Saturday, December 27, 2008

random list

Dinner tonight.

* Rosemary croccantini
* Cambozola blue cheese
* Stonewall Kitchen roasted garlic onion jam
* Clementines
* Israeli couscous in cranberry ginger glaze
* Organic 3-year old extra sharp Canadian cheddar
* Green grapes
* Sweet onion crackers
* Forest mushroom pesto
* Maplebrook cherrywood smoked mozzarella
* Thai beef salad with sesame dressing
* Organic raspberries

A single bag from the grocery store where I never shop (except the onion jam, which was already in my fridge). A week's worth of grocery budget (which is why I never shop there), though there will certainly be leftovers. Beverages to be determined. A nice pinot noir might be good. Now if only I had a corkscrew and wine glass. And a dining room table.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

word wonk strikes again

It could just be me, but I find this thesaurus entry particularly enjoyable.


A1, bang-up, banner, boss [slang], capital, classic, crackerjack, dandy, divine, fabulous, fine, first-class, first-rate, grand, great, groovy, heavenly, jim-dandy, keen, marvelous, mean, neat, nifty, noble, par excellence, prime, sensational, splendid, stellar, sterling, superb, superior, superlative, supernal, swell, terrific, tip-top, top, top-notch, unsurpassed, wonderful

Related Words
acceptable, adequate, all right, decent, good, OK, passable, satisfactory, tolerable; better, exceptional, fancy, high-grade, premium, special

out of sight

Near Antonyms
bad, inferior, low-grade, substandard, unsatisfactory; mediocre, second-class, second-rate; atrocious, execrable, vile, wretched


Friday, November 28, 2008


I discovered Peter Welsh when a number of his paintings were on display locally. Lovely.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Cartoon blatantly stolen from Meet-shell's blog.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

fun with names

A meme of sorts from Lauren. First, do your own. Then go check out her blog. Incredible photos.

1. Rock star name (first pet, current car):

2. Gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe):

3. Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal):

4. Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink):

5. NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers):

6. Stripper name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy):

7. TV weather anchor name (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter):

8. Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower):

9. Cartoon name (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now):

10. Hippie name (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree):

Monday, November 03, 2008

vote tomorrow

And tonight enjoy the Old, Fat, Naked Women For Peace!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

dare you not to laugh

OK, yeah, so it's this cute cat sitting on a horse's back and rubbing affectionately against it. But the real draw of this video is the music. You must listen to the music.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

all hail the queen

To the Citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II:

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell- checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline)-roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth-see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body Armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby-the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God save the Queen.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

making fun of the 80s

This video is funny. Though I must say, I never thought that the sketched lead singer dude had a pipe wrench of his own. It always looked to me like sketched uniformed guy was approaching sketched lead singer dude as if he were going to hit sketched lead singer dude with his pipe wrench. Funniest of all is how seriously everyone took this video when it came out. Technological marvel, and all.

And now that I think about it, doesn't it seem this video may have had some influence on the people who write "Heroes?" You know, the comic book predicting what's about to happen? Whoa. Deep.

P.S. Props to Dreama for tweeting this, else I might never have seen it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a seasonal haiku

Autumn arrives when

The first fallen leaf becomes


Photo by Rosie O'Donnell

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

shiny object

I just think this graphic is pretty. If I were so rich that I could be truly fanciful, I'd buy a white car with broad doors and have this fabulous set of swirls magnified and painted on each side. If I were even remotely interested in body art, I could have it tattooed -- perhaps around my ankle or the back of my neck. Or I could dedicate myself to becoming a better letter-writer and have it printed onto elegant embossed stationery, with my monogram in gold next to it.

Or I can just blog about it. Play with it on the computer and pretend.

Here's my new 2009 Scion xB in Super White with a custom decal. Not bad, huh? All it took was the Scion website, the copy- and- paste function, the little Paint application in Windows, and some wrap points and overlaying in Microsoft Publisher.

And away I go! Beep! Beep!

Friday, September 12, 2008

wizzzzzzzz... there goes time

September already.  At what point did I become the old lady who constantly notes the ever-increasing pace of the passage of time? Oh well. No time for thoughtful and well-crafted reflection on the issues important to me tonight.  Instead, a bulleted list of things I just happened to think of this midnight.  

