Monday, September 22, 2008

#31: Reading and #9: Dinner

Last week was Bacon Week, so I made breakfast for dinner early in the week. (And again this weekend to finish out our monthly pound of bacon.) I think we have a new favorite bacon flavor--Cinnamon Apple Spice. Sounds weird, but it was delicious! And it smelled so good when it was cooking, too. Our bacon this month was from Edwards & Sons of Virgina. Their company website only sells wholesale, and I can't find another link for the bacon we loved, but I know K would love more of their bacon.

Speaking of bacon, would this be a disgusting stocking stuffer for K? I am fascinated & a little repulsed by that. My brother is also a big bacon fan--perhaps there's bacon floss in his future, too.

A week or so ago, I finished reading Listening Is an Act of Love, which was a book club selection. I reviewed it on goodreads, so I won't add a long review here. I really enjoyed this book, although several parts of it moved me to tears. The last section of the book (Fire and Water) was especially poingant, since it was stories about September 11th and Hurricane Katrina. I finished reading it the first week of September, so the past couple of weeks, the book has remained on my mind. I've never been a listener of the Story Corps Project on NPR, but reading this book made me want to hear every story, from start to finish. Someone in my book club said the stories are played on the radio some mornings, but there is no way I could listen on my way to work--I don't need to show up to work weeping!
I think I mentioned this on goodreads, but if not, it bears repeating: I wouldn't recommed this book to other book clubs. It's a wonderful book, everyone should read it, but it doesn't leave a lot for discussion. We talked about our favorite stories, talked about a few stories from our own lives (as related to the book), but that was it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday

"Valerie Jones" has joined match.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email box to see an email from match with the subject line "New! First matches selected for *****" (her user id for match is not her real name, or, thankfully, mine). Naturally, I had to open the email.

Evidentally, she is looking for someone 33 - 40, and is probably 27 - 33 herself. She lives in California. I don't know exactly how match works, but each photo of a dude in the email has their age, their height/weight, their relationship status ("has been in committed relationships, but never married" is popular among these fellas), their religion (most have selected "Christian/Other" or "Spiritual, but not Religious"), and how they feel about having kids ("Someday, he will want kids" is a popular choice). One dude is 37 and looking for women who are ages 20 - 40. Twenty?? Good luck with that, buddy. Especially when you try to buy her a drink at dinner and she gets carded.

I tried to respond to the email to let match (and possibly Valerie Jones) know that there are 15 fellas out there who might be a match for her, but instead their info has gone to happily married me. It's one of those generic email addresses that just bounces back. I guess she's supposed to use the email as a reminder to log in to her account?

And it seems like she might still be looking for Mr. Right. I got another email today from match with the subject line "Your new matches!" I'm afraid to click on any part of the email. I do not want anything to do with match or the future Mr. Valerie Jones.

I wish I could email Valerie Jones and suggest she pick SeekinBaySista (he's tall, and has a nice smile) and drop Den01067 (whose photo shows him half in shadow, on his cell phone--creepy!), but all I can do is hope she realizes she isn't getting any match emails and fixes the situation on her own. Talk about lookin' for love in all the wrong places. I'm not THAT Valerie Jones, fellas!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Other

My first name and maiden name are fairly common. Well, my maiden name is in the top 10 most common American last names, and I think my first name is less common, but not unique among ladies my age. For the sake of this story, let's say my first name is Valerie (because I always wanted my name to be Valerie when I was a kid) and my maiden name is Jones. It isn't, but Jones is #4 most common on the list I found, so let's go with that.

Before I married, I opened a gmail account using my first and maiden name--like valerie.jones @ gmail. One of the easiest name changes I did after getting married was opening a new gmail account using my first name and new last name. I kept the old email address open, and use it when I'm signing up for mailing lists (Ann Taylor, amazon, etc.) and contest entries, etc. Here and there, I have received email intended for valeriejones @ gmail (no dot between the first and last name) and it generally gives me a chuckle. I always respond to the sender to let them know that their email has been misdirected, and explain that sometimes that happens--the email system sometimes gets confused and thinks the address without the dot is mine. I've tried to get it fixed, but no dice. Occasionally, it leads to a chuckle, and I thought it would be fun to post some of the examples or stories on the blog to keep things moving while I'm still trudging away at my list.

One of my personal favorites was the baby name email chain. It went a little something like this:

Micah: Hey!! Incase you haven't heard yet, IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As far as names... we got nothin. I am a big fan of Olivia, but Andrew doesn't like it so much. He really likes Kally, which I really like, too except it's just weird because of kally m*****r, which really shouldn't matter seeing htat I haven't even seen the girl in 5 years.

