Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Dani!

If it's between Xmas and New Year's, it must be time for Dani's birthday! Last night we started with dinner at Rockland's. They don't do the babyback ribs so much in Austin, so I was craving them, and Rocklands' ribs are excellent! (There was a minor delay when I started to drive to the wrong location, not realizing that Rockland's had moved... but fortunately Dani didn't let me get too far off course.) :)

After Elizabeth made a mess with the ribs, we went to Carpool to meet up with the rest of the crew. We even managed to get 4/5 of "Clueless in Clarendon" back together -- we missed you, Joanie! -- and did some excellent drunken singalongs. The bar had one tv tuned to NBC's "Singing Bee," and once that ended, they played a nice selection of our favorite 80's songs. (Don't Stop Believin'!)

Here's how Dani felt about the fact that we were celebrating her birthday:

But this mood was lightened considerably (and Dani's voice went up an octave) approximately every half hour, when she was strong-armed into doing birthday shots! There was tequila, a Jaegermeister bomb, more tequila... and I'm sure at least one or two more after that, but I didn't hang around to witness the craziness.

Happy Birthday, you crazy girl! Happy New Year! Enjoy your weekend jammie-fest!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things that went right this week

I admit, it wasn't all a bust. Along with the completed knitting projects, I managed to make a super-tasty Mexican Chocolate Cake for the holiday party.


And, I did manage to adopt a Sea Otter for Bryan (and a Penguin for myself) from the Wildlife Adoption Center.

Bryan likes his otter very much, and my penguin is so cute! I think I'll name him Pepper. (I may change my mind, he does have a really goofy look on his face, which you can't quite see in the picture.)

Hannukkah Harriet's Horrible Holidays

Somehow this year my holiday shopping, gift giving and other to-do's got all out of whack, and I feel like I've been running behind for weeks! It didn't help matters that I got food poisoning at the office holiday party on Wednesday night (not sure what it was, but boy, it didn't like me!) and was completely out of commission on Thursday -- the very day I had intended to use as my last-minute shopping day! Argh.

Number of gifts for people at the office I had *intended* to give: 12
Number of gifts I *actually* gave: 4

Holiday cards received from friends, including adorable family photos: 5 and counting
Holiday cards sent: 0 -- unless you count the Chanukah e-card that I sent to about 20 people, three weeks ago.

Cookies baked for Supper Club holiday party? 0
(because: sticks of butter in freezer for cookies? 0)

The one area where I have managed to finish something in time for the holidays is knitting. I finished Gigi's clapotis, Rachel's booties, Kelly's sweater, and Rebeka's scarf and hat -- seen here being modeled by her daughter, the lovely Giana. :)

Ah well. There's always next year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

... and then I'm reminded that I live in Texas

I love living in Austin. I probably say that on this blog about once a month, if not more. :) But then there are days when I'm reminded that portions of the state of Texas are a little bit.... out there, shall we say.
On Friday, an advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recommended that the state allow the Institute for Creation Research to start offering online master’s degrees in science education. The institute, which has been based in California, where it operates a museum and many programs for people who don’t believe in evolution, is relocating to Dallas, where it hopes to expand its online education offerings.
This is a school, my friends, where TEACHERS will be getting their degrees. IN SCIENCE. Only, oops, Creation isn't science! Intelligent design isn't science! But by all means, y'all should come to Texas, instead of that liberal bastion, California! More from insidehighered.com:
The statement of faith for everyone at the institute requires support for both “scientific creationism” and “Biblical creationism.” The former includes the belief that humans were created “in fully human form from the start” and that the universe was created “perfect” by the “creator.” The latter includes the beliefs that the Bible is literally true and “free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological.” Specifically, the statement requires belief in the literal creation of the earth in six days, that Adam and Eve were the first humans, and in the virgin birth of Jesus.
Oy vey.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wanted, Dead or Alive

Last weekend a couple of us were invited to a "Rock Band" Holiday Party. The invitation suggested that we dress up like our favorite Rock & Roller, or band groupie. Rebeka and I chose the latter. We thought it was going to be a bunch of people dressed up like Rock Stars, dancing around, maybe some karaoke.

We were wrong.

It turns out, our friends have the Rock Band videogame, for which you need two guitars (lead guitar and bass), the drum kit, and the microphone. We walked in to the sound of the neighborhood kids playing Bon Jovi (hence the blog title), which would have been great, but they played it over, and over, and over....yes, the adults were singing along, but when the time came to pick a different song, we were all in favor! So they went through The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (I did the Spanish backup line under my breath), Blue Oyster Cult "Don't Fear the Reaper," and Foo Fighters "Learn to Fly" -- among others. We were pleased to note that we weren't the only ones who dressed up, but we were certainly in the minority.

I got roped into singing a little bit, but Rebeka escaped unscathed. ;)

And here, for your viewing pleasure, are our "Rock Chick" outfits. We looked pretty good!

