Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas 2006: A Look Back in Silly Pictures

The Husband and I went to visit my folks on Christmas Eve. I know it kind of looks like they live in a Cracker Barrel, but they don't.

It was raining on and off, and when the sun came out we got to see a rainbow. We all thought it seemed terribly symbolic to see a Christmas Eve rainbow, but I don't think any of us knew why.

The sunset was spectacular.

My favorite part of Christmas Eve is when the sun goes down and we get to turn on all the lights.

Can't forget the baby Jesus!

Here's my Grandma's house. It was really hard to get these pictures outside because it started raining again, and my tripod was sinking in the mud.

If you turn your back on my Grandma's house, you see my parents' house.

Here's their hitchin' post.

We've been saving these fireworks since last New Year's Eve, but the drought was so bad all year we never got to shoot them off. This was the first Fourth of July in my memory when we didn't get to have any fireworks at all for fear of burning Parker County down. It may not be traditional to set off fireworks on Christmas Eve, but it was raining, and we were all together, so we thought, "What the hell?" I mean, "heck." We wouldn't think the word "hell" on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, we visited the other side of my family. Most of the pictures I took were goofy ones of my brother. In respect for his privacy, I'm not blogging them all over the internet for the whole world to see. But, there was a really cute Christmas tree ornament.

We also spent time with The Husband's family, opening presents and playing with the bay-bee, whose internet-related privacy I am also respecting. Most of the pictures turned out like this, anyway. He's a wiggly little booger.

I hope all y'all had as much fun as I did!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Very Whedon Season's Greetings

Many thanks to The Husband for such awesome Christmas gifts!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cafe Japon Revisited

I know I said that I wouldn't go back to Cafe Japon, but I decided to give it another try. The Husband and I were on our way home from work, and I really wanted some sushi, but I wasn't in the mood for the take-out place. The Husband is repulsed by does not care for sushi, so Cafe Japon seemed like a good option since they have a good non-sushi selection.

Fortunately, the sushi was much better on this visit. Everything tasted much fresher and wasn't at room temperature like last time. The squid wasn't stringy, and the mackerel was flavorful. I didn't try the salmon roe again, however. The Husband got the salmon teriyaki*, which was also delicious - not overcooked and dry like it was at Mr. Sushi.

I had my own problem with Mr. Sushi's food and their overly liberal use of wasabi. Another advantage of Cafe Japon over Mr. Sushi is that you can order single pieces instead of everything coming in pairs. I know pairs are more traditional, but sometimes I don't want that much of any single thing. I would go back to Cafe Japon before I'd eat at Mr. Sushi again.

Since I've only been there twice, I'm not sure if one visit was an anomaly or if they are consistently inconsistent. I will definitely give Cafe Japon another chance, and I can recommend that you at least check them out if you're in Addison to do some sushi-eatin'.

*The Blogger dictionary has the word "sukiyaki" in it, but not "teriyaki." Weird.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Musings from the Office

I work from about eight to five, which I believe is the usual starting and quitting time. I commute from the semi-urbs (good word, Dave) into the city center. I follow the same route to and from work. Can anyone explain to me why it easily takes 50% longer for me to drive home than it does to get to work?

Someone is holding a moron convention in my building today. First I noticed that a particularly well-dressed man was using his briefcase to hold open the automatic sliding glass door into the lobby as if it were an elevator and he was letting people on. But, he was just standing in the doorway, gaping at the lobby and everyone walking around him to get in the building.

Over at the actual elevator a large group of be-suited people all carrying briefcases were crowding into an elevator and muttering at each other. Then, they all shuffled off the elevator. Then, they all pushed back onto the elevator. Then, they started to get back off the elevator when someone said, "No, no. We're going to two." They all squeezed back into the elevator, and the door closed. Maybe it's not a moron convention; maybe they're having elevator training for befuddled executives.

Evidently the bathroom antics at my work can only get less amusing. I went into the first stall, and it appeared that the seat-sprayer was on her period. Gross. I tried the last stall. The toilet was full of crap and piss, but no toilet paper. Disturbing. How about the middle stall? There was a used seat protector stuck to the seat. Could be worse, but I decided to head downstairs to do my business. Somewhere on my floor there must be an office full of marginally toilet-trained orangutans.

I made someone cry for the second time in the course of conducting my managerial duties. She even said she was so upset that she thought she should just quit. I think I was supposed to say, "Oh, no! Don't quit!" Instead I said, "Huh. Really?"

