Thursday, September 28, 2006

Latest projects

It's not that I haven't been knitting... it's just that I haven't remembered to take any pictures. So here you have some evidence:

I am almost done with the second sweater for Samantha. (about time, too, since I'm giving it to her next weekend!) I probably shouldn't post the pictures, because Jae & Teri read my blog, but they'll see it soon enough anyway. I still have to wash and block it, (and do the cuff on the right sleeve), and put a tag on it. But otherwise, pretty good, eh?

Then there's the garterlac dishcloth. I love things with lines and angles. I haven't made anything from my modular knits book yet, but I saw this pattern and I thought it was pretty cool. When I was killing time last week, I picked up my multicolored sock yarn and decided to try it. I had to frog it and try again more than once... as it turned out, I had to rewrite a little of it to make it less confusing. It looks pretty neat! I like it. (The least creative thing, I think, is that I got lazy and took the picture with my dishcloth on my lap.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another way to give to the cause

I am always in favor of giving money to support the Komen Foundation/breast cancer research - in fact, I'll probably be doing my 2nd Race for the Cure this year in Austin on November 5th. I also support Lee National Denim Day (although at my office jeans are not unusual most days)... October 6th this year.

But here's a new twist: the 5th Annual Blogger Boobie-Thon gets under way next week. [don't worry, the main page is safe for office viewing...] Last year they raised over $9,000, split between the Komen Foundation and the Red Cross (for Katrina relief). They accept tame and not-so-tame photos from men and women, and display them anonymously.

Last year, "almost 600 female and nearly 50 male photographs submitted to our photo sampler page* [NOT office friendly] And close to 300 photos were submitted to the pay-per-boobies page (access granted for those who donated $50 or more). "

Charity is good for the soul, and in this case, the body. :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Geek jewelry!


Aren't these cute? Sweettooth has a "smiley collection" -- keyrings, bangles, charms, and necklaces:

http://www.sweettoothdesigns.com/showitems.asp?deptcode1=506

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I forgot one thing

The best thing that happened on Friday, before I left for the aiport, was that Dani came back from her 10-day trip to Europe!! :D Yay! I missed chatting with her. I kept starting to IM her and then realizing that she wasn't there. But of course now I won't be able to remember any of the cheeky things I was going to say.

I hope she had a good time in London and Paris!! Can't wait to read all about it!

It's a long story

First, L'Shana Tovah Tikateyvu, Happy New Year 5767.

I was invited to Houston to spend Rosh Hashanah with my parents freinds, Norman & Sheila. My parents met N&S when mom was pregnant with me, and S was pregnant with Andrew. (I'm 2 months older.) :) After spending the weekend with them, I can really understand why my dad and Norman are such good buddies, and why the four of them have such fun together. They're so alike:
  1. Dad and N. are the "goofy" ones, and Mom and S. are the "straight (wo)man" to all the jokes.
  2. Both of these men know exactly which buttons to push to set their wives off, and they do it with impugnity, because they think it's funny. (and the wives always rise to the challenge...)
  3. The "which street should I take to get there" discussion in the car is IDENTICAL - with N&S, my parents, even Kelly & Jeff. Everybody does it.
  4. I also recognize that the goofiness (see #1) is more pronounced when I'm around, because they have an audience who will giggle at their jokes. I can't help it! I'm sure I'll think it's funny until someone does it to me, and then I'll get just as annoyed. ;)
Getting ahead of myself. I flew to Houston on Friday. In retrospect, I could have driven and saved some money... it's only about 3 hours from here to there. On the airplane, the actual flight time is 31 minutes. I got to Houston around 2 on Friday, and wanted to see something of downtown, since I had never been there. What I found was a big city with almost no people on the streets, exactly as Dallas had been when M. and I went through there in July. The difference is, Houston has an "undergound" mall-type thing, so that's probably where the people were. [It is much hotter in Houston - or rather, much more humid!]