But before beginning the list, look at this fun picture.  Unless you are keen enough to notice Ted hiding in the photo, you might not realize that this chair is about 10 feet tall.  It sits in front of a recreation center in Kittery, Maine.  Cool, huh?  Anyway, I thought I'd include a fun picture.  Plus it takes up space before my list, that will allow the bullets to show correctly.  Weak attempt at addressing a Blogger issue.  That said, on first pass, it still doesn't appear to work.  So, forgive my bad list.  I'll try to fix it some other day.  Onward.
  • I love my new job. I love my new job. I love my new job.
  • Dinner tonight included two products from work, an incredible (and huge) tomato given to Ted by one of his customers, and delicious rosemary bread I got free for just as the farmers' market was closing for the day.
  • Over the course of 36 hours in the past two days, Ted opened our store and ran it for a few hours, went to a trade show, came back home, opened the store again and ran it for about 9 hours, did store-related shopping, washed/dried/folded our laundry, and brought it and a box of Christmas gifts upstairs.  What did I do to deserve him?
  • Nearly everyone in my immediate family is on Facebook now.
  • While watching a TiVo'd episode of Oprah, I stumbled across a virtual fatosphere celebrity.  Kate Harding appeared via Skype on a show about child abduction.  Totally caught me off-guard.
  • Last Sunday, My Mom and I went to service at the church I grew up in.  After I cried for about the first 20 minutes, it was like I'd never left.
  • A friend from my old online poetry days has returned to my life and wants to write more poetry.  I'm game, but I haven't figured out how to make it a priority.  Bug me, Doug!  I did write one haiku the other day.  It needs work.  Can I tweak it to acceptable and crank out 24 more to submit before December 1st?
  • Pedestrians who saunter diagonally where no crosswalk exists should be ticketed... or drawn and quartered.  I understand jaywalking, I do.  Sometimes it makes sense.  But have some appreciation for right-of-way when you know damned well that you're breaking the law.
  • I can't stop watching the movie, "Ratatouille."  I've lost count.  Does this mean I do actually have time to blog and write poetry, and I'm squandering it by repeatedly viewing the same show?
  • My current "think on it" advice comes from a character in "Ratatouille."
  • Tomorrow, I suspect, I will purchase the "Ratatouille" soundrack on iTunes.  I'm a bit surprised I haven't already procured it.  I already have the "WALL-E" soundtrack.
  • Blogs with dark backgrounds and light text should have a button that allows the reader to switch them to light background with dark text.  I know the black background looks cool, but it gives me an insane case of flashbulb syndrome reading it.  I've stopped reading some blogs all together because of it.
  • Some of life's big hairy complexities are getting, um, brushed.
  • The challenges I don't discuss publicly are still vexing.
  • I'm glad that September 11th doesn't hurt as much now as it did before.  Though the memory of that day is so entrenched, it's unshakeable.  Pearl Harbor, JFK's assisination, September 11th.
  • Sadie has mastered the art of perpetually banging her tail across the keyboard and my hands while I'm typing: she's quite effective at opening windows I don't need and entering characters that don't work. 
  • The practice of beginning a blog entry at midnight must stop.  I have a schedule now.
  • This boy has a voice and eyes that are clear and piercing. Wow.

An excerpt from my September 11, 2001 journal entry:


I should have written more. I’m completely immersed in the coverage of this day’s events. It started at the office. I got up early and ate breakfast at home with Ted, so I was at work before 7:30am and well under way with my day when I heard that an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center. It was about 9:00am, and the report said it had happened at 8:30am, although it was later clarified to have happened at 8:49am.

I thought, “what a terrible accident!” While trying to get details from the radio, I heard that a second plane had crashed. From the sounds of it, the planes had crashed into each other. Details were jumbled, but clarified slowly as time progressed.

People in the office immediately started talking about terrorism. I couldn’t get anything from or because Internet traffic was too heavy. I changed to 880AM – the same station on every other radio in the office. With the volumes turned up, the entire building hummed with the late breaking report of the unspeakable.

When the eyewitness reports detailed people jumping from the building, my resolve weakened quickly: I sat silently at my desk with my left hand covering my mouth and my right hand on the mouse unmoved. When the Pentagon was hit shortly thereafter, it began to dissolve. And when the South tower of the World Trade Center crumbled, I broke down and cried.

I envisioned the top part of the building lopped off by the crash and falling sideways to the ground – and onto the people – below. Kathy, who doesn’t have a radio at her desk and was frequenting mine for updates, came up behind me to get an update. I told her, with a flutter in my voice and tears racing down my face, that the tower had fell.  She consoled me as best she could, considering her own emotions had caused her whole body to be covered with goose bumps.

I cancelled the 10:00am online trainingsession that I was supposed to conduct, explaining to the participants that the Internet traffic would probably have an adverse effect on the meeting. I didn’t explain that I was emotionally distraught and couldn’t even think about spending an hour pretending to be thinking only of the WebEx Meeting Center tool.

