Thursday, May 31, 2007

eat, pray, love.

Another memorable bookclub in Donna's lovely new back yard. (thank you, Donna! ...and darn, I didn't take a picture of those beautiful pots!)

Can't begin to capture the conversation, but I wanted to share a few highlights before we forget them all!
First, links to the websites where I found discussion material: Elizabeth Gilbert's official website and Penguin Books reading guide (the main site also looks to have some good recommendations for books).

*(from the book p. 260) ...people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you...if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. ...once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
--we agree - and love that happiness requires active participation


*(from the penguin guide, Elizabeth Gilbert's words) I remember my mother musing once that she thought women had been "sold a bill of goods" during the 1970s, in terms of being promised that they could have everything simultaneously - family, career, marriage, privacy, equality, femininity, and autonomy. Reality has taught us that no woman can build an honest life without sacrificing something along the way. Deciding what will be sacrificed is not easy. But the good news is this: increasingly the decision is ours.
--and it's a hard one. and we need to be good about not questioning the decisions of others or making each other defend those hard decisions.


*how do you feed your soul?

*what are you? a catholic, a jew, a good person, a mother, a teacher, me, ....

*boo to the "ugly american"

*what's your Myers-Briggs type? here's a quiz to find out (I'm an INTJ)

*any good tools, tips, techniques on meditation? who does yoga?

*is Atlanta's word "transient" or "blackmecca"?

*keep an eye out for the movie - starring Julia Roberts :-)

*get out - the movie Coyote Ugly is based a memoir she published in GQ??!!

And what's our next book? not one of these - and I'm so sorry I didn't take notes for Donna's hilarious review of the "not picked":


Nope - Donna has selected:
Funny in Farsi, by Firoozeh Dumas. Go - get the book now. Only three weeks til our next meeting at Terri's!

In closing - LOVE you all!

living vicariously.

...through photos, blog postings, two phone calls and one text message:

From: Katie
Sending much love from barcelona outside the fundacion joan miro. Will e-mail and post when i can find internet. Love you so much. Beso.
11:42 am 5/30/07

...guess she found internet! Marc and I both awoke to emails and a new blog posting. And checked again just now - another blog posting and 776 photos on her flickr site. (so now she has a little pro after her name - love that!) Here are a very few of my favorites:

1. IMG_4990, 2. IMG_5186, 3. IMG_5274, 4. IMG_5080, 5. IMG_4649, 6. IMG_4575


and a link (thank you ali edwards!) to the very cool mosaic maker.


In other news, Sara is making good progress on her getting-ready-for-camp to-do list (even though I got caught up work calls this morning and forgot to wake her up at 8:30 am as requested!) Pretty much down to just cramming everything into the trunk and the duffel.

Here we go again....

Before I leave for 19 days of North Carolina bliss, I decided to drop back in and let everyone in on the daily goings on (or going ons? eh, well) of my life. Note: there's some very cool iPod shuffle (as it has only become a custom of mine to do an iPod shuffle whenever I post) to follow. So feel free to scroll down to that.

Okay, so here we go:

1) The O.C. Season 4 DVD! Wahoo. It was on my to-do list to finish everything before I left camp (don't you wish something as easy as that was on your to-do list?), but it's looking like that isn't going to happen. So it leaves me something to look forward to when I get back from camp. [Insert sarcasm here] Speaking of looking forward to things after I get back from camp...
2) ...Two words: summer reading! Oh, the excitement. This summer, they load on three books (2 for Honors Lit, 1 for AP World History). The titles: How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (sorry, no symbol for the e with the two dots above it), and King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild. This sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it's practically mandatory that I read these books, because there are tests (or some sort of assessment) on all three of them within the first week of school. But enough about school. Because, have you heard...
3) IT'S OVER!!! Yeah, freshman year is done. Now on to sophomore year, which I hear is a pretty pointless year, but also the most fun year of high school (driver's license, Sweet 16, etc.) besides senior year. Yeah, whatever. As long as I'm taking regular (read: easier) chemistry, I'm cool.
4) Yesterday and Tuesday I finally finished my four massive bulletin boards that have been waiting to be adorned with magazine clippings since... Thanksgiving. But they are done. And they are looking pretty cool if I do say so myself. (Maybe pictures later.)
5) I decided to improve the now gargantuan The O.C. Seasons 1-4 playlist on iTunes. It grew by about 40(ish) songs, so I think I did pretty well. Also discovered how many great songs I'd been missing out on.
6) Keeping with the topic of new music, I also got some great new songs over the past week. Perhaps they'll show up below, and I'll be able to tell you how great they are.

