Friday, November 27, 2009

Cheerio, Chaps!

I'm pleased to report that a) it's been sunny in London (doh! I probably just jinxed us!) and b) we've really had a blast in the past two and a half days.

We arrived on Wednesday morning. It's chilly, but not nearly as cold as it was last year. Or maybe I'm a lot less cold because I brought my super-warm wool coat this year! We hung out in the apartment for a bit, and then Bryan and I went out to find some lunch. Then it was naptime.

Wednesday is also the customary trip to TESCO to stock up on groceries. We stopped at a pub for dinner - had to have fish 'n' chips! - and then went shopping. Prices seem reasonable when you look at the number in pounds sterling... then you do the math and realize that it's $1.65 to the pound. (Which is actually better than it used to be!) Mostly we need breakfast food.

Thanksgiving Thursday, Mom, Dad and I went to the antiques market at Spittalfields. Many of the people in the shops wished us a Happy Thanksgiving. We wished them a happy Thursday. :) There's also a craft market, and some other cute shops. This is the place where I saw the cool giraffe bag last year, and didn't buy it. I wasn't going to make that mistake again! I got some nice jewelry from one of the artisans - a ring, and a matching blown glass pendant and earrings. We tried the Greek place for lunch, for kebabs, salads, feta cheese. It was more like tapas - small plates, for too much money. No wonder it wasn't very crowded!

From there we met Bryan at Gray's Antiques, where dad likes to shop for watches. [and I finally remembered to get a new SIM card for my phone, so I have a UK number now. ] We didn't stay long... the kid and I wandered down Bond street shopping, but we were so exhausted that we headed back to the apartment pretty quickly.

We had planned to go to Five 25 for Thanksgiving dinner, but when we got there, the menu seemed really simple and pub-like, so we opted for Noor Jahan Indian food instead. (My family does Indian food for Xmas, why shouldn't we have it for Thanksgiving?) :) It was lovely. That's one of the restaurants we have come to every year since 2001 - sometimes multiple times in the same trip.

Today was probably one of the best London days I've ever had. As an early Chanuka present, Dad splurged and got me and Bryan tickets to the ATP Tennis World Tour Finals at the O2 arena. Oh. My. Gawd. First off, the arena is really neat. It's that white bubble with the yellow poles sticking out that you see in lots of images of London now - it appeared in the last (Pierce Brosnan) James Bond movie. Inside, there's an inner layer that holds the arena, and an outer layer surrounding it, where there are a dozen restaurants, a music museum, and even a mini amusement park. Also on the outer layer is the practice court for the tournament. We got there just in time to watch Novak Djokovic warming up with his coach, Todd Martin. *sigh* Novak is one of my favorites.

My other favorite is Rafael Nadal. And guess who Novak was warming up to play? :D The opening match was doubles - Max Myrni and Andy Ram against Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy. Apparently my brother has now seen Leander Paes play in four different cities.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention our seats. We had FRONT ROW SEATS. In the center - right behind the umpire's chair. Wow. Just... wow. I'll post some pics soon; we were 15 feet from Nadal! Bryan got Djokovic's autograph as the players were leaving. And it was some of the most amazing tennis I've ever seen.

From there, we had to rush over to Westminster to meet the 'rents for a tour of Parliament. One of the guys who grew up at APIC shows now works for the Conservative party over here. He's been here for about a year. He took us inside Parliament, to the House of Lords, under Big Ben, and almost into the House of Commons (the guard wouldn't let us go past the doorway.) Then we went down to one of the eight (or more?) pubs inside the Parliament grounds for a pint. Unfortunately, as it was Friday night at 6pm, all of the other young staffers had the same idea. It was packed! We had our one beer and got out of there.

On the move again, Bryan and I had tickets to The 39 Steps, so we had to head for Picadilly. I saw it in New York when we were there for Robin's birthday, but the kid hadn't seen it. It was hilarious (again). Bryan laughed out loud.

YAWN. That's two and a half very full days, which will be followed by two more full days, and then a full day flying to get home. Time to get some rest! Tomorrow: Portobello Road.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The blur that was Portland

I thought I might be able to post more often while I was in Portland, but that just wasn't to be. Here's a quick synopsis.

Sunday was spent at the Convention Center, putting up posters in the TACC booth. We had our share of surprises, successes and snafus, but for the most part, our booth was lovely (bigger than we've ever had) and very successful.

Sunday night, mom and I went to the Intel welcome party at the Portland Art Museum. (Apparently I didn't miss very much at the craft market.) The food was very good, we ran into a lot of people we knew and had some lovely conversations, and they gave out nice fleece jackets as a parting gift. My only complaint was that we didn't get to see the rest of the museum. That was kind of a bummer.

Monday, I moved to the Governor hotel where the rest of the TACCsters were already encamped. After staying in the tiny room with my mom for the weekend, it was a pleasure to have a nice big room on the top floor, complete with fireplace!

After putting the finishing touches on the booth (and stopping by a pre-opening reception), the fun began at the convention center with the opening party for the conference attendees. It was such a blur - we talked to so many people! The booth was very popular. It went on like that for three days - chatting in the booth til closing, checking out a restaurant or a party, and crashing into bed. That's how these things go every year. (I have to say, I miss the LinuxNetworx parties at the sports venues like we had in Seattle and Tampa!)