The radio station repeatedly interrupted its own coverage with a canned “late breaking news here and now on CBS News 880” message. Several other events were reported, although they later proved to be false. One such erroneous report was that a car bomb had exploded in front of the State Department. Another said a plane had crashed into the Camp David presidential retreat.

A fourth plane did crash, but it was in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – 80 miles outside Pittsburgh. The significance of that crash wasn’t evident until a computer tracking of its flight path showed that it had taken off to the West from Washington, DC, made a huge U-turn, and was headed straight back to D.C.. For what purpose, nobody knows – yet.

The details of this day will no doubt fill volumes and be remembered for decades to come. I’m not certain why I felt the need to put them into my personal journal when they’ll be so largely accessible henceforward. I guess it’s my way of putting a personal spin on the day.  The truth is that I’ve been irreversibly wounded by this whole thing.

My eyes ache from the dryness remaining after a day of intermittent crying. I’ve felt so exhausted by the emotional energy required to follow the news that I fell asleep twice in the middle of the day – once around 3:00pm and again around 6:00pm. Never for too long, and always with this subconscious ear toward the ongoing newscasts.

I got home a little after noon, and Ted followed shortly thereafter. (My company's) president had issued a statement that anyone who felt the need to go, should go. I did. In fact, I’d asked (my boss) probably a full hour before (the president's) email if I could go. She asked me to wait and see if there was any official notice. I stayed a few minutes after there was one, but not much more. I’ve checked my email and voice a couple times this afternoon and evening, and hardly anything was there: everyone else stopped working, too.

The State of Connecticut closed its offices for non-essential personnel, and Ted was home by 12:30pm or so. I’d arrived home just moments earlier, changed my clothes, and left a message for Ted that I’d gotten out of work. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and was eating it along with some cottage cheese and raw carrots while sitting on the edge of the bed, watching the news when Ted arrived.

Until that point, I hadn’t seen any visuals except a single picture that I stumbled across in one lucky attempt to access That picture was of a fireball at the top of a WTC tower. It wasn’t until I was home and watching TV that I realized that news coverage of the first crash had allowed cameras from every angle imaginable to capture the second crash live.

Everything about this is horrible. I can’t imagine that our country, our world, will ever be the same. I believe that we will recover. We’ll be stronger. And we will do everything in our power to investigate the source of this terror and hunt it down. But I worry for possible restrictions on the overall civil liberties of all Americans, and mourn the loss of security I’d been lulled into in the decade since the Gulf War.

I crossed paths with a few people. Pam called from her cell phone early in the process. They were supposed to fly back from Florida this morning. They are fine and obviously staying another night. They were contemplating using the rental car to just drive home because she’s just not keen to get on a plane. I wouldn’t be, either.

Mom and Dad are fine. Mom recalled emotions of Pearl Harbor – an incident that she remembers vividly, even though she was a small child at the time – and compared this day as having the same emotional effect. They are otherwise fine.

I emailed my siblings, and Debbi is the only one to respond so far. They are fine, and incredulous as most. I called (college friend) Kim – who lives in Brooklyn with her husband – and left a message on her answering machine to let her know I was thinking about her, hoping everything was OK, and understanding that she is likely too occupied to return my call.

It’s 10:38pm now, and I’m going to bed. I don’t know how I’ll sleep. I don’t know how I’ll go to work tomorrow and what the conversations there will be like.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

sounds easy enough

Previous words of wisdom:

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
- Dale Carnegie

Saturday, August 16, 2008

if i had a band, i'd name it 'how soon is now'

In some general web-surfing this morning, I found a Wikipedia category called "List of bands named after other performers' songs." I knew some: Godsmack, Beat Surrender, Radiohead, Hello Goodbye, Deacon Blue, Shakespeares Sister, Death Cab for Cutie, and a few others. But admittedly, I hadn't heard of most of them. Cool. That page also led me to discover the categories "List of bands named after places," and the ultra-cool "List of band name etymologies."

'Kay, Wikipedia -- not perfect, but sometimes pretty fun.

Oh, and I'm more inclined to name a band "I Sleep on My Heart."

Friday, August 15, 2008

andrew bird

Sufjan Stevens meets Jeff Buckley, with a dash of Vienna Teng thrown in for good measure. Cool stuff.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

august already

Should blog. Been a while. Not today. Well, except this video. YouTube: the cheater's way to blog.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Time for a new "think on it" idea to ponder. For archival purposes, here are the previous words of wisdom:

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."

