Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wedding Dinner Update

I love October -- I'd go so far as to say it's my favorite month; don't tell August, wicked temper -- but as far as pay days go, this month dragged. With my online sales, plus a couple of unexpected but very appreciated gifts from family, I've managed to save 32% of the wedding dinner money. Once I transfer over the work bonus, I'll be at 44%. Right on target for December.

I also started saving for a honeymoon. Australia is a top contender, but no decisions have been made yet. We are still influence-able if any other countries want to bribe us.

Tomorrow I scheduled a tetanus shot since it's been 10 years. I'm trying to burn through some of my flexible spending plan since I've got about half of it left. Any recommendations on moderately priced elective surgery? I've already had Lasik, so that's right out...

After being stabbed in the arm, I have an appointment with my trainer. I emailed him to ask if we could skip arms on account of the horrible tetanus aching and he wrote back, "Sure, we'll just do triceps." So funny that one.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lunch and a movie

Jer and I ate lunch at Chipotle on the Ave today, and boy was it ever tasty. I had the burrito bowl, which I think they spell bol, with chicken and light cheese/sour cream. Then we drove down the street and saw "The Darjeeling Limited."

I'm generally pretty fond of Wes Anderson's films, and I liked this one just fine. I laughed, I gasped, I hardly looked at my watch at all. When it comes out on DVD, I will buy it and watch it again. And that is my review.

The theatre was old and the seats weren't particularly comfortable, but it was the bathrooms I found most interesting. The women's room was up a set of stairs, the width of one person, sharp turn to the left. A mirror, a sink, an open door frame, and two stalls. No separation between bathroom and stairs. I found this... unsettling. This is usually the case when I suspect people buying popcorn in the lobby can hear me washing my hands or what not.

When the movie let out we wandered down the street to explore Wallingford and stretch our legs. We ended up at Murphy's pub and split an order of chicken strips and a tasty beverage. A post-film discussion was had. Then I may have talked about Treasury Bonds for no reason. It's what I do.

And now we are home again. Second weekend in a row we've ended up in the Wallingford area -- last Sunday we ate brunch at Elysian's Tangletown location, in case you're playing the home game.

On the docket for evening is a viewing of "Dark City" on DVD, and possibly some writing of thank you notes.

The cat is howling in the hallway. I think I'll go tease him.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Assorted and mixed

Jer and I saw Spamalot on Thursday at the Paramount Theatre. We sat close and to the side and -- what are the odds -- were seated next to some of his coworkers, one of whom has the same job title as me. In a second strange coincidence, this particular person is also great friends with the woman who used to do my current job. AND was invited to the same party I'd been invited to this weekend. (I already RSVP'd I couldn't make it.)

To that I say, weird.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It kept my mind off the twitchy guy in front of me who kept bobbing his head from side-to-side directly in my line of sight, and the guy behind me who kept clearing his throat by way of sucking in air through his nose.

Who pays all sorts of money to sit in the front and then makes snoring/gagging noises for two hours? And he was with people. People who could have given him a tissue! Or a breathe-right strip! Or a ball gag.

In exercise news, I went to spinning class this morning for the second week in a row. This class was especially fun because today was Halloween-themed and one of the two instructors dressed up and tried to scare us throughout the class. I kept an eye on him the entire time, so there would be no unfortunate shrieking on my part. Or peeing of the pants. Not that I would ever...

I should also mention that if you're in the market for a personal trainer, I highly recommend mine. I know he's looking for more clients so I thought I'd give him a shout-out. You can leave a comment or send me an email if you want more information. I've been seeing him twice a week since last March and it's made a HUGE difference in my results.

In the 17 days since I've been married, I've seen my husband awake and alert for all or part of 7 days -- 2 of those because he took vacation days, one to get married and the other to see Spamalot. Or 41 percent of my off hours. The rest of the time he was at work or asleep. In case you were wondering, that kind of sucks monkey ballz.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Apparently my parents are home. They are no longer evacuated. As of yesterday.

So that's good. Fires still going strong though.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I drove myself crazy reading the news about San Diego. The news never changed: it's on fire. There's not much a person can do two states away, so why do I keep looking? The news never tells me what I want to hear anyway, which is mostly where the fire is right now. How close is it to the house? How is it 0% contained? You can't even throw us a 1% bone?

So I went to City Kitchens on my lunch break and visited their closeout room. I love that room. The problem is I usually find something I absolutely need, and today was no exception. I found the Le Creuset 11 3/4 inch skillet I've been wanting for the last year. It was half off, in red. I can live with red.

Then I went to Daiso and spent $16 on plastic food containers for lunch and silicone baking cups.

I guess that's what they call retail therapy.

