Monday, October 30, 2006

Busy bee

Yesterday, in addition to doing laundry, making banana-oatmeal-apple-cinnamon-bread, and going to the gym for my favorite class, I cut open my mini-pumpkin and took out the innards. I wanted to do a jack-o-lantern, but not a huge mega pumpkin... so I chose a small one. I also borrowed a recipe from and toasted the pumkin seeds. (hmm... I probably would have felt better today if I hadn't eaten ALL of them in one sitting.) Tonight, when I got home, I drew a fun face on the pumpkin and cut it out. It turned out great! (The yellow clip isn't actually in the pumpkin's ear, it just looks that way) :)

I also worked a little more on my very first sock. This is a picture of the first attempt... after this, I switched to a smaller needle and cast on fewer stitches, and have now knit almost 4" of the first sock. It's great! I'm not used to having to work for so long to get only 1" of stockinette ... smaller needles, more knitting! I am also beginning to understand second-sock-itis - my friends' tendency to finish the first sock and not feel like casting on the other one!

Thank goodness we got an hour back from Daylight Savings yesterday, I needed the extra time to sleep.

Nine Jews who Changed the World

I went to an event this evening at the LBJ Library (I will have to go back and see the exhibits, there wasn't time tonight!) with the author of "Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World." Kati Marton is originally from Budapest, as are the nine Jewish scientists, filmmakers and authors that she chronicled. It's an interesting story -- the nine men came to the US when the Nazis were gaining power in Europe. These scientists helped convince Einstein to sign a letter (which they had written) to FDR to get the US to start developing the atomic bomb -- before the Germans could do it. I had heard before that Einstein was a pacifist, and that he regretted sending the letter for the rest of his life. But Marton provided the convincing argument that had swayed Einstein's decision - what if Hitler had gotten there first? How different would the world be if the Nazis had had a bomb to drop? That was a little scary.

I thought of the Budapest that mom and I saw in 1994. Western influence was just coming in - we turned one corner and were faced with brand new KFC, Dunkin' Donuts, and Baskin Robbins shops. But the art, churches and museums were amazing. (I'd post pictures, but those were the days of print film, so I have nothing digital of my own. I ought to scan some of them one of these days.) I'd like very much to go back to both Budapest and Prague -- because we went to both cities on the same trip, I sometimes get the two cities confused! This is a picture of the castle on the Buda side of the Danube... I have a picture of this at sunset. It's beautiful. [This photo is from the Budapest Tourism Office's website.] Mom and I stayed at the Hotel Victoria, which is right on the Danube, with only 25 rooms -- all of which face the river, overlooking the Cathedral on the other side. I think I'd stay there again if I went back. :) (I'm very excited to see that they are still there, and have a website!)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Toga! Toga!

Last night a bunch of us went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Animal House on the big screen - with an intro/Q&A Session with Chris Miller. He was one of the original writers of the screenplay, and has a new book out. It sounds like a lot of the stuff in the movie is a) real, and b) minimal compared to the full story of what actually happened! Before the film he talked about a guy in the fraternity (basically, the Bluto character) who "wore" a carved jack-o-lantern around his middle (and nothing else!) to go trick or treating around town. Basically, the jack-o-lantern's nose was the guy's ... well, you can guess. :) I don't think I'd ever seen the movie on the big screen before... I was only 5 when it came out, after all. It was fun to watch.

The Drafthouse here is similar to the one in Arlington - but the food is much better! Instead of comfy chairs at round tables, it's rows of movie seats alternated with narrow tables. They have great programs and events... I will definitely have to go back!

In the meantime, I have also been kinitting my first sock. I can't believe I was so nervous about making them... it's not really that hard! I am trying a toe-up sock, so far without a pattern (once I learned the cast-on and the proper increases). I'll have to get some instruction when it comes time to turn the heel, and then I have to figure out if what kind of pattern I want to make as I go up the leg. All of this is in preparation for making the American Flag socks, which are my next planned project. That's going to involve a chart pattern (for the stars), so it'll be a little more complicated. Photos will be posted soon!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Aggravation eliminated

I know you don't really need to hear more about the desk-building experience, but there is more to tell! I will take this opportunity to point out the ups and downs of the fun I've been having with Office Depot.