Shannon: First off, CONGRATULATIONS!! Olivia is a super cute name, but I will tell you that it's already on the top 10 list for more popular baby names in recent years. Which may or may not make any difference to you guys. Whatabout...Esmerelda? or Sascatchawan? Oh don't worry, we'll think of some good ones. (She includes a list.)

Kathleen: So I may have made up Valerie's email (meaning me) but everyone elses was their name @ if Valerie doesn't get this maybe someone can intervene...Secondly! CONGRATS MICAH! Finally. I like Olivia too, but I really need first/middle names. Because Olivia is good, but if Mowgli is the middle name I have to recant my vote. If IIIIII had a daughter...Alyssa something. Oh I do like Kally C******. I just freakin love alliteration. Oh and I like Hannah and Hailey. Sorry I like names that are cool in 2007 Shannon. My bad.

Jennifer: As for actual names, I am a huge fan of Olivia, but other than that, you all know I'm not good at this stuff. I always wanted to name my kids after characters in books. Is that weird to doom your children to nerd-dom before they're even a reality? How about Jane? Is that a weird name? It just came to me this very second, for no particular reason.

Micah: Ok, I have 2 funny stories to tell you:
1. Last night Andrew and I picked the name! For sure, both loved it, we were going with it. I was proud of myself because it was such a great compromise, combining his love for Kally with my love for Olivia---Kally Olivia C******. Alas, thirty minutes after our celebration, andrew ruins it with "wait, doesn't that spell KOC?" I'm not sure thos eare the greatest initials.. So, we are back to square one. (#2 was talking about a mutual friend of theirs, apparently, who wants to name their unborn daughter "Dolcinea.")

At this point, I checked that email address (it had been a couple of days) and decided I needed to step in. My email to the group:

"Kathleen, I don't know that you made up the email address for your friend Valerie Jones, but whatever email address you sent to was misdirected to me. It happens from time to time--I think Ms. Jones and I must have very similar email addresses.

For what it's worth, I love the name Amelia. Doesn't go with Olivia very well, but I think it's adorable. How cute would Amelia Jane sound?

Best to all,The OTHER Valerie Jones"

So naturally, I thought that would be the end of my inclusion on the email chain. I was so wrong.

Kathleen: Valerie, Shocking to the both of us, I intended to send that message to you. Sorry it interfered with your normal life pattern. I like Amelia Jane too. I like Amelia, Jane is kinda boring but its better than the mental names Jenn is sending out there. I know no other Valerie Joneses just to clear that up.

Yikes! I responded again:

"I'm sorry, I'm afraid there's been some misunderstanding. I'm actually not the person you know--I don't recognize your name or any of the names of your friends, and I live in Texas. My email address is valerie.jones, so I think a lot of times I get email directed to valeriejones or possibly other variations of that address. I was just trying to be cheeky by signing "the OTHER Valerie Jones" and suggesting a baby name. I'm apologize for not being clearer in my message. Best, Valerie."

Micah: I don't get the whole Valerie Jones thing.........................................

(hours pass)

Micah: Wait... I'm sorry, I think I just caught on-- This isn't my friend Valerie Jones, is it??? hahaha! Sorry to bother you! ....and if this is my friend Valerie, you have left me very confused! By the way, I think Amelia Jane is very cute, I'll run it past my husband :)

My final response was "Correct, this is not your friend Valerie. I am a Valerie Jones who lives in Texas and does not know any of you ladies. But I wish you all the best!"

I haven't heard from them since. But how crazy would it be if Micah has a baby named Amelia Jane right now??

Hang On, Sloopy!!

Early last week, K and I had just finished working out and were resting a moment on the couch before getting dinner together. He was flipping though the channels, and ran across a group of older guys on KLRU singing. Here's how our conversation went:

Me: Hang on, sloopy!
K: No, that's not what they're saying.
M: What?
K: They're saying "hang on SNOOPY."
M: I'm pretty sure they're saying "sloopy."
K: That's ridiculous. Why would that be in a song? That's not even a word.
M: I don't know! It is what it is!
K: Of course, it's "Snoopy." You know, famous cartoon dog?
M: Well, it sounds like SLOOPY. Hang on, sloopy!
K: Famous cartoon dog! SNOOPY!

Of course, I had to immediately turn to the internet. When I googled "Hang on Snoopy" I was directed to a website for famous examples of mondegreens--when a statement or song lyric is misheard. My next move was googling the lyric I thought was correct, and I was rewarded with Hang on Sloopy, which I've now learned more about than I ever thought possible. Including that the song is the official song for the Cleveland Indians.

So I've been taunting K and calling him "Sloopy" for almost a week. haha!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

#4: August Nephew Time

The last weekend of August, my family got together to celebrate my SIL's birthday with a Sunday afternoon lunch. Luckily, that meant some fun time with my two little nephews.

