Plethora

on 30 November 2007

So there are a number of things that I could write about today, but nothing cohesive. Here is a list of things on my mind lately:

  • Le Petit Pit...GAH! It's the thought that NEVER goes away. I guess that's kind of a good thing though.
  • Russia's "elections" GAH! EAK was right, once KGB always KGB, what in the name of St. Nicholas is Putin doing?!
  • Christmas...oh dear. This means I need a plan of some sort. And also to do something about it.
  • This post from Whimsy. Holy CRAP cats!
  • The Husband has finals next week...I hope he PASSES!
  • There are approximately eleventy-one people I have said that I'll call or write or something and I haven't done it yet. Have been hibernating.
  • Speaking of hibernation, is there some feasible way to get more sleep in my life? I'm already going to bed at 8:00pm but I have to get up at 6:00am to get to work...what is to be done?
  • RSW's tenure review is on Monday and everything that I can do, I have done, but I really like her, I want her to get tenure!
  • SEB--I haven't heard from her in a long time...must email.
  • Work. It's like Chinese water torture...nothing busy just steady dripping.
Do you see? The scattered randomness of these thoughts? Please! Send help! Someone give me a topic to blog about and I'll see what I can do.

The Kindness of Strangers

on 28 November 2007


So the Husband had a meeting in Raleigh yesterday. I mention this because we only have the one car and usually he chauffeurs me around like the Princess that I am (not really, but a girl can pretend, yes?). The meeting necessitated me taking the bus home from work.

I have lived and worked and gone to school in Seattle. I have ridden public transit with some CRAZY people. One time a guy got on our bus and was promptly followed by two other people who were on the phone with the cops because the first guy had just broken into a car and stolen some stuff. He got off the bus and took off running. Another time we were actually shot at. I have seen most everything, drunks, junkies, hippies, old people, immigrants, and transients. It takes a lot to phase me and I'm fairly jaded. So, with that in mind I picked up a bus at 4:15 on Tuesday evening.

Now. I should admit that I was lazy and didn't check the schedule on-line. I knew I needed either the 412 or the 413 and that possibly both would get me to my apartment so I was lazy. I admit it. And the 412 got there before the 413 so I did the responsible thing and asked the driver if he would stop on the street near my apartment complex. He said, "Yes, sure, get on." So, I trundled aboard, swiped my bus pass and took a seat.

After about 20 minutes, flying past the street I had named and getting on to the freeway, I realized that maybe it was the 413 that I really wanted. I live about 10 miles from where I work. It generally takes 15-20 minutes to drive there. 30 minutes later! I mosey up to the driver and apologize and say perhaps I'm on the wrong bus, and my jaded self fully expected an eye-roll, a sigh, a "Hey, STUPID! Check the schedule next time."

What I got instead: Lovely driver chuckles and says, "Honey, if you'd taken the 413 you'd have been home already, but I'm going there now, you just sit tight and I'll make sure you get home."

I routinely wonder why I am blessed by encountering these strangers who are so unimaginably kind, who act with genuine grace and who fully restore all my lost and beaten down faith in the goodness of humanity.

The driver started chatting with me and we had this lovely conversation about places we've been and things we've seen and places we'd like to go. He was well-traveled and kind and wonderfully articulate. When the lovely Chinese woman stepped on to the bus he got up and bowed and greeted her in Cantonese. He knew most of his regular riders by name and where they were going. He knew all of the routes and regularly picked up the radio to give another driver directions. He spent 10 minutes at a stop explaining to a lovely lost South Asian how to get where he needed to go in order to get back to Chapel Hill later on. And he made sure that I found my stop.

It took me 2 hours to go 10 miles down the road, but I wouldn't have traded it for the shorter commute.

Blah blah Thanksgiving blah blah blah

on 26 November 2007

The Husband swears that at some point I promised to learn to like Thanksgiving and he would learn to like Christmas. I have no memory of this conversation and I think he's trying to covertly weasel me. My solution is that I will pretend to like Thanksgiving while trying my darnedest to make him LOVE Christmas.