I overheard a conversation that our cute, helpful, grandmotherly administrative assistant was having. Turns out she used to be a professional body builder. People might suck sometimes, but sometimes you find out they're really cool.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Duckling Drinks Pinot Noir

Indigo Hills
2001 Pinot Noir
$10-ish on the interweb

I have no idea where and when I purchased this wine. It wasn't on either of the receipts from my last two trips to Central Market in February or July, and the bottle was all dusty when I took it out of the cooler. It may date from pre-cooler days, and may not have been stored very well before this year. Keeping that in mind, it was still OK.

When I first poured it, I was a little put off by the color - a dull pinkish, red. However, it had a nice cherry aroma to it. Its main flavor was cranberry with citrus - very similar to a Cosmopolitan. Like I said, it was just OK. I usually like a red with a bigger, deeper flavor. This one was a little thin for my taste.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

The Christmas tree is complete! Until The Husband and I have our tree, I can't really feel the spirit of the season. Here's this year's beauty.

Just for comparison, here's last year's.

Now that we're real grown-up people, and not broke-ass college students or adorably broke newlyweds, we traded up to a real tree sold to us by a real hillbilly who made it abundantly clear that he works on commission. After driving by the grocery store and seeing trees for 10 times less than what we paid, I think we should have haggled. But, hey! It's Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Super Walmart for the Well-to-Do

The Husband and I made a trip to the new, ginormous Whole Foods last night down on the corner of Forest and Preston across the street from the old, unnormous Whole Foods. Overall, I give it a resounding, “meh.”

Usually when we go to Whole Foods, we head there right after work and have dinner from the little deli dealio before we shop. The little deli dealio offered prepared foods that you could buy by the pound and take home and put in your own dishes and pretend like you cooked it. Or, the person behind the counter would make a plate for you and heat it up in their crappy microwave, and you could eat it in the store.

I enjoyed this. The counter person was always friendly and patient and helpful. Most of the time, they gave you your food on a real plate with real, reusable silverware. Well, the new Whole Foods has a “hot food bar” where you dish out your food yourself onto a paper plate. I was open to this new procedure, despite my issues with change and the anxiety it provokes. And, I have to admit that the “hot food bar” had its advantages.

However, when we went to the seating area and got our silverware, I found that they only had plastic forks individually wrapped in plastic. Does this not seem like it should be against everything Whole Foods stands for? I really started to feel like they had sold out to the Central Market crowd.

Compounding my silverware dread was the crowded, hectic, loud atmosphere. I found myself having to tamp down a rising panic. There was just too much noise, too many hyper children, too much too much. But then, I noticed a woman carrying a music stand approach a staff member who was sitting nearby and tell her that it was time. Suddenly, most of the people began to drift away and the noise died down. I could see that several of the children were carrying instrument cases.

It turns out that they were all heading upstairs to a balcony overlooking the store to play Christmas music. Oh, they were terrible – out of tune and off tempo. But, it was also very charming, and once the tension of all those children waiting for the concert to start had dissipated, I could feel myself relaxing. It’s amazing how people’s emotions can fill a room and affect those around them.

Once we finished eating and started our shopping, I realized that the store isn’t really all that different. It had most of the same stuff we always bought, PLUS some things we used to buy but had disappeared from the old store. Like organic, all-natural, bleach-free pads – with wings! And Veat – the only meat analog product The Husband likes to eat! Not just Veat, but the bite-sized Veat, which tastes way better than the nuggets for some reason!

The rediscovery of Veat means we can start making one of our favorite, easiest recipes again – Veat Stew. Basically, you take a butt-load of minced garlic and sauté it in a butt-load of olive oil. Then you put in a can of diced tomatoes, some sliced green olives (with pimentos), and half a box of Veat. Then, spoon it over quick-cooking brown rice. Sounds weird, but it’s tasty and fast, which is better than gourmet as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, some of the new features included a dessert bar and cases and cases full of beautiful chocolates and pastries, a New York deli, and a spa. Yes, a spa. I did not venture upstairs to investigate the spa situation; however, I heard a rumor today that Whole Foods will have someone do your grocery shopping for you while you spa. I couldn't even bring myself to splurge on the shoulder massages they offered in a dark corner of the old Whole Foods, so I probably won't be having a servant-boy pick out my organic beet greens while I get a facial anytime soon.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Brokeback Jesus?

