Saturday, September 29, 2007

I want to wear a crown of glory when I get home to that bright land...

Excitement abounds this week! You wouldn't have been able to tell it from a snapshot of the past hour and a half at our house - which consisted mainly of lolling around on various couches in post-sing coma with a half-dead look in our eyes, bellies full of convention food, and voices that have undoubtedly seen better days - but really, we're having fun, we swear! In classic convention fashion, Rebecca and I were up cooking until 3am, which means I should really be napping right now, but I'm taking one for the team to make sure we don't all accidentally sleep until midnight. (Really I think my blood sugar is too high for napping anyhow, thanks to all that apple pie I ate. So much mmmmmmm...)

The singing and the acoustics were terrific today, which always makes me feel happy and beneficent toward humanity in general. Two of my lovely newbie friends came by unrelatedly to hear the singing, which was in fact a significant number considering I only have about four non-singing friends in the Republic of Texas altogether. I did a fair amount of singing for the first time since my surgery, and I can still produce noises that resemble words, so everything appears to be in more or less working order. Highlights of tomorrow: a potential third newbie friend who's professed interest in showing up; getting to see Jenna; breaking in my new Sunday dress.

Unrelatedly, it is my belief that an ad like this could do a lot for the dwindling morale of the GOP. Honestly, who CAN'T undressed women convince you to vote for?

[Caption: "The party of women. Poland is a woman"]

Related article: Polish women strip off in bid to woo voters.



Friday, September 28, 2007

una chiste para todos

Well. Mmmm... insomnia. I resent the times that my excessively late bedtimes aren't actually by choice. I place the blame squarely at the feet of the large quantity of coffee ice cream i consumed late in the evening... i even ordered the "tiny" size!! Damn you texan sized portions. Can't wait to get up in 3 hours to meet Richard at the lake for canoeing! Heh. BUT - after running through all the songs on my piddly 512 mb mp3 player, I fell back on the built-in fm tuner, and the early morning comedy hour on "la ley." Yes, that's some quality programming. (What's the point of this story Rebecca? I like stories.) I'm not one for jokes, I seem to have inherited my mother's inability to remember punchlines. I know exactly one joke, only because I had to translate it to Spanish for a class in high school. And, just as I was about to give up on the comic stylings of el chulo y la bola - they told my joke! In Spanish! Oh insomnia, you were worth it after all. Well, not really. But - my joke!

Enfermera: Doctor, un hombre esta esperando. Cree que es invisible.
Psiquiatrico: Digale que no puedo verle.

(Nurse: Doctor, there's a man waiting. He thinks he's invisible.
Psychiatrist: Tell him I can't see him.)

Thank you, and good night!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Look at me, living my life instead of blogging about it!

Wow, I didn't know I was physically capable of going so long without blogging anymore! No pointless links even.

Finished off a relaxing week of ridiculously beautiful landscape and tasty food in Arizona, and now am soaking up my long overdue dose of quality time with R and KT. A visit soon to be new and improved, with cooper book singing and jenna visitation! woohoo!

random notes from austin:
- My first night here I promptly received my first mosquito bite of 2007. It was all exciting and novel... for about the 5 seconds before the whole texas mosquito welcoming committee joined in.
- Also turned on an air conditioner for the first time in 2007. first time since 2005, actually. Remind me never to complain about california again.
- KT's friend, after meeting me for the first time: "you two are so alike. you have all the same mannerisms."
Us: STILL??? We haven't even lived together in years. Perhaps someday we will cease to be the same person.

real details later. just wanted to prove that i'm still aliiiive.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not on vacation but posting anyhow

Apologies to my other blogging half for relegating her most recent post to second place yet again, but I figured I'd better squeeze something in while I've got time, since our main page has yet again become solid Rebecca. Not that I'm complaining, mind you! I'm a lazy, lazy blogger.

This weekend was Austin City Limits Fest... headliners included Bob Dylan, Bjork, and pretty much every indie rocker in America. Plus a few from England. My general game plan during ACL weekend is to hide at home and cook things and stay as far away as I can from Zilker Park without actually leaving the aforementioned city limits. But this year my friend R from high school was in town playing with Amos Lee's band, and he graciously got me a free day pass, so on Sunday I begrudgingly went. Actually it wasn't so bad. Mostly. It was nice to see R for four seconds, Amos is pretty terrific, and I even let Richard convince me to stay for Wilco's set, because I'm just that kind of amazing girlfriend. Then we got the HELL out of Dodge. Good grief. I can't think of a single band who would actually entice me to PAY to suffer 95-degree weather, the Texas sun (possibly the most evil sun I have ever encountered), and hordes of people just to see them. Not even circa-1997 Katie was that rabid a music fan. (Okay, let's be honest, of course she was. But at least none of the things I did induced sunstroke or dehydration!) And now all of you are six degrees from Dylan & Elvis Costello, because Amos is opening for them on their current tour and I went to school with his bassist and guitarist. So there you go. You're pretty much famous.

