Friday, October 31, 2008

Lest you think I've forgotten my favorite Ecuadorian holiday, feliz dia del escudo nacional

Unfiltered late night blogging

Err, I wrote this late last night but didn't have any reception at my mom's crazy hill country resort place. And I don't have any time to reread it. Who knows what I wrote. Enjoy!

So much for another play by play. I can't even remember everything we crammed into today. Just picture a montage of the incredibly mundane, random assortment of tasks that go into pulling off a big event. Or perhaps some type of human interest segment on these kids today and their crazy weddings.

Open with footage of me making a manicure apt whilst unloading cases of beer. Maybe accompanied by dramatic voiceover about "honor attendants" caught between pulling best man and bridesmaid duties (cut to "reenactment" of KT and Richard sharing a blissful minute of engagement before devolving into argument over who gets to have me on their side.)

Cut to segments on How to DIY, where you will see such fascinating clips as: me comparing funnel ownership with Richard* as we wait for KT and Greg to buy PVC piping and cement**, steaming dresses in the back room at Whole Earth, the whole gang sprawled in the waiting room of Alexa's massage practice waiting to borrow her rug for the bowing ceremony, my mom and I busily doubling recipes and shopping for pie fixins.

Other segments might include Last Minute Fixes (Richard dying his belt to match his shoes) and How to Entertain Out of Town Guests (Greg buys cowboy boots, R and KT at the obligatory family clan hotel dinner, me at Ginny's for the second night in a row, making sure my mom soaks up some local culture. Where it happens to be their annual Hoe Down. Roll the credits as people two-step in overalls and pigtails and step up to the actual potluck in the bar, complete with corningware.)

And don't worry, there's still plenty on the cutting room floor.

*Because I know you were wondering, I have two canning funnels and one spice funnel, and Richard has a motor oil funnel and a funnel for brewing beer. Sounds about right.
**make sure to pronounce that SEE-ment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The marriage of the Lamb has come / The marriage in the skies

The answer to the cliffhanger questions are, respectively: Probably, apple pie/lemon zucchini bread/chocolate almond midnight, not today, and yes thank god.

Veggie lunch with Katie at Mothers where we reviewed chick lit and the general public's befuddlement at her refusal to fulfill wedding stereotypes such as centerpieces and cold feet.

A stop at Katie's work where she got out time sensitive material and I made some spare keys and chatted with my dad about the competing wedding he's attending this weekend.

An airport run to pick up ex-PVPAer and current fellow bay area resident Greg the photographer. Like all of Katie's friends I've ever known, he's delightful. And a ridiculously good sport... we immediately dragged him to the mall for slip and sweater shopping. Where we mocked the christmas decorations and convinced ourselves we're doing our part to stimulate the economy. Rather than drag our dresses along, we definitely each bought two things and plan to return one, so there is another mall trip in our future. Rejoice.

Then off to a particularly fabulous Austin singing! Besides the unfortunate double blow of Whitestown AND War Department, it was a great turnout and I got to sing i-ron twice.

After some fried eggs (fresh from Katie's sensei's chicken) we rounded out the night with a trip to Ginny's, the local bar. If it doesn't hold the world title of best country dive bar, I'm not sure what does. I sampled my first Shiner and dug Bill's friend's band. Stand up bass, steel guitar, etc. Bill even sat in for a couple songs and serenaded the happy couple while they took the obligatory dance. This is probably the closest we're going to get to a dress rehearsal for the wedding.

Someone get us out of this godforsaken hellhole. I mean, goshforsaken heckhole.

Despite all of our best efforts to avoid it, serious last minute planning is underway around here. KT and I have serious intentions to go slip shopping before making an airport run (yay, girly not-a-bridesmaidly duties for me!) but so far this morning has consisted of non-stop calling and emailing to and from friends needing shelter/transportation, caterers needing directions, and so on. At one point I answered the door for a package from Korea which turned out to contain a comically oversized outfit for the bowing ceremony. Now, if only my fancy shoes that match my fancy (not-a-bridesmaid) dress would show up too.

Will we all manage to cover our bodies with appropriately sized clothing, shoes, and undergarments? What kind of desserts will I make? Will we ever have time to meet up with our respective parents? Will we ever leave the house? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Visions of apple pies and electric sheep danced in her head...

Unexpected highlights of my travels included >0 hours of sleep last night, a stop in El Paso and a flight about 80% filled by the Japanese Air Force. Good times.

My first stop in Austin:


I'm already on a high of wholesome KT and Richard quality time (or maybe just the latte from their Brand New Fresh From the Registry Espresso Maker). And at long last I've acquired plenty of wedding related duties! Rejoice! On the docket for tomorrow is vegetarian lunch with my mom, shopping at R's store, and singing! I'm a happy Texan. Goodnight y'all!

Housecleaning hysteria

Nothing like an inaugural visit from Richard's parents to make housecleaning a little more, um, urgent than it generally is. For once, we bypassed our usual solution of taking everything cluttering up the living room and kitchen, hiding it in one of the bedrooms, and closing both bedroom doors. Here's a sneak preview of some of the fruits of our labor. (More to come once we actually finish cleaning anything besides the guest room.) Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.

