshy and cryptic than I otherwise would be because I'm not entirely sure he's not going to read this.

I feel bad about a lot of things at the moment, and not the least of those things is that I ended it at the library. And not just any library, but the brand-new, shiny downtown library. If breaking up with someone at the library is like breaking up with someone at church (the library being my version of a sacred place, of course), then breaking up at that library is like breaking up at St. Patrick's Cathedral. If it makes any difference, it actually happened in the coffee shop on the main floor of the library and not in the library proper. Maybe that's more like breaking up in the church basement.

In any case, thinking about that made me think about where and how all my other relationships (or, brief attempts at relationships) have ended, and since it is Friday, you know that means I'm going to tell you about them in five-point form.

  1. The last time I dated someone for any length of time ("any length" in this case meaning four to six weeks) was last winter. I knew I was not excited enough about him when I realized I would rather spend a Saturday night home alone hooking up my new scanner than spend another evening with him. I would like to say I did the mature thing and saw him one more time to tell him in person, but that, frankly, would be a lie. I would further like to say that I told him directly, over the phone, in real-time, but unfortunately that would be untrue too. Yes, I cut him loose via email, like the digital age girl I am. In my defense, I actually tried to start the conversation via telephone, but aborted that plan when I realized he was at a friend's house with several people very nearby. And at that point, he already knew something was up, so I decided to just log in and continue my thought online. In my defense, if what goes around comes around, it was only my rightful payback for #2.

  2. Kris was a dumbass. I knew this, really. I knew he was immature and unmotivated and had no intention of really staying with me. Still, I did not expect him to end a two-and-a-half month relationship by simply never calling me again. I also did not expect that he would do so after the first (and obviously only) night we ever ended up sans-clothes together. Sometimes you get what you don't expect. At least I didn't get anything worse from him.

  3. The last guy to legitimately hold the "boyfriend" title for me was the one who started the curse I wrote about a while ago. I remain convinced that despite its 4.5-star review, nothing good ever happens at this bar. Go ahead and try to prove me wrong on that.

  4. Jimmy was my most amicable breakup to date. You may have read about him before, as I've linked to this story more than once. We broke up on his porch swing on a sweaty summer night. I still think about it every time I drive down that street.

  5. And finally, there was this guy. You know--the semicolon stealer? That ended on Dayton Avenue in St. Paul, on the sidewalk outside my friend's condo. Strangely, I ended that after what was our best date ever. Unfortunately, it was our best date because it was a double-date, meaning I had two other people to help me avoid strained small talky conversation with the guy. If they could have gone with us on all future dates, perhaps it could have worked out. As I do not live in Utah, however, I figured it was best to let him go.

So tell me. What about you? Where's the worst (or best) place you've broken up?

Monday, October 08, 2007

As promised...

So. The wedding. It was, without a doubt, the most creative and original one I've ever attended. A few highlights (in bullet-point form, the way we like it)...

  • A pre-show "Amy & Mark Trivia" slide show on the big screen, just like at a "real" movie these days.
  • Popcorn, treat bags, and fountain soda for all.
  • A Laurel & Hardy short silent film
  • A reading by yours truly
  • Music, images, and dance by friends of the couple
  • Vows that made the crowd laugh and cry (among their promises to each other? Mark's word to "split the difference on the thermostat")
  • Fabulous vintage outfits
  • An excellent reception party (with no bouquet/garter toss or money dance or Macarena. whew.)

I've got photos up on Flickr if anyone's interested. Meanwhile, as promised, below is the "live blog post" I read that day. A thousand thanks again to everyone who answered my call for lessons we've learned about love from the movies. You offered so many great suggestions that I didn't even manage to squeeze in all of my own. I left out Bridget Jones! And Never Been Kissed! How could I neglect either of those?? Because you guys had so many great ideas that I had more than enough to work with. Big thanks in particular to Guinness Girl, who sent me email after email with all sorts of fun movie references, and to Sognatrice, who damn-near wrote my conclusion for me. You guys are the best. Seriously.

Anyway, here it is.


What I've Learned about Love from the Movies
(presented at Amy & Mark's wedding, October 6, 2007)

A few weeks ago, Amy called me up to ask if I would read something at her wedding. I agreed, of course, said I was honored, and asked what she would like me to read. As popular as that letter from First Corinthians is, I figured it was probably not on the agenda for today. "Love is patient, love is kind"... those are pleasant and valid sentiments, of course, but we've all heard them many times over, and Amy and Mark are not two people to bow to convention, as a general rule.

Then she said she'd actually like me to write something to read today.

