Wednesday, December 29, 2004

50 Things to Eat Before You Die - BBC Style

Apparently, I need to visit Australia for more than 3 days. Left on my list to try are barramundi (a large Aussie fish), Moreton Bay Bugs (Aussie shellfish), and Australian meat pie. In addition to that are Durian fruit (this really is on my personal list to try), guinea pig (?!?), and reindeer (who I just heard are quickly leaving Washington state due to global warming).

This was quite the British list. It has items as specific as barramundi, but lumps all Mexican food together (and the reader quote was actually referring to tex-mex fajitas).

Link from Kristen.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Meme from A to Z (from Kristen)

Instructions: Clear the address bar in your browser, type in every letter of the alphabet, and list out the first URL on the history list.

A: the Duke online course catalog (dredging up undergrad classes for grad school apps)
B: blogger
C: yahoo calendar - March 19th, my flight to Tokyo
D: the Yeti
E: New Years Party Evite - the big bash on Capitol Hill
F: My Leadership Program website (also looked at for grad school apps)
G: Gadget Girl I'm finally realizing that this looks at the first alphabetical link, rather than the most recently linked site... (most recent being the Gates Foundation)
H: Brigita's comments
I: A picture of the spinach cakes that I made for Christmas dinner (recipe from Rachael Ray)
J: Jeff's site, of course
K: Knitty I browse the patterns (when someone else links them...)
L: Laura Pierce Consulting
M: yahoo mail
N: da bank
O: On the Snow maybe we'll see some white stuff one of these days; that snowboard is restless!
P: Pets Welcome (me thinks Jeff's mom may have been using my computer)
Q: no actual url; just a "quick install" for a palm update and a link to Jeff's Quicken file
R: My blog comments
S: MSN pointing out a typing error on my part
T: International calling codes grad school app asked for international numbers
U: Yahoo mail again; this time for attachments
V: Vegas, baby!! (searching for show tix for our trip next month)
W: the Weather Channel Jeff's folks checking out their driving route home
X: nada
Y: and again Yahoo
Z: the Sydney zoo (followed one of Kris' links the other day)
Happy Holidays from Mount Crumpet

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

And then there were Cards

I went for a run tonight after work bemoaning the fact that holiday cards seemed to have gone out of fashion. Between Jeff and me, we had received about a half dozen holiday cards, including the one from Jeff's alumni association and the one from our newspaper deliverer.

I love holiday cards. Having moved around a fair bit, I have a lot of friends and family in far off places. I don't see them very often, but treasure their friendship. While email is great and convenient, sometimes it can be too convenient. Meaning: when you could drop a quick note anytime, it often means that I don't drop a line at all. Holiday cards are a chance to let people know that just because I haven't called or emailed or visited lately, I still care and think about you.

Tonight I found about a dozen cards in the mail; some for me, some for Jeff, some for us, and some for Dennis (our former housemate who moved out at least 18 months ago). Each card made me smile or laugh or sigh or all of the above (except for those addressed to Dennis; I didn't open them).

Thank you, if you're reading, for sending the cards. I promise that mine are on the way, even if they take 'till January to get out the door. (Jeff's are too; he's still nailing, though, so don't expect the usual amazing handmade creations).

Friday, December 17, 2004

At What Price Peace?

While I've sort of been putting off thinking about (and acting on) cards and gifts this week, I realized that I need to get my office cards and gifts ASAP before everyone leaves on holiday. To this end, Wednesday night I stopped by Target on the way home from work: source of reasonably priced cards and cute plant gifts a few Holiday Seasons ago. This year, I went to the new Super Target at the mall near the office. Combine holiday and rush hour traffic, and it took about 20 minutes to travel the half mile from office to store; add in the nightmare parking lot adventure, and I was already a little flustered when I entered the store. For some reason, the seasonal section was in the spot furthest from the door. The cards selection was pretty pathetic and those amarylis bulbs I was hoping to find were nowhere to be seen. So I left sans cards and gifts, feeling like I'd wasted almost an hour of my life.

