Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guess who picked out his own clothes today

Sawyer came to me this morning in just his diaper, pants in one hand and shirt in the other. "Pants? Shirt? Pants? Shirt?" I guess it felt like a colorful, stripey day. It takes a very creative mind to pair a button-down baby Gap shirt with pajama pants!

He's been carrying his stuffed monkey around with him - very uncharacteristically too, since he's never attached himself to a security blanket, binkie or bottle. But he seems to have adopted the monkey and has been talking to it, hugging it and giving it kisses all day. While he was watching Dora I saw him holding it up to his shoulder and patting its back like he was burping a baby. He'll make a great daddy someday...especially if he marries a monkey!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Foux de Fa Fa"

If you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords yet, you really should. It is by far the best comedy on TV right now (at least, until The Office starts back up again in September - then I'll have a tough time deciding). If you don't have HBO, check it out on YouTube - although you'll have to hurry, because a lot of them are getting yanked for copyright infringement. Here's a thought-provoking song - "Issues: Think About It" which poses the very valid question, "Why we still payin' so much for sneakers when you got them made by little slave kids?"

Here's another of them performing on Letterman a couple of months ago. "You're definitely in the top three good looking girls on the street - depending on the street."

And one more - a French fantasy. Anyone who's taken French 1 will understand the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

C'est délicieux

It was a gorgeous cool, rainy day today. Such a refreshing break from all the humid heat we get here in August. I made my favorite soup for dinner and thought I'd share the recipe. It's one my mom used to make a lot and I tweaked it when I lived in Frace based on recipes I learned there. To me it is France in a bowl!

Chicken Mushroom Soup

1/4 c yellow onions, sliced
3 T butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms (I use half white button, half baby portabello)
1/3 c flour
4 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c half-and-half
1/2 c dry white wine
4 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
3 T olive oil
1/4 t tarragon
1/4 t herbes de provence
ground red pepper flakes

To roast chicken:
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Put chicken on baking sheet, skin side up. Rub olive oil into skin, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes until cooked through. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and slice chicken into bite-sized pieces.

For soup:
Sauté onions in 3 T butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot until translucent. Add mushrooms and flour; cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add chicken stock and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add chicken and spices. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Just before serving add half-and-half. Serve with a crusty baguette.

Monday, August 20, 2007

MacBook Lament

In order to celebrate getting his CCIE (and to ease his own conscience about buying an Xbox Elite for himself) Eric bought me a MacBook. That was about a month ago, and in the last few weeks I've been thinking about doing an "Ode to my MacBook" post. Just when I was about to start writing it though, my MacBook let me down and crashed. So my ode has become a lament.

I was just about to go to bed last Thursday night and decided to double-check a soap recipe for the morning when my browser window froze. I tried to force quit - nothing. Finally I had no choice but to manually shut down my Mac and restart. There was an ominous clicking sound and when I turned it back on, all I got was a gray screen. No Apple logo, no startup page - just dreary, gray nothingness. I tried booting from the installation disk (which was still in my kitchen, since I just used it a few weeks ago) and even that didn't work. I knew this could not be good news.

In the morning I called tech support and after half an hour on the phone we had figured out that it was a big enough problem that it would require a genius to solve it. Good thing Apple has Geniuses in their stores! Shew! I made an appointment and on Saturday Eric and I showed up at the Genius Bar (complete with bar stools) in the Apple Store near us. Our Genius was wearing a red bandana, had three earrings and a pointy goatee. He figured out quickly that something had gone seriously wrong, and my hard drive wouldn't mount. My month old hard drive. There was nothing to be done but replace it completely, so I lost everything that was on it - which actually wasn't that much, since it was so new. All the pictures I had on it were backed up on Shutterfly, so I only ended up losing a couple of songs and the third season of The Office, which I had downloaded on iTunes and is on my iPod. If I'm careful not to automatically sync everything, I won't lose that. And if I do lose it, I'll have an excuse to buy the DVDs and get all the bonus features. So my old hard drive is gone, and the Genius installed a new one right there.