Now, most of you don't know me, so I'll just fill you in and tell you that I am not any sort of expert on love or marriage. I have very few words of wisdom from experience to offer a couple starting a new life together. So I wasn't sure exactly what I should talk about today. But then I started thinking about exactly where we are, and not just why we're here. And naturally, I started thinking about movies.

I've often wondered whether art really imitates life, or if it's the other way around: if we search for the things we search for because movies have told us to--the sweeping romances and easy resolutions--or if movie producers are just trying to capture for us on the big screen something real and true--that indescribable thing called love that lucky people like Amy and Mark have actually found in real life. So I started to think about movies, and the sorts of things I have learned about love from them.

After all, movies offer us plenty of wisdom and advice about love... They've taught me that sometimes you find love when you least expect it... like when you're a nun-in-training working as a governess for a retired Naval captain and you suddenly find yourself edging out the Baroness after dressing his seven children in drapes and teaching them to sing. (That may not be a universal example, but maybe it still lends itself to a greater point.)

Movies also offer plenty of maybe not-so-good advice... Ali MacGraw in Love Story taught me that love means never having to say you're sorry--something I'm not so sure I recommend to Amy and Mark, or to any couple, really. If you take her advice on that, you let me know how that goes, OK?

Movies teach us about pain... Anyone who's seen Say Anything knows that if you give someone your heart, they might give you a pen in return.

But they also teach us about possibilities...

Before Sunrise taught me that sometimes you need to be spontaneous and get off the train with the chatty stranger, because it might just be a night you never forget. And Dirty Dancing taught me that if you take a girl to the lake to show her how to do a lift, say you'd rather be with her even if it means eating jujubes to stay alive, and tell off her overly strict parents for putting her in the corner, then you're bound to wrap up your summer singing about how you've had the time of your life and you owe it all to her.

Some movies give us good, practical advice for dealing with heartache...

Meg Ryan in Addicted to Love taught me that putting rotten strawberries under your ex-boyfriend's pillow to turn his face into a splotchy red mess is not a good way to win him back... nor is boiling his daughter's pet rabbit on the stove (this courtesy of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, of course).

They also teach us how not to get the guy (or girl) in the first place...

A fairly bad late 80s movie called Teen Witch taught me that putting a spell on someone to make him like me is pretty much an all-around bad idea, and an only slightly better movie called She's All That taught me that if you fall in love with someone after you secretly bet your best friend that you could make her the prom queen, she will find out, and she will not be happy about it.

And Patrick Dempsey taught me in Can't Buy Me Love that, well, you can't buy yourself love... though you might end up finding it unexpectedly after attempting to pay for it anyway. Oh, and also, that you shouldn't overlook the curly-haired nerdy guy, because one day he might end up being the McDreamiest doctor at Seattle Grace.

Movies have taught me about patience... In Field of Dreams, I learned that sometimes you need to let your crazy husband who thinks he's seeing dead baseball players cut down all your corn and build a baseball field in your backyard. And in The Princess Bride, I learned that even if the farm boy you fell in love with goes away and becomes a pirate, he will still come back for you, to save you from shrieking eels and fire swamps and rodents of unusual size, not to mention marriage to a wussy prince you do not love. After all, even death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.

Movies taught me that the one I think I want isn't necessarily the one for me. Sandra Bullock made this mistake in While You Were Sleeping. "Forget about the guy in the coma," we all wanted to say. "His brother's the one you want." And Gone with the Wind (which I actually saw in this very theater, with Amy and Mark, just a few months ago) taught me that rogue, wild men aren't necessarily dangerous, so maybe I should stop pining away for that boring old Ashley Wilkes and get on with my life already.

Movies have taught me that unlikely pairings are sometimes the most incredible... High School Musical taught me that the basketball star and the brain can fall in love, and can also sing cheesy music beautifully together. Grease taught me that the love of my young life might be just a tight black t-shirt and a pair of leather pants away. And The Philadelphia Story taught me that if I want passion, I should probably marry the difficult guy, the one I sometimes want to throw a golf club at... that witty banter and playful sparring with that guy beats life with the boring, safe rich guy any day.

Movies have taught me that even maddeningly particular girls can find love, that even if you take an hour and a half to order a sandwich and get cold when it's 71 degrees outside, you might be the person someone wants to talk to just before he goes to sleep, the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

But perhaps most importantly, a relatively obscure little movie called Dream for an Insomniac taught me that there are far too many mediocre things in life to deal with, and love shouldn't be one of them--that anything less than mad, passionate, extraordinary love is a waste of your time.