Neither the Frommer's map in my book nor the map from Thrifty were any good for downtown, so I drove around looking for the major streets and landmarks. (Thrifty again upgraded me from the economy car I reserved to a "surprise" - a Dodge Charger. For a minute I thought it was a Mustang, but it's the ugly stepchild version.) I stopped and had a quick lunch, then I decided it was about time to find N&S's house. Fortunately, they live just north of the Galleria mall, which is on all of the maps! So that part was easy.

As S. had told me, we were going to the "late show" service, 9pm. This is so against their usual timing (dinner reservations with N&S are usually around 8:30!) that I was surprised. But we had dinner at Cafe Annie (which I had read about, and was wonderful) at 6:30pm. We were practically the only diners in the restaurant at that hour. The maitre'd and the wait staff all fell over themselves being nice to N&S -- I learned that that happens to them a lot. ;) The food was excellent. I was already ready for a nap before services, which was a bad sign.

Unlike Temple Sinai, Beth Israel's early service gets about 2/3 of the congregants... the late service was very sparsely attended. We sat in the fourth or fifth row, and there were three nearly empty rows in front of us. The cantor was good, though very nasal (maybe the bowtie was cutting off his diaphragm?). The choir was hiding behind a screen behind the bimah -- when they first started singing I seriously thought it was a recording! They had five Board members sitting on the bimah, but none of them did anything -- except the President, who welcomed us when the service started. (At Sinai, they each would have read part of the service.) They also did a lot less Hebrew than I'm used to. And they have not remotely tried to "de-sex" the references to G-d the Lord, King, Ruler, etc. The senior rabbi (probably not much older than me) was ok, but the assistant rabbi sounded like she was bored with the whole thing and just wanted to get it over with. The other thing I noticed was that the chairs on the bimah looked far too comfortable - big plushy gold-colored arm chairs. The sermon didn't come until the end of the service, and it was so un-memorable that I couldn't tell you what he said. I think it was about "beginning again."

S. made scones for us for breakfast on Saturday morning. They were delicious! (Much better than my homemade samosas... too bad they aren't Indian or I'd make them for Saturday) ;)

Saturday's service was a little more crowded. We sat in the first row of the nice padded folding chairs, which was very comfortable but also very distracting: I spent much of my time assessing the style choices of the congregants as they came and went. We were definitely in Texas. Lots of men in suits with cowboy boots. Perfectly made up tall blond women who have clearly had some "work done." And a look I am calling "Mischa Barton goes to Temple" -- they apparently breed tall skinny girls in Houston, and then their mothers let them out of the house in high heeled shoes and short skirts. (Meow!) S. and I had a discussion about it afterwards - there's NO WAY my mother would have let me out of the house looking like that.

For our new year's afternoon, S. and I went shopping. :) We went to the Talbot's outlet, the Chico's outlet, and the Galleria. The Galleria is a Simon Mall, so it's not that different from the ones here, but it is nice. You could walk miles and still be indoors. I didn't buy anything, but S. got some gorgeous stuff at the Chico's outlet - for a steal! Linen Pants for $7!

Saturday night's dinner was at Mockingbird Bistro. The chef came out to greet us (everybody loves N&S!). The food was fantastic. We had excellent calamari and then I had seared ahi tuna, and lovely truffle french fries and a taste of three different sorbets. Yummmm! We also got to watch the light show created by the coming thunderstorm -- it didn't start raining, of course, until we were standing up from our table, and then there was a downpour! The only downer on the night was not being able to watch USC beat Arizona. (we are in the wrong part of the country for that, so my DVR has an excellent recording of the Michigan-Notre Dame game. ugh.) Mom was nice enough to send me score updates on my phone. :)

Phew! I'm exhausted! After a weekend of eating that well, I really need to hit the gym this week!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

homemade samosas?!