BEFORE:
AFTER:
BEFORE:
AFTER:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes on cute celebrity weddings, No on Prop 8

Hey, I try to keep the blog pretty politic free, but I'm worried about Prop 8.

From the Chronicle:
A majority of California voters oppose Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in the state, but a new statewide poll shows that the gap has narrowed in the past month... the battle over Prop. 8, which supporters and opponents have described as the second most important contest in the nation, is drawing increasing attention. The poll suggests the race is anything but over.

If you live in California, consider volunteering some time for the No campaign. Here's a link to ways you can volunteer and an encouraging video.

noonprop8
No on Prop 8.



I can never quite bring myself to volunteer for the Dems, but I'm going to try and put some time in calling on this issue, because there's all kinds of nasty lies being spread by the Yes campaign, and it's super important people make an informed decision and don't amend the constitution over a wedge social issue. Plus the recent spate of gay marriages (especially the painfully cute celebrity ones) has really been tipping the scales in my love/hate relationship with this state. Don't make me move!

How could I forget to mention...

...our tour of the ranch in Quincy's family's tricked-out truck?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So it's NOT just a metaphor!

I just met someone from Wasilla!!??

That's all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bachelor/Bachelorette Bash!

We're finally back to the land of the living after a 3-day bachelor/bachelorette bash, otherwise known as 7 of us spending the weekend at Quincy's family ranch out near Kerrville. Many good times had by all. I've never had a friend who had an inherited manor built in the 1920's sitting on 11,000 acres of rolling hills before, so this was a new experience for me... very Jane Austen, all that lounging around in the good clean countryside and playing parlor games together. Deer were literally scampering past us as we played petanque out on the lawn.


There's R preparing to throw his petanque ball and me clutching his mimosa in one hand and an Igor Stravinsky mug (best mug ever?) in the other.

I have some photos here but there aren't too many and they aren't particularly interesting (please note mounted deer heads, and then imagine 70 more of them, and you might start to come close to the actual number the house contained). For lack of any better ones, I'll leave you with Quincy's footage of me, R, Alexa, and Jessica taking an "Ortonville" break as we made dinner on Saturday night (mmm, deep fried catfish...):



Only 12 more days of bachelordom and bachelorettedom to go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ugh

My boss closed the office today (we don't love Christopher Columbus, but we LOVE days off) except that I have so much work to do that I still have to go in this afternoon and do it. Fie on you, Signore Columbus, for taunting me with your federal holiday! (And for carrying over plagues from Europe and terrorizing the people who were living in the place where your ship landed and all that other stuff that I wouldn't be a good Wesleyan graduate if I didn't remind you of.)

On the brighter side, Bill & Quincy came over last night for dinner and a ceremony-planning session, and they brought with them the most delicious fruit pie I have possibly ever eaten, the leftovers of which I just ate for breakfast. Bill baked it in a heart-shaped pie dish (who owns a heart-shaped pie dish????), which he said we could borrow as long as we returned it to them in time for Valentine's Day. So. Cute.

Okay, that's all I got. Time to enjoy my last 2 hours at home. I want more heart-shaped pie!

UPDATE: Ha, my boss and I just discovered that we're both at home sending work-related emails. Since we're currently the only two staff members at our organization, I think this day off can pretty much officially be pronounced a flop. On the up side, at least I'm still wearing my pajamas...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Culture

Freshly back in CA, I spent the weekend soaking up some culture.

Saturday night was Steve's art opening. Just his stuff at this quintessentially tiny gallery in the mission, so very nice and low key, got to catch up with my mom, recently arrived in town, and Natalia, recently moved to a new apartment. And, of course, see the artist's work in all its glory. See for yourself at the gallery site! Since it's not posted there, I'll take the liberty of reprinting the philosophy behind the show here.
Intrigued by the omnipresence of carbon monoxide in the post-industrial world, and the human hunger for energy, speed, and physical pleasure, Baudonnet places smoking mechanical engines in domestic environments and documents the viscid foliage of tobacco plants in order to examine our love affair with and dependency upon smoke and exhaust. Flirting with these everyday, but nonetheless dangerous delights, Baudonnet visually explores our mixed feelings towards the air we breathe and the machines we rely on.

The whole thing was extra fascinating and surreal to me because Steve shot all the photos in the house. So I've been literally living in said "domestic environments," smelling the exhaust from the engine and watching the tobacco grow from infancy. (Here Inder and I thought we were just putting up with more clutter, but actually we were having a heightened artistic experience! Who knew.) Steve's favorite is the photo you see on the website, but personally mine is a shot of the engine placed on our dining table. And not just because I accidentally captured my own version! The essential difference in our vision? I went veggie while Steve had the chicken.