So I have learned to always back up - even if you're using a Mac, which you bought because they are supposed to be secure and safe and not prone to freak hard drive failures. I still love my MacBook, but it's going to take a while for me to trust it again - that has to be earned!

Friday, August 17, 2007

What Book Are You?

A great quiz from - this one answers the question "What book are you?"

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I got tagged

Becky tagged me, so I guess that means I'm IT!

Jobs I've had:

-stable hand (I took care of horses, although my hands are pretty stable too)
-music store employee
-book store employee
-teaching assistant
-substitute teacher
-CEO (of my household)

Movies I never get sick of:

-Sense and Sensibility
-Meet the Parents
-Dumb and Dumber
I guess comedies are the ones that I tend to view repeatedly.

Places I've called home:
-Provo, UT (three different times)
-Baltimore, MD
-Charlottesville, VA
-Cleveland, OH
-Charlotte, NC
-Tours, Angers, and Bordeaux France
-northern VA (where I've spent most of my life)

Favorite TV shows:

-The Office

Favorite Vacation Spots:
-Outer Banks, NC
-anywhere exciting I haven't been yet

Favorite Websites:

-eBay, Venus Sisterhood,, blogs

Places I'd rather be:

-anywhere I don't have to cook or clean

Now I'm tagging....

You're it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Not the Biggest Loser (But a Loser Nonetheless)

I just realized I never posted the results to the Biggest Loser competition I took part in. That's probably because I didn't win. I came in 6th out of 14, so not too bad. I lost 14 lbs in 13 weeks. Altogether, the whole group lost 150 lbs - a whole person! The Biggest Loser was Tiburon (who has a kickin' blog, by the way.)

So now we are three weeks into Biggest Loser 2 (tagline: "This time, they'll end up even LESS flabby!") The first week I was at the beach, so I did not get off to a great start. Between Uncle Billy's fried shrimp, Aunt Carrie's chocolate chip cookie pie, and the fact that the freezer was always stocked with at least a dozen different types of Klondike bars (that's not an exaggeration!) I pretty much threw all my restrictions out the window. So now I'm trying to make up for it and not doing too well. I really want to lose 15 more pounds - if I do that I'll be at the weight I was when I got married, which is just about right for me. Not too skinny, but definitely skinnier than I am now.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Deathly Hallows and Middlesex

WARNING: HARRY POTTER SPOILERS! Don't read this one if you haven't finished the last book yet.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about 4 days into our beach week. I probably would have finished in a day if I had been able to read straight through, but being in a house with 20 of my relatives, some of whom I hadn't seen for two years, made it difficult to find good reading time. The first 200 pages or so I read out loud to Eric and Sawyer on the drive down, which was fun and distracted us from the fact that our normally 5 hour drive took us 11 hours (more on this in my previous post).

I think Deathly Hallows is my favorite of the whole series. I was prepared to be let down after so much build-up, but Rowling really outdid herself and wrote a near perfect conclusion. I'm glad I was wrong about my Dumbledore theory, because the way she had him come back in Harry's vision right at the climax was spectacular. I also loved the way we got to see Snape's whole story - and I'm glad I was right about Snape! He is probably the most interesting character in the books, and as it turns out he was one of the biggest heroes too. The conclusive tone of the Epilogue was so satisfying. Harry has a normal life, a loving family, and cool kids with friends. So happy.

So once I was done with Harry Potter (and so sad that I'm done forever!) I moved on to Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. It's a first person narrative about a man who was raised as a girl. He was born with XY chromosomes, but with a genetic error that caused his external organs to develop in a way that they appeared female. This is more common than most people think - estimates are that 1 in 2000 babies are born with "ambiguous genitalia". When this happens a decision has to be made about how to raise the child. In the (fictional) case of the book, they don't discover the abnormality until he's 15 and has already been raised as a girl. It's a fascinating study of gender identity and the struggle between genetics and society, nature and nurture. I highly recommend it. And I'd love comments and ideas from anyone who's read it. Eric will not discuss this one with me because he finds the whole idea too disturbing. At least we have Harry Potter.

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