Monday, June 30, 2008

30 days

Well kids, Nothing witty or charming today, just a window into my sleepless little mind:

I have exactly one month to complete the following tasks:

* Have a wedding

* Have a going away party

* Fly to Ithaca to find a place to live

* Pack up all the things in our house to be taken away by the movers or to be taken in our little truck.

* Hang out with all my relatives that never ever come to the US

* Pack up all the things in our house to be taken away in our little truck

This list seems a little daunting, especially the first thing. Once that is taken care of and planned I think the other things will be easy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Northern California is Burning Down

I have had a sore throat for 5 days because of this. I realise that California needs to burn because that's just how it works over here but I'm really uncomfortable and sleepy. Can't we just keep all the fires in Southern California? I don't like it as much as the Northern one.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Time Zones

This morning I was woken up at 5:30 in the am by someone incapable of subtracting 3 from 8:30. My instinct at when the phone rings at 5:30 am is to assume that someone has died, which makes the chemicals in my brain go cuckoo-bananas! and I am rendered unable to go back to sleep, even after discerning that it was Don from Prestigious Traditional Homes or something or other, trying to rent a house in Lansing to me. Thank you very much, Don from Prestigious Traditional Homes or whatever it is your rental company is called, I do not want to live in Lansing, I want to live in Ithaca, in a nice house downtown with a yard for my dog, like the one you had advertised.

I'm so resentful at having been woken up two times by this same person (he called Saturday morning at 8:45 am - a more respectable hour but still impolite) that I can't bring myself to return his phone call. There are some other factors as well - feeling a little baited by his ad and also the knowledge that he's going to try and convince me to do everything via fax and email, instead of arranging for me to see it in person, when I make my trip out to secure our lodgings.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Attica! Attica!

Kids, I am moving to Ithaca, not Attica, as the poor moving man mistakenly asked me today. He came to give me an estimate on how much it will cost to take our whopping 800lbs worth of stuff across the country and said

"You're moving from here tooooo....let's see...Attica, New York?"

This is what I thought about when he asked me that question:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Valances don't make houses ugly, people do.

Ryan says I'm being unkind and narrow minded for complaining about awful "window treatments" in all the houses we're looking to buy in Ithaca.

"They were from a different era, Alice."

"Yeah? My parents don't have awful window treatments."

"Your parents windows couldn't have those kind of curtains on their windows."

"But if they could, they wouldn't."

Then I remembered the awful artwork that decorated my parents house when we moved into it, all those years ago. It took months, perhaps years, for the awful 80's prints to get removed from the wall space which they occupied, banished into the garage and finally into a garage sale and out of the house forever.

"But I would never do that. I'd take that stuff down the day we moved in."

He muttered something in Latin about not faulting people with regards to their personal taste. I retorted with something in English about pots calling kettles black.

I wanted to say something about not faulting the people but instead faulting the treatments and then I realised that no, I really was holding it against them for having such ugly floral curtains.

Valances don't make houses ugly, people do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I have written a letter-never-to-send because there were things I needed to vocalize and get off my chest, but I really felt that no one else should have to hear them nor do I think they would actually help the situation in any way, I hoped it would be cathartic. We'll see.

Maybe not as cathartic as the following though (warning, quite, quite NSFW and in case you're curious, the Wikipedia article on Norman Fowler):

A Final Indulgence

I finally feel normal. After 2.5 days of feeling really sick*, this morning, or perhaps late last night, I finally began to feel more human.

*sick as defined by, excruciating headache, sore throat, stuffed up nose and a general propensity to burst into tears for no legitimate reason.

It started when I got home from my incredible weekend. Here is a picture from my incredible weekend:

Margo, Me, Nikki, Larke

My wonderful friends, whom I suspect perhaps know me better than I know myself sometimes, surprised be with a trip to Cyrus in Healdsburg for an 8 course tasting menu. The meal was so amazing that we were still talking about it the next day. I'm still thinking about it and that was Saturday night! The wine! The sugared mint leaf that topped the first dessert course! The cucumber consommé! That, along with the bathing ritual in the Fairmont Sonoma mineral baths plus a barefoot Shiatsu massage! Heaven!

Then I got home, took a nap and woke up sick with Ryan's Cold From The Airplane. And for whatever reason, I was inexplicably emotional. Normally when I'm sick, I'm just sick. I get on with my life. But for whatever reason, my brain chemicals were affected this time as well and I felt so sad for two whole days!

As of this morning, I am snuffly but much cheerier. I've even finished editing a press release and writing an opening pitch. So. Here's to getting things done!

Friday, June 13, 2008


I'm terrible at multitasking. Admittedly so. My last boss complimented me on my admittance of this to him: I admitted it in an effort to get him to actually give me things instructions, instead of smiling at me and telling me to be a "leader" not a "follower" (and then saying "We want you to be a Superstar").

HOWEVER. When I am cleaning the house, I invariably end up listening to either NPR or This American Life.