Also, just felt compelled to share that I'm biting the bullet and preparing to fast on Yom Kippur this Friday, for the first time ever... I might have to do the chickenshit children-and-invalids fast, though, and drink some water. I'm not sure I can go a whole day without. Perhaps next year in Jerusalem.

Okay, that may be all I got. Please join me in eagerly awaiting Rebecca's pictures of rocks. And please be extra-jealous of me that I get to see her AND Jenna in the absurdly near future! Austin is clearly the place to be, my friends.



"there's just somethin' women like about a pickup man"

(My mom took it upon herself to immerse herself in the local culture by listening to the country station. She recounted this song to me in hilarious disbelief... I maintain it's got nothin on "She thinks my tractor's sexy")

Soooo... somehow I extricated myself from jam central, aka my house, and found myself at a snazzy resort in crazy beautiful sedona. The past 2 days have gone something like this:
sleep late
go for a hike
swim, dip in the hot tub
eat good food (the first night we cooked in our full kitchen, the next night we ate at the local vegetarian hotspot, D'Lish)
read/watch dvd

Yeah. Vacation is pretty sweet.

Now we're off for 2 days at the Grand Canyon, so I'll probably drop off the face of the earth, internetwise.

Too. Many. Pictures of rock formations. Coming soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Just for Lauren

Because I had the pleasure of chatting with her EXTENSIVELY as I was preparing my last batch of fig jam, here's a visual. Hmm, I was looking particularly domestic today. You can't really tell, but my skirt even matches my apron.

As far as the jam goes, I'll just quote the latest post at old Scottish saying we’ve heard along the way that speaks volumes to the value people once places on local food as they made visits to friends and family. Here goes:

“Bring honey. If you can’t bring honey - bring preserves.”

Indeed. Look out folks, all winter I'm going to be bringing the preserves like nobody's business. Christmas shopping finished in September, check.

And now, I'm off for my 2 week jaunt through the Southwest, or as the locals say, "out east."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Report from this side of 25

Thanks for the birthday wishes folks! Seriously, I was rollin in mail this week! All kinds of cards and packages showing up here on Laurent St! Makes a girl feel loved. As for the day, 'twas a laid back time for me, I didn't feel a huge need for revelry, my treat is really my big upcoming trip! I did get some quality time in at the farmer's market (the first dates of the season, a flat of figs, orange Turkish eggplant) and a lovely dinner at Mobo sushi. I love their assorted pickles and huge selection of veggie rolls, and under the guidance of masterchefguru kathy we indulged in nerdy culinary analysis, just as in old times. I even got some presents, which I wasn't expecting! Chocolate, and a book on canning!!

Then yesterday I cooked for the last time at the HGP, where they were sweet to me as always, and sent me off with a gorgeous extra large bouquet and a card. (My fave comment... "my stomach is elated")

Look, pictures!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is it wrong that I bought myself a birthday card?

Inside: May you have a long shelf life!

I couldn't help it! We have the best cards at work. And my birthday DOES coincide with the first night of Rosh Hashanah, after all. It's definitely going up in my pantry.

And then there's this one! Too good. It hurts, it hurts.

Life goes on in NYC...

I've recently been following No Impact Man, as he somehow mantains a sense of humor while...
For one year, my wife, my 2-year-old daughter, my dog and I, while living in the middle of New York City, are attempting to live without making any net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets…

Yesterday he posted:
A day in our life
One of the questions people ask me again and again is to describe a day in the No Impact life. I always think it’s a funny question, because I’m so used to it now and it seems so routine. All the same, I thought I might as well answer it:

1. If I get it together, I wake up before the girls when my wind-up alarm clock goes off (no electricity)...

And KT recently reminded me of the hilarity that is
Overheard in New York (Warning: It's the streets of NYC, people. So, yeah, not at all family friendly, and the humor tends toward so-offensive-it-had-to-be-shared. But the best part is the anonymous demographic labeling.)

And eating local, NYC style. (more on the vogue of eating locally this season, when I'm not posting from work.)
Me again: Just had to come back and add a quote from this article, worthy itself of inclusion on overheard in:
Ian went on, “We try to run the farm organically. Our compost is composed almost entirely of manure from the Bronx Zoo. We use the manure of herbivores, like zebras and elephants.”

I looked at him for a moment, wondering if this was an urban-farm poker-faced joke, but he assured me that it wasn’t. I asked if we could taste the elephant manure residually in the food.