And that's it. I'm off to Horse Shoe, NC Sunday morning and won't return until June 22 or sometime around there. I've given mom my permission to scan (or just type) my letters home. So... it will be greetings from Camp Highlander soon. Now I just have to remember to write the letters. And actually get them in the mail. That's the hard part.

Now for the actual good stuff. A cool new edition of iPod shuffle. Song count is however many I feel like until I feel that it's getting too repetitive and/or I'm just tired of doing it. Have fun.
Predictions:
At least 25% O.C. songs.
At least 5% covers.
At least 10% embarassing songs.

1) Play - Flunk. (Ah, forgot my predictions. See above.) O.C. song. Pretty good so far. Anyway, on The O.C. Mix 4, and it plays twice during season two. I can tell you it played in 2-18, "The Risky Business," and then when the kids are at school before "The Risky Business." Strange song, but Anja Oyen Vister (hey, they're Norwegian) has a really cool voice.
2) Maybe I'm Amazed - Jem. Knocking off two birds with one stone. Or something like that. O.C. Song, and a Paul McCartney cover. Very nice. Anyway, it's on The O.C. Mix 2. It plays in 1-27, "The Ties That Bind," at Caleb and Julie's wedding reception (Jem actually performed it at the wedding), when everyone's dancing and Marissa tells Ryan she loves him and that she doesn't want him to go be with homewrecker Theresa even though she understands that he has to. You know, because it's Ryan's baby, even though Theresa seems to think (read: lie) otherwise.
3) Can't Get It Right Today - Joe Purdy. Mixing it up a little with a Grey's Anatomy song. That's right. As much as all of us O.C. fans would love to blame Grey's Anatomy for the downfall in season four ratings (ratings. pshh) for The O.C., because Grey's Anatomy is a freak of nature and draws in like 20 mil a week, we know it's all Fox's fault, because the people running Fox are dumb. What? Me still bitter over The O.C.'s cancellation? Puh-lease. Although I do find it funny that everyone thinks that Grey's is a total mess now after the season three finale that I actually watched and found quite engaging towards the end, but everyone else found ridiculous, and according to TWoPers (users at the Television Without Pity forums), C-worthy. Ouch. But I still laugh.
4) Orange Crush - Editors. This is one of my O.C. playlist updates. It plays in episode 4-04, "The Metamorphosis," when Ryan is running on the beach, and quite strangely might I (and my mom) add.
5) Rain City - Turin Brakes. Okay, this is getting a bit sad. I've listened to five songs, and all five have been from TV shows. Gosh, don't I have a musical mind of my own. I realize the answer is probably a "well, not really," but still. Anyways, it's an O.C. song. It is on The O.C. Mix 1. It plays in 1-03, "The Gamble," when Dawn (Ryan's mother) leaves Ryan, claiming she's "a mess, not a mother." So Ryan's staying with the Cohens. Woo! He tells Sandy and Kirsten that he'll unpack later, and he makes this really weird face while he does it.
6) Vienna [Live] - Billy Joel. Is it sad that the only reason that I have this great song on my iPod because it plays in 13 Going On 30? Eh, well, who cares. It's one on that 12 Garden Live CD set.
7) Gone For Good - The Shins. Finally, a wonderful, wonderful song by a wonderful, wonderful band that is not on any form of visual media of which I know. It's deserving of four wonderfuls. Yeah! Check out this video: Gone For Good and Turn On Me.
8) You're All I Have - Snow Patrol. Okay, not the best Snow Patrol song ("Run" is definitely the best that I've heard. Beautiful song.), but it's pretty good, and it's catchy, so there. By the way, this sounds like it could be a Grey's Anatomy song, but let's face it - most songs by Snow Patrol could be (and also are) Grey's Anatomy songs.
9) Eastern Glow - The Album Leaf. It's on The O.C. Mix 2, it plays in 2-01, "The Distance," twice, but most memorably when Marissa drunkenly calls Ryan from the lifeguard stand, but doesn't say anything. Ryan knows Marissa is on the other end of the call, but also doesn't say anything. And Theresa knows something fishy is going on, and she's the only one that has the guts to say anything to anybody. But, anyway, it's a great song. It actually has words to go along with it, whereas other songs by The Album Leaf are purely instrumental. Very cool song.
10) New Hampshire - matt pond PA. Plays sometime in the middle of the second season of The O.C. That's all I can say from memory.
11) Bastard - Ben Folds. I remember when I first heard this song and Ben Fold's Songs For Silverman album one summer in Katie's car. This is the first song on the CD, and it begins with a little piano thingy that I can't play and probably never will. But it has some cool piano stuff in it. Bottom line: good song.
12) Those to Come - The Shins. I really do love this song. It's one of my favorites off of the Shins' Chutes Too Narrow, which is an accomplishment, because I don't think there are really any holes in that album. It's a really soft sort of song. But I love it gets louder and louder in the beginning. And I love James Mercer's voice.
13) This Place Is a Prison - The Postal Service. One of the darker, stranger songs on The Postal Service's Give Up. Yes, that's all I can say. It's dark. And strange.
14) Look What You've Done - Jet. It's from a form of visual media. It's on the soundtrack for A Lot Like Love. Now for the cover stuff. According to Wikipedia, it's pretty much a cover of The Beatle's song, "Sexy Sadie," as it "uses similar melodies, chord progressions, instrumentation, and in some cases identical lyrics."