Yes, I'm a crazy woman. I signed up for a Cooking Light Supper Club. There are about a dozen of us, and this month's meal is Indian food. We're meeting next Saturday night. I'd make chicken tikka masala, but there are already three other chicken dishes on the list. And I found a recipe for baked samosas, which ostensibly would be much healthier than fried ones. So I figured I'd do a trial run and see how they turned out.

But, I forgot to print the recipe out at work, so I had to hook up my printer at home. Since I don't have a desk yet, I had to set it up on the dining room table.... which is very far from the living room, where the laptop has been living. Fortunately, I have a 25' ethernet cable [yes, I have a wireless router, but I didn't feel like setting that up right now, there's enough craziness going on!] I was smart and packed new printer cartridges in the box, but did I pack any paper? Naaah. I have all kinds of other paper - neon brights, red-white-and-blue graded, R/W/B with stars - but no plain white. You know what I found out? 3-hole-punched college rule paper works just fine. ;) But all of this technology fiddling was just so I could start cooking.

It's a very labor-intensive process. You have to make the dough, then cook the potatoes for the filling, then cook the onions and garlic and stuff that goes with the taters, then mix it togther and let everything cool... roll out the dough, make the little pockets of stuff, bake them... it's a good thing the 2-hour season premiere of Biggest Loser was on so I had something to watch!

They turned out ok. The dough is nice and crunchy, which is good, but it's so different from the deep-fried original. They taste pretty good. I didn't make the sauce yet, and I'm sure they will taste better with the sauce. I'm timid about taking them to work tomorrow without the sauce. I wonder if I can stick them in the freezer? I might pick a different dish to bring. My kitchen is a MESS!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Austin City Limits

Every year, music fans flock to Austin for a 3-day festival called Austin City Limits. Thousands of people. Hundreds of bands. And at least this year, less dust and more rain. People get three day passes and while away the hours sitting on the lawn, rocking out to bands from 11am to 10pm. Just thinking about it is exhausting!

By the time I tried to get tickets, the 3-day passes were gone -- probably a good thing. I got myself a one-day pass for Sunday. KT Tunstall, Buckwheat Zydeco, Matisyahu and the BoDeans, among others... sounded like a great plan. But of course, it was HOT. and muggy, and raining on and off. I went to my favorite class at the gym (20/20 hindsight: either go to ACL or the gym, but not both on the same day!) came home and showered, and finally moseyed down there by about 3:30pm -- Marcia was nice enough to tell me where to park in walking distance to the festival. I heard a little bit of Jack Ingram, then had some food and went to hear Patrice Pike. She used to be in a band called Sister Seven, and was on Rock Star Supernova last season. She has an amazing voice, and was great in concert. (She's from Austin, so she's very popular here!) This was the sea of people I saw when I arrived --->

I had to leave Patrice's set to go listen to Matisyahu. My mom saw him when she was in Israel in April, and she liked him, so I thought "why not?!" I am not much of a reggae fan, but he's very easy to listen to and you find yourself nodding to the beat whether you mean to or not. So I might have to add that to my ever-growing Amazon wish-list. :)

ACL is really a city inside the park, with shopping and food and free water stations. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of seating or shade. and it was HOT (did I say that already?) so I wasn't feeling too well by the time I made it to Ben Harper's set. I tried to find Marcia and her sister in the crowd, but only proceeded to get myself stuck in the middle of a huge gaggle of people smoking something other than cigarettes. In fact, I went up to someone I *thought* was Marcia and gave her a little bump with my shoulder, only to realize that it wasn't her! D'oh! After that, I couldn't stand much more of the pushing and shoving, so I negotiated my way to the back of the crowd, and listened to the rest of the set from there. But I didn't have the stamina to stick around for Tom Petty.

Here's what the skyline looked like when I got back to my car, on the roof deck of the parking garage. Nice sunset.