Thursday, Al Gore did the keynote address at the conference. I was debating whether to go or not - he was besieged by protesters at his speech on Wednesday, and they swore there would be tons of security, blah blah blah. But in the end, I just couldn't stay away. It's AL, after all. I love Al. I think a lot of other people were scared away... I got into the ballroom right away and got a pretty good seat up front, just left of center. It was pretty empty until right before his talk started. I was frantically texting my staff to get them to come quickly -- and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

Al was great. Clearly, he has a selection of canned jokes, mostly self-deprecating, that he likes to tell. And he used an African proverb (that got retweeted multiple times), which he also recited on '30 Rock' and SNL. Ah well. But he gave a tremendous speech, showing that he knew about supercomputing and networking (whether he "invented the Internet" or not...) and issued a call to arms to the HPC community to help solve the climate crisis. It made me sad (again) that we had to live through 8 years of that other idiot... this country would be in a totally different place if Al had been President. *sigh*

The rest of Thursday - another blur. I went to the job fair and talked to some students interested in summer internships... and then I had to haul a** for the airport. I had the chattiest cab driver ever on the way there. He was telling me about his rare book collection, his latest surgery, the love/marriage advice he gave to a woman who was crying in his cab last week... and on, and on, and on.

I was so glad to be back in Austin, even for just four days.

Next stop: London!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Greetings from Portland

(I mean the one in Oregon.... apparently there are a lot of other Portlands around the USA!)

Today was filled with dining and shopping and football-watching. But let me start with last night's dinner, which was excellent. The front desk person at the hotel recommended a restaurant up the street called Southpark. I admit, I had visions of Stan, Kyle and Cartman at first, but it's actually a seafood restaurant with a distinctly Mediterranean flair. I forgot that it was a Friday night at 7:30pm... the place was packed. I ended up sitting at the bar in the Wine Bar section of the restaurant. It was very nice. I had a glass of Apolloni Pinot Grigio, and a small-ish dinner (it was already almost 10pm for me by then) of warm flatbreads with hummus, and the Pacific Northwest version of crabcakes. I was starving. Everything was very tasty, and the bartenders were really nice (one had even grown up in DC!), but between the time difference and the wine, I was starting to fade. I walked back to the hotel -- ooh, did I mention that it's COLD here! Thank goodness I brought my wool-alpaca coat from last winter in DC! -- and pretty much crashed into bed. Unfortunately, just as I was starting to get comfy and fall asleep, mom came in, having landed at PDX at midnight. So... we didn't get to sleep til after 1am. And I woke up at 5. I'm gonna sleep well tonight!

We slept late (honestly, I don't know when I've ever seen my mom sleep as late as she did!) and had the buffet breakfast at the hotel. We went to the tourist information center for some brochures, watched the giant Xmas tree construction in Pioneer Square, and eventually made it up to the Agency sports bar, which is where the Portland USC Alumni gather to watch games. We were early, so we wandered around the neighborhood and ended up spending a few bucks in the Dollar Store. (yes, we're big spenders, that's right!) She needed hairspray, I needed a scarf... it was very exciting stuff. Then we went back to the bar and found the USC group. They were all very nice and welcoming. We even had a few Stanford interlopers. And then the game started, and it all went downhill from there. All I have to say is, UGH. The rest of that rant we will leave for another day. ;)

When the game ended, we meandered back to the hotel by way of the supermarket, the yarn store -- which it turns out was Dani's fave when she was here -- and the Doc Martens store -- only one in the USA! I looked at some of the boots, but they're seriously expensive. For dinner, we invited zak to come over from Convention-Center-land, and we were originally headed for a Greek place. Unfortunately, I got all turned around and walked us in the wrong direction! For some reason, my normally excellent sense of direction has TOTALLY failed me in Portland so far. *sigh* We turned around and headed for the restaurant, in the right direction, but got sidetracked by a nice looking place, the Red Star Tavern. That was fortuitous, because we ended up having an excellent dinner! Short ribs, scallops, cornbread... it was all excellent.

To continue the bargain-hunting theme, we stopped at Ross on the way back, so mom could buy a hat for tomorrow's trip to the Saturday Market (yes, I know tomorrow is Sunday). We ended up also getting microfleece thermal tops, and another scarf for me. So the grand total of our "shopping" today was $30. The total for food was.... much more than that. :) And that's as it should be, if you ask me.

Before you ask, I didn't take a lot of pictures, but don't get your hopes up - today was likely the only day this week without rain. :(

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting things done

(I refuse to use Larry the Cable guy's catchphrase. Bleh.)

This weekend, I managed to finish a bunch of things that were just sort of hanging around in limbo. For starters, I finally completed the crochet caterpillar for Nicky W. I'm hoping to get to the post office on Tuesday to ship it off to Boston.

I also finished re-installing (mostly) my printer/copier/scanner so I could use it to scan photos and such. (see photo, right --> ) More of those will be posted shortly. There are so many to choose from!

And, I cleared out a ton of cardboard boxes that have been filling my garage... I need the space -- my new B&D electric mower is coming on Thursday! (it's so cute!) There are so many things I can get done outside, now that it's not going to be 104 degrees every day.

I also started a few new things - a new pot of basil is growing, some new parsley seedlings are peeking out, and I made an apple granola crumbly-thing for breakfasts this week.

I'm sure this burst of energy will run out soon, but for the time being, I'm kind of enjoying this whole "done!" thing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

my house has been warmed

A big ol' thank you to Auntie M, for the bounty of housewarming goodies I found when I got back from DC. In no particular order: serving plates, a turkey baster, loaf pan, giant knitting needles, decorative glass bottles, cheese spreaders, tomato saver, and 'Auntie Sam' poster. phew!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nationals Park is pretty cool

Ryan got us tickets right behind home plate! So what if the Nats could be handed loss #100 tonight... it's a nice place.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

L'Shanah Tovah

(Image taken from treppenwitz, created by his wife Zahava)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 05, 2009

view from my seats @ UT

you could call these nosebleed seats... but I think those are below us!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I've gone from two eyes to four!