Their oldest son (AC) is just over three years old, and talking up a storm. His latest accomplishment is potty training, although he's still new enough to that adventure to expect a prize every time he, uh, makes a deposit. When K and I arrived for lunch, he was asking everyone to go outside to the backyard to swing him. (My mom has rigged a swing from a tree limb in her yard.) Of course, it was a bazillion degrees, plus my dad was busy at the grille and my mom was busy in the kitchen, and my brother and SIL had not yet arrived. I volunteered, and out we went. AC wanted to strap himself in--he is a big boy now, after all--so my only job was pulling the swing back as far as it would go and releasing him. If I didn't catch the swing on each upswing, it would get crooked, so I ended up having quite a workout. As soon as his parents arrived, he decided he'd rather chase his dad around the yard, so I got to sneak back in to the airconditioning. Later, I went outside again (everyone else was tending to his younger brother, who was just waking from a nap) and he wanted to show me a bug. He told me he wanted me to pick it up. I told him I wasn't going to do that. (Bleah!) Turns out, it was a cicada shell, not actually a living bug. I got brave and picked it off the tree for him to look at up close. I think he was impressed, because he wouldn't let me get too close to him with the "bug". . .although he did ask if we could pull the legs off. Ummm, no.

During lunch, he decided my brother was Patrick from Sponge Bob. Apparently, this is a game they play quite a bit, because my brother has a special voice he uses for Patrick and Patrick likes to encourage AC to eat lunch by telling him he should eat up his "crabby cakes." It was hilarious to see them playing pretend like that! I've never watched Sponge Bob, so my brother had some explaining to do for us non-fans. K and I were both cracking up to hear AC's tiny voice saying "Patrick. . ." and then my brother responding in a silly voice.
The little guy (CT) is about 17 months old, and cute as a button. He was waking up from a nap just as we were sitting down to lunch, so he wasn't quite up to all of his usual antics. I did find out that apparently, he's very sensitive to people telling him "no" or using a loud/harsh tone of voice towards him. My mom says my brother was the same way at that age--she thinks he would just get really embarrassed when he was caught getting in trouble, and that caused a burst of tears. Same thing for the small fry. I was proud to see that he's still seperating his food (I don't like foods to touch, neither does he) and he has learned a couple of funny new tricks. He'll point out each of his facial features when asked (i.e.: where is your nose?), but when it comes to tongue, he opens his mouth wide and sticks out his tongue long, Gene Simmons-style. He'll also make a funny suspicious face when asked if his food is hot. My mom thinks the face is so funny that she asks him if his food is hot A LOT just to see the face. . .and then she pretends to blow on the food. CT still thinks K's little tiny soul patch is stare-worthy, and that always makes for a good game at lunch. (CT stares at K, K makes funny faces and makes the little beard bush out, etc.)
We're going to have to find an excuse to see them in September--it's a rare month without a special occasion in our family.

#9: Weeknight Dinner

One night last week, I made another quiche--it's become one of K's favorite dishes that I make. Weird, right? I think I make it differently each time. A couple of weeks ago, my bacon had spoiled, so I used an 8oz package of lunch meat (smoked turkey) cut into small pieces. That time, I threw a little diced garlic in with the onion when I sauteed them.

Last week, K requested another quiche, and suggested I include TurkeyRoni in addition to the smoked turkey. So I did about six ounces of turkey and maybe three ounces of T-Roni (as it's called in our house). I also left the onions uncooked, since I was in a hurry, and it turned out great.

I think my next quiche adventure will have to include making two and freezing one to see how well it works in the freezer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

OMG. Cupcake Heaven!

I may be on a total sugar high, but I do believe I've died and gone to cupcake heaven.

How have I not known about this place until now?
Some kind soul just delivered Polkadots cupcakes to our office. I don't know who it was, but I want to hug him/her!
I managed to make it to the kitchen before the vultures I work with devoured all the delicious treats, and WOW, am I glad I did. The inside of the box looked like a party--each cupcake was different, but beautiful. I had to stand there in awe and admire it for just a minutes. Naturally, I immediately started peeking around to see if I could find a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Score! Back at my desk, I peeled back the paper and took a huge first bite. Only to be surprised by a vanilla bean pudding filling. OMG. That's when I died. Luckily, I was able to revive myself with another bite. Swoon! Further research tells me I likely enjoyed a Boston Creme Pie cupcake. Love! I see these taste treats in my future. Just like I see an evening of shredding on tonight's agenda. Know what? Worth every calorie.
And it's a damn good thing this place wasn't open when I was at UT. My apartment was at 28th & Rio Grande! Ooohhh, but maybe I could've worked there. . .like that would be any better for my waistline.

#31: Reading

I just realized I haven't updated for the past three books I've read! Well, I've updated goodreads, but I want to be sure and make a note for posterity here, too.