Good customer service: I used the OD website on Weds to submit a complaint about the desk. I just could not believe that the damn thing was so poorly made. (serves me right for getting the OD "brand," I suppose.) I received an email within a few hours that said that they would exchange my desk for a new one -- the next day! Yippeee!

Bad customer service: You must wait patiently at the delivery location, for they will arrive any time between 8:30am and 5:30pm. Right, because I didn't have anything else to do yesterday! We won't even go into the notion of having them call first, because clearly that didn't work last week. But they can't even provide a 3-hour window, like the cable guy?

Good customer service, part 2: Then reality set in. Did I really want to build that behemoth again?! I don't think so. Instead, I surfed the OD website and found something I'd rather have instead. The nice lady on the help line was able to make the switch (including charging me the difference in price for the new desk) in less than 10 minutes.

Bad customer service, part 2: By 3pm yesterday, I was getting really fed up with the whole waiting thing. (although it did make me realize that even though I live on a cul-de-sac, there is a lot of traffic on my street during the day!) So, I checked my order number on the website. Lo and behold, the automated system tells me my item HAS BEEN DELIVERED. Hunh? Where? to Whom? Another phone call to get a live person, and all she can say is, well, they're coming. They'll be there by 5:30 or 6:00. ARGH! To make matters worse, the order number for the removal of the old desk said it wouldn't be taken away until Friday. NOT funny.

Good customer service, part 3: Round about 4:15pm, the guys finally showed up. They delivered the new item, and took the old desk away. Yippeee!

Lessons learned:
A. MEASURE the doorway before building the furniture. See previous post about this.
1. Do not buy crappy furniture from Office Depot if you can help it. Office supplies, yes. Particleboard-that-looks-like-wood executive-style desks? Not so much.
2. Do not use big words around OD delivery guys ("behemoth" was a little much for them)
3. If you don't like soap operas, there is very little on tv during the day except Food Network.
4. Grilled ham "marinated" in peanut butter and honey sounds really tasty (Paula Deen, see #3)
5. Simon & Simon is much goofier now than I thought it was in the 80's, but the theme music makes me smile. (see #3 - I do have the Sleuth Channel ) :)
6. There is no punchline to the joke that Bender (Judd Nelson) is telling as he crawls thru the ceiling duct in the Breakfast Club. "A naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm and a two foot salami under the other...." (that was on tv yesterday, too.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More about me than you ever wanted to know...

1. FIRST NAME? Melyssa
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Great-grandma Molly.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Last Thursday night, while watching this item by Keith Olbermann. (yes, I cried. I must be PMS'ing or something.)
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It could be better. I like my printing more.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Sliced chicken breast, which they don't seem to sell much here in Austin.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Sure! I'm goofy and interesting and a good cook to boot!
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? I have my blog now. I used to have a journal next to my bed. I still use that when I can't sleep and have to get something out of my head.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Or Cracklin' Oat Bran *(which is really crack, you know. It's addictive!)
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Emotionally? sometimes. Physically? kinda.
14. SHOE SIZE? Sometimes 8 1/2 and sometimes 9
15. RED OR PINK? Red. Hello, have you met me?
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My low self-esteem regarding my physical appearance.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? 1. my family; and 2. Kelly, Jeff and Hannah. And Dani. and Amy. and Giselle. ok, ok... EVERBODY!
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black jeans, black loafers, purple sweater.
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Pretzel goldfish. (can't eat the cheesy ones)
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? me typing. there's nobody left in the cubicles around me.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Burnt Sienna. I always liked that name.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Rain, the forest, chocolate, pound cake, honeysuckle
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? a wrong number on my cell. I hate that!
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I don't think I've met her more than once, she's a blogger from VA.
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio
28. FAVORITE SPORT? to play: racquetball. to watch: college football (go Trojans!)
29. EYE COLOR? green
30. HAT SIZE? No clue.
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope. 20/20, baby!
32. FAVORITE FOOD? French fries, chocolate, and ice cream. but not all at the same time.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? happy endings. John Hughes ruined me!
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter. Love fireplaces!
36. HUGS OR KISSES? From whom? Hugs are always good.
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate anything.
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I'm not looking for responses.
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Adventures of a Continental Drifter: An Around-the-World Excursion into Weirdness, Danger, Lust, and the Perils of Street Food by Elliott Hester and about to start Janet Evanovich's Twelve Sharp (thanks, Aunt Robin!)
41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? It's from the now-defunct Independence Air - it says "i am not normal"
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? CSI (on Spike), CSI:Miami (CBS) and Studio 60 (on the DVR, because it's on during CSI: Miami).
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Train whistle in the distance; the ocean crashing against the rocks; thunder rumbling when it's not right above my head
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I have an excellent sense of direction. (thanks, Dad!)
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Washington, DC
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Nobody. I copied.