Let's compare:
"Sexy Sadie"
What have you done? / You made a fool of everyone
"Look What You've Done"
Oh, look what you've done / You've made a fool of everyone
15) Decent Days and Nights - The Futureheads. It's on The O.C. Mix 4, and I can't tell you with 100% confidence when this song plays, but I have a feeling it's in mid-to-late season 2, possibly in 2-17, "The Brothers Grimm," when Ryan and Marissa flirt in a Newport clothing store, making fun of each other about hats and stuff. But it's a fun song.
16) Saint Simon - The Shins. Geez, so many Shins songs. What can I say about this one. Um, it's a good one. There. I also like the "la da da, la da da" towards the end of the song.
17) Paint the Silence - South. This used to be my favorite song. And for good reason. It has some great lyrics:
"How can you say your life is empty
So late in the day
Why would you stay another second
Now your sight got in the way
A combination
Of love and aggression
Another second lived"
Anyway, this is the first song on The O.C. Mix 1. It plays twice on the show. It first plays in 1-09, "The Heights," when Ryan and Marissa share their first kiss on the Ferris wheel at the Kickoff Carnival. It plays for a second (and even better) time in 3-17, "The Journey," when Ryan listens to The Model Home Mix, a CD that Marissa had made for him in 1-02, "The Model Home," but, more importantly, when Marissa flashes back to the Model Home, and then, cheesetastically, falls down the stairs. Great acting, Mischa, great acting!
18) Curbside Prophet - Jason Mraz. One of the cooler songs off Mraz's debut album, Waiting For My Rocket to Come. It blends pop and folk and rap all in one song in typical Mraz fashion.
19) I Turn My Camera On - Spoon. What a great song. It plays on The O.C. in 2-21, "The Return of the Nana," when Sandy, Seth, and Ryan are all walking down the streets of Miami looking totally awesome. And while being on The O.C. is how I discovered this song, I imagine I would have liked it just the same had I stumbled upon it some other way. And let's just hope that I would have stumbled upon it some other way.
20) Nothing Better - The Postal Service. This is one of the best songs on Give Up. Jen Wood has pitch-perfect vocals on this track, and Ben Gibbard's vocals aren't too bad either (I actually like Gibbard's voice, even though there are some who just don't like it).
21) Going Home - Andy Barham and Taylor Teeple. How fitting to have a song about going to Camp Highlander on this about-to-leave-for-camp post. Anyway, this has some great lyrics, and it's really a terribly sad song to hear on the last campfire, and it more often than not produces bucket loads of tears.
22) At the Bottom of Everything - Bright Eyes. One of those songs in which Conor Oberst tells a story (literally) and then starts singing. Pretty folky song in my opinion. The music video, which is actually really pretty neat and cool, features Evan Rachel Wood of Thirteen and Across the Universe (!!!) [watch the spectacular trailer here], the movie that has generated more excitement in me to go see it than any other movie that I can remember in recent memory.
23) E-Pro - Beck. It plays on The O.C. in 2-15, "The Mallpisode," (original episode title, I know), when Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Marissa play hockey when they're locked in the mall. Alex Patsavas, the music supervisor for The O.C., and my own personal hero, also calls this episode the "Beckisode," (again, original, I know), because it features six Beck songs.
24) Move On - Jet. This song is on The O.C. Mix 1 and plays in 1-12, "The Secret," when Ryan, Marissa, Seth, and Luke are all walking in the quad before school starts at the very end of the episode. This conversation, and a pretty good/well-known at that, takes place:
(Quick background information: Previously in the episode, Luke finds out that his dad is gay, and, since word quickly gets around Newport Beach, everyone, including those at school, know.) Luke: This is gonna be weird.
Ryan: Yep.
Luke: Everybody’s gonna be staring at me, talking
Marissa: Yep.
Luke: Maybe I can just blow the whole thing off, go hit the beach, give everybody time to get it out of their systems.
Ryan: Oh, it doesn’t work like that. It's been months, I’m still the kid from Chino that burned a house down.
Marissa: And I’m still the girl who tried to kill herself in Mexico.
Seth: I’m still... I’m still Seth Cohen.
Luke: Man, this is gonna suck.
Seth: Yep, well, welcome to my world.
[Seth rides his skate board and the other three walk behind him together. Fade out.]