Family is safe. Pets are safe. I give myself permission to stop thinking about it for the rest of the night. You may resume regularly scheduled worrying tomorrow.

Fire update

I got through to my parents a few minutes ago. They did evacuate (with their dog and cat) and are staying with friends. So far their house is fine.

Hopefully it stays that way.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Knock on wood

I spoke with my parents about an hour and a half ago. They live in San Diego and they'd just gotten word their neighborhood was being evacuated. The fires are very bad there now.

Not much to do but sit and wait and hope they don't lose their home.

Orange juice from a can

I never like to admit my body is fighting something. It feels like I failed, like I didn't wash my hands enough or consume enough vitamin C. And then there's the problem of missing something. It drives me batty that I might miss something IMPORTANT because I stayed home. Like, this will be the day my coworkers win the lottery but I was too busy being a wuss so I couldn't chip in and now I'm forever doomed. Doooomed!

It's silly.

And overall I don't feel that bad. Except for the pain in my armpit -- lymph nodes and I have an uneasy history -- and the vague distraction of an on-the-cusp sore throat. I could probably go in and be fabulous, but ugh, the effort. My only medical opinion is that one should listen to their body, and my body is telling me that it needs a day. So I'm giving it one day to fall apart. Then... we'll see.

I made orange juice from concentrate last night. It reminds me of weekend breakfast growing up. My parents would make potatoes and eggs and toast, and my sister or I made the OJ. If it was my turn I'd set the big glass pitcher on the formica table, the one with the curved lip and bell shape, rip the paper ring from around the can of concentrate, and use a wooden spoon to make it plop into the pitcher. Then I'd fill the can three times with water and pour it over top, spending the next few minutes mashing the pulpy mess into the water, swirling it around, smooshing it into the sides of the glass until, voila: orange juice.

But last night I didn't pair it with toast and eggs and potatoes. I mixed it with vodka and ice. There's nothing quite like an inflamed lymph node to make you feel sorry for yourself, I tell ya what.

So today I'll take it easy. I have to make a quick trip to the post office, which I'm happy to do because it means I've sold a couple of half.com items (Coldplay's X&Y CD and Xenosaga for PS2) and an 8x10 photo of Fall Leaves (Thanks, Daniel!). Then I will hole up on the couch with fluids and read a book or watch TV or just stare at the bay. It's a brisk sunny one today, and Jer has the day off, so I will make him do my bidding -- once he finally wakes up.

Happy Fall.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A dark and stormy night

Wednesday night I went to hear Crazy Aunt Purl read from her book, "Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair". I arrived about a half hour ahead of time and there was already a shortage of seats. I begged a chair from a woman at the cafe who was using it to hold her backpack and sat down.

I immediately noticed two things about the crowd: it was almost entirely women, and all the women were knitting or wearing something they'd knitted. Since I have not yet succumbed to the knitter's call, I could only eavesdrop on conversations about scarves getting away from people and hats that were dead on the needle.

I had a good time though. Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl, was a charismatic speaker who happens to speak the way she writes, which is funny and honest, sometimes painfully. I bought her book in the store and waited for a little while in line, admittedly not long, when I decided to leave. It would've been nice to say hi, I'm one of your lurkers, but I was on a mission. This was the only night I had a car AND the GPS AND I needed to buy padded bike shorts at REI. REI was only open for another hour.

Yep. Bike shorts.

I signed up for a spinning class that starts tomorrow and goes 8 weeks. As I weighed my options in the signing line, butt comfort edged out book signing. And it edged it out good.

I am only human.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Online garage sale

I decided to put the money I'm making selling photos and stuff on half.com and eBay toward our fancy family wedding dinner in December. That saddens me a little because I really wanted to be irresponsible and buy something frivolous or photography related, but then I couldn't handle the guilt of depleting our house downpayment fund even a little bit.

It'll take a few weeks to see the half.com money, but before factoring it in I've saved 10% toward my goal of $2500. (Counting those earnings puts me closer to 12%.) It is likely I will only raise half the funds before the party since it is only 2 months away (and that's still a stretch) but it's a fun exercise, especially since I have the money if I need it. So no pressure.

To be fair, for the next 2 months I will also redirect the money I usually buy index funds with to my Wedding Dinner account. (A sub-account with ING). Assuming my salary remains constant, that will put me at 44% saved.

This entry loves parantheses.

If you want to contribute to my online garage sale, check out my photos for purchase at On Focus Photo. I added a couple new ones last night. Or you can view my items on half.com. I'll be putting another batch of CDs up in the next week since most of the initial ones sold.

Attention: As a special bonus, if you order photos from On Focus Photo before December 3, 2007, you can use the coupon code WEDDINNER at checkout and save 30% off your total order. There's no limit to the number of times you can use this coupon before 12/3/07, and you can pass on the code to anyone who might be interested. As always, shipping is free.