Thanksgiving in Savannah was all that could be expected. The Husband and I went, wanting only one thing each (for me? NAPS! for the Husband? to shoot guns at orange disks in the country!) That was all. Not too much to ask from a four day weekend. Did we get either of those things? Nope.

Family dinner on Thursday replete with chaos and noise and more food than human beings should be confronted with and yelling--oh dear earth beneath my feet the yelling! and enough people that you could not possibly find 10 minutes alone. I did manage to hide in bed (under a huge mound of covers) for the bulk of Thursday evening. It is a gift. What can I say?

Friday was spent working at the family business (Russell's Trophies and Sporting Goods Store! A Savannah tradition since 1967!). Friday night was dinner with the FIL and then meeting up with Friends of the Husband. Saturday was breakfast with Grand-mama and more working at the store--we're stocking up for Baseball season--followed by pizza (mmmm. Vinnie Van Gogo's) and the longed for, hoped for, pined for bed. Sunday was cleaning up, quick visits, and then traffic. On I-95. For 6 hours. 3 of which were polished off by the howling Agnes. We very nearly left her on the side of the road.

What are we thankful for this year? Home sweet home. Bed sweet bed. Husband sweet husband. And our own space.

It's back to work for me. Back to school for the Husband--please send the man some good vibes, it's his last week of class and next week is finals.

And for those of you still interested we're due July 7th. It was hard not to go through the motions of Thanksgiving with the family without thinking, "Wow. This time next year, we'll have a kid." that's just crazy.

Did you do anything interesting for this weekend? Please share! NOW!

Expedition Everest

on 21 November 2007


So.

In July of 2006 the Husband took me on my first ever trip to Disney World. I have very strong opinions about Disney, but that is a rant for another time and place.

See. The Husband grew up with Disney, they used to go as a family and he LOVED it. He really wanted me to experience his Disney in the hopes that I would love it too. (There were certain things that were pleasant, there were many things that were decidedly unpleasant, but we're getting there.)

We had three days, so we had planned to spend roughly each day in a different park--squeezing two parks in to one day towards the end. We did Epcot with the very cool Land and Water exhibits and the less than cool rather kitschy country exhibits. The Husband took me on Test Track and then Mission Space. Which was maybe the meanest thing he has ever done to me in the whole of our married lives! You have to understand. I am not a roller coaster girl. If it were only very very fast (like Test Track) then I do okay. Mission Space is a giant centrifuge and they spin you until you reach some g-force something or other. I am a wuss. I know. I nearly tossed my lunch and had an indescribable headache afterwards. I literally was ready to abandon him in the park and hold a grudge against him for the next decade. We saw the excellent fireworks that night and the next morning headed to the Animal kingdom thing.

We went on safari and saw a bug's life and did all those things you're supposed to do. We got to go on this very cool ride through a hypothetical dinosaur environment and that was pretty cool. And then. The Husband does not always learn his lesson. He is hard hearted sometimes. He wanted me to go on Expedition Everest--Disney's new ride that takes you up the world's tallest mountain in search of the YETI. Does anyone, rationally, think this sounds like a good idea? Nope. But I love the Husband and I know the Husband loves a roller coaster so I suck it up and take one for the team. We get in line. We stand in line for an hour or more. We finally get up to the hateful thing and they put us in the FIRST car. I look at the Husband and I said (resentfully), "You soooo owe me for this." At which point he grins like a maniac and bounces up and down expecting me to be all excited or something. The car pulls away and up up up we go to this faux Everest.

People please believe me when I tell you that this ride terrified me on so many levels. It is important to understand this point so please don't skim past my abject terror to get on to the funny bits.

The ride takes you up the side of the mountain, inside where it comes to a stop at some broken up tracks (I think it's supposed to indicated that the YETI has been there and torn up the tracks, whatever, the ride itself is frightening enough without adding a YETI into the mix), and then you drop BACKWARDS in a corkscrew spiral drop down the middle of the mountain (and yes, I was in fact crying at this point), you then shoot out of the mountain and around the outside before they drop your petrified a** outside at the gate where you got on. The Husband tells me at some point a YETI also jumped out in the dark but I have no memory of the YETI and I told him that maybe it was while I was wailing in tears.