- Dresden James

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

six short weeks more

My niece, Sammi, and her mother came out to visit us yesterday. It was sunny and wonderful, so a visit to the Peirce* Island swimming pool was in order. This facility is truly awesome. Built in 1945, the pool is 100 yards long. Can you imagine swimming the length of a football field? At its widest part, it's 33 yards across. At the shallow end, it's 14" deep, and it very slowly tapers to a modest 6' at the other end. The picture at left shows the pool and its location on the narrow strip of island.

During the free swim time, there were about 10 lanes set up in the deep end for laps, and the remaining space was in four big sections. There were nine lifeguards alternately walking the deck, sitting high on umbrella-covered chairs, or blowing whistles to instruct those who dared roughhouse. There was also a good number of swimmers, swimmer-hanger-ons, and sun worshippers.

Grounded without appropriate swimwear, I relaxed in a would-be Adirondack chair (it was plastic, and therefore, not genuine) between a small stand of trees which shaded me nicely and the pool's edge where I could watch Sammi demonstrate her swimming techniques and show off some amazing contortions (she can make her toes touch her ears, just to give you an idea). It was fun to watch and listen to the crowd, and just soak up the general summertime glee that was thick in the air.

The pool is only open until the end of August. So I don't miss out on the fun this year, I'm now tending to my swimwear issue, and will definitely go back soon. And Sammi has volunteered to come back anytime. I'll have to take her up on that offer.

* Really. It's spelled "Peirce." It goes against every grain of my spelling-bee brain to write it that way, but what can I do? And yes, the street on the satellite map picture of the pool is spelled incorrectly! It should be "Peirce!"

Friday, July 04, 2008

i knew better

Ever work really hard on something and make the irrational decision to skip the second-to-last step because it seems frivolous -- even though you know deep in your soul that if you don't take that second-to-last step and the last step doesn't work as anticipated, you'll regret it?

I just spent hours writing an elaborate post that required much research and included both intelligent analysis and clever reference links. Somewhere in the middle of that process, the internet editor I was logged into logged me off. So when I clicked the pretty "post" button -- without having copied and pasted the entire entry into Microsoft Word as a safety precaution -- it simply told me I didn't have permission to post.

Attempts to go back to the last page failed. Refreshing the page failed. The only thing in my paste buffer was the last link I'd copied.


I could replicate it in less time than it originally took me to write and research it. Obviously, I'm more knowledgeable now, and my browser history will show me all the sites and pictures I need. Of course, whether or not I'm capable of replicating the level of logic and wit is another thing altogether. Regardless, even if it took me only half as long to rewrite it, I'd be going to bed as the sun rises. So, it will have to wait for another day. Probably not Friday. I mean, today is Friday at this point.

::grumble, grumble::

Monday, June 30, 2008


Found this cool application which takes whatever text you put into it and turns it into a word cloud. I went with the John Hollander piece.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


This little goofball is my nephew, Dan. The photo is one of about a thousand that my family compiled for a digital picture frame for my parents at Christmas. So I don't know when this particular photo was taken, though I'm guessing it was somewhere around 1995. Well, today, Dan (much taller and only slightly less goofy) was honored at a ceremony where the honor of Eagle Scout was bestowed upon him.

He's been a Scout for about 12 years and -- having voiced his desire at age 10 to become an Eagle Scout -- spent a noteworthy amount of time and effort in scouting activities. For his project, he built a bocce court at a local park for the town's Recreation Department (the same one formerly headed by his grandfather, who also served as his Eagle Scout mentor).

Dan keeps plenty busy in addition to his scouting. He's been a gourmet and able chef since a very early age. When he was 12 years old and came to Connecticut to spend a week with us, he came prepared to manage our meals. He brought a couple of his favorite recipes, and we spent some time going through my cookbooks to come up with ideas for more.

One of our first expeditions was to the grocery store where this pre-teen wunderkind convinced me to buy saffron -- a spice so expensive, you buy it not by the ounce but by the gram. By the end of the week, we'd enjoyed dishes like Banana French Toast and Thai Fish, and he'd hand-written his own cookbook for us. Oh, and we did also fit in some fun kid visit things like the zoo, the aquarium, the children's museum, and 4th of July fireworks.

Dan just recently celebrated his high school graduation, and will be going to college in the mountains far away from home to study forestry. We'll miss him, but his new vocation might well land him back in New Hampshire where there are plenty of trees to be found.

Congratulations, congratulations, and congratulations, Dan. We're triply proud of you!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Got a decision you just can't seem to make? Let random strangers from the internet make the decision for you at i can't decide. What a riot.