Spotted in the window of the L1feway Christian Store.

via Unruly Duckling's cell phone

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Duckling Drinks Chenin Blanc

MAN Vintners
South Africa
2005 Chenin Blanc
$9.99 Central Market

I don't have too much to say about this wine, although I really did like it. It has a very refreshing sweet-tart flavor, which mostly reminded me of tropical fruits - banana, pineapple, and papaya. It's not a complicated wine, and it won't make you feel all brainy and sophisticated when you drink it, but it's quite tasty, and that's what counts.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fun With Poetry

Obituary for a Very Good Girl

She always remembered
to put things on the calendar.
She could write a very concise memo.
She never wore too much make-up
or spent too much on shoes.
She didn’t always wash the dishes,
but she felt bad about it.
When she felt depressed,
she still smiled a lot
So as not to bother us.
When she died
We broke open her head
And found it as full of poems
As Emily Dickinson’s writing desk.
We looked at each other and shrugged.
“Hmm, who would have guessed?”

Friday, December 08, 2006

Online Eavesdropping

From Overheard in the Office:

5PM We Ran out of Monkey Wax

Research supervisor on phone: So, question: Monkeys -- apparently one got a rash during the drug trial but no one noticed because she was really hairy. Yeah, really, really hairy. She's a hairy monkey. What do you know about that?

West Point, Pennsylvania

Overheard by: Alison

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Little Pink Happy Flowers

After wallowing in tragedy like I was yesterday, I thought I would share this.

Last week my geranium was pelted with icy-cold rain and flung into a dark, unheated garage for several days while the temperature hovered around freezing. Once I got around to rescuing it from its miserable emergency shelter, it already had a tiny pink bud on it. Now this neglected little twig has three flowers on it and more on the way. It's amazing how beautiful things manage to persist.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Trail of Clothing Led Searchers to Lost Father's Body

I started following this story on Monday when a mother and two children were rescued from their snowbound car. My first thought was, "That's why I live where it's warm." But, after I read the article and saw that the father had left the car two days earlier to go for help, I couldn't stop thinking about that family. Before he left them, they had already been stranded for days with no food. The car was out of gas, so they couldn't run the heater any longer. They must have been desperate for him to set out into the snow without even a coat.

In the first stories, the searchers sounded hopeful that they would find him even though temperatures were dropping well below freezing each night. They starting finding his belongings and pieces of clothing and believed he was leaving a trail for them to follow. But they didn't find him in time. He died alone in the wilderness not knowing if his family would ever be saved.

Terrible, unthinkable things happen to people every day, everywhere in the world. I don't know why this story makes me want to sob every time I think about it. I guess this small tragedy is such a tiny example in a world of suffering that my mind can actually absorb it.

They just wanted to take a nice vacation. They ended up in a horror story.

How did they say goodbye before he left that car?

Did they have any idea it might be the last time they ever saw each other ?

What was she thinking as she waited?

What was he thinking as he walked?

When did he realize he was going to die?

How many times, in her mind, will she see his back as he walked away?

Unamusing Bathroom Antics

Every single day around 4:30 p.m. someone pees all over the toilet seat in the first stall of the ladies' room in my office building. Yesterday there was actually a puddle on the floor, too.

WHY??? Not to mention, HOW???

Why doesn't she just use a seat protector and sit down?

How are her pants and shoes not completely soaked with pee?

Does she take off her clothes before she goes?

Does she hold it all day until 4:30, and is that why it sprays everywhere?

Why does she only go in the first stall?

Is she doing it on purpose?

How does she think this is OK????

Monday, December 04, 2006


First of all, let me apologize to everyone, everywhere. I had nearly 2 bottles of wine on Friday night, and I know good and well I am a loud, obnoxious, opinionated drunk. Every time I drink too much, I spend the whole next day writhing with shame and regret.

So, to try to make it up to everyone who puts up with me and actually continues to invite me to alcohol-related events, I would like to offer to you: Bad News Hughes.

Bad News Hughes is one disgusting, hilarious, mofo. His most recent post about his encounter with a lumpy testicle and the drama that ensued made me laugh so hard snot came out of my nose. In fact, his medical woes generally make for excellent humor.

I think his true genius may lie in his photo essays. The Hughes Family Christmas 2004 is epic. Although his brother's wedding may have topped it. I can't decide if I'm disappointed or unbelievably relieved that my family doesn't approach the degree of drunken redneckery that his clan achieves.

Whenever you need a good laugh at someone else's expense, check him out. Click around in his archives. You'll probably be appalled, but you'll probably be laughing your ass off at the same time.