First pair of eyeglasses... ever! It's amazing how much clearer everything is.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Remembrance and Hope for the Future

Last week, a gunman entered a LGBT Center in Tel Aviv and killed two people, and wounded a dozen more. Unfortunately, violence in Israel isn't exactly unusual, and while I frequently get choked up about it, this one was different.

Because of Aubrey, I know a lot about the LGBT community in Austin (and have spent plenty of time in gay bars!), including the existence of Out Youth, which is an outreach center for young people, exactly like the one that was attacked in Tel Aviv. I went to their prom! -->

Tonight, Out Youth, together with other LGBT community organizations and the Jewish Community Association of Austin, co-sponsored a vigil at City Hall to honor the victims in Tel Aviv. I had to go.

When I started thinking about the whole situation earlier in the day, I started to cry. There is certainly no question that what happened in Tel Aviv was horrible. Any shooting, and particularly the shooting of children, is tragic. But even moreso because, of all of the places in the world where this could happen, Israel is different. The Jewish people have been persecuted, just for being who we are, since the beginning of time. [On Bill Maher's show last week, it was pointed out that Judaism was around *before* Christianity - even people who quote the Bible (the New Testament) don't seem to grasp that there's an Old Testament for a reason! But I digress...] Israelis are used to the threat of violence. They go on living their lives in the face of a constant ... nervousness... that the next person who gets on the bus, or walks into the store, could be a suicide bomber. West Wing addressed this nicely after 9/11 in "Isaac and Ishmael" -- one of the students asks Sam, "...what do you call a society that has to just live every day with the idea that the pizza place you are eating in could just blow up without any warning?" "Israel," Sam answers. That's it. They're used to it, for lack of a better term -- as much as you can be.

But here was an assailant who chose to attack an even more specialized group. Teenagers who didn't feel comfortable being themselves anywhere else -- many of them weren't out to their parents yet -- could be assured that at this center, in this support group, whoever they were was fine. And this guy violated that trust. (They haven't found him yet.) How are these kids ever going to feel safe again?

As Jews, we are taught the values of respect for human life, for *all* people, and that persecution of any kind is wrong. If we do not stand up for the rights of others, who will stand up for us?

All this is to say, we understand.

Tonight, the quick rainshower that passed over Austin gave way to a gorgeous rainbow, which hung directly over City Hall as I drove downtown. I thought it was a good sign. :)

The vigil was very well attended (over 100 ppl) and well-run. The Out Youth kids were basically in charge of the whole thing. Three local rabbis, including Rabbi Freedman from my temple, offered prayers and song. I cried through the Mourner's Kaddish... but then I always do. The teenagers read statements, sang songs (Leonard Cohen's Halleluyah, which was beautiful), and gave their heartfelt speeches about love, acceptance and hope for the future. The most unexpected speech came at the end of the evening, from a woman whose daughter is transgender. She talked about the pain of being a parent, knowing what your child will go through and how the rest of the world will react to her "differences." It is only with love and acceptance from parents like this - and the rest of us, LGBT allies - that awful events like what happened in Tel Aviv will be stopped.

So say a prayer for the families of the teenagers and their support system in Tel Aviv, who were killed and injured last week. But don't stop there. Stand up to bullying and injustice when you see it. Support OutYouth, or a similar organization in your area. And above all, share the love! :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

new furniture

it took most of the day to get it all set up properly, but I love my new Mission style bedroom set! (thank you craigslist...) :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

un-learning what I've learned

Last month, I decided to organize a "Biggest Loser" contest at my office. I've since dropped out, but not because I am giving up. I'm taking a new path.

Over the past... 20 or so years, I have spent a lot of time thinking about food. What to eat, what not to eat, how many calories (or WW points) everything is, how much I have to exercise to burn off whatever I ate for dinner, writing down what I've eaten -- and deciding whether to write something down at all (like those miniature york peppermint patties that I keep in my freezer)... and somehow, it never seems to end. I have been brainwashed by WW, so it's not a "diet" it's a "lifestyle change" -- I haven't used the word "diet" in forever.

In the last year, I've been working with a nutritionist and a personal trainer (three years with the trainer), and although I know I'm in much better shape than I was when I started -- I definitely have more stamina, and I can lift about 2x the weight-- I haven't gotten any smaller.

Why isn't it working? What's wrong with me? The nutritionist suggested that I go see a "food therapist," who could help me figure it all out.

My first session with the therapist was excellent. I didn't cry (much). She's going to help me figure out my food issues -- and along the way, probably a host of other issues! -- and she's started me on a program of "Intuitive Eating." When I looked the book up online after the session, I was really excited to read the ten principles of Intuitive Eating.... but also a little scared.
  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Exercise--Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health
I've listened to the audiobook of part 1, and I have to say, principle #1 absolutely floored me.
Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
It's going to literally mean un-brainwashing myself, never thinking about calorie counts or "good fooods" and "stupid foods" (that's what I called them)... ever again! No more weighing myself! No more scale! (The audiobook says "The scale is evil." I wrote that one down.) :)

Needless to say, as soon as I got the first CD, and read the website, I stopped doing Weight Watchers, cold turkey. No more recording every bite that went into my mouth. No more worrying about portion size, or whether I could eat french fries or not. And, even though I'm still going to the gym 3x or 4x a week, I've started gaining weight.