Wow, what great writing. That's classic season one. All about being the outsider.
25) I'll Find a Way - Rachael Yamagata. After Imogen Heap, Rachael Yamagata may be my favorite female artist. And for good reason. She writes great songs, and has a crazy good voice that can go deep or high and still sound great. This isn't one of my favorite songs on her first studio album, Happenstance, but it's still great, which says a lot about the album and Yamagata, as well. The lyrics are also pretty good:

"The rain is like an orchestra to me
Little gifts from above meant to say
Girl, you're falling at his feet
Isn't lovely or stunning today
Wait with me, wait with me
I'm alive when you're here with me, here with me, stay"
26) Help! - Howie Day. Off of the I Am Sam soundtrack, this song is a Beatles cover (duh), as are all of the other songs on that soundtrack. This definitely isn't my favorite song on the CD, but it's not so bad, either.
27) Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley. A cover of the original Leonard Cohen song. And it's on The O.C.! In total, this song plays on the show three times, while this version of the song only plays on the show twice. It plays for the first time in 1-02, "The Model Home," and it plays for the second time in 1-27, "The Ties That Bind," a musically loaded episode, during the final minutes of the episode, and of the season. You can watch the montage here.
28) I Spy - Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. This was on my last iPod shuffle. And my feelings for it have not changed since then. My feelings then?

"This is an O.C. song, but it feels like it should be on like, One Tree Hill, or something. It sounds so 14-year-old-ish and not so good. The only good parts are when the lead singer sings "La-loo-la-loo-la-la-loo-la-loo", etc. etc. Anyways, some middle episode (9 or 10-12) of season four. I'm not sure."

I then stopped the iPod shuffle. Perhaps the song left me with a bad feeling in my stomach.
29) All 'Cause of You - The 88. Okay, I love The 88. And this is a really cool song. I really love it. What is there more to say? Um, not too much.
30) Kiss Me - Sixpence None The Richer. Okay, this prompted a laugh from me. When is this from, 1998? Geez, that seems not so long ago, yet it really was. I think this is on the Dawson's Creek soundtrack. Hmph.
31) Remedy (I Won't Worry) - Jason Mraz. The main "hit" on Waiting For My Rocket to Come, but my personal favorites on the album are "Sleep All Day," "You And I Both," and "On Love, In Sadness." But I can see why this was one of the hit singles on the album: it's catchy and teen-friendly.
32) Ammunition - Switchfoot. Don't make fun, but I really like every single song on Switchfoot's album, The Beautiful Letdown, and okay, maybe I know every word on every song, too.
33) She - Elvis Costello. From Notting Hill. But, honestly, it's boring me right now.
34) I Turn My Camera On - Rock Kills Kid. What a treat! The original and then the cover of the song. And guess what? This one is on The O.C., too! Oh, the craziness. Anyway, this song is on The O.C. Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks. It plays in 4-15, "The Night Moves," the penultimate episode of the series, during one of the fabulous fade in-fade out montagages that is in this episode. This was easily one of the best episodes of the season, and was the first episode in weeks that I remember, after watching it, saying "Wow. That was amazing." And then it really hit me that the utlimate episode of The O.C. was going to be coming in just a week. Too bad sucky Biology had to ruin the great night (other than the cold reality that The O.C. was actually ending), as I had to study for a dumb Evolution test.
35) Middle of Nowhere - Hot Hot Heat. This has also already been on one of my iPod shuffles. Here's what I said then:

"Last year spring break time I thought I was buying a cool song from a relatively "new" artist. I'd seen the song before, and this was one of those "impulsive, why-not-spend-99-cents-more-from-my-iTunes-gift-card kind of purchases." Turns out Hot Hot Heat is not relatively "new." No, they also sing "Bandages," which I'd heard on one of Katie's CDs before. I thought they said "Benedryls, benedryls... blah blah" but it's really "Bandages, bandages... blah blah."
36) Fix You - Coldplay. Is this song overrated? All I know is that when it plays on The O.C. (2-23, "The O.Sea"), it's totally engaging, especially when it kicks in at the very end, and you're left with this strange, hollow feeling in your stomach. That's when I know that Josh Schwartz (creator of the show) is a pure genius, even though he didn't write the episode. But his list of accomplishments is too long to name, and this post is already getting too long (you don't think I noticed that I'm on the 36th song of this shuffle?).
37) Call n' Return - Hellogoodbye. This is one of those bands that just hearing one of their songs makes me smile. Other bands in that exclusive list include Tally Hall and... yeah, that's all I can think of right now. Anyway, very power-pop sound. Good stuff.
38) 16 Military Wives - The Decemberists. Oh, not a lot to say here. Uh, it's a good song? Good enough.
39) A Sentence of Sorts In Kongsvinger - Of Montreal. I really like Of Montreal. Relative to Atlanta, they're actually pretty close, as they were formed in Athens. Although I only have three of their songs, I like all of them, and they're all fun and upbeat.
40) Haiku - Tally Hall. See! I knew it! I see Tally Hall and I just smile and laugh. One of my favorite bands. They're crazy and fun and their lyrics are so strange. But an awesome strange. For example, here is the haiku that Tally Hall features in this song:

"Lah dah dee diddum
Lah dah dee doom doo ditto
Dum doo lah dee doh

There, that's sufficient
I wrote a haiku for you
Well I tried at least, and that's not so bad
I'm working here
Can that be said for you?"

I wish I could write haikus like Tally Hall can.

---

So that concludes this monstrous iPod shuffle.

A final tally:
38% (15 out of 40) O.C. songs.
13% (5 out of 40) covers.
0% embarassing songs. That's right. There really aren't many songs on here that are embarassing.

Well, I'm off for now. Happy summer, everyone!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

water for elephants.


...oh my...LOVED it! and maybe set a record for a not-really-a-chick-flick reading time. I started it Sunday and finished last night. And was completely engrossed in the story from the first page. Thank you, Mother, for the recommendation (and the loan of the book!). She thought it might be a good choice for bookclub, too (and I completely agree), but at the time, it wasn't out in paperback. We try to pick paperbacks to keep the costs down. Maybe someone else will pick it.

Have done some research for the Eat, Pray, Love bookclub (which is in 15 minutes - I'm nearly giddy with excitement), and found penguin books reading guides. They don't have one (yet?!) for Water for Elephants. But I found these sites:

*reading group guides
*about.com (who knew they had reading group guides?!)
*npr's review (there's an audio - haven't listened yet - but I completely agree with the Rona Grinlee's conclusion about the book!)

It's good to see what others are thinking and asking - helps me understand the book better...and I enjoy it more.

Who wants it next?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

more cooking.


as promised! last night's chocolate strawberry shortcake. Too much grand marnier for Sara (ok for me!) - when we made the strawberry topping, we forgot we'd halved the strawberries, and used the remaining ingredients at "full strength"... two tablespoons of grand marnier instead of one. But still a keeper, I think, and Sara would definitely give it another try.

For tonight, the chocolate and zucchini tomato french toast. before...
...and after
(she's not kidding when she says to keep an eye on the dish while you broil - this is only 3 of the called for 5 minutes!)
I'll let you know if it tastes as good as it smells! I did make one modification to the recipe - had to increase the milk and eggs by half (to 6 eggs and 3/4 c. milk). Not sure if I had more bread? but the consistency seemed ok. The smell of parmesan is making my mouth water right this second. Thank goodness Marc just got home!

LOVING Water for Elephants (thank you, mom!) - read about half of it yesterday and looking very forward to continuing it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

cooking and aprons.

I finally made it through the June issue of Bon Appetit. Wonderful recipes! I usually just star the recipes and tear out the pages (and then file in sheet protectors in my "magazine cookbooks" - I have two binders with dividers for appetizers, soups, main dishes, etc.) I did some of that this month, but there were two really great features with lots of recipes (one with champagne and the other a father/daughter) so I flagged entire sections, too. The down-side is that now I'm not really "done" with the magazine - in fact it's now taking up space with my cookbooks!

...one recipe that totally got us was this one for chocolate strawberry shortcakes:


Sara made the shortcakes this afternoon - promise a photo tomorrow of the finished product!

mixing
putting the biscuits on the baking sheet
ugh mess - but Sara cleans up well!
the finished product

More cooking - I happened upon this blog a while ago, and then saw a review in this week's paper for the cookbook. All looked good, so I visited the blog again on Saturday and found out I'd missed a Today show cameo. I watched and was hooked! She's delightful... and the food looks fabulous! We are making the tomato french toast for dinner tomorrow night. Here are my roasted tomatoes (really did take 3+ hours at 200 degrees).



And I used my 15% off B&N coupon to buy the cookbook. Sara agrees - totally cool ideas for our lunches! Also making a version of the zucchini carpaccio for dinner ("version" because I really don't like raw zucchini so I blanched it, and didn't have raspberry vinegar so used strawberry, and didn't have the patience to arrange slices, so tossed the slices with the vinaigrette - looks great and smells good, so I'm sure it will be fine!)