Since my last night in London though, when I had the fortune to have a free "newspaper" thrust at me several times outside the Russell Square tube station, and while I turned the man down, because I generally turn everything down that is shoved into my face, later one that day, I picked up someone's abandoned copy on the train and it had a television schedule in it. An episode of Stephen Fry's panel show QI was scheduled and I watched it. In my little bed-and-breakfast with an airlock for a bathroom (this place seriously had an airplane toilet shoved into on corner of the room, sealed off like a walk in refrigerator). And I enjoyed it and have been enjoying it this week, instead of TAL and NPR.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


This weekend is my "bachelorette" (I really hate that word. Hate. Hate. HATE.). I am being swooped away to the Fairmont in Sonoma for a spa weekend and wine tasting by 3 of the dearest people to me. I am very excited. It will most likely be my last luxurious exploit before my departure into wife-of-a-grad-student land so I intend to relish it.

I am unfortunately missing Ryan's sister's college graduation. Actually, unfortunate is the incorrect word. Although I am disappointed that I will not be able to celebrate this rather important event, it is actually fortunate that I cannot go. Ryan’s strange ex-girlfriend, who has maintained a presence in his family's life, despite registering her utter mortification and disapproval at Ryan's engagement by way of a 1700 word diatribe about what a cruel, immature and unfeeling bastard and as such has no business getting married, finishing with asking him to never contact her again, will be in attendance.


She and I have never met, and while part of me would relish watching her squirm and another part of me would like to have words with her, inappropriate as that might (or my words might) be, the other, more important part of me, the part of me concerned with my own future comfort and happiness, would really rather just enjoy a weekend with my caring, fun, open minded, supportive friends, than be in a tense situation created by the presence and actions of such a ridiculous person, entertaining though it might be.




And while her correspondence did make me quite upset, her plan may have backfired though, depending on exactly what they were - neither I, nor Ryan, have been able to discern exactly what she wishes to get out of the situation. Anyway, Ryan and I got in an argument in the Tate Modern in London with regards to the validity of most modern art. In short, I really like Rothko and he does not. I felt quite badly afterwards because I, in a fevered effort to understand Ryan’s perspective, had placed words in his mouth. I regretted what I said fully, because it wasn’t fair and I knew better. I knew better because the whole debacle with this silly girl highlighted to me that he and I have two very different perspectives on some things, instead of “warning me” about what a “cold and withdrawn” person he is. And while he and I have lived very different lives, we have reached a lot of the same conclusions but not all of the same conclusions. Which should keep things interesting for years to come.

I’m so in love.

Life Imitates Fiction

Dick King Smith stories come to life in this article about a pig who is afraid of mud.

For the unitiated and unfamiliar, Dick King Smith has written numerous children's stories, the one you may be familiar was turned into an appallingly bad film called Babe based on his charming book, The Sheep-Pig. My favourite was always Daggie Dogfoot.

It is unfortunate that so many British children's authors just never made it over here, although, perhaps if they had, JK Rowling wouldn't have been elevated to the creative genius status that she has. Not to say that her books aren't good: she's just following in the tradition of many British children's authors that have written creative and compelling stories that are as entertaining to adults as they are to children.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interesting Things on The Internet

Found this today while doing research at work. Apparently this veterinary trade magazine, Veterinary Practice News, has a contest called "They ate WHAT?!". Contestants are invited to submit x-rays. This year's winner: A Burmese Python "that had not only consumed its dinner, a rabbit, but the electric blanket underneath the bunny."

The student prize winner was a dog that ate a stuffed dog. The (real) dog apparently has a "history of eating socks".

Check out the slide show of runner-ups.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Urad Dal

Good news!

Ryan and I made Real Indian Food last night! We bought some asafoedita to go with some urad dal found in Wegmans whilst on our jaunt to Ithaca (that's the sort of souvenir we buy - weird food that we have been unable to find elsewhere).

Perhaps this is bad news though. Because once I learned that I could make delicious Italian food at home that was usually better (if I do say so myself) than the stuff you find in most restaurants, I was put off going to Italian restaurants. I refuse to go to "Mediterranean" or "Greek" restaurants as I can make better humus and tastier tabbouleh at home for a fraction of the cost. Incidentally, most "Greek" or "Mediterranean" restaurants are called so as to hide the fact that they are serving tasteless, less interesting versions of Arab food, which is food I grew up eating, so I know how it's supposed to taste.

So perhaps now that we have the secret ingredient...I'll no longer like going to Indian restaurants. At least in this country. Because the 2 (well 3, if you count the deli in Russell Square at which I gobbled down 2 veggie samosas in a matter of minutes) Indian restaurants I ate at in London kicked the crap out of the restaurants in this country. Why? The food was appropriately spicy and flavourful. For a country that used to be famed for it's poor cuisine, the adopted national food of the British is far more adventurous than the Indian food in this country - and I live in the Bay Area. Where there are tons of Indians. If you didn't know.

I had leftover urad dal for elevensies, and I'm thinking about eating some more, except Ryan is probably thinking about having it for dinner (I'll bet he took some with him for lunch) and a really frustrating thing is to be looking forward to something you have at home to eat only to find it not there.


I have returned. I saw all of my relatives. It was beautiful and restorative and I drank more tea than I knew what to do with. I ate pickled onions and wensleydale cheese. My grandmother turned 100. It was Green, Everywhere. I watched sheep shearing. I visited old castles. I spent hours in used bookstores. I drank a lot of beer. A lot.

You can look at pictures from the trip here and here. There will be more to follow.