I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive

Find your Clarity

Last night, the Austin Chapter of the Alliance for Technology and Women (I'm on the leadership team) held an event with Ann Daly, a life coach who focuses on women finding their "clarity."

A few of the women who came to the event were really in a work rut - they are bored, or are overworked and unhappy, or are wondering if they should try something new before it's too late -- even if that means leaving a cushy job and starting at the bottom again.

Ann suggested a path to start thinking about how to get out of the rut, figure out what you want to do with your life, and be able to find balance. ("Work-life balance is a myth. You can have it all, but usually not at the same time.") Her suggestions for figuring out what you want to do and where you want to go with your life seemed simple -- she admitted they were sort of "duh," but you still need to go through them.

  1. See the big picture. What do you want to do 5, 10, 20 years from now? What are your priorities? Visualize what you want to do, and what you need to do to get there.
  2. Think sequentially. What are the implications (for #1) of the decisions I'm making?
  3. Know when to say no, based on what you want for the future (see #1) . Women say yes far too often, and get over-committed, or even trampled. Work-life balance is about making hard decisions.
  4. Think of yourself as an investment. What am I willing to invest to get to where I want to be? Think about the price of each decision, and know your tolerance for risk.

While I was listening to the discussion, I did some self-examination. I was in a not-so-great situation two years ago, and making the decision to move to Texas was hard, but it was probably the best decision I've ever made. I love my job -- everything I learned in my past jobs (and, surprisingly, my MBA) nicely rolls into this one -- and I love living in Austin, and the fantastic new friends I've made here.

Ann has a book called Clarity, and is in the process of writing another. We also came up with some other book recommendations during the event:

Lions Don't Need to Roar, by D.A. Benton
Necessary Dreams, by Anna Fels
Getting Past No, by William Ury

Now, go forth and better yourselves. :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

one gift done...

... dozens more to go!

I finished one of long line of knitting projects that is on the list for this holiday season. It's not a Chanuka or Xmas gift, however, it's a birthday present, for Giselle's 40th! :)

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Noro Aurora in rainbow (not sure the exact name),
5.5 skeins = 572.0 yards
Time: 6 months (on-and-off knitting, until the last week or so)
Notes: Dropping stitches on purpose was a little bit disconcerting, but it turned out beautifully, and blocking makes all the difference.

Hope she likes it!


Still to be done for Xmas:
Scarf for Rebeka -- Brown Sheep Company Burly Spun, 100% Wool, in Moonlit Night (gorgeous blue shades)
Kelly's Beachcomber sweater -- just needs sleeves sewn on! Can you say procrastination?
Booties for Rachel -- tulip toes from Knitty, in two colors of my stash of leftover Dalegarn Baby Ull yarn

Phew! I only have two weeks to go! Back to knitting!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Yet another reason to love Duff...


He's a HUGE Star Wars fan. I can only hope that the Star Wars cakes are part of next season's show -- I want to see the Han Solo in carbonite cake!

Great interview with Duff on the Star Wars fan site. Check out the Death Star cake. cool!

Yes, I am a nerd. So sue me. :P

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rose Bowl, here we come!


The final score today: USC 24-UCLA 7. :)

Yes, the Trojans won their last four games (Booty's finger seems to have healed ok) and are the Pac-10 champs for the sixth year in a row. It's also our 32nd appearance in the Rose Bowl, and our sixth straight BCS bowl appearance. Not too shabby! Coach Pete is 24-0 in November!

Someday, I will get to go to the Rose Bowl. For now, I'll have to settle for watching it with the Austin USC club on January 1.

FIGHT ON!

Breakfast for Dinner - a success!

Fifteen people showed up at my house last night -- FIFTEEN! I don't think I've ever had that many people here at once. It got a little warm, but it worked out ok.

Once Jay and I had the requisite conversation about how small my TV is, we moved on to more important things -- namely, breakfast! We had french toast, pancakes, omelets made to order (Paul sweated over the stove for 2 hours, but he made damn good omelets!), cheesy-ham-and-bacon-casserole, parmesan tomato tartlets, bacon crackers, pigs in blankets, fruit salad, bacon and sausage, and of course, Krispy Kremes. Now that I think of it, I never did manage to make any coffee, but we had Kir Royales and Greyhounds and Mimosas... I don't think anyone missed the coffee. ;)

Then we watched The Breakfast Club, which is among the long list of movies that Paul has never seen. (Of course, he's gonna have to watch it again, because he fell asleep with about 30 minutes to go...) I don't know how many times I've seen it, but there I was reciting the lines..."demented and sad, but social." I love that movie. :)

Did I mention how much food we had? When it was all said and done, I had a little bit of casserole left, some pigs in blankets, some fruit, and half of the donuts. And a mountain of eggs! What am I gonna do with all these eggs?!I am so grateful to Rebeka and Atesha for their clean-up efforts, it made my job much easier when everyone was gone.

Maybe I need to have another party... hey. Oscar night will be here soon! :)