Here are the results so far for my quandary:

The choice I posed to the faceless masses was moot, as the CCGC had already been chosen -- despite my predilection for the MWP. The best part of this website? It gives me an ID number, so I can return to check on further voting. Sweet!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

wingin' it

I fancy myself a decent cook. I can whip up my regular dishes effortlessly and with consistent success, and have even adopted my mother's habit of not using measuring utensils (which frustrated me to no end when I was a kid and learning how to cook). I also have a moderately high success rate when following new recipes. Sometimes, I just throw things together based on what's left in the fridge/freezer/cupboards before the next shopping trip. This tactic once resulted in the now-famous and incredibly delicious (if I do say so myself) Esparagas* Tzatziki Tshiken.

Last night's inspiration was a recent trip to Stonewall Kitchen, and the decision to revel in the joy that is salmon. This became a two-course fish delight, where our regular salad course was replaced with an appetizer. Very unusual, but it was all about the fish. Dinner for two, coming up!

Herb Salmon Pâté
(enough for at least four servings)

o 1 can Kirkland Signature salmon
o 2 tablespoons Market Basket cream cheese (pre-whipped)
o 3 generous pinches of Stonewall Kitchen Seafood & Veggie Spice Rub
o Nonni's Garlic Parmesan Panetini

Step 1: Mix salmon, cream cheese, and spices together with a fork until blended.

Step 2: Spread onto panetini, and eat! Easy and delicious!

Note 1: I suppose, if you want to complicate things, you could use a food processor. But why increase the number of dishes to wash?

Note 2: This would also be nice on pita corners or any number of crackers. My newest favorite is Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits. Yum!

Tangy Grape Salmon
(two servings)

o 2 Kirkland Signature IQF salmon fillets, thawed
o 1½ teaspoons Stonewall Kitchen Blue Cheese Herb Mustard (separated)
o 1 cup red grapes, sliced into halves
o 2 cups carrots, peeled and cubed**
o ½ cup Rice Select tri-color couscous

Step 1: Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil on the stovetop, drop carrots in, cover, and continue on low boil.

Step 2: Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place salmon in Pyrex dish. Evenly spread one half-teaspoon of the mustard on each fillet. Layer grape halves over top of both fillets. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Meanwhile, prepare couscous per the instructions (I use EVOO instead of butter).

Step 4: Change oven settings to high broil, remove Pyrex cover, and move salmon to top rack, directly beneath heating coil. Broil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven, cover, and let stand for a couple minutes.

Step 5: Once carrots are tender, drain and add one half teaspoon of the mustard, stirring to coat evenly.

Note 1: This mustard is very tasty but quite strong, so be certain not to use too much of it or it may overpower the other flavors.

Ted is the in-house food critic, and he gave this dish a 7 on a scale of 1-10. I liked it, but am usually more critical than he is. Next time, I will use less mustard (which is how I came to offer the advice of Note 1), and I might squeeze some lime on the salmon. I also might be inclined to use the Seafood & Veggie rub on the carrots instead of the mustard.

Tonight, I'm going to experiment with chicken and Stonewall Kitchen's Maine Maple Champagne Mustard. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about that! I'm off to our store to do some work, and then to the grocery store to find a good veggie to go with dinner. Spinach? Broccoli?

* This is not a misspelling. It is the translation for "asparagus" from the Greek.

** Check out this website for t-shirts. Rock on.

Monday, June 23, 2008


This ribbon is part of’s Alzheimer’s awareness campaign. A $10 contribution to Alzheimer’s research is made every time the ribbon is clicked. Please click.

Thanks, Dreama, for tweeting/blogging about this.

Friday, June 20, 2008


If you're still catching up, click here to see Episode One. Click here to see Episode Two. And now, for your viewing pleasure and general enlightenment, I give you Episode Three.

Joy Nash rocks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

bob explains poetry

“It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts. The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound -- that he will never get over it. That is to say, permanence in poetry, as in love, is perceived instantly. It hasn’t to await the test of time. The proof of a poem is not that we have never forgotten it, but we knew at sight we never could forget it."

- Robert Frost

Friday, June 13, 2008


You know how some people drink to ease the pain? Here's my drug of choice tonight.
“Variations on a Fragment by Trumbull Stickney
by John Hollander

I hear a river thro’ the valley wander
Whose water runs, the song alone remaining.
A rainbow stands and summer passes under,

Flowing like silence in the light of wonder.
In the near distances it is still raining
Where now the valley fills again with thunder,

Where now the river in her wide meander,
Losing at each loop what she had been gaining,
Moves into what one might as well call yonder.