When I say this ride scared the crap out of me, I am not exaggerating or lying for humor's sake. I am being absolutely serious. I proceeded to sulk and he finally bought me an ice cream in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head (which I ate with relish, only wishing that I could have had blood dripping from the ice cream stick) and then gave me a good back rub later on so I decided to forgive him. Also he was my ride home.

The reason I'm telling you this is that...well, there's an 800 pound gorilla in the room and this roller coaster has become my metaphor for what this past summer has been. The honest truth is that the Husband and I are pregnant...well, more me than the Husband. (I know. It's all very exciting news, I'll wait while you all celebrate...and dear Whimsy, you can let out that breath you've been holding because you've done great keeping our secret.)

See. When I wrote this, I never really thought I'd be a mother either. I'm just not one of those women that aches for children. It's not me. Maybe because I'm a youngest child or something. But then I thought of my cats, and dude, I know it's totally supreme dorky of me, but I LOVE my cats and I thought, they're just cats. If I love them as much as I do, then how much will I love a child?

I am a big ol' chicken. Big. Chicken. Once upon a time I used to be fearless and then something happened, I'm not sure what, but I learned how fragile life can be and I just got scared. Scared of screwing things up, scared of failure, scared of...loss. For a long time I didn't want to have children because I didn't want to screw them up. I didn't want to fail at motherhood. I didn't want to face losing this child that you work so hard for and sacrifice so much for...and yet. We grieve much because we love much. And we can hold people and things and life at arms distance but then we never love or are loved and well, what's the point?

So the Husband and I got in that big line waiting to get on this crazy roller coaster thing called pregnancy. I was scared scared scared. I cried. a lot. And 4 weeks ago when that second pink line showed up I crawled back in to bed sweet bed and into the Husband's arms and told him that the car was pulling away from the station and going up the big mountain and I was sacred scared scared. and I cried. and he kissed my back and said, "It's okay. You've got me and I won't leave you."

I'll be honest. I'm afraid of pregnancy. I'm afraid what my body is going to become. I'm afraid of having this wee helpless thing to take care of. I'm afraid of failure and screwing up. I'm trying to have faith that somehow, some way, excepting the laws of physics things will work out okay in the end. And in the end, I am blessed with the Husband. With amazing women who remind me that my body was made to do this...that from great sacrifice comes great beauty.

So. Now you know. This has been the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The Husband wanted to wait until we were 12 weeks along, but well, the families know. The friends know. The bosses know. I may as well tell you, right?

So deep breath. Here we go.

Thanksgiving

on 20 November 2007

So. It's here. Again. And we're off to Savannah, for another Thanksgiving.

What are the plans, you ask? Well I'll tell you.

We'll drive down Thursday eeeaaarrrllly so that we can get there in time for dinner at 12. In reality we'll probably curse the alarm clock, get on the road very late, eat snacks all day, miss the dinner entirely, warm up leftovers and catch up with the family on individual basis's.

Dad owns/runs an awesome sporting goods store and we're youngest children and the Husband has had...shall we say...a turbulent relationship with his Dad in the past, so we'll end up working all weekend to show Dad that we love him, because we really do. But I shall probably grumble about it because I'm tired and want to nap.

My MIL and one of my brothers-in-law (and his whole family) are all going on cruise on Friday so we'll only see them Thursday evening.

The Husband briefly mentioned riding out to a "hunting cabin" owned by his uncle (shout out to uncle Marlon!) to shoot guns, because the Husband has an inner redneck and likes to do that kind of thing. And in reality I don't mind because this "hunting cabin" also has couches and indoor plumbing and central heat and air conditioning. Since the BIL will be gone from the family store, the Husband and I will probably bag the shooting plans and work on Saturday as well as Friday.

Sunday we'll brave I-95 along with the hojillion other drivers to get home by Sunday night where I'll probably be so tired that I collapse on the futon and cry for a while.

Theoretically, all of this working and family goodness will be interspersed with some fine food and (one can only hope) conversation.

I've been going to Savannah with the Husband for nearly 4 years. I still get nervous tummy. And they aren't mean to me...they're lovely. I'm just....nervous.



good grief.