I think the all-day outdoor concert event is just not for me. An evening at Wolf Trap, with a bottle of wine, sure. But I don't think I'll be doing the ACL thing again - unless somebody comes to visit me and really wants to go. But, I did it once, I had to experience it. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

another day, another meme

My 10 Names Meme
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (pet and current street name) Rocky Wendel
2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your moms side, your favorite candy) Ruthie Take 5 (hah, that's what they'd say to me if I tried to act!)
3. YOUR "FLY Guy/Girl" NAME: (first initial of last name, first three letters of your middle name) F. Bet (that's not too bad)
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Red Wombat (eh. not so much)
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Beth Washington
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom's maiden name and first 3 letters of the town you grew up in.)
Framefewas (possibly.... somebody go ask George Lucas if I can have a part in the next movie!)
7. SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, favorite drink) The Red Fresca (that's not so bad - I wonder what my super-power would be?) :)
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers) Sammy Joe (Joey Sam? take your pick.)
9. FUTURISTIC NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite shoes) Tommy Girl keds (that's just odd)
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother/father's middle name ) um. That's tough, cuz my mom doesn't have one. And isn't that too easy to figure out if you're going into witness protection to avoid being killed? Oh well.

*The Rock Star name (pet's name and street name) is what I've heard other people call your "Porn Star name," but I guess this is more family-friendly. ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Here & Now

Hasbro has decided to update Monopoly. The new game is called Monopoly: Here & Now. Instead of being the top hat or the little scotty dog, you can now scoot around the board as a cup of Starbucks coffee or a Labradoodle. hunh? Interestingly, this isn't a marketing scheme for Monopoly -- the company chose the new "icons" to use as playing pieces, and isn't making any product placement dollars. They asked the companies for permission to use their names & logos - who would refuse?

Check out the Businessweek slideshow about the new pieces. I was wondering why they picked New Balance instead of Nike... surely the "swoosh" is as identifiable as the big N, if not more? But the answer is, NB still makes their shoes in the US. a-hah. But if that's the criteria, why not brand the laptop as a Dell? (ok, maybe I'm biased because I'm living in Dell country now!) Does Motorola produce the RAZR in the U.S.? (Based on the size of the pieces, I'm betting the cell phone is the one that breaks first! snap! right in half!)

They also changed the railroads to airports, and the train game piece to an airplane. And in a nod to America's increasing waistlines, you can choose the McDonald's fries game piece. ugh. And inflation has hit Monopoly, too -- when you pass go, you collect $2,000!

*Sigh* another icon of my childhood mangled and remade in the name of progress.

(In Hasbro's defense, they are still going to produce the original version, to sell alongside Here & Now. But what little kid in this day & age is going to pass up the game with the cell phone and laptop for the one with the top hat, train and wheelbarrow?)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Okay, really, that's enough!

It's generally annoying when a tv commercial uses one of my favorite songs, like the Cingular ad that is now using Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill. (Just ask my sister-in-law, she made a list of ELO songs she heard on tv ads!) But this one went too far! Rooms to Go is using "Tomorrow" from Annie! I just can't deal. I used to want to BE Annie, and I used to sing that song all the time! It totally threw me to hear the woman singing it on tv. UGH.

And [non-sequitur alert!] yet more problems with my water service... apparently there was a leak (again) in a pipe between my house and the one next door... and being that I'm uphill from the leak, I wasn't getting any water. I called last night and the guy told me the leak "shouldn't be affecting me" and I needed to call a plumber. Riiiight. So I called back again this morning (when the toilet flushed and then didn't refill), because clearly the leak WAS affecting me (told ya!) and so they've been digging under the street all day long. But I still only have dribbling water in my kitchen sink, so I hope they're not done yet! I may be getting up early to shower at the gym tomorrow!!

If you dream in vivid colors, is that a pigment of your imagination?

(thanks to Jude for sending this along... it was too funny to pass up.)