Tonight, I thought I'd try my luck locally. I'm fortunate to live within walking distance from several cute shops and boutiques. A few (15? 20 max) minutes of browsing and wandering, and I had all my gifts (pretty ornaments, 20% off at the overpriced gardening store) and cards. No crowds, no parking lots, no long lines at registers, and despite the spendy prices, I felt good about supporting local small businesses.

Mission accomplished.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Real Santa is a Car Dealer

I was fortunate this morning to hear (for the second time) Phil Smart speak about the 3rd 8. Mr. Smart explains the 3rd 8 as those hours in the day that are not devoted to work or sleep, and are therefore ours to do with what we wish. He has been spending some of his 3rd 8 at Children's Hospital every week for the last 42 years. He has amazing stories to tell of the heroism of the children he has met; his "teachers." One story was of the boy who had been very badly burned, and when asked what his favorite Christmas gift was, he answered "eyelids."

I'm very grateful that I have eyelids this Christmas. And to be healthy and warm and fed with great family and friends and an amazing hard-wood-floor installer.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It's the rods and the cones, you see

For those not keeping up with the comments, Jason provided an excellent answer to my question about why hunters bother with cami clothes when they're wearing blaze orange hats (per Virginia law):

"Deer see light differently than we do. While they can perceive color, most of what they see is black/white/grays. Their vision is primarily geared towards nightime vision - and the portion of vision that works best in the dark is the black/white portion, or the rods. They do have cones in their eyes to see color, but their color vision is optimized for different wavelengths than human vision. Deer don't have that many red cones, so they hardly see the reds/oranges.
In the end, the best way to think about a deer's vision is that they see shade contrasts, not the color contrasts. So even if I'm wearing a blaze orange camo coat, the deer would see the shading of the camo, not the orange. But, the blaze orange is needed for other hunters to not mistake you for game - and each state has laws regarding what you must wear for blaze orange while hunting."

Thanks, Jason! Another of life's mysteries solved.
Why so quiet?

It's been a busy time in my little world recently, so I've had very little internet time or energy. About a month ago, my company announced that they were outsourcing our production operations, resulting in the closure my remote site and the loss of ~ 250 jobs in the Seattle area (including mine) and another 500 jobs in Virginia. This is a good business decision, and it's being handled in as associate-friendly a manner as possible: we have great severance packages, terrific career counseling services, and lots of support from our internal company resources. This helps the transition, but it's still a challenging time. The combination of figuring out how to transition all of our various responsibilities and ensure that our teams are utilizing the career resources along with the emotional stress involved in losing one's job and leaving co-workers who have become good friends over the years, is exhausting.

I am applying to graduate programs, so tacked onto everything else is the pressure of application deadlines (first one is due Wednesday!!). Did I mention the cold that's going around, or our home flooring project? (Okay, Jeff's doing most of it, nailing away as I write, but I'm helping).

Everything will be for the best in the end. This is a great opportunity for me to finally transition away from the corporate world into public or non-profit community work. The floors are going to look amazing, and I'm really learning a lot about leading a team through change.

I'm thinking, however, that holiday cards might be more of a January thing this year.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Yet another reason to move to Canada.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Amazing Pizza Creation # 14

After the briefest of searches, I found that I'm not the only one who is enjoying the Friday $5 Milena's pizza deal. But it takes a little extra effort and creativity to make really special APC's.

This week: spinach pesto. I was in the mood for spinach, and thought that mixing it with pesto would add some great flavor. I was sure that I'd find some cubes of basil pesto hiding in the freezer, but since that was not the case I had to get a little more creative. Not having any fresh basil, I just replaced it with the spinach. I defrosted a package of frozen chopped spinach and squeezed it in a dish towel to remove as much water as possible. I then food processed it with some pine nuts, garlic cloves, small chunks of parmesan cheese, and a little olive oil. I removed the cheese from the uncooked pizza, and spread on some sun-dried tomato cheese and then the spinach pesto and replaced the cheese. The result was a little creamy, and very flavorful. Lots of good vitamins, too.