And therein lies the rub. One of the main points of the first principle is that you have to put the idea of weight loss on the back burner. And accept the fact that, while you're first getting started with Intuitive Eating, you will probably gain weight. AAAH! I don't know how to be ok with gaining weight. I can feel it slowly attaching itself to my midsection. Eventually, according to the book, your body will recover from the constant yo-yo-ing of diets, and shift toward your ideal weight - whatever your body wants it to be. Here's another challenge for me - on the one hand, I'm not supposed to worry about what I weight, right? but on the other hand, in the back of my mind, I need to believe that my "ideal weight" is smaller than where I am now. and I know from experience that if I don't think about calories and I don't get to the gym all the time, I gain tons of weight. AAAAH! It's making my head explode.

This week, I told the therapist about this concern (aka major freak-out) about what would happen if my body wants to be bigger. She said, "Well, you can always go back on a diet." But somehow, I can't see myself doing that either. I just have to be patient. She said that the more she listened to me talk, the more she could tell that it really was going to be a radical change for me to do Intuitive Eating, and she was glad I was sticking with it.

So who wants to go have a burger on Friday? ;)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Austin Aztex warming up

it may be 90-something, but it's not so bad in the shade, and there's a nice breeze!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Matter

(taken from Seth Godin's blog)

  • When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
  • When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
  • When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
  • When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
  • When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
  • When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
  • When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
  • When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
  • When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
  • When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
  • And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

Monday, June 01, 2009

backyard arsenal

I stopped by HD on the way home to pick up some supplies. Now comes the real test - will any of it work? News at 11!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spelling Bee buzz

Yesterday, while I was getting ready for my supper club (making whole wheat pizza dough, and then rolling it out and decorating it with homemade pesto, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, and another one with crushed tomatoes and artichoke hearts and more mozz...) I was listening to the middle rounds of the National Spelling Bee on ESPN. It was sort of funny to see how ESPN made it more "exciting" ... they even did short interviews with the kids and their parents. It was cute.

Starting with Round 4 (semifinals), they had to spell words like skeuomorph, hircocervus, echinocystis, and omphaloskepsis. Yikes! These are mostly 12 and 13 year old kids! I was amazed. I thought I was a good speller - I won the spelling bee in my elementary school in 5th grade and made it to regionals... where I was tripped up by the word "platelet" (I hadn't had biology yet, I didn't know that it didn't have the "-ette" on the end! oh well..) So yesterday, I tried to spell the words along with the kids, without looking at the spelling on the tv... I think I would have been out in round 5. ;)

The winning speller, Kavya Shivashankar (she's 13!), had to spell the following in the last six rounds:
11. Caerphilly
12. wisent
13. bouquiniste
14. isagoge
15. phoresy
16. Laodicean (winner!)

Wow. I'd better go back to studying. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

100 miles in one day

oy vey.

This has been some day. I think I spent more time in my car than I did at the office. Or anywhere, except maybe the doctor's office.

I started the day at the medical building for my annual physical, and to get a referral so I can get my knee checked out. He thinks I have patella-femoral syndrome, which is exactly what Bryan had when he grew too fast and had no cartilage in his knees. I can live with that -- I'd rather have to do PT than have any kind of surgery, but we'll see what the ortho says. I was all ready to head back to work after 45 mins in the docs office, but no! That would be too easy. I had to go to the lab first. EKG, blood test, and a tetanus shot for good measure. (ow. did I mention that they had to stick me twice to take my blood, because he screwed up the first time? ugh.)


An hour later, I was finally on my way. I made a beeline for Starbucks first, since I had been fasting since midnight, and had only slept for about 5 hrs. And "beeline" was the right word -- after three sips of iced coffee, I was buzzing like a beehive. I zipped back to the office (really, I might have been able to run faster than the car went!), I edited a document, and left again to drive down to a luncheon on campus. (Yes, ok, I should have gone straight from the doc's office to campus, but I thought I had enough time... learned my lesson!)


Went to the lunch meeting, which was really uneventful, and then went back to the office. (Again, should have stayed on campus...) I was in the office for a whole 45 minutes, and then I raced down to the airport to pick up Amy & Mary. I took them back to the office, gave them a tour, and did a little bit of work, until about 5:15. By then, the office had emptied out and we were hungry, so we went over to Roaring Fork for dinner. We sat outside -- and had to fight off some really aggressive flies -- and watched people swimming in the lake. The food was good, the weather was warm but pleasant, and the check blew away. (we had to pay anyway, the nice waiter reprinted it. damn.)


Then I brought the girls up to see my house, since this was about the closest we'll be all weekend. They liked it. We all nearly fell asleep in the living room, so I drove them downtown to their hotel, dropped them off, and came back.

Phew. Want to see what the map looks like?
(B) is the doctor's office
(D) is campus
(F) is the airport
(G) is my office
(H) is the hotel
(I) is my house


Tomorrow: I'm sleeping late!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Play it again, please

Having a whole bunch of movie channels (and a DVR) is great, though sometimes it keeps me from watching my Netflix movies for months at a time. I can watch some of my favorite movies whenever they're on, over and over again, and quote most (if not all) of the lines. The list is long: Star Wars/Empire/Jedi, Princess Bride, Pretty Woman, Hunt for Red October, French Kiss, Footloose, Crimson Tide, Bridget Jones, Unforgiven... occassionally Dani and I try to build a complete list, but we can never think of all of them. I think it's a comfort thing. I know I can do just about anything around the house - work, laundry, build bookcases, hang pictures, knit, and even nap - and know exactly what's going on in the movie. It's actually harder for me to do these things when I'm watching a new episode of something, like Countdown on MSNBC, or CSI, because I want to concentrate on what's being said. But these movies are my comfort food.