FUN FOR LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS):
1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
2. A will is a dead giveaway.
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion. (Ha! they used that line in Chicken Run!)
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
14. Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.
15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
16. A calendar's days are numbered.
17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
21. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.
29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet

Monday, September 11, 2006

And now, the REST of the story

(with apologies to Paul Harvey)

In the tale of the week in DC, I think I left off when the bbq was delivered from Rockland's for the CASC dinner at the house. That was quite tasty. But since it was Tuesday, I had somewhere to be by 8:30pm! [At brunch on Sunday, the girls decided we had to do a "surprise inspection" on the boys at RiRa on trivia night - provided I could escape casa Fratkin.] Dad was nice enough to lend me his car (and I was well-behaved and brought it home safe and sound). Even with the help of "the trinity" - Patrick, Dallan and John - we came in third. Dallan went so far as to tell me that we "didn't suck too badly." But, we had a BLAST - we were laughing so hard there were tears streaming down Dani's face - and it was fantastic to spend more time with the girls (and the boys) again. Our downfall I think was the music round, and we weren't clever enough to use "Dallan loves Patrick" as one of our answers. (it worked a few weeks ago!) Patrick's arm is mostly healed (he probably should take his Vicodin more often), and I noticed for the first time that he has a tattoo! Down the inside of his arm, it says "Tir na nOg" -- which makes sense, because the story is about St. Patrick.

So that was Tuesday. Unfortunately, I had to get up at 6:30 on Wednesday morning, for the CASC meeting. The day went very well (I drank a LOT of coffee). We had dinner at Acadiana, a new, fantastic restaurant near the DC Convention center. We ordered their interesting take on deviled eggs for hors d'ouvres (three variations - crabmeat, lobster, or caviar on top of the egg). Crab cakes for dinner (or steak), then the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. I am not a bread pudding person in general, but let me tell you, this was GOOD.

Thursday was the Council's HPC Users Conference - the one I was planning before I left to move to Austin. It was an excellent conference, and it was so great to see everyone! I love that I get to go to conferences and just sit and listen and take notes. I was honored that the president of the Council thanked me for my hard work on the project before I left, and congratulated me on my new job - in her opening remarks! Totally unexpected.

After the conference, I met Gigi for dinner and drinks at Agua Ardiente in West End. It was pretty good - although they didn't have any sangria or the dessert I wanted - but not as good as Jaleo. We shared a bunch of different dishes, but we were both so tired, we had cabbed home by 7pm! I couldn't even stay awake long enough to watch the end of the Federer-Blake match. (Blake played some amazing tennis, but Federer is just too good... as he proved yet again by winning the US Open AGAIN on Sunday night.)

Friday was finally relaxing. I went to see Luigi at the Watergate Salon for a trim. He cut off about an inch of my hair. It looks cute! Then I walked over to the Council to have lunch with Jen. I spent a lot of time chatting with everyone and trying to accept the fact that I'd been gone for 2 months! (Thanks for lunch, Jen! it was a great burger!) After a quick email check, it was definitely nap time.

Then, because we were all there, dinner was a celebration of Dad's birthday (coming up in a few days). We went to 15 ria (at 1515 Rhode Island Avenue, so that's where you get "RIA") . It was good, but not great - we rated them a 7 out of 10 on most of our dishes. The baked Alaska dessert was odd... instead of meringue baked all over the ice cream, the chef topped the ice cream with some puffs of whipped whites, and then poured chocolate sauce. It was ok. Not going back there any time soon.

phew! I'm still exhausted. But that was the end of the DC trip. Mom drove me out to the airport nice and early on Saturday... I had an empty seat next to me on the plane... and I got a free upgrade on my rental car (see below). It's nice when things go right! :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Quick post

I am absolutely exhausted, but I had to post this.

A great experience on JetBlue today, flying from Dulles to Boston for Judy's shower -- although it had more to do with the tv on the back of the seat than the flight crew: We were taking off a little early. As my plane was taxiing to the runway and starting to take off, I was able to watch the Space Shuttle Atlantis launch live on Fox News. We lifted off just as the shuttle was hitting "go for throttle up" (which is the scary part, because that's the point when the Challenger blew up). It was exhilarating to watch the shuttle go up and feel the plane taking off at the same time. I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time. Ok, so the G-forces on the astronauts were a little more powerful than the ones hitting me... it was still fun.