All proceeds go to helping me pay for our family wedding dinner. And hey, photos make great Christmas presents! Thanks for looking.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkins and Corn

On Sunday I made breakfast -- potatoes, eggs, and coffee, our old standby -- and then we drove to Snohomish to see Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm. It was amazing weather; I didn't even need a jacket. At first we wandered around their small store and then I bought a jar of pumpkin butter and two handstamps for the corn maze. Hayrides left periodically for the corn maze, but we opted to walk since it was only down the road a bit.

Outside the maze was a white tent and a lot of pumpkins on the vine. We weaved in and out of the pumpkin field as I took pictures with the fixed 50mm and the fisheye. (One or two turned out really well.) Eventually we made our way to the maze, which was about 10 acres and 2.5 miles to walk through. Before we went in we grabbed an aerial map of the maze, faintly printed on an 8x10 sheet of paper, some sections blurred. The woman said, "Not like it'll be much help, but here you go..."

After hitting several dead ends and me loudly proclaiming that we were going to die in there, Jer pulled out the map. Turns out years of video game playing has made him an EXPERT in reading aerial map views, no matter how convoluted. We'd pause at a fork, he'd glance down, shrug, then say, "This way." And he was always right! We even picked up another maze-goer who ended up deferring entirely to Jer as well.

If I'm ever on an Amazing (heh, A-maize-ing, as in corn) Race-type show, I want Jer to be my partner. He is unstoppable. If not for him there's a good chance I would still be trapped in there.

On our walk back to the car we saw some people setting up a hot air balloon and I took more photos. I took so many in fact, that I ran out of room on my memory card. Note to self: next time bring backup. Then we shared an ear of roasted corn and a bottle of water. It was so very wholesome.

Overall, I highly recommend the pumpkin/maze experience, especially on a pretty fall day like yesterday. I had a surprisingly awesome time.

In non-agricultural news, my eBay auction ended on a good note last night and I mailed the costume out this morning. I also sold a DVD set on half.com, which gives us that much more space and money to contemplate our next splurge items.

Maybe we will buy a pony.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Le Soup

I finished the chorizo and kale soup at about 1pm. It turned out well; I'll probably make it again. You can laugh but it was my first time cooking with either chorizo or kale so it was an adventure. Thankfully, they are forgiving ingredients.

If you'd like the recipe, send me an email. I paired it with thick slices of warm baguette smothered in Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter. That butter is like crack to me.

I posted a few more items for sale on my store at half.com, and added a link to the sidebar.

I buy most of my books from half.com or local used bookstores. If you're patient, half.com is a great site for finding deals and getting a little cash for the clutter. I've been active on it for about 5 years and I've never had a problem -- it helps to pay attention to feedback ratings and comments. These days it's owned by eBay, so you benefit from seeing feedback from both sites mixed together for each user.

Speaking of eBay, my auction ends tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, I will endeavor to find some pumpkins and take pictures of them. And maybe buy some apple butter. Go fall!

Friday, October 12, 2007

When Life Gives You...

"Bat Boy" was great. Go see it.

After the play I went to Safeway to buy stuff on my list. Stuff bought, I headed home and unpacked the groceries. At the bottom of one of the bags were two limes that I most definitely did not purchase.

I'm hip to the lemons, but what do you do when life gives you limes?

Night on the Town

Married life isn't terribly different from non-married life. I'm sitting at the coffee table in the living room, drinking coffee, and watching "Arrested Development" on CBC. In an hour I'll drive up the street and watch the play, "Bat Boy: The Musical."

I've wanted to see this play for about three years. It's pretty much the only thing that could get me out of the house tonight, since I feel like such a slug. Hence the coffee.

This afternoon I walked down to Pike Place Market and bought a French baguette and a pound of Chorizo Picante. Tomorrow I'll make chorizo and kale soup from a recipe a former coworker gave me.

That's pretty much my life. Now with more rings.

This weekend I'm pressing Jer to take me to the pumpkin patch and go through a corn maze. And then maybe we can finally drink that Veuve Clicquot chilling in the fridge... That's the weekend in a nutshell. A mighty big nutshell.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Wedding Album

We were married at sunset on Alki Beach. Our friend Chris performed the ceremony (which was perfect), and his wife Courtney (who I can't thank enough) and friend Matt (also huge thanks) were witnesses. After the ceremony, we ate too much at the Celtic Swell.

Also, I must thank the tripod and camera remote control, without which we would have had no pictures.