Speaking of which, tonight, Field of Dreams was on, followed by Bull Durham. *sigh* It's no secret that I had a HUGE crush on Kevin Costner when these two movies came out. My dad even got me the cardboard stand-up of KC and Susan Sarandon* from the video store, (that one -->) which hung over the curtain rod in my bedroom until I went to college. (It was conveniently also good for keeping out early morning sunlight!) I can pretty much recite the lines from start to finish on both of these. And they have two of the best speeches out of all the films I love. In FoD, it's James Earl Jones explaining that "people will come:"
... People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

And of course, Crash's speech in the beginning of Bull Durham, explaining what he believes in:
Well, I believe in the soul, the c*ck, the p*ssy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
Yes, it's probably a waste of time to watch these things over and over, but it's comfortable. They're like my old friends, and I wouldn't want to ignore my friends!

* Random quirk of mine - Susan Sarandon was married, for a time, to Chris Sarandon (aka Prince Humperdinck, from Princess Bride). Strangely, I pronounce her name Sa-RAN-don, and I pronounce his name SAH-ran-don. Don't ask me why, I don't know.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A lovely baby shower

This afternoon, Rebeka and I went to a baby shower for our friends Juan and Letty. Letty has another six weeks to go, but she looks like she's about to pop! It was a nice, small shower, with couples and kids. Of course, I was happy to go to the shower, and I made the world's quickest duckie - started last night at 9:30am, finished in the car on the way to the party! But the biggest draw for me was that it was being hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Klein (and her husband Phil).

I've been reading Stephanie's blog for at least a couple of years, since she published her first book, Straight Up and Dirty, moved to Austin (shortly before I did, I think), had her twins in December '06... It was great to actually meet her! The "beans" are a little over 2 now and talking. They're SO cute. And Phil is just the nicest guy in the world.

Our illustrious hosts made finger sandwiches, complete with the crusts cut off -- cucumber, salmon, egg salad -- as well as awesome little roast beef sandwiches with cheese and horseradish, and teriyaki meatballs... we definitely ate well. There was a big pitcher of lemonade, with a bottle of Absolut Vanilla next to it. We didn't realize that the lemonade was *already* spiked... it was tasty, but I had to stop after one cup. :) And then to top it all off, Letty made a lemon tart. Wow. Juan said they made him stop bringing her baked goods to work, and I can totally see why!

Needless to say, the duckie was a big hit. :) I didn't take out my own camera, but there will be pictures soon, I'm sure.

So a big ol' thank you to Stephanie and Phil, and mazel tov to Juan and Letty! (I even offered to babysit!)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wholesome student fun: BYU has a bowling alley on the bottom floor of their student center... And it's packed!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

waterfall @ sundance resort

Time flies- last time I was here was four years ago!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting back to knitting...

Annetrelac socks, in On Linie supersocke 100, Highland color. Trying to decide how much more cuff before I stop...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is why I buy strawberries @ Costco

4lbs of strawberries for $5.99! and they're HUGE! yummmmmm

Friday, April 17, 2009

First taste of Rudy's

After a much delayed flight (2.5 hrs on tarmac in Houston!) mom and dad made it to Austin... and not having eaten, I brought them right to Rudy's. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

non-Seder Passover meal

I am trying to keep Pesach this year. I get almost all the way through the week every year, but after about five days or so, I invariably put something in my mouth and start chewing before I realize it's a no-no.

But, I definitely do my best at home. I moved all of my chametz into a couple of bags and put them away in the closet. I have been eating "matzah-and-" everything I would normally eat, so it's matzah and sun butter for breakfast, matzah and sliced turkey for lunch... etc. And some leftover matzoh ball soup (don't ask me why I spell the crackers with an "a" and the balls with an "o" - I don't know!)... and haroset... it hasn't been too difficult yet.

Tonight I decided to cook one of the new Passover products I found- Kosher for Passover cous cous, to go along with a really neat recipe for chicken with asparagus.

All I can say is, one of these recipes worked very well and is delicious. The other one, not so much. Can you guess which was which?

Yes, the cous cous looks like ... well... rabbit pellets made of matzah. The chicken flavoring helps a little, but it's just... mushy. Bleh. Reminds me of the "Matzah-O's" we tried for breakfast once when Bryan was little. No thanks!

The best part about Pesach, though, is matzah brei for breakfast. I eat mine with cinnamon-sugar. It's excellent. (I was going to provide a link to a matzah brei recipe, but there are so many to choose from! Savory? Sweet? both? choose your own!) Suffice it to say you dampen the matzah, mix it with a few beaten eggs, and fry it up -- sorta like the Pesach version of French toast. That'll be my breakfast tomorrow, so feel free to stop by.

Chag Sameach, everybody!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

view from my seat at Bruuuuuuuuce!

I can't believe I'm finally seeing Springsteen! It's taken me 20 years to get here!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

backstage @ Bob Bullock IMAX

they're about to show Monsters v. Aliens in 3D... coming off two giant film reels. It's a $30million machine. Wow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

my first brisket

Passover is coming. I'm going to be making a brisket for Seder, so I thought I should practice making it once, just in case. I bought a small 1.5lb brisket and cut off the fat, and made it with garlic, broth, thyme and tarragon. It isn't falling apart like mom's did, but it's very tasty, and now I know what to do!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not your average thunderstorm

There was a severe storm warning in Austin this afternoon, which became a severe thunderstorm watch... so I stayed at work for a while longer to wait out the storm. But then I discovered that one of my neighbors had golf-ball sized hail in his backyard!