I'll have to take a picture tomorrow - Thrifty didn't have any economy-sized cars to give me today, so instead I'm driving a Jeep Commander. It's like a Jeep Cherokee on steroids. But they gave it to me at the economy price (I love being a Blue-Chip member!) so I can't complain. :) The only thing I've hit (and believe me, I could have taken out a Toyota Corolla and not noticed at all...) is a skunk already in the road. Pheeeew! :(

The shower was really fun. More on that later.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Full House; long weekend

Been back in DC for a few days... here's a quick recap:

J. picked me up from the airport on Saturday afternoon (Thanks, JD!) and brought me to his house so I could hang out with K. and "Hannah banana." I have to say, it was heartwarming that the little one was so excited to see me! She was sooo excited that she didn't stop talking for the whole four hours I was with her! I should have taken a picture or two, but I was too tired, either from flying or from being on the receiving end of all that Hannah energy. Wow. I brought her a little stuffed armadillo - I figured she didn't need another teddy bear - and she knew exactly what it was! (Apparently there was a Dora/Diego show about armadillos, there's even a song!) So that was a big hit. Then we played with puffy stickers, read books, and generally jumped around for a while, until it was time for me to go to Bailey's to watch the first USC football game of the season.

Woo hoo! USC won! Bailey's was packed with Trojans fans. It was a bit of a slow start... only 16-7 at halftime, but our new QB, John David Booty (heh. great name) turned out to be pretty good, and threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter alone. Mom and I left after the third quarter, though, as it was approaching midnight. (I think we probably would have left a little earlier if we had realized that it was on regular ESPN and not on satellite.)

Sunday (after recovering from late night watching football), I went to brunch with the pub quiz girls. I missed the girls so much! It was awesome - we stuffed our faces at the Whitlow's buffet, giggled a lot, and generally made a nuisance of ourselves in the restaurant. But we were so overjoyed when the waitress brought us coffee, we made her day! After meandering through Barnes and Noble like a "herd of literate bison*," we had to say farewell. :( [teft detherrent, anyone?]

Then mom and I went to Costco. (E. drove me there in her fancy-shmancy new car! Next time someone offers you a ride in a new Saturn, you should take it. Comfy ride, good turning radius, excellent highway pickup, and seriously powerful a/c vents.) and even though I had just finished a brunch of eggs, 1/2 waffle, bacon/sausage, and a pile of crab legs, a person (ME) just cannot turn down tasting day at Costco. Actually, it was beneficial, because we ended up buying the caramel-apple pie to serve as dessert for the CASC meeting on Tuesday.

As we were pulling up in front of Costco, mom called to tell me that Agassi had lost. Dani TM'ed me the same news at the same time. Mom was in tears. Unfortunately, the store only shows movies (not real-time tv) on their sale tv's, so we couldn't watch Andre's tearful farewell until we got home. But by then, they were showing it over and over on every station and every website, and we were in danger of saturation. Sunday night we went out for dinner to a sushi place on MacArthur Blvd. It was very good and not terribly expensive - Bryan took the takeout menu so he can call ahead and go pick up food. :)

When we came home from the sushi place, Dad had come home from his week of antiquing in Maine. He brought home an afghan! No, not a blanket, not a person from the middle-east... a life-sized stuffed afghan dog for my aunt, who is a former breeder/handler and now a show judge. I had to take a picture - Alfie (that's his name, it's on the dog tag!) looks so real!!