...and aprons - I love them - especially vintage ones - have searched for them along with Stangl and depression glass and tea towels, and while I've luck finding much of all of them, not so much with aprons.... and then I found this website yesterday - HELLO! there are others out there just like me who totally "get" vintage aprons :-) {but discipline - I am not going to buy a sewing machine just so I can make my own aprons...promise!} instead, I bought a very cute pink and brown paisley one at Williams & Sonoma yesterday. Looking forward to making muffins and figuring out the best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe wearing it!


Bon Appetit!

P.S. successful bikini run - Sara got three - we won't (I hope anyway) be buying more for at least another year!

happy memorial day.


reflecting on how fortunate we are to be Americans. a heartfelt thank you to all who have fought and are fighting to preserve our freedom, and to their families, too.

Sara and I saw Waitress yesterday. A good movie - we both enjoyed it. And the burger and onion rings at the Tavern beforehand. The Target trip was moderately successful. Found everything but bikinis - at least bikinis that fit. So we have more shopping to do today.

The wildfire smoke was around Saturday and Sunday. Pretty bad on Sunday - our eyes were burning and the visibility was nothing. But it cleared off in the afternoon and they're saying today's wind direction has shifted and we shouldn't get the smoke. Six weeks that fire's been burning.

Had a news-y email from Katie in our in-box this morning. She's doing well, having fun. Wireless rates in the hotel are outrageous, so students walked around with laptops searching for a connection. Found one on the 4th floor. Imagine the cluster of students with laptops congregating in the 4th floor hallway checking and sending emails :-)

Finally, making me smile - from dinner last night - we got to talking about Gilligan's Island (something about a guy that Marc had played golf with was something something the 3rd or the 4th and then we both remembered the GI character Thurston Howell III) ... and the internet is just great - in 30 seconds, Sara had located the theme song. and Marc and I still remember all the words...brings back memories, no?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

not so much a green thumb.

...is how I would describe my gardening approach. I am all about quick results and not too much (maybe more like no) dirt under my nails.

Maybe uncharacteristic for one (me) who isn't a gardener, but I have been planful about the summer planting. Observing the light patterns for the planting areas - my deck, my mailbox and my front porch. Because the patterns have changed a lot since we moved into the house 20+ years ago. And no photos to show it right now, but my memories are of scorched earth - 100%+ sun all day long - portulaca blossomed and everything else wilted....

So now the trees are so much grown up, but we've re-done the deck, and the light patterns are different...even since 2005 when I last planted (I skipped last summer because we did a major remodel and planted pots would've been a waste!)

And I'm sure my tastes have changed. I love the bright, exuburant colors of the tropical flowers - hibiscus, bouganvilla, mandevilla. and I've come to love the purples and oranges of new guinea impatiens.

So ... the before (just two shots because it's embarrassing how bad I let it get!):



the overwhelming choices at Lowe's:


and the after:




and it was delightful to sit outside this evening before dinner, reading, with a glass of wine, and enjoy the summer air and the daylight through the trees.

boy birthdays.


the month of may is the "boy birthday" month - my brother and both of his sons were born in may, as was his mother-in-law - so May is the boy birthday month plus Jean. Makes for lots of shopping and birthday wishes in a very short period of time!

We met for a Mexican lunch at Rancho Grande and had the usual good time:
Steve with the Georgia Tech middle aged spectator (the age 40+ gift from my parents!)

And a few not-so-usual things:
half empty pitcher of margaritas - Mary and Lydia are lightweights, Steve is driving a city car and Ron & Karen are in Florida!

artistic impression (thank you Sara!) of the aftermath of spilled coffee at the requisite Starbucks stop - hopefully not bad karma for the summer!

tracking katie.

she's in Madrid today and for the weekend. I played around with Google Maps (and Marc says ooohhh, be careful, your geek is coming out and I think yeah, probably a good thing sometimes!) and created this map to show where she's going til she lands in Oxford on June 23. The map feature is very cool and easy to use. I've added a link to the map in the upcoming section at the right.

Friday, May 25, 2007

school's out!


summertime slushy (aka "virgin margarita"):

makes two servings

2.5 oz strawberry daiquiri/margarita mix (1/4 of the bacardi's can)

4 oz orange juice

4 oz fresca

mix in the blender, then add crushed ice to get the right consistency; probably 16-20 oz


this and the school's out makes for one very happy, very relaxed fille!

...and a getting to be relaxed mere as well:


Also making me smile:

Sara - I fell asleep last night while we were watching the O.C.

Me - me, too - that makes us even

Sara - uh, maybe for last night... but not for life

...point conceded :-)


To investigate:

the playlist that Katie took on the plane - this is copied verbatim from her blog, and I have to be honest, I'm not sure who are the artists, which are the songs, and what is simply Katie's editorial. Could be a real challenge, but I'm sure it will be worth it!

feist's new album, ferraby lionheart, francois virot (marry me, please),
guillemots, page france, magic arm, handsome furs, cocorosie, i'm from
barcelona, hanne hukkelberg, jens lekman, the national, jose gonzalez, jeremy
warmsley, sunset rubdown, throw me the statue, elliott smith's new album ,
eagle*seagull, blonde redhead, benni hemm hemm, chris garneau, charlotte
gainsbourg, and jane birkin

Thursday, May 24, 2007

cool excuses.