The way of the dark water is to ponder
The way the light sings as of something waning.
The far-off waterfall can sound asunder.

Stillness of distances, as if in blunder,
Tumbling over the rim of all explaining.
Water proves nothing, but can only maunder.

Shadows show nothing, but can only launder
The lovely land that sunset had been staining,
Long fields of which the falling light grows fonder.

Here summer stands while all its songs pass under,
A riverbank still time runs by, remaining.
I will remember rainbows as I wander.
Like when your blood is drawn at the doctor's office, and the technician encourages you to look at the picture across the room and tells you a story about a lovely boat trip so you don't focus on the sharpened steel piercing your skin, puncturing your vein, and sucking out your life force. The pain is still there, but the distraction makes it less noticeable.

I've loved this poem for years. Its complexity catches me up for long hours. It's easy to get lost in it. Just what I need.

new restaurant

The new Agave Mexican Bistro just opened in town last weekend, so Ted took me there for dinner tonight. It is safe to say that this was the highest end Mexican restaurant we've ever patronized. Maybe it's the introduction of the word "Bistro" as opposed to "Roadhouse," "Restaurante," (or just plain "Restaurant"), or "Bell."

Renovation of the classic building is stunning. Every detail is beautiful, and the layout covers numerous turns and nooks on two floors. There's a section with huge windows that open for a near-sidewalk cafe feel, though without the bugs (thanks to screens). There's a waterfall on the back wall of the upstairs bar. There's a fireplace in the back on the first floor. There's huge leather seats, wrought iron light fixtures, deep wooden window sills, and a universally friendly staff.

And then there's the food.

We started with the Queso Fundido, which is a fondue-like dish of cheese and ground chorizo sausage served in a hot stone bowl with flour tortillas. The concoction bubbled until we ate the last bit of it. Wow.

Then I had the Carne Asada Burrito. Though this is a fairly common dish available even at places that aren't called "Bistro," I'd never had one before. It was grilled steak in a flour tortilla with the usual burrito trappings (re-fried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onions), served with a drizzle of sour cream on top and delicious salsa verde. There was also rice with more beans on the side. Heavenly. And easily two meals. I was assured by our eager waiter, Josh, that it reheats well. It came home with us and will be my lunch tomorrow.

Ted enjoyed a combination called Tres Compadres, which was a mix of grilled steak, chicken, and shrimp with sauteed veggies, rice, and avocado. Although he's currently unavailable to tell me his assessment of the meal, I'll go out on a limb and say he enjoyed it. I base my assumption on two factors. First, he didn't offer me a single bite. Very unusual. And second, the only thing left of the plate when he was done was the avocado (he doesn't like it, but I do so it went into the doggie bag with my leftovers).

We each had margaritas -- he a traditional lime one, me a new-fangled orange one.


I had two.

But it was so good.

We also happened to notice some nearby patrons being served fresh guacamole. And I mean fresh. The waiter was combining the ingredients at the table and mixing them with a mortar and pestle!

All around, a rave review from us. A tad on the expensive side. About $100 for the two of us. But the three drinks alone were about $30, I'm getting a third meal out of it, and we left a 20%+ tip. (Do you think I've justified it enough to go again?)

Afterwards, we waddled walked around town a bit, past Strawbery Banke and into Prescott Park. Somehow, we found a garden we hadn't managed to walk through in previous jaunts. It was just wonderful. Three fountains, low craggy trees, a modest picket fence, benches, and flowers everywhere. The entrance was graced by one of the biggest Rhodies I've seen since Rhododendron Glen at the Arboretum in Seattle. We sat on the brick edge of the center fountain, and I dangled my feet in the cool water. We waddled wandered back to our car and headed home.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


A virtual friend of mine tweets that the song "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe has commandeered his consciousness, and it sets about this weird cascade of music stuff for me.

Step 1: The songs instantly wows to life in my head, and there it's been ever since.

Step 2: I add it to my "Video of the Day" widget on my blog.

Step 3: I chuckle that the title of the video I'm replacing is "I Don't Feel So Well" (which would make sense if one were poisoned).

Step 4: I remember that the Muzak at our store has been repeatedly playing "Mr. Telephone Man" over the last couple weeks (and it's as stupid and insidious now as it was in 1984).

Step 5: When I want to ensure that "insidious" is precisely the word I want to use, the online definition gives me, "a subtle poison."

Step 6: The song in my head gets louder.

Thanks, Paul! That was actually kinda' fun.