Yet another one of the new things I'm learning as a homeowner -- hail is scary! What if it broke my windows? So I drove (slowly and carefully) home in the diminishing rainstorm, and was pleased to find that while there were little golf-ball hail lumps all around the house, the house was still intact. :)

Here's a pic of the hail (oops, it's blurry) and a pic of the backyard. It's wild! Of course, less than an hour later, the sun came out, and there was a nice sunset. But the hail didn't melt right away.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

good karma

Sitting at National airport, watching USC basketball and waiting for my flight back to Austin, a lady walked by my table and made what she called a "strange request" -- she asked if she could use my laptop really quickly to send a note to her boss. I figured, what the heck, she looks nice, and it's good karma. And I know the feeling - though it hasn't happened to me since I got my blackjack last year.

She sat down and started typing, and we chatted a bit... it turns out she is going to Israel to visit her son. She didn't bring her blackberry because she doesn't have international service on it, and she really needed to send an email. I mentioned that I hadn't been to Israel since my bat mitzvah, and we had a laugh about "Jew-dar." :)

She told me she'd be at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem tomorrow, and would say a prayer for me.

So there you go, I'd say that's good karma!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grammy Fratkin and baby Blake

Hmmm... maybe I'm off the hook for a little while? Thanks, Val! ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The bracket-watching has begun

-- and no, I don't mean the NCAA men's basketball tourney... I mean "Fug Madness 2009!"

I love reading the Go Fug Yourself blog. There are times when I don't recognize the featured personalities, but it's fun to see what odd things Hollywood people like to wear out of their houses, especially when nobody else in their right mind would wear that stuff! I mean, really! Who is the stylist who told you that was a good idea? and why haven't you fired them?

So, in order to pick the "fugliest" dresser of the year, we get Fug Madness, for which there are four brackets: Madonna, Charo, Cher and Bjork (they're real fashion trendsetters, don'tcha know...) and everyone votes for the fashion victim of their choice, until we're down to one. The nice thing is, you can instantly see the top vote-getters when you vote. And over 11,000 people have voted already!

Last year's winner was Bai Ling. Suffice it to say, Bai wore some goofy, strange outfits last year. Can't wait to see who our winner is for 2009! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Drink more wine! (and Happy St. Patrick's Day)

This is a letter from a right-wing organization that was in today's email from the Texas Freedom Network. Since when is PP a "pro-abortion behemoth"? I say, Run, don't walk, to your nearest store and BUY SOME WINE!

From: Life Decisions International
Date: March 17, 2009

Do You Enjoy a Glass of Wine
FRONT ROYAL, Va., Mar. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- Do you drink wine? Millions of people do, but most are unaware of the fact that many winemakers give financial support to Planned Parenthood, the world's leading pro-abortion behemoth.

"I like a glass of wine every now and then," said LDI Chairman Thomas C. Strobhar. "I am appalled that so many winemakers fund the Culture of Death. I urge my fellow pro-life activists to let winemakers know that they have a 'choice'. They may continue to fund Planned Parenthood and lose a lot of business to competitors or they may stop funding Planned Parenthood and reap the benefits that come from happy consumers."

Whether you are a wine drinker or not, please urge winemakers to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. A recently updated list of winemakers that fund Planned Parenthood may be found on the website of Life Decisions International. (Please read the introductory text and then scroll down to the link that reads, "Wineries/Vineyards," which may be found after the list of states.) Contact information is provided for each winemaker listed.

Life Decisions International (LDI) is dedicated to challenging the Culture of Death, concentrating on exposing and fighting the agenda of Planned Parenthood. LDI's chief project is a boycott of corporations that fund the abortion-committing giant.

... and if you're in Texas, support the TFN!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

on the way to the new house!

there goes the truck, full of my stuff!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Invaders!

Sunday afternoon, I took another load of boxes up to my new house (yay!) and discovered new little friends: pillbugs! also known as roly-polys! EVERYWHERE! Well, ok, not everywhere. Around the kitchen and the bathrooms -- apparently they like dampness. When I went back tonight, they were mostly dead in corners. Not to worry, though, I bought Ortho MAX, and will be spraying it around the outside of the house and in the kitchen and bathrooms, before move-in day. :)

I also picked out a fancy new fridge (it was on sale) and a garage-door opener, both of which should be installed later in the week. And then on Saturday, I'm moving in! OMG!

Photos from move-in will be posted... when I recover.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

it figures...

Bright, sunny Saturday, so I decide to move some boxes to the new house. And, my friend John comes to meet me so he can give me a quote on some minor repairs. We go out into the back yard, and what happens? Door locks automatically! Yep, that's right -- I got locked out of my new house on the first day!
Fotunately, John had his phone, so we called a locksmith. One hour and $90 later, I'm back inside.
sheeesh!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

something not quite right...

I loooove Rachel's yogurt, so I stopped to check out the sign @ Whole Foods - and then I did the math.
4 for $5 means each one is $1.25, right? (fortunately, they're on sale for $0.79 at HEB this week... ) If you can read it, in the corner it says reg price $1.19 - you *save* 6 cents. um.... no.
Maybe I should tell the manager? :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Amen!

Finally, someone who both believes in Gd and understands evolution! A Baptist blogger has written a nice piece about why religion and evolution do not have to be mutually exclusive. I'm not sure I agree with him 100%, but at least he makes the case for open-mindedness.

All I have to say is, Thank you! I'm pleased to see that rational thought exists somewhere in this country!

For another view on evolution vs. creationism, see this Family Guy clip. :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

A few days late...

but you'll notice the Bush Countdown Clock is GONE from the sidebar! He's GONE! :) hoooray!

Pope 2; Reasonable Thought, 0

He's at it again -- already! Just one week after reinstating a Holocaust-denying Bishop (and then releasing a statement about how we must all work together to make sure the Shoah doesn't happen again), the Pope has now elevated to Bishop an Austrian priest who says that the Harry Potter books are spreading Satanism, and that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans to wipe out the hedonism (and the abortion clinics) there.