Monday, October 23, 2006

When you buy furniture...

1. MEASURE the doorway that the item has to go through *before* it is completely constructed.

2. Don't buy the heaviest thing in the store.

3. MEASURE the doorway that the item has to go through *before* it is completely constructed.

Yes, the Office Depot furniture arrived tonight. The Asst Mgr was nice enough to bring it over to my house in his own truck, saving me the $20 delivery fee. I had no idea how much the desk weighed. The desk top is ridiculously heavy. I had to leave the box in the kitchen and bring the pieces into the living room so I could build it! In retrospect, I could have used the $20 to pay Office Depot to build it for me.

My hands hurt. My back hurts. It was exhausting. When I finally finished (2 hours later) and stood the thing up on its legs, it occurred to me that it had to go around a tight corner... and then I looked at the doorway to the small office. and immediately reached for the measuring tape. Desk: 29 1/2 inches. Doorway: 29 1/2 inches. d'oh! I bought some of those sliders to put under furniture, so I tipped it vertical and tested. Success! The depth of the desk was only 28 1/2 inches, so after I took the door off its hinges (fortunately, the door has been removed before, so that wasn't hard), the upright desk slid straight through. Then I laid it down and brought in the drawers. Something is very wrong here - the drawers are flush with the sides on the outer edges, but about 1" short on the inner edges. hmm... BUT, it's in its little space, and I will deal with the rest tomorrow. zzzz

Time for bed!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

You were right, mom!*

* - This is a phrase that my mom doesn't get to hear very often, so I thought I would lead with it. :)

When mom was here last weekend, she suggested that I move the sofa back against the wall and shift the console table to one side... etc, etc. I decided this weekend I would try it, and also build the second bookcase that we got at Office Depot. (I will not bore you with the details of the undelivered office furniture; suffice it to say they're gonna call me about it tomorrow.) Lo and behold, Mom was right. It looks lovely. The only drawback is that now I'm much further from the tv... so I'm tempted to buy a bigger one. ;) I also hung some pictures on the walls and emptied a few more boxes. So this is what it looks like now. The console table is along the left wall of the room - you can just see the corner of it in the picture. Having moved the sofa back, there was enough room to build the new bookcase in the middle of the floor!

Friday night, I went to see Carlos Mencia with some girls from my office. I'll admit, I wasn't really impressed with what I had seen on Comedy Central, but he was hilarious! I nearly lost my voice from laughing, and my face hurt!

The weekend ended with a nice dinner at Korea House, which I'd never been to, despite the fact that it's in the same courtyard as my gym. We had bulgogi - the beef that you cook yourself on a hot grill in the middle of the table. It was good, but my clothing smelled awful when I got home! We were there so long we were nearly the last people in the restaurant. Who is "we", you ask? I went on a date! Yes, I know, you're shocked. Proof that you can meet nice people on Jdate!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dance your cares away...

...worry's for another day, let the music play, down at Fraggle Rock!

I have to say, I am excited that there's going to be a Fraggle Rock movie!! But when I stop and think about it, I'm not sure Ahmet Zappa is the right guy to direct... ah well, as long as the Henson family is involved, I'm sure it will be great. :)

(and yes, I already have the "Fraggle Rock - Where it All Began" DVD, thank you Bryan.)