Monday, May 26, 2008

superheroes and caponiers

It has been a lovely weekend, though weekends are a construct for which I currently have no reference point (i.e. I'm unemployed). Interestingly, despite having worked a minimum of seven hours on each of the last two days, Ted still feels like he's had a "good weekend." That speaks to the quality of leisure activities, I guess, when they effectively make a full-time workday disappear.

Saturday, we went to the open house of a home for sale in Dover. We don't particularly want to live in Dover and we're not currently in a position to buy anything (see above mention of unemployment), but still, we look. This one in particular was interesting because it's listed at a price where smaller houses in Portsmouth are just starting to come down to. But because it's in Dover, it's a larger house with a number of desirable features that aren't typically found in Portsmouth for this price range.

That said, if we're going to consider Dover, I would far prefer this house for a mere $25,000 more because it's brand new, way prettier, with a 2-car garage, and geothermal heating/cooling. All moot points: we're not buying today.

So, we walked through the 60-year old house, and it was nice. It's easy to point out the things we liked (huge mudroom, first floor laundry room, great porch, quiet neighborhood), and the things we didn't like (weirdly sloped plot with driveway at bottom of hill and uneven granite steps up to house, narrow stairs both up to second floor and down to basement, original kitchen cabinets). Even though we're not seriously considering this house, this process helps us create the list of things we really want and -- as importantly -- don't want in our future home.

We then went to a movie. Desperately trying to make amends for my last movie choice (the only- marginally- funny- in- spots- and- disappointing- for- the- Judd- Apatow- machine "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," which Ted now describes as two hours of his life he'll never get back), I picked "Iron Man," which I've been eager to see since first hearing about it a year ago. Luckily, I redeemed myself. We both loved it. I seriously super loved it. I'm already thinking about going back to the theater to see it again, which I do rarely (I'm more inclined to overwatch a movie once it's in my possession, rather than repeatedly going to the theater).

I would like to restate for the record that I think Robert Downey, Jr. is truly a great actor. And I'm thrilled to pieces that he's the lead in a blockbuster movie, which will not only give him the opportunity for at least one I.M. sequel, but also the opportunity for more of any movie he wants.

After the movie, we went across the parking lot to Longhorn for dinner. Despite the fact that we've lived here now for what is approaching one year, we had yet to try this restaurant. It was quite good. I had warm bread with a crisp crust, tangy Caesar salad, and the Big Sky Bleu Filet (steak with melted bleu cheese and red-wine glazed portabella mushrooms). Mmmmm, yummy.

After dinner, we returned home and caught up on a couple episodes of Eureka's second season -- in eager anticipation of Season 3 starting July 29th.

Sunday's docket was slightly different but equally fun and interesting. After his stint at the store, we went to our favorite cafe for brunch (brunch = an excuse to eat breakfast at 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon). I had their always reliable sweet pea omelet, and Ted had the French toast. Then we decided to chart a course to York, Maine. Now, we've been to York a number of times and can easily get there and back without benefit of any sort of map. The difference this time is that we wanted to write specific directions with landmarks that we can hand out to customers who ask how to get there. OK, it was an excuse to wander around a beautiful seacoast town in Maine on a Sunday afternoon. We squeezed through the streets of Short Sands before heading over to Long Sands, eventually wending our way back down Route 1A.

Once back into Kittery, on a whim, we went into to Fort McClary, which was incredible. Even without the fascinating military history, it's a huge spread of grassiness on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. On an incredible sunny day with that ocean breeze, it was easy to imagine setting up camp and hanging out for a whole day. In fact, we saw several families who appeared to have done just that with folding chairs, beach toys, and picnic baskets. One couple brought along their pet billy goat. I overheard them telling one group of curious onlookers that he's a great pet and has never chased the mailman. Later, we found the three of them resting on the grass -- the billy goat on his own blanket.

We stopped for dipped cones at Dairy Queen then headed back home, where we did a little more Eureka catch-up and had red grapes and rice crackers for dinner (hearty brunch, ice cream... we weren't in the mood for a full meal). We turned on the ceiling fan to create our own summer breeze, and watched the cats alternately chasing sleep and each other. All in all, a lovely weekend. Did I say that already? Bears repeating.

Before I sign off at this ridiculously late hour, I found these two funny YouTube videos while searching for "Iron Man" stuff online. Rated PG, but funny. Enjoy.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

eleventh hour

In the past, I've blogged extensively about American Idol. Just last week, I mentioned that I'd avoided discussing the show at all this season (in this blog, that is) or even casting a single vote -- despite having watched every single episode and definitely having opinions on the contestants.