Monday (after recovering from late night watching US Open tennis), mom and I first went to her friend Sally's house to water the piano. (Yes, I said water the piano: apparently, if you're a serious pianist, you have a fancy system to keep your piano humidified, and since Sally has been out of town, the piano was getting dry.) Then we went to the gym. I did a serious weight/cardio workout - Tina would have been proud - while mom did water aerobics. Monday afternoon I did some catch-up work that mom had saved for two months. Someday I'll have to teach her how to do some of this herself...

The rest of the day was all about cleaning up the house, since we were having the CASC people over for dinner on Tuesday. It's actually very impressive how clean the house can be when certain people put their minds to it. ;)

Tuesday was pretty boring... work, making guacamole and pasta salad, setting up for guests... Then the nice man appeared with our brisket, chicken and salmon from Rockland's - YUM. Well, ok, Texas bbq brisket is better, and we had something of an argument over whether Rockland's, Red Hot & Blue or Old Glory is better... I'd go with OG, RH&B, and then Rockland's, in that order (at least in the DC area. In Austin, Salt Lick, County Line and Rudy's.) However, Old Glory is in Georgetown and parking is a challenge there, so RH&B won out most often when I was here. I miss the pulled pork!

That's enough for now. I'm tired, and Andy Roddick is playing Lleyton Hewitt, so I have to pay attention. Tomorrow night is Blake-Federer... that's gonna be something.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Paging Crash Davis and "Nuke" LaLoosh!

Triple-A Baseball is so much fun! We had our office "end of the year" party last night (the UT fiscal year is 9/1 - 8/31) at the Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express. (Affiliated with the Houston Astros.) I've been to a few other minor league stadiums -- The Potomac Cannons - now the Potomac Nationals, and the Hagerstown Suns -- and this one is by far the best. It doesn' t make a lot of sense to me that the Express is in the Pacific Coast League, but I'm sure there's a reason. Then again, our opponent was the Memphis Redbirds (which is cool, cuz M and I saw their stadium when we were in Memphis!) and they're nowhere near the Pacific Coast either.

We had the picnic area to ourselves (and free beer/soda, burgers and dogs), at the end of the first base line just past the foul pole. Unfortunately, the picnic area is right next to the pool - yes, there's a pool at the ballpark - and we didn't get to go in it. It just didn't seem fair, taunting us like that. (I think you can reserve the pool area also/instead, but you probably have to do it early in the season.) Our seats were on the berm, so I guess you couldn't call them seats... but it was a great spot after the sun set and stopped shining drectly in our eyes. Here's what it looked like until about the second inning.

Of course, going to a baseball game with a bunch of computer geeks means the conversation will range far and wide, and this was no exception: there was some talk about work, but then we talked about baseball movies - Major League got everyone's vote as the favorite, but we couldn't forget Field of Dreams, Bull Durham or The Natural. (I usually pick Bull Durham over Major League, but that's because I was sixteen when it came out and I thought Kevin Costner was *HOT* back then. He was! He isn't any more.) We went through a bunch of other sports movies - they showed clips from Rocky, Varsity Blues and Remember the Titans - so then we moved on to college football. (Can't be around J. for too long without talking about his beloved Longhorns.) We have a nice friendly argument about his 'horns vs. my USC Trojans. The "University of Spoiled Children" came up, but I chuckled politely and let it go. [Speaking of spoiled children, it's rather ironic that a guy who played for the *Trojans* apparently couldn't remember to use one when he was fooling around with his ex-girlfriend. Matt, you idiot!]

But I digress. We enjoyed the game, which was tied at 1-1 through the bottom of the 10th inning. At that point, it was after 10pm, and those of us who were still around (about 6 of us) decided enough was enough. Wouldn't you know it, the Redbirds scored 2 runs in the top of the 12th, to win the game 3-1. Bummer. It occurs to me now that we also missed the big end of season fireworks show. Double bummer.

Regardless of last night's loss, the Express made it into the playoffs, but they won't be playing at home again until next weekend (when I'll be in DC/Boston). Then they play in the PCL League championship the following week. I think I'll have to try to go to a few games next season!