“Yes, you can,” he said. “I mean, we have a dark chlorophyll flavor in all of our vegetables, and I really think that you can taste the concentration of nitrogen. It’s a New York taste."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Voice rest redux

[NOTA BENE: Please be aware that Rebecca has also just posted, so please be sure to keep scrolling down. Her post would be sitting right here except that, unbeknownst to her, I have put myself back under another 48 hours of self-imposed voice rest (it became apparent when my new cyst-free voice started sounding as pitiful as my old cyst-full voice that I'd perhaps been, um, overdoing it a tad) and thus am once again trapped at home with no one to pour out my sorrows to but YOU! Actually, I don't have terribly many sorrows at the moment; my most pressing one is that I got distracted writing this paragraph and burned a pot full of quinoa. Damn.]

Jan-Erik - quite possibly my favorite boyfriend-of-someone-who-isn't-me, though I'm perfectly willing to consider conflicting nominations - is in town for a conference; he came to the sing on Wednesday and came out to eat with us afterwards, which was a fantastic treat. We're trying to plan another date with him, hopefully tomorrow night rather than tonight, because if I had to spend much time around him and Alexa and R all at the same time without being able to laugh out loud I might pop a blood vessel, for real. I suppose that would qualify as a worthy enough cause to suspend my voice rest, though... does blood vessel trump vocal cord? I'll have to look into that...

In other news, our friends E & S in Alaska just had a baby. E sent links to some pictures that a photographer friend of hers had her model for towards the end of her pregnancy, and although it probably violates all sorts of ethical codes to post one of them here, I'm going to do so anyhow for one week only, because damn, who WOULDN'T want to look like this when they're pregnant:

[Editor's Note: Photo has expired. Please consult other websites for pictures of hot mamas.]

E was the curator at the museum where Christina and I worked... yep, that's right, the one whose dog became deathly ill on our watch. In honor of Alaska (and because I just spent the past 10 minutes reading about it as I crawled through circa-2005 posts in order the find the one I just linked to), allow me a self-indulgent moment to re-post my Top Five Things I Miss About The Lower 48 list, which I'd forgotten I came up with... ah, this takes me back:

1. Fresh herbs (And, really, any produce that doesn't crawl onto your doorstep to die within minutes of purchasing it. Do you people know how lucky you are that your bananas have a "yellow" stage in between "bright green" and "dark brown"??? Or that you might conceivably get to witness a point in your scallions' life cycle when they still stand up by themselves???)
2. Shape note singing
3. Live music not performed by locals with more earnest enthusiasm than talent, bless their tone-deaf little hearts
4. Inter-library loan
5. Autumn (well, a little late for that, but a girl can still dream)

The good news? We get numbers 1-4 in abundance here. The bad news? 18 months in Austin and we're still hoping for something that resembles autumn. Wait for it... wait for it...

Okay, time to attempt another pot of quinoa. I'm off... please feel free to talk amongst yourselves.



Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just because blogger has a video upload feature...

(...which actually didn't work for me. But then I'd gone and written the rest of the post already, so I uploaded it the old-fashioned way.)

Boobies! The best part is the commentary from all the ecuadorian women - "que liiindo!"

Shameless postscript: some of my latest musical obsessions en español.

The Fray do Shakira!
This wins for best cover song of all time.

Quinta Estación - El Sol No Regresa
Y'all know I'm a sucker for a woman with a strong voice.

And ooh boy - karaoke on youtube! Because practicing spanish lyrics is DEFINITELY the best use of my time. Oh yeah.

UPDATE: Can't believe I linked to the above and didn't mention that Manu Chao's new album is out!!! Go forth and listen.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

they say it better

Oh man, this meme is such an enabler of my nostalgia addiction. I had to refresh a few times, but these are my favorite haikus, ripped from the pages of our recent blog entries.

Haiku2 for rebecita
heh oh a tidbit
of real life news got have
a backlog of things

Haiku2 for rebecita
even in spanish
here my only complaint is
that we celebrate

Haiku2 for rebecita
not to wait before
i even get out the door
to close it bracing

Monday, September 03, 2007

We never turned a stranger out / on the banks of Pontchartrain

Happy Labor Day! Did you know that we celebrate Labor Day in September and not May because Grover Cleveland didn't want to give in to those damn Socialists? Now there was a president you could hang your hat on.

This is just a quickie... we're hosting a grilling-and-dominoes gathering this evening, which means that my responsibilities for the next three and a half hours include, but are not limited to: preparing two side dishes, making salsa, getting all of R's camping gear to fit in the guest room closet (cut to hilarious cartoon sequence of Katie attempting to fling objects into the closet faster than they're falling back out onto her head, finally getting the last one in, hurling herself backwards against the door to close it, bracing herself as the door starts to burst back open, etc...), weeding the front path, and getting dressed. Thus far today I've managed to wash the dishes, eat some fruit, decide not to do any of the city-wide free yoga classes being offered (my tender little recovering nose still can't be upside-down for extended periods of time or unfortunate drainage issues take place within the confines of my skull) and re-learn the chords to "Lakes of Pontchartrain." Clearly I'm on a roll.