...so want to embrace it when you're just not going to post - so people don't think you're just lazy. two good examples:

from ali edwards
from how about orange

I'm not planning to take a long break...just til tomorrow...

(safe travels to Katie and to Karen and family)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

whose yard is it anyway?

(hint - not mine - mine is the one with extremely leggy pansies still planted in the mailbox).

So I stopped by my sister's house this afternoon and was awed by the beautiful bed in the front yard and the cute planter on her deck (I did give her the pretty bowl, but the flowers are all hers!). Enjoy....






...and guilt me (just a bit more!) into ripping out those tired pansies and planting some impatiens, and some hibiscus, and some fuschia, and some....

Katie's nearly ready to hop on that plane tomorrow. I think she's done a very good job of packing 74 days worth of "stuff" into a suitcase. (plus 2 carryon's, but still).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

smoke gets in your eyes.

and it is NOT romantic. not even close. Katie and I encountered the Georgia/Florida wildfires a few weeks ago visiting in Gainesville. So way south of Roswell. And this morning we woke up to smoke in Atlanta. ugh... and of course it totally snarled the morning rush hour (honestly, even a clean breeze could probably do that).

Morning shot from my office window:


And afternoon shot:



Loving the fresher air!


...and Season Four of the O.C. - teed up for 7:45 with a 4 cheese pizza from Cafe Christina. Girls night rocks!

empty nest?

I saw this book at B&N on Monday. And honestly - I was afraid to even pick it up (so I didn't).

I'm afraid my empty nest vision might be far from reality. I'm planning to retire (with 27 years of service) about the time Sara goes to college. So probably a few years away from being real "empty nesters" but close. Two life changes happening at the same time.

As the retirement date gets closer, I start to think more about "life after work"...seriously.

Things I'm looking forward to:

*Grocery shopping on a weekday, before 3:00 pm.

*Not thinking about "can I take this day off?" ... ever again.

*Working out more. Playing tennis. Playing golf. Making dinner.

*Having time to learn new things (photography?, drawing?, french?, cooking?) and time to reflect.

*Getting up in the dark less.

*Getting more life accomplished during the week (instead of just on the weekends)...but lately I've been doing more of this anyway.

*Keeping up with my family and friends (knowing what's going on in their lives, not missing birthdays, planning - and keeping - dates).

...and to be fair, things that scare me (a little):

*Having too much time on my hands (I'm scary when I'm bored).

*Not having anything interesting to say at dinner with Marc, or maybe even when I'm talking with my friends.

*Getting too interested in my kids' lives - must let them go!

*My body - not being able to work out or play tennis or play golf.

*Finding out that the things I'm looking forward to simply don't make me happy... can't imagine that the saying "be careful what you wish for - you might get it" isn't based somewhat in fact.

Monday, May 21, 2007

tracking a cardinal.

one of my read-nearly-every-day blogs has a category called "time wasters". This might be one. When I took Chance out for his after dinner walk, I saw a beautiful cardinal in the front-yard trees. Of course I didn't have my camera. But I got it, went back outside and tried to find the bird again. I did. But capturing him on film proved nigh-impossible. Guess that's what helps birds survive... In any event, I attempted some enhancements in MS Photo Editor (the only pic editing software on my laptop) and after 20 minutes I'm done...with no "enhanced results". So now this is like a Where's Waldo game... I promise, there is a red cardinal in each of these pics!





First day back at work was ok. Meaning I didn't make much progress on my to-do list (the one I diligently created before the DR trip), but it wasn't blown completely to h*** either by "stuff" that happened while I was gone. So I left at 4:30 and actually did errands before coming home. I really love being able to get things done during the week. And when I got home, I had time to put away the laundry, review the mail, (track the cardinal)...and I still beat Marc. :-)

Bookclub has been postponed til next week - actually very good news so I can enjoy a "last night home" with Katie on Wednesday...and prepare to lead the Eat, Pray, Love discussion without knocking Sara off the computer!

a few links.

from my recent internet wanderings.

This one made me smile - as much from the title as the content.

This one to help Katie make up her mind about visiting Stockholm (I vote "yes").

This one, this one and this one I love for the crafty, organizational and just plain "nice" to read; the last one clue'd me back in to splitcoaststampers. And I totally want this (these?!) stamp set after seeing it on this layout.