Twin Bed Secrets

on 19 November 2007

So I realized this morning that I had officially written about Bed Sweet Bed without offering any sort of introduction. And since it's a fairly sweet and comical story I thought you might rather enjoy it on a Monday morning...so here you go! You can tip me later. I take cash or checks.

When the Husband and I got married I had a twin bed from Ikea and he had a double bed from the first half of the LAST century. Naturally, I informed him that I would not be sleeping on said antiquated bed. Sorry. It's not you it's me. So we got rid of his relic of a bed and slept on my twin bed for the first three months. I know. It will seem odd that we, two fully grown adults, chose to sleep on a twin bed. And why? you might ask? Because we're cheap. And also busy. So by the time we had decided to fork over the money for a decent bed we had to find the time to go bed shopping. The other problem was that we liked it. I slept wedge against the wall and the Husband some how defied gravity on the other edge of the bed. It was cozy. And there was much spooning involved.

We eventually made our way to Macy's a bought a proper bed. Queen-sized, pillow-top. It is all things comfortable and welcoming. We had gotten this amazingly soft Wamsutta sheets as wedding gifts so we promptly made up the new bed and got in it. I lay on my accustomed side and the Husband lay on his. At some point this small quiet voice comes out of the dark, "Where did you go?" It was so pitiful and sweet and sad all at the same time. The bed was HUGE compared with the twin. So I scooted in to the middle and he rolled over and we've essentially continued to sleep in the same space as a twin bed ever since.

When I was reading for my oral exams, I read Evgenii Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. I read the translation by Douglas Hofstadter and then read a bit from his book on translation called Le ton beau de Marot where he writes about his late wife and her struggle with cancer. She had always called their bed "bed sweet bed" and after she died he took to translating Evgenii Onegin. He talks about how he would get up in the morning and fix a cup of coffee and get his Russian dictionary, Russian version of Evgenii Onegin and his notebook and he would climb back in "bed sweet bed" and start to translate.

I read the whole story to the Husband. We made Bed Sweet Bed the place where only good things can happen. No arguments, no fighting, no meanness, not even fear--if we're reading a scary book, it has to be read in the living room.

I was thinking the other night about how differently my life has turned out from what I thought that it would be. I never thought I would be married. NEVER. I just figured it wasn't in my cards, that I was too set in my ways, too independent, too much the workaholic. And then...well, things changed. And it was odd. I resisted for a while. But I think if someone had whispered in my ear about Bed Sweet Bed and how wonderful the whole life with the Husband would be...I wouldn't have resisted so much.

5:06 Sunday

on 18 November 2007

The Husband is snoring softly next to me in Bed Sweet Bed. We've had one of those lazy Sundays that refill your soul and make you feel up to tackling the rest of your life. He's been rereading the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien...I'm rereading Bleak House, but then I decided to re-watch Band of Brothers.

I was watching the taking of Carantan and thinking about the cost of war. Not the dollars and cents. I think we all know that. Not even the human cost, we know. We know the fathers and sons and husbands. What we can't measure is how war changes us fundamentally as human beings. What I fear is that as a people we are becoming hardened. On the inside. That those qualities that make us feel connected to all other human beings regardless of race, religion, language or what have you are being eroded. Those parts that make us mourn with those that mourn because they too are human, and one day we too will mourn. Those parts that grieve loss because we too have lost. I worry that we care less and less about the violence and suffering done to others in the name of ideology...or what ever cause you want to name.

The problem is, of course, how to we turn this back? How can we undo the damage that has been done but cannot be measured? How do we return to that ineffable human characteristic that connects us with all other human beings? How can we at least stop the erosion taking place?

One of the reasons I keep watching Band of Brothers is Captain Winters...in his interviews he talks about this...the ineffable parts that make us human. He is quiet and kind and wise and I wish that I could sit down and ask him these questions. I fear he wouldn't have a concrete answer. What I fear most is that there is no answer.

Absence

on 16 November 2007

So I can explain.

It probably won't be interesting or funny, but it's at least an explanation as to why I have not been funny or...well, present.