(Interlude: Oh hey Sheldon, I don't know if you read this but if you do - um, R stole some of your pictures for our convention flyer, because you take the best convention photos posted on the internet. Please direct all complaints and threats of lawsuit to the graphic designer; I'm just the messanger. Here's the damage:

Some of you may notice that some of our "Texas" singers bear a striking resemblance to your "Western Mass" singers. This is, of course, purely a coincidence.)

Okay, friends, I'm off to party like it's 5768. (Nerdy Jewish joke. Which isn't actually funny at all because it's Labor Day, not Rosh Hashannah. And I won't actually start partying for another several hours. Well, this post ended with a bang...)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

latin america blah blah

The Economist calls Rafael Correa A wannabe Chávez short of oil. Ouch.
Randomly, I know the woman who writes the economist's quito bylines. She and her husband, one of Rebecca's coworkers, are the ones who gave us their cat Blanca, when she was pregnant last year! I just saw pictures of her baby :)

EDIT (oops - Somehow the links didn't publish before. Let's try again, shall we.)
Updates on Pisco:
The Peru Food blog remembers Pisco
An American journalist blogs from the scene of recovery efforts
Hand On Disaster Response announces Project Pisco

Tidbit of real life news - got have a long lovely chat with MP last night for the first time in ages. Her bro is out of the army, check. All her sibs are in college now! She's applying to grad school for next year. She wants to visit me and schools in CA!

Today = strawberry picking with classmates H and C and little G, baking and housecleaning. Tomorrow = yardsale, new shift at the bookstore, and if I'm ambitious, singing in Berkeley more jam-making.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Gasp! KT has been posting more frequently than I??!! I have a backlog of things I want to share, but too much going on in my head and the world to get to it.

Mundane details of life that I can easily wrap my typing fingers around at this moment:

- My landlords have jumped into repair work, and contacters are currently overrunning the house and ripping apart the bathroom. Upside: Will soon have a shiny new bathroom minus permanent black mold and leaky/cloggy plumbing. Downside: The mold from the bathroom seems to have relocated, permeating the house in a pungent odor. (I invested in an air purifier so that I won't feel like I'm going to die every time I inhale...) Also, the timing is pretty terrible, this being the week I suddenly have lots of school-free time and overdue work that needs to get done in my kitchen / on my computer. The bathroom adjoins my room, so I don't even have any privacy during the day. Also, we have to bust into Colin's room to use his shower. Also the contracter calls me constantly to ask me questions / update me on things, even though I don't respectively know or care. I do kind of enjoy the ubiquitous mexican construction workers and their ubiquitous mexican radio listening.
- There's a tipping point where the temperature outside gets high enough that my icebox of a house is sort of warm inside. As in, I don't require snuggling under fleece blankets in the middle of the day. I want to say, 85ish? Yesterday was maybe the 2nd or 3rd day all year where this has happened. I officially declared it HOT. It's really been feeling a little like summer around here! Sunny and fog free. I actually shaved my legs and wore skirts! It's all very confusing and I feel weird wearing outfits I haven't worn since roadtrip 2005, or ecuadorian beach trips. Not to say that I don't still LAUGH UPROARIOUSLY when people complain about the heat here. Consider: No one has AC, and it's so breezy I rarely see a fan in use. My car is hardly uncomfortable after sitting in the sun all day. I don't require a daily shower. I often wear flip flops and a wool sweater.
- I spent 5 hours at the Capitola Mall yesterday. I'd never been despite driving past it twice a day. I just meant to check out pots and pans so my classmate can hook me up with her Macy's employee discount, but I got taken in by all the shiny wares and non-used clothing. And thursday before labor day = a gazillion sales, but totally deserted. it was almost creepily empty. I restrained myself from too many impulse purchases, since i was already investing in the kitchen stuff and air purifier (and a fruit picker for my oranges!). But I did leave with a new convention dress...

OK, that's it for my mundanity. Now for the required reading linkage. Is it just my selection bias, or is food politics THE issue these days?

Masterchefguru Kathy recommended the latest issue of Scientific American, this month's cover feature is "Feast and Famine: The Global Paradox of Obesity and Malnutrition." I obediently picked up a copy at the bookstore and it looks great based on what I've skimmed so far. Marion Nestle (author of What to Eat) weighs in, really interesting reports on obesity/hunger in the developing world, plus all the stuff you'd expect on nutrition, GMOs and food safety scares.

Meanwhile, eating locally is the cover story for the Metro Santa Cruz this week.

And finally, Twilight. Thumbs down. THIS is the series whose third installment knocked Harry Potter off the #1 best-seller spot?? Ugh.