I don't know why I am so attached to these five characters (say it with me now, "Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red!") and the other goofy creatures that inhabit their world (the Doozers!) ... Maybe I was young and impressionable when the series first aired on HBO. Maybe I'm just a huge fan of all things related to Jim Henson and the Muppets (yes, that's definitely part of it). Maybe I need to grow up. (naaaah.) Regardless, there's always a lesson to be learned in a Fraggle Rock episode, and this is a heck of a lot more entertaining than Aesop's Fables.

a happier post :)

Jude and Josh -- well, mostly Josh -- have finished re-doing the room that will be the nursery for the baby when she is born. (and it's happening soon - mid-November!) I am pleased and flattered to see that the little penguin has been given a place of honor in the room. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Building a wall across the border with Mexico isn't enough....

Now we have to make sure nobody gets in our way in OUTER SPACE! US satellites and other objects must have right of way to cruise around the earth. We had to write policy about this? Is it just me, or is this another way to set it up in advance so we can go to war against anyone who violates "our space"? Please, could this be more ridiculous?!? Nobody stood up and said, really, Mr. President, there are more important issues out there, like ...
  • the situation in Darfur
  • cleaning up New Orleans
  • the most violent month in Iraq yet
  • the out-of-control national debt
This can't even be a stunt for the election - it's not hurting anybody! But of course since the right-wing evangelicals don't really believe in science, I'm sure they'd believe Dubya if he said one of the 'Axis of Evil' nations is up there building a Death Star! (that's science *fiction* - which is still more sane to me than intelligent design!)

On a related note, I've recently discovered that I cannot listen to NPR when I'm driving home from work - I end up so angry I yell at the radio! Not good. I'm not angry at NPR. I'm angry at, for example, the evangelicals they intereviewed yesterday who talked about voting for the candidate who they thought was closest to G-d. Hello? Haven't you people heard of the separation of church and state? I'm happy if the candidate is a religious person, that's fine. I just dont need to know about it. Alan Alda's character had a great line about that in the final episodes of West Wing:
"I don't see how we can have a separation of church and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test to get in this government," Vinick declared. (...) "Every day until the end of this campaign I'll answer any question anyone has on government," Vinick concluded. "But if you have a question on religion, please, go to church."

ok, end of rant.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Watch where you stick that elbow!

I am addicted to the Huffington Post. The blog runs pieces from all kinds of people - movie stars, serious reporters, regular joes, and everyone in between.

I love reading Nora Ephron's posts. This week's post is about Vegas, so of course I had to read it. Apparently, in the presence of Nora and a few others, Steve Wynn (who owns a great many fabulous pieces of art, and used to display them at the Bellagio) put his elbow through a Picasso painting. This is the painting that the show* in his hotel is named for - Le RĂªve. The same painting he was about to sell to a collector in Connecticut for over $100M! ouch. (Fittingly, the hole he made was basically in the woman's elbow area in the painting...)

Can you imagine?! It's aPicasso! Apparently Nora and friends had to keep mum about what they had witnessed - at least until an art restorer could look at the damage. Her observations on the experience (and on being at the Wynn hotel and how amazing it is) are amusing. And here's the piece that was eventually written about the incident in the New Yorker. I have to say, I agree with Wynn's wife - it was a sign, he had to keep the painting. :)

*Note: It's not a Cirque du Soleil show, as my ever-vigilant-about-all-things-Cirque brother pointed out, but it is directed by Franco Dragone, who has directed Cirque shows (O, Mystere) in the past.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More on Disney World trip

Last week, Jae and Teri gave Samantha her own camera(s) -- three of those little disposable ones -- so she could take her own pictures of Disney World. Probably safer than handing her one of their nice digital ones and having her drop it... So here's a link to the pictures that she took. There are a few pics of her fingers, or random body parts (belonging to my family, and assorted other people), but she did do very well taking pictures of Jae & Teri and of the rest of us. Jae has great pictures of her taking pictures, too. She would point to a rock or a particular spot on the ground where we were supposed to stand, and then she would back up a few feet and say "one, two, three, smile!" and snap away. (A guy in Epcot saw our stroller-photographer taking a picture of us, and wanted to take a picture of her taking a picture of us, but she refused to repeat the adorable activity for the benefit of strangers. good girl!)