I have been sick y'all. Sick in a bad way. Sick enough to lay on the floor in a dark room and wish for death. Sick enough that my insides began to emerge through my face. It was not pretty. I have tried to run interference and spare you all from the gory details.

You can thank me later.

For now...I'm back! And about as...um...un-exciting as before. BUT! There is semi-exciting stuff happening in my general vicinity. Shall I fill you in?

SH at work is about 2 weeks from her due date...SH is awesome so her kid must be awesome as well.

The Husband had his "Uninsured Bake Sale" yesterday. It's a group project that he did for a class...they had to do something to bring attention to the upcoming election. Yep. The election that's happening NEXT YEAR. Still! He wanted to raise awareness of the 47 million uninsured so they did this great bake sale where the pricing system was 2 tiered. One price list for those who were "insured" and one for those "uninsured." He used the Twister spinner to make the decision. It was pretty awesome. And also lucrative. They made a pile of money to give to the SHAC! Yay for the Husband!

There was no Snarky Wednesday food review this week because, dude, I have been SICK. But we went out Monday to the Salvadoran restaurant, which was great as always...I could seriously eat their salsa with a SPOON. And we went out again last night to Bombay Grille (where, they know us because we eat there A LOT) for malai kofta and pillowy naan.

The weekend bodes to be busy...visit the folks tomorrow morning, the Sister tomorrow afternoon with laundry and apartment cleaning in betwixt the two. I'm hoping for a nap. It's my Christmas wish.

Now it's your turn...what are you doing this weekend? And this is for posterity, so be honest.

in lieu of a post

on 13 November 2007

I am not funny today.

But Amalah is very funny.

You should pop over to her archives and read this very funny post.

Updates, various

on 12 November 2007

First, an update on the ongoing saga of the Los Potrillos suckage.

They POISONED the Husband!


He said on Thursday that he wasn't feeling so good. I thought, "Eh. He's a man. He's got a cold, he'll whine and get over it." Friday was the day from Hell. The day that will go down in infamy as the day that the Husband heaved up anything and everything in his almost totally empty belly. The day he puked in the sink. The day he dry-heaved in the parking lot. It was bad bad bad.

By 10:30pm he wanted Gatorade. So we schlepped to Kroger and bought the poor man some Gatorade. By Saturday morning the puking had subsided and he was on the mend. By Sunday he wanted biscuits and eggs and soup later on. All in all, it was a very much better day.

Curse you, Los Potrillos! We hate you with the fire of a thousand suns!

On the Christmas tree front, I think we're going to get the decorations out. Rearrange the furniture so that we can easily put up the Christmas tree whenever I decide to do it after we get back. And yes, I have to do the whole thing myself because the Husband? He is a Scrooooooge.

It's okay though. He has many redeeming qualities.

Friday JOY

on 09 November 2007

Maybe it's just me, BUT, I have these week periodically where they aren't particularly heinous...just generally irritating. The one redeeming point of these weeks is Friday: Day of Joy!

To make today even more Joy-able is that it's payday! Please, Internet, join me for a dance of JOY! (and also, I'm being Scarlet and trying not to think about my student loan payment today...I'll think about that tomorrow.)

So, it's 10:20 and I have no projects currently sitting on my desk, just my beloved copy of Bleak House and a highlighter all set for re-reading! I'm in a cozy fleece today and I have the prospect of 2 whole days ahead of me with not too much to do. Life is surprisingly good.

For those of you ready to gag about now, the Husband is sick. I've felt mildly feverish all week but told myself I was acting like a pansy and just go to work already! But lo, the Husband (who is very seldom sick) came home sick last night, took Tylenol, proceeded to wallow me like one of the cats, slept a whole bunch, took more Tylenol in the middle of the night and slept some more. Poor man. He's home sick today, while I am bringing bacon (whilst reading blogs and Bleak House all day). I'm gonna go home today and make that man some pudding. Because what cures a virus? Pudding!