If there's one thing that was drummed into me as a child, it was "Question Authority." Please tell me there are Catholics in the world who don't agree with this man? ... Who have more sense than this? ... Who, even though it might be sacrilegious, are willing to question the authority of the Pope to do these things?

Yikes.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

On the anniversary of the day that the Soviet army liberated Auschwitz in 1945 (see video below), I was treated to a story on NPR this morning about the Bishop that was "un-excommunicated" by the Pope this week. Bishop Richard Williamson has been -- recently, not just in the past -- quoted as saying there's no historical evidence that 6 million Jews died in WWII.

Bishop Williamson, who has said that the Vatican is controlled by Satan and that the Jews are bent on world domination, reiterated in a broadcast last week on Swedish television that the historical evidence was “hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler. I believe there were no gas chambers”.
I'm sorry, WHAT?!? and he gets to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church? The way the current pope is reversing Vatican II, I'd say the "heretics" in Europe had better watch out - the Spanish Inquisition may be poised for a comeback!

But in the meantime, a moment of reflection on the horrors that took place at Auschwitz, and how grateful we are that Hitler and the Nazis were defeated.



I think it's time for the Shehecheyanu:

Monday, January 19, 2009

My 15 minutes of fame is officially up

This afternoon, I did seven interviews with Canadian Broadcasting Corp stations all over Canada - from British Columbia to Saskatchewan to Manitoba to Ontario to New Brunswick to Yukon (not geographically in any particular order). They asked me questions about collecting political memorabilia -- how I got started, why people collect, what's valuable, and what's out there for Obama. I talked about my flasher collection, Cox-Roosevelt buttons, and the Obama Chapter of the APIC.

The station in Victoria, BC (6th go-round) sent me an MP3 recording of the interview. I've asked for recordings of the other ones, but I actually think this one was the best. One of the producers I spoke with likened the experience to "Groundhog Day", and she was right! The station in New Brunswick also offered to send me a bobblehead doll of one of the DJs. :)

If I can figure out how to post it here, I will. Otherwise, if you want to hear it, email me and I'll send you the 6MB file. I sound kinda squeaky - who was it who suggested that I speak in a lower voice so I didn't sound nasal? oh well! It was fun.

And that's enough for my 15 minutes.... I'm sure they're sick of me in Canada. ;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I never "liveblog" ...

...but the "We Are One" concert is on, and it's amazing!

1:30pm (CST) Starting with Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man was genius - it was symbolic, as an announcement of a new beginning. It's one of my favorite pieces. I was in tears almost immediately.

(starting to regret staying in Austin for the weekend...)

Watching the Obama girls see themselves on tv was so cute! (Sasha made her mother move out of the way!)

1:40pm Bruce. Wow. The newscasters kept saying that the musicians weren't going to be singing their own music, but singing "The Rising" with a huge choir in the background was fabulous.

1:50pm Hmm... maybe Mary J. Blige should have worn something other than white/off-white so she'd stand out a little more against the steps? Oh well. Lean On Me, another great uplifting song. You go Mary J! and Michelle is singing along! :)

[and, not having saved this post often enough, my Firefox crashed and I lost almost an hour's worth of commentary. doh!]

I may try to reconstruct, using my trusty DVR, but for the time being, let's watch Garth Brooks singing American Pie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More on Israel

For your reading pleasure (or discomfort, in this case), here's a post detailing the various actions going on in other parts of Israel, instigated by the same Arab countries who won't admit to directly helping Hamas, and won't help the Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
If you are inclined to 'poo poo' the seriousness of these attacks or downplay their impact on Israeli morale, just think back to 2002 when the 'Beltway Sniper' was able to terrorize the entire eastern seaboard of the United states into immobility with nothing more than a hunting rifle and an old Chevy Caprice. Also, with Israel at war on one front, just how much restraint are we really expected to practice with all the other belligerents in the neighborhood?
A fair question, I think. Americans have never been exposed to this kind of constant barrage -- Beltway Sniper notwithstanding -- he could only fire in one place at a time. How can we be expected to understand the mentality of the Israeli people? We can't tell them not to fight back. It's ludicrous.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

eat more, not less

I went to the nutritionist tonight for a "check-up" -- this is the same woman who put me on a mostly-organic diet in January 2008, and with whose help I lost about 15 lbs last year. We talked about what I've been eating, which has been far more sensible since I've been back from DC. I showed her my last 10 days of Weight Watchers food tracking. Other than the fact that it is sorely lacking in vegetables, it looked pretty good. But then she did the math, and apparently I'm not getting enough calories!

The way WW does things, I get to eat food that adds up to 25 points per day (a point is 60 calories or 6 grams of fat), plus an extra 35 pts to use throughout the week. Ergo, 25 x 60 = 1500 calories. And if you evenly split the 'extra' pts, that's an extra 300 calories per day. But I hardly use those - the program makes it sound like those are for "emergencies" only.

But according to the tests that Nancy did last year when I signed up for my Lean 'n Fit program, I should get about 1900 calories, or 31+ points. So that means I get to eat more! As long as it's healthy, of course.

She recommended all kinds of interesting foods, including "Dark Chocolate Dreams" peanut butter from PB&Co! Seriously!