Then Sunday we caught the last show on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's tour. The album's been growing on me, but I was still hoping they'd be more impressive live. And whoa. They have this whole intensely restrained thing going on, it's really mesmerizing. And crazy good touring band including Buddy Miller and T Bone Burnett. Ah RP and his "relaxed leather pants" and hilarious rock star posing. And AK and her random power suit. And both their giant manes of hair. It wasn't much of a farewell show, RP called this album just "the book of genesis" and plans to continue recording and touring together. (But no Led Zeppelin reunion, as previously reported.) The intro to Black Dog? On banjo? Worth the price of admission. (Which was not cheap. Though we could have gone for free at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Why didn't we do that again? Oh yeah, because we've been wanting to see a show at the amazing Mountain Winery. I even got to visit with Master Chef Guru Kathy, who's an usher there!)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Best officiant ever?

This afternoon I sent an email to Bill, our wedding officiant, suggesting that he and Richard and I get together sometime soon to plan what exactly our wedding ceremony will consist of. Shortly thereafter, he replied:

How about an heroic task? Katie assigns it, Rich completes it, I judge it to be adequate. Voila, ceremony done.

I KNEW we picked the right guy to preside over our wedding.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Did she just say "joe six-pack??!!"

Not to get too political, but that was the first of many surreal moments of the debate tonight. It really puts into perspective that terrible government prof whose plebian of choice was "joe grab a sandwich." He spent most of his (and i use the term loosely) lectures working in references about Mr Sandwich while ranting about "young people today" and their inability to crack a non-internet source. Personally, I occupied that time trying to figure out how he could possibly be paid to teach one of the most incoherent classes I've ever sat through. But at least the closest he came to public office was talking about it in his ivory tower.

Seriously, I was expecting both candidates to start arm wrestling over who comes from a humbler blue collar background. Between that, the military sons, the waffling gay marriage talk, the anti-terrorist rhetoric, the promises of "change" from both sides? Do we need to call up google: "ralph nader running mate" Matt Gonzalez and google: "ron paul running mate" Wayne Allyn Root for a real debate here?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Girls Getaway continued

Look, I have pictures too!

Eric's mom made sure we started out both Saturday and Sunday with a hearty sit down breakfast at her favorite spots in Santa Fe. And it wouldn't be the day's most important meal in New Mexico without plenty of green chile (green chile bagels on Saturday, huevos topped with green chile on Sunday). Or lunch (green chile stew, green chile apple pie...) Or dinner (green chile enchiladas. Both nights.)

Good solid singing. Lots of eclectic songs. Saw some familiar faces from CA, TX and beyond, and met some extremely nice local folks. And plenty of intrigued Balloon Museum visitors who ventured upstairs to look on. Any more singing commentary, Katie?

Saturday night we headed back to Santa Fe, in which our attempt to make plans snagged on many variations upon this theme:
Eric: Ooh, what about that great restaurant?
Eric's mom: Oh, that place burned down.

Fires and the excessive makeover of Santa Fe notwithstanding, we made a good faith effort to revisit Eric's 15 year old memories of his hometown. And instead of creating any new memories, god forbid, we proceeded to have exactly the same evening Katie had on her last trip 2 years ago. I won't spoil the details, so that we can follow the same itinerary with those gentle readers who want to come along next time!

Sunday we had more good singing, bid farewell to Eric and his family, and checked into the Monterey Non-Smoker's Motel. Since Katie put me in charge of the itinerary for the weekend, I chose the place with the best name the cheapest non-chain place that got clean reviews. It's actually one of the better maintained historic motels along Route 66. Complete with "European hospitality" and pool, walking distance from the old town and river. After a little walking around old town and the tricentennial park, dinner at El Patio, which was as good as former ABQ resident Inder insisted it would be (even to stomachs initially resistant to yet more new-mex-mex cuisine), we indulged in a little nightswimming. Then in the am we packed in a full day of sightseeing... the botanic garden, lunch at the cutest vegan chinese place by the university, and the longest tramway in the world.

OK, ABQ tramway. Not to be a snob, but I have to say you don't quite measure up to the Teleferiqo in Quito. (And not only because I didn't get the same thrill of facing death, what with actually trusting your safety measures.) First off, way more expensive. Second, we got a big public shuttle thing instead of little personalized boxes with seating. Granted, you do ascend about 4,000 feet, the same as the Teleferiqo, but the Sandia Crest sits at only 10,378 compared to Pichincha's 13,300 ft. And, most importantly, your mountain vista? Kind of hard to top the Andes. My nostalgia aside, Katie and I took a lovely little hike over to the Kiwanis cabin, built in 1930s by the CCC for stranded skiiers. (Yikes, to be a stranded skiier in the 30s!) Mostly we oohed and ahhed at the existence of autumn.

Then we hightailed it back to the airport!! Single tear.

Let's do it again in 2010!

Oh yeah, L'shana tova everyone



On a related note, the tradeoffs of shopping at my local Lucky supermarket instead of the fancypants natural foods stores...

Plus: One stop shopping for your beer, your buttermilk, and your Rosh Hashanah card.
Plus? Minus? Your call: Listening to the guy behind you joke in Spanish that the two cases of Bud were his breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Definitely minus: Having the particularly uptight checker call you "young lady" about 10 times while trying to foist 5, count em, 5 plastic bags on you for your 3 items. (She wouldn't give me 0, thanks to liquor laws, but I talked her down to 1. Though I think she threw the rest of them away.) See, it's not all hippies and roses in California.