So I have a conundrum for you. We're going to Savannah for Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Generally, I put up my Christmas tree (or as the Husband would say, our Chri'mah Bush--he's from Georgia...I don't ask questions...) the Sunday after Thanksgiving. (I LOVE a Christmas Tree, thank you for asking.) The problem is that we'll be driving home from Savannah that day with approximately 84 hojillion other drivers on I-95 so I know I won't want to put up the tree and decorate it after getting home. Which leaves me with 2 choices, and I'm chronically indecisive so I have come to you, dear readers, for assistance (The Internet...it's the NEW magic 8 ball!) I can either put up my tree the Sunday after the Sunday after Thanksgiving (also known as the 2nd of December) or I can put it up BEFORE we leave (also known as the 18th of November).

Before you get all head up about this, please know. I am not a Susy Martha Stewart. A Christmas Tree is the only piece of holiday decoration I OWN. And that includes ALL the other holidays. Also, you should probably know that the Husband strongly disagrees with me putting up the tree on the 18th because he says, "It's skipping a WHOLE holiday!!!" He is, apparently, outraged on behalf of the millions of turkeys that will innocently DIE to celebrate this holiday and cannot be bothered to put up a FAKE tree one week ahead of schedule. (Clearly, I disagree, but my loathing of Thanksgiving will be addressed at another time...)

So. Bring it on. 1 week early, or 1 week late? Your opinions please! Also, no Christmas trolls. I also celebrate Hanukkah--in company with my lovely Jewish friends.

Late Wednesday--Los Potrillos

on 08 November 2007

Here's the story. The Husband has a truly awful schedule on Wednesdays, one very late class that puts us on campus at the time of day when I turn in to a short, red-haired Godzilla marching up and down the streets of Chapel Hill mumbling, Food-Food-Food--blood...sugar...falling-- must...eat...food. And traffic is really only ever horrendous at this particular time of day so we've made it a date to stay in Chapel Hill and eat somewhere in the general vicinity of campus.

The routine generally follows: I leave work at sommat after 4pm and walk towards a lovely, musty old bookshop on Franklin Street. The Husband meets up with me at sommat around 5pm. We pick a restaurant and eat. By the time we're done, traffic is manageable and we head home. We've found some great restaurants this way--Mediterranean Deli with their creamy creamy lebnah (it's like cream cheese with SOUL). And Mama Dips which is that lovely kind of Soul Food that comforts you deep down in your bones.

I have avoided the food review type entry because 1) I'm a vegetarian which rules out a great many options that other people might find interesting...like the flavor and consistency of MEAT. 2) I'm fairly picky about what goes in my mouth. I don't like certain textures. I HATE certain food combinations. If you're interested ask and I'll tell you, otherwise I'd rather not discuss the very depths of my food-neurosis on the internet. I can see both sides to the issue that it's picky people who would give good food reviews because if they're picky and they like it MUST be good...but then if they're picky--what are they actually eating there? But I digress.

Last night the Husband and I promenaded ourselves out to Los Potrillos on Rosemary St. The Husband had heard some good reviews about it and the man lived in El Paso, TX for 2 years and worked with the Hispanic community there and he ATE a lot of authentic (aka Homemade by locals) Mexican food. He knows what's good and real and genuine and it seems to me that anyone with taste buds could determine what is not. So he'd heard that this place was good and we haven't found a Mexican restaurant that we like here so off we went with our hope high.

Oh how disappointed we were. Before I completely pan this restaurant, please allow me to tell you what Mexican food should be. In Athens, Georgia of all places there is this delightful little place where they make REAL Mexican food. We ate there A LOT and NEVER had a bad meal. EVER. Let me tell you about my favorite, just for old times sake. I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes (cheese, natch!) with a regularity that can only be described as habitual. The plate comes and it's 4 smallish cheese enchiladas tightly rolled so that only the outer layer of cheese is melted but the insides are warm. They are then covered in homemade green-chile-enchilada sauce and then topped with a pile of crisp lettuce, tomato (and you can get onion if you like, but me and raw onion---not so much) and sour cream (aka manna from Heaven). I think it also came with rice and beans but those of course were upstaged by the glories of the homemade enchilada sauce (it was earthy and tart and ever so slightly spicy). I cannot possibly sing La Parrilla's praises enough. And the people there are amazing! Great service, great food, not expensive...it's a win win win all around.