Here are some photos:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Bells are Ringing

So I'm getting married tomorrow. People keep asking if I'm excited, and it's tough to answer. I mean, sure, yes, but it doesn't really feel momentous. Jer and I have been together 7 1/2 years -- living together for all but a few months. These days it's difficult to imagine what life would be like without him. We've had some tough times and we've had some great times, as you do.

Personally, it was more important to me that he asked. When he asked I knew he wanted to be with me for the rest of our lives, and that's what I was excited about. I knew where I stood. The actual marriage part is just gravy -- of course if he pulled out at the last minute then I'd reevaluate that statement.

I just feel like the wedding is a formality, albeit a formality I wanted to happen, that forces everybody to recognize that yes, we're in a real relationship and if one of us dies, we get the other person's stuff. Also, hi, I happen to value this person and I am announcing it to everybody and the government.

There's this pretty darn good life we've built together, and this ceremony will just sew it up into a nice little package that other people can understand. Because you tell someone you have a boyfriend and they assume different things than if you tell them you have a husband. I'm sort of tired of that assumption.

I'm also excited to spend time with family and friends and celebrate, and know that even the friends and family that can't be there in person, will be with us in spirit. But the ceremony part? Where I have to be looked at and will probably cry? Let's just say, it's something I have to do, and I will be happy when it is over.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite poems, "A Dedication to My Wife" by T.S. Eliot:

To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime,
The breathing in unison


Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.


No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only


But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Auction started!

My ebay auction started last night. You can see it here.

After watching the finale of Top Chef last night, I fell asleep about 6:30pm and stayed asleep through this morning. So no chili or chicken making. But I did have a cat on my pillow and one draped across my legs for many hours, which makes up for having to eat Lean Cuisine for lunch again. My trainer says if I eat more sodium I might not sweat as much when I'm working out, so maybe this is a blessing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chili in here

I was good last night and did what I was supposed to, as opposed to drinking two giant steins of Manny's on tap and stumbling in the door like the previous night. Instead I went grocery shopping for the first time in weeks and took out the trash. So now, tonight or Saturday depending how I feel, I'll use this recipe to make chili, because it is chili weather.

It's a great recipe but I always make a few modifications. I cut out the green bell peppers and add garlic and diced jalapenos. I halve the meat and double the beans, and instead of tomato sauce I use Mexican tomato sauce, and instead of tomato juice I'm using fire roasted diced tomatoes in a can. Basically it's the same recipe, only ten kinds of spicier. Also I bought some Mexican chili powder which I can't wait to try...

I also bought the ingredients to make this: Slow Cooker Lime Garlic Chicken. I'll make brown rice instead of white with it though. Maybe add a wee more garlic than it calls for. I likes the garlic. Hm, and maybe some more spice; it looks bland.

Tomorrow night Courtney will show me the town, which is conveniently located behind a barrel of chocolate martinis, a couch, and a mismatched pajama set (speaking for myself.) I am excited about that. Also, next week at this time, assuming all goes as planned, I'll be a Mrs. somebody. I won't be changing my name officially until at least January though, since I have to fly in December.

While we're out there, I'm arranging a small get together for my parents and Jer's parents. I turned in my Food & Beverage Agreement yesterday, and now all that's left is to actually invite them. I may even hire a limo. Exciting times.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Will work for books

I've spent the last two evenings putting my possessions for sale online. Not too many, just dabbling. I haven't sold anything on ebay or half.com since the Great Moving Sale of 2005, and while the process has changed, it's still familiar. How refreshing.

First I scheduled an ebay auction to start tomorrow night (7pm PST) and run for 10 days. I'm selling last year's Halloween costume, Little Red Riding Hood, in its entirety. This includes dress, cape, wig, petticoat, wolf in a basket, and lacey ankle socks (unworn). Although it's probably the cutest costume I've owned since reaching adulthood, I've lost a few pounds and it just doesn't fit right anymore. Practically new though, and a great deal for a lucky someone.

Then I posted a few books for sale on half.com. Here's a link. I also have loads of CDs I could sell, but I've got to make sure it's worth my time first. So many of them start at $0.75, and at that rate I'd just as soon trade them into a used bookstore or record store and take the credit.

I don't have any defined goal for the money I might make. Mostly I just want to get rid of clutter, and if I can make a buck or two, that's nice. In the long-term I need to auction off some of our action figure collection. It takes up way too much space, but I keep putting it off because it represents a colossal amount of work. Just thinking about it makes me say, ugh.

In photo news: I'm looking into either buying a mat cutter or finding a source to buy pre-cut mats from, so I can offer that as an option on my photo site. I know I'd much rather buy a print already in a mat, than just a print. And the experiment wouldn't be too much of an initial investment. It would also put me on the path of possibly having a booth at a local festival, with the prints matted and in clear bags. That'd be fun.