So, if I tell you today that two months ago I predicted a top two consisting of David Archuleta and David Cook, you could go, "oh yeah, sure you did, Kelly," because I have no concrete, public evidence to back it up. You'll just have to trust me.

We generally watch the show one day late, courtesy of TiVo and a bizarre life schedule. This is half the reason I didn't vote this year: I was always too late. Given how hard it was to avoid next day spoilers throughout the season, I thought it best to watch the final results show on the night of the actual finale (i.e. tonight).

Ted and I watched Tuesday's show first. We had a discussion as to who we thought would win and who we hoped would win. Again, I have no proof to back this up, but we generally agreed that Mr. Cook would likely win for two reasons, one valid and one a bit stupid. Before explaining those two reasons, it must first be said that they are based on the premise that both Davids are talented and equally deserving of a win even though their styles differ significantly.
  • Reason #1: Because 25-year-old Mr. Cook shows more confidence, polish, and willingness to take risks (that usually succeed) in his performances than young Mr. Archuleta.

  • Reason #2: Because Chris Daughtry didn't win in Season 5. Seriously. Like the Academy Awards giving an Oscar to a great director for a mediocre movie: because they failed to appropriately acknowledge a superior achievement the first time around. Get it?
Anyway, we watched the show and, although David A. certainly brought his game and was, as Randy Jackson says, "in it to win it," our opinion that David C. would win remained intact.

So, Ted heads off to bed (you know, up before the freakin' crack of dawn), and I install Firefox* on my computer and poke around for a bit. I decide around 9:30pm to start watching the results show (using the TV Ears so as not to disturb my sleeping husband). This will allow me to fast forward through all the commercials (although I did manage to catch the Guitar Hero one with D.A. in it).

I watch nearly all of the show, fast forwarding only through one or two bits I couldn't quite tolerate. I wonder how Syesha gets to be so lucky as to sing with Seal. I feel for Amanda who looks hacked off to be singing Donna Summer songs and stepping along to cheesy choreography. I puzzle over the presence of ZZ Top, even though David Cook completely pulls off "Sharp Dressed Man." I stare intently at Bryan Adams, examining the rugged terrain of his face. I'm impressed by Carrie Underwood's stage presence and fabulous outfit.

The end nears, and the Top 12 are group-singing "Faith" -- a catchy pop song of the highest order from my neck of the woods (i.e. the 80s). As soon as they segue into "Father Figure," a grin of anticipation takes over my face as the apparently slow realization dawns on me that George Michael is going to show up any minute now. Say what you will about tabloid scandals and professional absences, outsized talent such as his more than compensates for personal peccadilloes (this is true for other entertainers I admire like Robert Downey, Jr., who also appeared on the show).

George descends the stage stairs and sings "Praying For Time." Aside from a case of the sniffles and sunglasses that should only be found on the face of a 70-year old woman, I found his performance riveting. Entrenched in nearly two hours of fanfare and this last number, I find myself eagerly thrust into the final results!

The official Official hands Ryan an envelope. There is visible anxiety and talk of nearly a hundred million votes. He opens the envelope, and says...

"The winner of American Idol 2008 is..."

Dramatic pause.


Dramatic pause.


The recording is over, and TiVo wants to know if it should delete the show. In the span of a mere moment, I process the following facts:
  • TiVo sometimes misses the end of a show because it's run longer than scheduled. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
  • I specifically made it a point to watch this show tonight so I would know who won.
  • If the two finalists didn't have the same first name, and if Mr. Seacrest didn't have a flair for dramatic pauses, I might have actually known who won without seeing the end of the show.
Data entered and processed, I start laughing hysterically. Uncontrollably, actually. I try to be quiet so as not to awaken Ted. I fail. After muttering through the fog of sleep, asking what happened, he too begins to laugh at the situation. This only encourages me more. I laugh harder. And louder. And tears start to fall as my sides literally start to hurt. This went on for ten minutes. I couldn't stop. After all that effort, and I still didn't know who won!

Reason enough to blog. Now, I've spent far too much time here, digging up links and graphics, and fighting with Firefox. It crashed once while mid-Blogger. Hopefully it's not indicative of the type of behavior I'll get from it. If so, I'll hitch a ride back to the IE Express.

Time to go to bed. Argh. 1:50am! Good night. And congratulations, David Cook. ROTFLMAO

* To my reader(s) viewing this site on Firefox, my apologies. I had no idea that some of the graphics are blocky and overlapping in spots. Believe me when I say it always looked fine in IE, or I would have changed it to look fine. Now, if I continue using Firefox, I'll have to check both places, and hope that I'm capable of fixing it!