Los Potrillos? Not so much. We walked in and the whole place stinks of stale smoke. The place is empty--which in retrospect we should have seen as a warning sign to flee the premises as bad food was coming. But we are nothing if not willing to try. So we sit. We peruse the menu. It's all...meh. Basically your run of the mill Mexican-food-dumbed-down-for-American- consumption. But it got a couple of recommendations! So we try. The Husband orders the Enchiladas Rancheros and I order the Enchiladas Verdes. The salsa tastes like Pace picante sauce but the chips are good. Our food comes. I nearly cried. It was an oblong plate with nasty dried out rice on one side, beans on the other and two pitiful piles of melted cheese goo in the middle covered in CANNED green enchilada sauce. The Husband's was just as bad. We ate and it was nothing better than mediocre. The melted cheese goo refused to be masticated and slide alarmingly down my throat. Honestly, people. This is deplorable.

And since I would feel terrible ending this post in this manner, let me tell you something else. It is a strange state of affairs when the best Mexican food we've found in Durham happens to be at an El Salvadorean restaurant. We popped in to this unpronounceably named restaurant on the east side of Garret Road and 15-501 just to see what it's like. The parking lot was packed, the inside was packed with Spanish-speakers, the menu was in English (yay!). So we order, the Husband getting the Platos Typico (something with Chicken I think...I'm pretty sure I heard the word pollo in there somewhere) and I got the vegetarian plate number 5 (because I don't speak Spanish, y'all). The food was wonderful! The pupusas, next time I'm making a meal out of just those! With the spicy sour cabbage! And the creamy and delicious beans! And the salsa that tastes like REAL salsa! The Husband's had fried yucca and fried plantains and and and.

Let me know if you find this remotely entertaining as the Husband thinks that me being snarky about restaurants is a fabulous idea for blogging...if you agree it shall continue...if not, well, we'll put it to a vote!

The 800 pound Gorilla in the room

on 06 November 2007

So.

Not much going on here.

What's going on with y'all? (Did you notice how I casually worked in that Southern colloquialism?)

My attention span is shot for the day and it's only 1:21. That can't be good.

I can't seem to get in to a book right now either, which has never happened to me before. I've ordered yet another Dickens...his collected Christmas stories because I save up all my sentimentality all year long and then GORGE myself at Christmas time.

Since this post is soooo exciting, you should pop over to Messing with Texas and read hers. She's funny. And also has cool stuff to say.

Which apparently I do not. Today anyway.

Weekend Survival Challenge

on 05 November 2007

Want to hear something funny?

I survived the weekend> chores on Saturday, 3 hours at the mall suit shopping for the Husband, mammoth piles of laundry, baking for Family Dinner on Sunday, church AND the infamous family dinner. Yes, I did. With only 3 hours of sleep Saturday night and 4 hours of sleep last night.

Sometimes my life feels like the Insomniac's Limbo Dance Party. How little sleep can YOU survive on?! And the drama continues.

Family dinner wasn't nearly as treacherous as I had anticipated. I spent a good quantity of time with my 4 year old niece and 6 year old nephew pushing them on the swings of the swing set. It was one of those perfect Autumny days where it's cool and crisp and the leaves are beautiful but still on the trees so the kids could tilt their heads back as I pushed them and still see leaves on the trees. My sister lives on the outskirts of town so it's quiet and the light is golden. It was lovely.

My brother was...as he is. Funny and witty and charming and gregarious. And I watched him tell stories and chortle and eat and enjoy being surrounded by people who love him. I hadn't seen him for 3 years or so, it was nice...in it's own way. My sister is the calm of the storm, as always. My dad wandered from room to room wallowing in the presence of most of his family. Someday I'll write a post about the melancholiness of being my Dad.

Your turn: How was your weekend? Please tell me you slept more than I did.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

on 02 November 2007

The Husband and I had something planned every night this week. Guess how happy I was when we picked up the mail and there it was...shining like a beacon of hope in a long night of slogging away at social obligations! Netflix (can you hear the choir of heavenly angels?)! I had ordered up some travel channel favorites and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. It's that wee Irish independent that caused such a ruckus at the Cannes film festival a year ago.

