Monday, October 30, 2006
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Nope.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Or Cracklin' Oat Bran *(which is really crack, you know. It's addictive!)
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not if I can help it.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Emotionally? sometimes. Physically? kinda.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Mint Chocolate Chip.
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!
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Nah. not necessary.
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!
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Eyes, then hands.
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.
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? See #38
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
44. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Australia!
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
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
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
...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.
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
- the situation in Darfur
- cleaning up New Orleans
- the most violent month in Iraq yet
- the out-of-control national debt
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
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 Rêve. 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
Anyway, the pics are here: http://terifratkin.fotki.com/disney-world-2006-by-sam/
Here's one that Sam took of me. :)
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
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
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
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.