This one, this one and this one for their terrific scrapbook layouts.

This one - discovered a few weeks ago, but still enjoying my visits.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

reminder.

to myself (from my January 1, 2007 journal entry):

not to let myself get too busy, too bogged down with work and other "stuff". I need to take the time to be present for myself, my family and my friends...

I think I've done a really good job with the work part this year. Probably my best ever (ever!). But I've felt the other "stuff" creeping up and need to remind myself to stay vigilant.

Considered taking up knitting socks - of all things on size 01 needles! - after tracking the Yarn Harlot's traveling sock (see here and here). And it almost seemed like fate when my new favorite yarn store emailed me a 20% off coupon for some cool sock yarn. I even had yarn on yesterday's errand list. But I crossed it off. Whew! ...in case you're wondering, the oh-so-cute felted bag is still half-knit from spring break. So it's not like I have any good excuse to buy more yarn at this point.

Considered sewing after seeing the wonderful fabrics here, and here. Again, fate? when I saw this posting with this link for advice on sewing machines (and I know this wouldn't be my first sewing machine - no, would be my third!). Kid you not - I spent 30 minutes this morning seriously perusing this and other linked in sites.

Because I do want to spend some energy on this. And I want to be focused on what I can accomplish in 1+1+1. Optimistically realistic (in my vocabulary, that is not an oxymoron). So I'm planning to spend some thoughtful time on the letter this week, hoping to write it next weekend, to open in late June, 2008.

Last night after finishing my DR blog posting, I ordered 67 prints from ritzpix. Have decided to keep a photo album to document all the things we're doing, and to scrapbook more based on what the photos or some of the scrapping sites (here, here, here and here) inspire- I picked out a half-dozen Mary & Sara (long armed!) shots to create some sort of "2 of us" page based on this one. Project for next weekend.

Also have plans for cooking with Sara. She showed me a few of the recipes she made in Foundations (fka "home ec") this past semester and her enthusiasm for pumpkin bread, brownies and enchiladas make me want to stock up on flour, sugar and muffin cups. Also saw this yummy recipe for applesauce muffins. This fate I'll follow....

Hectic week upcoming for the Rogovins:
Mary back at work after missing 7 days over the past 10.
Katie finals - finish Monday.
O.C. 4th season on DVD out on Tuesday.
Mary's Eat, Pray, Love bookclub on Wednesday.
Katie leaving for 10 weeks in Europe on Thursday.
Sara finals - finish Friday.

The 3-day weekend ahead shines like a beacon for Mary & Sara (Marc will golf, I'm sure):
Saturday - meeting the Sheffields for Mexican and a belated boy/Jean b-day celebration
Sunday - Phipps movie date (hamburgers, onion rings & cheesecake at the Tavern followed by chick-flick tbd)
Monday - ???? (maybe the most inspiring thought of all!)

Love to all!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

it's good to be home.

yes, very good. I've completely enjoyed getting back into my groove - just a bit - today. Starting with my own bed last night (and before, catching up just a bit on my "daily reads" blog favorites). This morning, started with warm milk in my coffee - I'm not too keen on "carribean dairy" (I think it comes from a can - ugh...), catching up quickly with Katie before she left for class, then a run in the park - oh boy - it feels great here - 70 degrees (running outside was cooler than the air conditioned gym from earlier this week!), car wash, dry cleaners, a little groceries and a little bit of digging through the piles of stuff that accumulated while we were gone. How does that happen? little paper pixies who wreak havoc when there's no one around?


I alluded to "camera issues" - I had charged my camera battery on Sunday, but Tuesday morning I got a low battery charge warning. It seemed intermittent, and I can't imagine the battery was really not charged, but I only took about 50 pictures. And posted about 30 at ritzpix. Bummer, because I was looking forward to really capturing the mood with pictures since I took zero last year. One of the guys there with Aarons is the designated photographer and I made sure he took a few of us. And he's usually good about sending e-copies, so I'm hopeful there will be a few (one?!) good shots.

Here are a few of my favorites:

the only long-armed M&M shot

view from the Rogovin beach cabana - Tuesday - had a pool cabana the other days

view from the Rogovin beach cabana on Friday (Wednesday and Thursday's cabana was the one across the pool behind the chair)

shell chandelier - up close view - inside the Rogovin pool cabana - unfortunately, we weren't ever there at night to see it lit!

lunch for one at Gabi Beach - a yummy shrimp cocktail, a glass of sauvignon blanc and the May "love" issue of O magazine

Gabi Beach (had this lovely view at my lunches for one)

local flowers - bloomed in bunches - in this beautiful red/orange, and also yellow

live flamingos - love the reflection, too.

hotel vibe - very modern - this tableau was in the lower lobby by the restrooms (no kidding!)