Preface: Before I begin to tell you how amazing and wonderful and bittersweet this movie is--you should know that before I settled on Literature in school, I had set out to be a scholar in Irish History. I know. It's not for everyone... but it's lovely.

So. I thoroughly loved this movie. It's beautifully filmed, magnificently acted, fantastically written and fairly accurately representative of the happenings of the time. It's deceptively simple and assumes that the audience will understand Irish history/culture/character enough to understand without all that explaining to do. It's dramatic, poignant, violent, and at times frightening. It gives you hope only to take it away again. It is, in short, a wonderful film.

I loved it from beginning to end, but then Ireland is where I would live if I could choose of all the places on the Earth. It was invigorating to remember these things that I had learned once upon a time, and it was great to share that with the Husband.

That said, when the movie ended, I turned to him and smiled and said, "What did you think?" He looked at me (like a deranged cat) and said, "Well, I'm thoroughly depressed now."

Sorry, honey. Good news though! Tonight, fondue party! yay!

Obligations

on 01 November 2007

Tolstoy said that, "Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are uniquely unhappy." I agree and also disagree with this statement. He's implying that only unhappy families are interesting because of their unhappiness--which I disagree with. I find happy families fascinating. And I also think that there are grades of unhappiness. I'm reticent to talk about my family because, well, theoretically they may read this blog at some point, but also because compared with other families, ours wasn't that bad. My parents, I've mentioned before. My siblings? Well, I don't say much...my oldest sister I'm really close to--I love her to pieces. The other two--bewilder me.

I am a twin.

Let's let that sink in for a moment--people tend to LOVE this about me, I'm not sure why, it's not like I had anything to do with it. So, way to go Mom and Dad! I'm a fraternal twin--I have a twin brother. When we were born he was 6 pounds and I was 5. He had this thick black hair and I could not have been more bald if I was a bowling ball.

People inevitably ask, "Are you close?" That question is much more complicated than anyone who asks it realizes. It takes in to account all that has past, all that is happening (and in our case all that is NOT happening) and all that may happen. It's rather a distressing question as well since I cannot possibly be the only person accountable for the state of our current relationship.

Anyway, the answer to that question is both yes and no. We were very close growing up. There was no one I loved better on Earth than my brother. And even through school, he was funny and popular and sporty and I was...well, I was a dork. I made good grades, but was terrible at sports and I was never ever popular. But I was proud of him because he was, he was handsome and funny and people LOVED him. It was impressive.

Then stuff happened. We grew up. I managed to shape myself into my own version of cool--i.e. reasonably intelligent and well educated, wry sense of humor. And he...he went to school in fits and starts, never really settling into any one field. He got married. He had kids. He joined the Army. And in the Army he remains. I said some very unfortunate things about his wife that would have been better left unsaid. He said some unfortunate things TO me ABOUT me. The whole thing became this brouhaha in the family and I was cast off by the siblings.

It's okay. It sounds a lot worse than it was. My parents understood that young people say things impetuously that they shouldn't say so they refused to take sides. And really, looking back, those two years while everyone ignored me and pretended I did not exist--they were some of the best years of my life. It gave me the time and space to grow in to the person that I am today.

The reason I bring this up is that the Brother is coming. He and his wife and kids are moving from Texas to Maryland (he's being re-stationed) and they are stopping over this weekend for a family get together. ugh.

I'm not angry anymore. I don't hold anything against him, or anyone for that matter--I'm not a grudge holder. It's too much energy, holding grudges. Honestly? I'm exhausted and my stomach is twisted in knots. I get a whole Sunday of walking on eggshells and pretending to be...what I once was, I suppose. It's just not how I would choose to spend my time.

I'm sorry. I realize this is of no interest to any of you--that many of you, in fact, come from homes and families where serious abuse figured in to the equation and that me whining about my brother is not really anything but a pithy post. But it is foremost on my mind right now, and foremost on my list of things I'd really rather not do (like Bartleby).

Maybe Scarlet was on to something. Maybe I just won't think about this now, I'll think about this tomorrow and then put it off one day, and one day more and then at the absolute last minute when I MUST think about it...I will.