Anyway, the pics are here:

Here's one that Sam took of me. :)

Typhoid Sue

No, not "Typhoid Mary" ... not even "typhoid Melyssa"(which my grandmother and aunts called me when I was little) ... I had a visit this weekend from "typhoid Sue!" To say that mom has a head cold is a major understatement. The poor woman was so stuffy she couldn't sleep until I basically forced her to take some cold medicine - and take it again at 4:30 in the morning! She was coughing her guts out! :(

It all started with a rainstorm. Thursday afternoon (after spending the day hopping back and forth between two conferences - the Governor's Conference for Women, and the UT Ready to Commercialize Conference), I went to the airport to pick up mom. She had been in Dallas all week at the EDUCAUSE Annual Meeting. Her plane was a little late because of the quick-moving storm, which lowered the temperature in Austin by 20 degrees in 2 hours. But by the time we came out of the airport, it had stopped!

We went to Central Market and had dinner at the cafe there - we shared a crab cake salad, and mom had her first taste of fish tacos. She loved them! (I make them at home all the time, ever since Jae made me taste Wahoo's! fish tacos out in San Diego.) :) [Hey! There is a Wahoo's here in Austin! Wahooooo!!]

Friday was "take my mom to work" day. Everybody at my office either knows my mom already (and loves her) or couldn't wait to meet her. The biggest challenge was getting her laptop to work. The IT guy from my office tried to help, but in the end we gave up and he lent her a loaner laptop. (By the time we got that working, it was time to go to lunch!) We decided that the computer problems were a toss-up between my mom's bad tech karma, and the fact that it was Friday the 13th. You have NO idea.

After work, Mom came to the gym with me, but she was too sick to work out -- my trainer had even come up with some fun exercises for us to do together. Oh well. So Tina did her best to fatigue every one of my muscles (she succeeded), and then we went to dinner.

Saturday was so busy, I'm still recovering. We went to Las Manitas for migas for breakfast. Awesome. Unfortunately, Marriott has bought the land that LM sits on on Congress St. and is trying to get the restaurant to move. There's a petition, a letter from City Council, a website... it's all very dramatic. We walked over to the Farmer's Market, where they were having a dog show and had puppies on display from different rescue groups - Bassett rescue and some others. They were adorable. Then it was time to go shopping!! :) We went down to Barton Creek Mall, and ended up getting some clothes for each of us. By then it was ... only 3pm!

On a normal Saturday, at this point I would probably head for home and take a short nap. But not today. From the minute mom entered my house (which she liked very much), she started listing off the pieces of furniture that I "need" to get - bookcases, a desk, etc. So off we went. We stopped at Storehouse Furniture (which apparently is going out of business, so they're having big sales!), and a few other places, but the big money was spent at Office Depot. I got a desk, three bookcases, and a desk chair. The biggest splurge was the chair ---> which I put together myself. :) The desk and the tall bookcase will be delivered on Tuesday... now all I have to do is make space in the small bedroom so I can build them!

After the furniture extravaganza, we had to pick up one or two more things. Target, here we come! Then I took mom to Zinger's Hardware, which I love. Mom admitted that if she lived here, she'd go there a lot, too. They have so much cute stuff! We went to El Arroyo for dinner - it's right near my house, but I hadn't been there yet. Yummy! It's the Austin version of Guapo's. I think I'll be there a lot. We didn't even have enough energy to go to the sports bar to hang out with the USC alumni for the game, so we followed it online. Frustrating (the sites didn't upload data in real time), but at least USC squeaked out a win.