Which basically means that what I've learned about love from the movies is this: it's not magical, it's not about clich├ęs, it's not about changing yourself to fit into the ideal you think someone else wants. Also, it's not going to wrap itself up into a neat little bow in a mere two hours or less.

Love is simple and complicated at the same time. It is beautiful and honest, and the most real thing we can hope to find in this world. And those like Amy and Mark who have found it are not only extraordinarily lucky but also the ones laughing hardest at Hollywood for trying so hard to capture an inexplicable and overwhelming emotion that doesn't generally come with a bag of popcorn and a diet Coke.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Who am I?

It was a bit of an unusual weekend around here. Let's talk about the several unlikely or out-of-character things I've done recently, shall we? In the past two days, I...

  • Bought a pumpkin not for ornamental purposes. Did you know you can actually slice up and eat those things? OK, you probably did. But have you ever actually done it? I had not. Thanks to Noelle for the inspiration on that.

  • Attempted to make a 40s-esque hair accessory from a pair of fishnet stockings. Incidentally, it is not as easy to make your own snood as I thought it might be. Live and learn. I'm not quite as crafty as I'd hoped, I guess.

  • Curled my stubbornly stick-straight hair for the first time in three years. In lieu of the snood, I thought I'd try for some Rita Hayworth-type waves for Saturday's vintage-dress wedding. Unfortunately, the rainy and unseasonably humid weather turned those waves back into my usual straight and lifeless locks in 15 minutes flat. Oh well. For a few brief moments before I left my house, it looked like this! Pretty, no?

  • Read something I wrote in front of 300+ people I do not know. Incidentally, it went mostly well (aside from my annoying inability to keep my hands and legs from shaking noticeably the whole time). Thank you all again for your fine suggestions for my speech. I will post it tomorrow; I promise.

  • Drank damn-near my weight in gin and tonics and yet woke up with only the slightest of headaches or hangover. Maybe sticking to one drink for the entire night really is the key. It should not have taken me 12 years as a legal drinker to figure this out.

  • Turned on my window AC units on October 7. OCTOBER 7! I shouldn't even still have the AC units in my windows this late in the year; it really shouldn't be hot and stuffy enough in my house to need them. Maybe now we will all start listening to Al Gore? Good lord.

And that about wraps up my weekend, I guess. Like I said, I'll post the wedding reading a bit later, along with a link to my pictures from the event. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend, 80+ degrees or no.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Five things I am wondering this week

  1. Why my kitchen still smells like onions a full week after I cooked anything with onions. (No, I have no remaining leftovers, and yes, I took out the trash. So explain that.)

  2. Why it is so damn hard at the moment to find black dressy shoes that do not have A. bows (fucking bows!), B. quilting (seriously, what is with the quilting??), C. patent leather shininess, or D. four-inch heels. In addition, I would like them not to cost more than $35, as I am morally against spending any foolish sum of money on shoes I will likely wear no more than twice. Is that so much to ask?? Apparently it is.

  3. How in the world women in the 1940s did their hair in those shiny pincurls and fancy pompadours without the help of movie-star hair stylists. For my friend's wedding tomorrow, I was going to try to abide by the couple's request and go vintage for the day. While my dress is new, it has a bit of a 40s taffeta party dress feel, so I thought I could try styling my hair accordingly. Unfortunately, I have no such mad skillz. Also, I am wondering why the first image that came to mind as I envisioned period-appropriate hair was that of Jennifer Keaton when Alex turned her girl band "The Permanent Waves" into an Andrews Sisters-esque group called "The Swinging Corporate Raiders." And also why this guy in the Czech Republic is apparently the only one on the Internet other than me who remembers this.

  4. Whether my old Saturn is going to let me enjoy one more year without a car payment or if the bumpy rattly ride it's providing these days is a sign that the damn thing is one loose bolt away from falling apart right under me. So much for Saturn, heal thyself. That damn car is making me more than a bit paranoid lately.

  5. Why Mn/DOT hates me so very much right now. It should not take me 45 minutes to reach the homes of friends who live fewer than eight miles away. Unfortunately, with road construction and detours and broken bridges in every direction from my house, it does. And I am not happy about this. Minneapolis, I still love you, but you're trying my patience, I say.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I love a good bandwagon

Apparently it is is Delurking Day again. I don't know who decides on and schedules these sorts of things or if there's an official Blogger's Calendar to mark important "let's all do this" events, but I do selectively enjoy being a joiner, so count me in, I say. Also, if there is such a calendar, I would very much like to know about it, as I somehow missed National Drunk Blogging Day last year, and that simply cannot happen again.