Friday, January 09, 2009

another goofy list, a less serious post

Yet another "about me" list that I've stolen from Phyl:

The things I have done are in bold.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (Not sure if hiking counts but it was a moutain)
10. Sung a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself art from scratch (does knitting count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (I was ... 3? I don't remember it much)
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (indoor)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (fish count yes?)
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Some of the things I want to do are on this list - particularly the international travel ones. :)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel, Gaza... the whole thing

I have (until now) refrained from posting any rants here about the situation in Gaza -- how Hamas is getting their own people killed; Israel's right to defend herself... etc. I mean, seriously, if crazies in Cuba or Mexico or Canada were indiscriminately dropping rockets on New York or Miami or Houston -- TRYING to kill civilians -- wouldn't we fight back? Damn right we would!

But now apparently all Jewish children are targets, no matter where we live -- as Jeffrey Goldberg points out on his blog:
Put aside Zahar's chutzpah -- Hamas has been happily killing Jewish children for years. What's important is that he is making an explicit plea to jihadists everywhere to take matters into their own hands and kill Jews. Any Jewish school or synagogue or JCC anywhere in the world that doesn't take this seriously is beyond negligent. This is not a time for panic, just preparation.
But if you read further down in that article, French President Sarkozy points out that the miserable living conditions of the Palestinian people in Gaza are actually Hamas' fault. Unfortunately, that strategy works -- keep them in poverty, and blame the Israelis, and it takes very little to incite violence. [see also: Nazi Germany, 1938 for that familiar refrain: blame the Jews!]

Maybe the Palestinians in Gaza will realize that they need to get rid of Hamas so they can live peacefully. On that very subject, there was an interesting post on HuffPo yesterday.
It is Hamas, by using civilians to act as human shields for its military operations, that has put the Palestinian civilians in jeopardy, and the blood of the injured and dead civilians is on Hamas's hands.
There was another post about the difference in media strategy between Hamas and the Israelis. Ever notice that you only hear about suicide bombers in Israel if they're successful? You never hear about the dozens of would-be bombers who are stopped before they can carry out their horrible assignments. The Palestinians, on the other hand, play the victim very well, showing off their casualties -- which wouldn't happen if the militants didn't hide in schools and churches, knowing full well that the people around them will die.

It makes me so angry!

ok, rant over, for now. Can't wait to see how the Obama Administration handles this whole thing, in TWO WEEKS! (Lord knows what the situation in Gaza will be by then...)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's 2009! How did that happen? 2008 was a fun year, and I can only wonder at what 2009 holds for all of us. Hope y'all have a happy, healthy year, full of pleasant surprises. :)

And now, for a trip down memory lane: I found this on Phyl's blog, and I love it!

IF YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL IN THE 70'S...
1. You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked. Hmmm. Don't remember this.

2 You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it. Uhhh, Nope. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 13. By then, it was the mid-80's.

3. You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels. Oh yes, and skated through some dogsh*t the first time my dad took me out on them.

4 You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!) Sigh. ok, I admit it.

5. You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island. EEEK!! I thought Scooby Doo was too scary. I didn't even watch Fantasy Island!

6. You had either a 'bowl cut' or 'pixie', not to mention the 'Dorothy Hamill' People sometimes thought you were a boy. Oh yes, Dorothy and I looked so cute with our little bowl cuts.

7. You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days. yep. Little red boots with an elastic thingy that went over a button to hold them together.

8. You owned a 'Slip-n-Slide' , on which you injured yourself on a sprinkler head more than once. No, sad to say, I didn't have a backyard, so that didn't happen.

9. You owned 'Klick-Klacks' and smacked yourself in the face more than once! What the heck is a Klick-Klack?

10. Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession. Nope. I had a Star Wars sleeping bag from the very beginning!

11. You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers. My mom made the poncho. I'm sure I wore gauchos... I don't remember knickers.

12. You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon. LOVED Simon, and Merlin, and the Little Professor.

13. You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits, or the Sunshine Family. I did have Donnie and Marie. Or maybe Molly had them and I just adopted them?

14. You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. Nope, no backyard.

15. The swing set tipped over at least once. (see above)

16. You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. Mine were mostly red-white-and-blue -- I'm sure that's shocking to everyone. :)

17. You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle). Yep.

18. You also had a pair of salt-water sandals. What's that? Jellies?

19. You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture;and you despised Nellie Oleson! Oy. My mom dressed me in florals and ruffles and LH-inspired brown corduroy outfits. It wasn't by choice!

20. You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink! Didn't have a roller-rink nearby.

21. Your hairstyle was described as having 'wings' or 'feathers' and you kept it 'pretty'with the comb you kept in your back pocket.When you walked, the 'wings' flapped up and down, looked like you were gonna 'take off'. Of course!

21. You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie. Knew of them but never owned.

22. You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic.It had a thermos inside. Some were glass and broke the first time you dropped them. I had a Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox. Which my dad has since sold on eBay.

23. You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend. Bo Duke was my guy. I liked blondes when I was younger. I've changed my mind since then. ;)

24. YOU had Star Wars action figures, too! Absolutely. I wore a Darth Vader costume for Halloween one year!

25. It was a big event in your household each year when the 'Wizard of Oz' would come on TV.Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags! I remember watching "the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" more than the Wizard of Oz.

26. You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: 'Who will I marry.Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or David Cassidy? Or John Schneider... or Scott Baio...

27. You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record albums. I wasn't allowed to have my own records at that age. I had 8-tracks instead!

28. You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage,or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom. Oh definitely. I was queen of the crafts!

29. You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts! Shrinky dinks - once, I think. I remember putting the glitter-puffy-paint on my t-shirts!

30. You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker. I was so excited when I got a tape-recorder/radio so I could record directly... I had so many tapes where you could hear the DJ at the beginning or the end of the song.

31. You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat. No, my friends bought them at the store. But I cut out the pictures of Scott Baio or John Stamos.

32. You thought Olivia Newton John's song 'Physical' was about aerobics. You mean it's not?