Today's brunch was at Blue Star Cafeteria. The restaurant was surprisingly empty (it's new), but the food was very tasty! Dropped mom off at the airport, and home to nap! I bought some Zicam at Target, and between that and the vitamin C, I'm hoping to stave off the germs that mom left. Well, that and I wiped everything down with Lysol dysinfecting wipes as soon as I got home!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another new experience in Texas

Last night as I was about to go to bed, I turned off the tv, and I heard a weird buzzing sound. I turned to look in the small bedroom, and a FLYING COCKROACH came out at me - at eye level! AAAAAAH! I was asked (a few weeks ago) if I had seen these yet, and I was relieved to say no. Well, that was then. At least I had a vague idea of what the thing was when it came at me! It was 2" long!

I swatted at it, and it went into the bathroom. I scooted to the kitchen and got the (floral-scented :)) RAID. I mostly hit the bathroom mirror, but I did get the bug a bit. If my aim with the spray had been better, the next thing that happened would not have happened - it flew into my bedroom, and took a hard right into my closet! ACK! I was too far away to see exactly where it went in the closet, and it never reappeared. I am now absolutely positive that in the next day or so, I will go in to grab a t-shirt or a pair of jeans and the bug will come out at me - alive or dead. EEEW! Needless to say, it was a little bit difficult to fall asleep...

The good news is, this is only the second one I've seen since I've been here, and they are not in the kitchen. (hm, is that good news or bad news?) Did I mention that I HATE COCKROACHES?!?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Walt Disney World!

In case I never mentioned it, my big brother loves all things Disney. So when the 35th Anniversary of Walt Disney World rolled around, he had to take Teri and Samantha and go. And of course if they were going, then Grammy and Baba and Uncle Bryan and Auntie Mel had to go too! We rented a big house complete with a pool (which I didn't have time to even dip a toe into!).

I don't have the energy to go through everything now, but we had a GREAT time. Samantha is so bright and happy, and it's thrilling to see her growing up and learning new things every day!

Super-short recap: Baba and Grammy arrived at about midnight on Weds. Bryan and I got there in time for dinner on Thursday. Friday we went to Epcot. Saturday we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is an incredible place. Thursday night and Saturday night, Jae took us to his favorite night-time spot at Pleasure Island, The Adventurers Club. (Those visits alone will require their own blog post.) We ate well, walked a lot, and slept little. But it was a heck of a lot of fun!!

I will post more later, I promise. In the meantime, plenty of little tidbits to read on the Samantha blog.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Let there be light!

Last month, I read a great article in FastCompany magazine (I adore FastCompany! I tend to refer to their articles often) about a new kind of light bulb. Well, ok, it's not *new* exactly... it's a compact flourescent lightbulb. According to the article, this little item will "change the world." I thought, "eh, it can't be that great." Then I got my first month's electric bill. Ouch! (of course, it was over 100 degrees here for 24 days in August, that could explain part of it...)

Turns out (I have just calculated), I paid for 51 kWh of light from my incandescent lightbulbs, just in the living room and my bedroom. I didn't notice that two of the bulbs in my bedroom were 100w until I went to switch them - no wonder it seemed so damn bright in there when I woke up in the morning! (I didn't count the ceiling fans in those rooms... apparently those use about 300 kWh per year, so that's another 50 kWh per month for my 2 most-used fans.) The kitchen is already fluorescent, and I don't know if I can reduce the wattage of the bathroom bulbs, but at the very least, by switching to the little swirly compact fluorescent bulbs, I'll go from 51 kWh to 22 kWh immediately. A savings of a whopping... $3-ish per month. Oh well. It seemed exciting at the time. :) [and that $3 savings pays for about ONE of the new bulbs, but the price is going down pretty fast.]

However, the $3 savings is amortized (ooh, an MBA word) over the expected 10,000 hours or so that the bulb will last - saving me from having to buy regular 60-watt bulbs for three years! The only bad thing about these bulbs is that the light is just a little too... dull, particularly when getting dressed in the morning or knitting/crocheting on the sofa, so I am keeping one incandescent for every 2 CF bulbs in my ceiling fans. And I've heard that the weather will get cool enough around here that the A/C won't be as necessary - but so far it's October and it's still in the 90's every day.