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!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Things I haven't blogged about:

  • One nephew's birthday (the one that closed the door on teenagehood for him)
  • One niece's trip to the other side of the world (well, I am still waiting for all the details and pictures from her because she's actually still there)
  • Spring on the Seacoast, the opening of the windows, and the omnipresent scent of blooming
  • My search for a new job, and the dragged out investment pertaining to it
  • How the ball of the pull chain on my banker's lamp sits everso lightly on one cat's head while she sleeps on my desk
  • Some cool new software I got after a visit to the Children's Museum
  • My recent fascination with making stewed tomatoes from scratch (and, of course, the recipe)
  • My father's inquisitioning (an ongoing process, and enjoyable for me)
  • My shrinking mother (not what you might think)
  • The beautiful moon the last couple nights
  • The music I'm listening to these days (now that I've weaned myself off Michael Buble -- at least temporarily)
  • The Manchester Wolves
  • Another nephew's trifecta of accomplishments
  • Another niece's ivy league frustration
  • The travails of being a small business owner
  • How much I love my family (actually, I have blogged about that; just not lately)
  • American Idol (not once this season, and neither have I voted at all)
  • A new size acceptance rant (tentatively titled "BMI is a Crock," sprinkled with screen captures of click ads from everywhere, and started before BFB posted this one yesterday)
  • Top Gear (my new favorite TV show), and a bit of a crush on Richard Hammond especially now that I know about the crash
  • Playing Scrabulous, Scramble, and Who Has the Biggest Brain on Facebook
  • The sucky suckingness of having rheumatoid arthritis at the tender young age of 42
  • Our new across-the-hall neighbors and renovation in the now-vacant apartment above us, and the consequent activity, noise, aromas, and dust that accompany them
  • My plan to make billions of dollars from an old family recipe (maybe I don't need a new job after all)
  • Another cat's insane obsession with SmartFood
  • The fourth cat's obsession with the third cat (he just thinks she's so pretty and he always wants to play, but I sense she finds him a bit cloying)
  • A love of This American Life, which I used to listen to on the radio and now I listen to on my iPod, and the near-desire to spend money on additional cable channels that would allow me to watch the show version
  • Other stuff
Someday, I'll blog again.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

old journal entry

June 21, 1992

The weather is very summerlike today, which really shouldn't be a surprise considering that yesterday was the summer solstice. It's 93° F, but the wind makes it quite comfortable.

I went down to Carkeek Park, and for the first time since I started going down there, I parked my truck and wandered around on foot. I went over the "skywalk" and down to the beach (if you can call it that, there is very little sand to speak of).

It was amazing.

I took pictures of the Olympic mountains, which were clear as day, and walked up to the low tide. My sneakers are soaked and smell strongly of sun-rotted seaweed. Every step I took, it felt as if the soft soles of my sneakers were destroying hundreds of species in a single step. The stones were thick with barnacles, and strips of the tiniest snails I've ever seen peeled back like loose threads on an improperly sewn hem.

There was a group of children, all around 5 or 6 years old, playing in a tidal pool at the mouth of the pipes which ran under the railroad tracks. After having wandered the beach, I went up onto the tracks and walked down to that tidal pool. As I tiptoed from tie to tie, I found a half flattened nickel in the rocks of the bed. It made me remember the happy frustration of having put a penny on the tracks behind Grandma's house and not finding it after the train ruthlessly knocked it away. I picked it up, and put it in my pocket.

"I found your nickel. Thanks," I said to the non-existent person who'd left it behind.

I reached the spot where the pipes ran beneath the tracks and took a picture of the children playing below from that perch. Not five seconds after I snapped the picture, a train rushed up behind me. I walked, half sliding, down the pathway to the tidal pool, reaching the bottom as the train raced by. It was long and loud, and the kids screeched with delight as they bounced on a makeshift, driftwood see-saw in the middle of the water.

I walked back up the skywalk and headed for my truck. It's quite an amazing park, in some spots quite like what I imagine a rainforest to be like. I left content and looking forward to the time I have visitors here to share this marvelous place.

* This photo is of me with Katie, my "Little Sister" on a cold day in Carkeek Park a couple years after I wrote this entry. Katie is now 22 years old.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

it must be spring

This has been out and about lately.

On most days, it parks in a municipal lot for a couple hours. I saw it heading out of town this afternoon. Once, it was sitting in the lane next to my little xB at a stop light. It's way smaller than my small car. Incredibly small, really. And really orange.

Happy May Day. It may still get chilly, but here's to hoping we've escaped the possibility of any more snow for the season.