Just before/during/and after our early August vacation to Boston, I finished the Twilight series. The third book, Eclipse, was my favorite of the series, I think. Actually, it may have been my favorite book because I was looking for answers to a lot of questions the second book raised, and the book answered them in a satisfying way. Of course, all of the books are now kindof blending together in my head, so I might be wrong about which is which, but I liked learning all the werewolf lore and the rest of the background stories about characters that didn't seem fully developed previously. Of course, there's the cliffhanger of who Bella will choose, but luckily I didn't start the series until the last book was about to be released, so I didn't have long to wait to find out.

Coming home from Boston, I started Breaking Dawn. And that is one long book! Luckily (I guess) we ended up with a bunch of flight delays, so I had plenty of book to keep me from getting bored and annoying the bejeezus out of K. True confession: I got teary during more than one part of the book. That's at least as embarrasing as getting teary at the end of Harry Potter, right?? I'll blame stress from flight issues and ummm, lack of sleep due to vacation. Okay, okay, so the wedding was dreamy! And then the honeymoon was a little weird. The story took a direction I did not expect, or particularly enjoy, although I think the final outcome was good. Bella gets everything she wants, after all. I can appreciate a happy ending. I would like to read more about the Cullens, though, or even Jacob and his adventures with Nessie. Surely Stephanie Meyer isn't ready to let the Twilight characters (or the revenue they generate for her) go, yet?

I probably should've taken my book club book for August on vacation, but who wants to read about people dying from tuberculosis when teen vampire angst is available? ;o) I finally FINALLY finished Mountains Beyond Mountains, though not in time for my book club meeting. I was about half-way through for the discussion. I'm glad we read this book, although it was a bit much for our book club right after Three Cups of Tea. This book was definitely an eye-opener about global problems I didn't realize still existed. It was also interesting to compare and contrast Dr. Farmer and Greg Mortenson, both to see the similarities and differences between two men who have taken on such huge problems and their approach to solving them. Honestly, I like Dr. Farmer best. However, I realize that may be due to how each man was presented. Mortenson tells his co-author that he should ask people for the good, bad, and ugly about working with him, and I think that came out in the book. Kidder definitely presents Dr. Farmer in a glowing light, but I fell for it. My only complaint about this group is that the core people in the book have kindof a short hand with each other than includes a lot of abbreviations. I had trouble keeping track of those. Portions of the book were a little bit dry because of the medical or political aspects of the story, and I found those slow but necessary.

Our next book club book is Listening is an Act of Love, and I've just started it. So far, I'm enjoying reading a few stories each night. But I'll be back to fiction soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Six is Enough

Thanks again to Joyco, I am unable to resist a blog game!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you: Joyco

2. Mention the rules on your blog.

3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.

4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking to them. (Tag, you're it! If you haven't played already, now's your chance.)

5. Leave a comment for each tagged blogger to let them know that they have been tagged

Six Quirks about me:

1. Six is my lucky number. I don't know why, specifically, it just always has felt lucky for me. However, the fact that my anniversary is on November 6 is actually a coincidence--it wasn't our first choice of dates, just the date our reception location happened to have available. Turns out it was a perfect day to get married!

2. My knees are double-jointed. Well, I don't know if that's the exact term for what they do, but I can straighten my legs out so that they are bowed backwards. I should take a picture some time; it's hard to explain. My brother can do the same thing. We get it from my mom. I wonder if his boys have the knee gene?

3. My maiden name and married name have the same number of letters, and end with the same letter.

4. I've never tried eggplant. It creeps me out for some reason! I have a feeling it would be spongey, like flan, and that would make me gag. Flan makes me think of eyeballs.

5. Nearly every work day at 3pm, I walk over to the cafeteria in the building next to mine and get an iced tea. Sometimes, I am bad and get one of those little glass bottles of starbucks mocha frappuchino, instead. Yet, on the weekends, I'm almost never thirsty for tea at 3pm. Maybe because I sleep later?

6. I don't like different kinds of food to touch on my plate. If foods are intended to mix (like peanut butter and jelly, for example), that doesn't bother me. But I don't like my corn juice leaking into my mashed potatoes (for example). I love divided plates for this reason, and I always bring my own to my family's holiday gatherings. My brother is the exact opposite--for example, at Thanksgiving, he piles his plate with everything he wants to eat (all smushed next to each other), and covers the whole plate with cranberry sauce (the kind from a can) and gravy. Naturally, his seat at the table is across from mine. Ugh! My non-touching food preference extends to items of different flavor, like candy. I eat one flavor at a time; I would never just throw a random assortment of Jelly Bellys into my mouth. Yet, that's my husband's favorite way to eat candy. Bleah!

Your turn!