In any case, back to Delurk Day (or, The Great Mofo Delurk, which is actually a much better name than any of the previous similar events I've seen documented). I would very much love it if any of you fine folks who pop in here regularly would say hi and make yourself known. Who are you, and where did you come from? Sydney, Australia! I see you in my stats; however did you find me? England! Represent! Friends in Ohio! How's it going out there?

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

Seriously, humor me and leave a comment, would you please? Just say hello... tell me a joke... tell me what you're wearing today... Whatever floats your proverbial boat. Thanks, all!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Finally! A post not in list form! (Not that that's saying a whole lot...)

Hey. Remember that thing I'm supposed to be writing for my friend's wedding? The wedding that is... oh... less than five days away? Yeah, guess who hasn't written that yet? That'd be me.

I do not know what is wrong with me. I have been thinking about it plenty. Of course, in this case, "thinking about" means driving along a highway or standing in the shower, realizing, "yeah, I have to write something soon," without really formulating any particularly good or solid ideas from which to draw. Yesterday I finally forced myself to sit down and write a full three paragraphs, and tonight, when I looked at them again, I even bored myself.

People, I am more than a bit nervous. And also, blocked. Hence, I am typing a new post when I should be working on the wedding post, in the hopes that simply sending activity from my brain to my fingers will get things rolling. How's it working so far? That good, huh? Yeah, I thought so. Lord help me.

I really wish this were just a reception toast, instead of a ceremony reading. Sure, I freaked about a toast, too, last year, when I had to write one for my maid of honor stint. But at least there was an understood air of informality to that. I was worried about being too structured, instead of the other way around. Also, I got to down two glasses of wine before that performance (and I can only assume most of my audience had, too). At 12:30 in the p.m., alcohol won't be my crutch this time.

So the wedding reading is not going so well, not that I want to tell the lovely bride about that. (I am hoping and quite confidently assuming she is far too busy with last-minute wedding stuff to hop on over to my blog this week and therefore will likely, thankfully, never see my whining here.)

Meanwhile, what else do I have to tell you about? Well, last night I saw what was quite possibly my favorite show so far this year... It was LCD Soundsytem and Arcade Fire at Roy Wilkins, and I think it only ever so slightly edged out the National show at Fine Line a few short weeks ago. I am bothered no end by what an old lady I've become... at how ridiculously sore my back and feet are after standing in one place for three hours and how little tolerance I have for what I deem unquestionably poor concert etiquette. But I do still enjoy a good rock show, and both bands delivered last night. I am pretty sure I have lost another segment in the frequency range I used to be able to hear, because I am not quite an old lady enough to remember to bring ear plugs to a show, but I'm just going to hope that frequency is the one that hears annoying sounds I don't want to hear anyway... like the chirpy-chirp audio clip a nearby co-worker has set as her Outlook reminder or the sound of the chatty children in the gym locker room. It's not likely, I know, but a girl can hope, can she not?

Also, Friday night I decided to attempt to resurrect that cooking thing I had going for a while last spring, and I ended up making this. People, I do not even watch the Food Network, but based on this recipe alone, I have to say, that Giada really knows what she's doing. That was without a doubt the best dinner I've made in a damn long time, which might mean a bit more if I'd actually made anything in a damn long time, but even so, I'll say that was some ridiculously tasty chicken cacciatore, and you should all go on and make it post-haste. Well, all except Noelle and Liz, who I know are admirably against eating any of our feathered friends. Any carnivores out there, though, should really just trust me on this.

Speaking of Liz, has anyone else seen Molly Shannon's latest movie, Year of the Dog? Did anyone else think of Liz while they were watching it? No? That's just me? I thought so. In any case, I would love to heartily recommend this movie... I mean, Molly Shannon! Peter Sarsgaard! John C. Reilly! Plus an unexpected but welcome cameo from Paris Geller! How can you go wrong? You can't, I thought, and yet, this movie fell a bit flat for me. Was it because I paused it approximately 17 times whilst switching laundry loads and refilling my wine glass? Was it because I was paying more attention to my knitting than to the screen or dialog? Perhaps. Or maybe it was just sort of disappointing. Anyone else want to weigh in on this? Incidentally, just because I simultaneously didn't love this movie and also thought of Liz while watching this movie does not mean I am in any way connecting the two. You still rock, Liz, really. Year of Liz! A trophy doesn't lie.

All right. I suppose that's about enough rattling on from me right now. Back to that wedding speech, which, if this post is any indication, is just bound to be a laugh-riot and a tearjerker. Lord oh lord. Wish me luck. I really truly need it at this point.