Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Thanksgiving Holiday So Far

My four-day weekend is nearly over, and of course I haven’t done most of what I planned to do.

Thanksgiving was nicely low-key. I got up late, went for a run, then did a little writing over coffee. Dan and I bought most of our food on Tuesday night from Central Market’s deli, so other than cooking the sweet potatoes, dinner was a simple matter of heating things up. It’s not that we’re too lazy to cook a turkey dinner—it’s just that with only two of us, it would only lead to waste. The few leftovers we have from our deli meal will go into recipes for this week. Turkey should go just fine with chickpeas and curry, right?

I ran a few errands on Friday, enjoying the light traffic and lack of long lines at the post office and grocery store. Everyone was either sleeping off their turkey dinner or fighting each other for bargains at Wal-Mart, and good riddance to them. I also dropped off some magazines at Half-Price Books and donated a bag of paperbacks at the new paperback drop-off at Central Market. The books go to the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s patient library, which is cool.

Today I did a long run under overcast skies that threatened rain but thankfully never delivered. I saw some old friends out for a run by the zoo, I saw early tailgaters at the Rice University stadium (what were they grilling at 8:00 am?), and I observed that Rice has two types of squirrels: the ordinary red kind, and a gray kind with light almost-white fur on the backs of their ears. I ran the Buffalo Bayou trails for the first time since the hurricane and noticed there’s still a lot of silt covering the trails at their low points. And I noticed that there are a lot of new trees (magnolia, oak and pine) being planted along the bayou near my house. These aren’t replacement trees from hurricane damage because they’re in places where there weren’t trees before. I figure it’s part of the entire revitalization project they’ve had going on for the last couple of years along that bayou, re-doing the trails and things like that.

After lunch today, Dan and I went to 10,000 Villages to get a birthday gift for one of his sisters. We got her one of these boxes and some bracelets and other little things to put inside. The store is just a block away from where we go for Indian food in the Rice Village and it's a neat little place to go for reasonably priced gifts that you know won't be what everyone else is giving.

That’s about all the news from around here. I can’t believe I have only one more day off, and it’s pretty well spoken for, since Sunday is for cooking. Oh well. I’ve enjoyed my little break, I’ve gotten some writing done, and Cadbury has enjoyed the extra time hanging out in the chair with me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The food is great, but it's friends like you that are our real cause for celebration. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unpleasant Surprise

Tonight there was a ginormous, 2" long roach in the bathtub. It was dead, probably thanks to the cat, but that wasn't the point. I'm a tough gal in a lot of ways, but those creatures creep me out. If I were single, I would've contemplated taking showers at the gym as a better option than having to remove said carapace.

But I'm a married woman.

Thanks, Dan. This is why I love you.

Monday Bunday: Sleepyhead

To sleep, perchance to dream...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Run: Yard Sales and More

I wasn’t looking forward to this morning’s run. It was going to be cold and I was worried I’d set off my lungs like I did two weeks ago and end up on reduced workouts just in time for Thanksgiving. That would’ve sucked. But I had to go to the bank, which is the sort of errand I like to combine with a long Saturday morning run, so I did a craigslist search for yard sales to visit along the way and plotted a route.

It ended up being a very nice run. The day was sunny and there weren’t a lot of other runners out, which was nice. I’m always glad to see people exercising, but when the trails are full of people who don’t understand basic concepts like “keep to the right,” it gets annoying. My route included Hermann Park and Rice University, then I hit three different sales and did well at one. I paid for some items, gave them my business card, and made arrangements for pickup later, then went to the bank and deposited a check. And then I went home, pleased that I had enjoyed a fun run, after all.

This past week was pretty busy at the office. I’ve been drawn into a lot of special projects and reports, which I like, but my equity analysis and job create duties don’t go away just because I’m working on committee reports. I’ve got two training sessions on Monday, but I expect to be able to start getting caught up on Tuesday and Wednesday. A lot of people at the university take extra time off around Thanksgiving and other holidays, but I don't because I treasure having a few days where no one gives me extra work and I can get ahead of the game.

Dan and I have no family plans for Thanksgiving this year and we’re pretty excited about that. We had such a relaxing time last year having our own turkey dinner and visiting with each other, instead of making the rounds of local relatives with their worldviews so different from ours and their TVs that are never shut off. Dan and I often feel like strangers with our families, so it’s nice to not have to run that gauntlet and hang out with each other and our furry critters instead.

I also want to do some work on the studio, set up the sewing machine (manual arrived today, so I can figure out how to thread the damn thing) and do some work on some of my alteration projects. I also need to do some cleaning and reorganizing in the house, and maybe Dan and I can put up our Christmas lights. And I hope to get a lot of writing done, too.

Relaxing four-day weekend? Sure. It’ll be gone before I know it and then I'll be in need of a vacation.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Bunday: Lord of All He Surveys

Someone looks very regal posing in "his" chair...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quick Link and True Story

Just a quick note that I've got a true story from one of my vacations posted over on my writing blog as my contribution to this weekend's Sunday Scribblings. It's one of those "odd coincidence" stories of the sort that make you think no way can the universe be random because what are the odds of something like this happening?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Bargain-Hunting

I didn't run today. I did a three-hour spin instead, but I still feel like I cheated. I know it was the right thing to do, but that doesn't mean I like it. I spent all last week fighting borderline bronchitis symptoms and I'm still not 100%. I can exercise, but I knew this morning's temps in the low 40s and strong winds blowing dust around would lead to a setback and another week of reduced workouts and general grumpiness. Spinning this morning in my studio was the right thing to do, but I felt like a slacker. I second-guess myself at times like this, trying to determine if I've really got an excuse or if I'm just looking for one.

Today was a great day for cheap finds! On our way to lunch, Dan and I came across an estate sale. It was pretty picked over, but Dan got a floor lamp for $10 that he will take to his office, and I got a red glass plate for $5 and found some antique books and two first-edition WWII accounts for $1 apiece. My favorite find was a 1929 Spanish book. It's an informational book about Mexico, written in Spanish for students of the language. I also picked up some second edition Zane Gray novels (at $1 apiece) in good condition that I'll give to my mom for Christmas.

Then after lunch I heard back from a woman I had contacted via Craigslist, who had a sewing machine for sale. I went and picked it up-- a Singer FM-17 Fashion Mate, clean, in good running order, for $25. Tonight I got online and found a manual for it so I'll know how to thread the darn thing. I learned how to use a sewing machine when I was a kid, but I've never had one of my own, so this is exciting for me. I have a lot of projects that never get finished because of the tedium of doing everything by hand.

So in all, it was a good day. I'll try to run tomorrow afternoon during my usual spin time, when the temps are supposed to be in the 60s. And I'm signed up to bring macaroni and cheese to my department's Thanksgiving lunch next week, so guess what I'll be cooking again soon? I hope some of my readers have had a chance to try last week's recipe, and I'm looking forward to seeing what my co-workers think of it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vintage Film: Children and Rabbits

I'm becoming addicted to the British Film Institute's Edwardian footage. Check out this 1901 clip of some children playing (a bit roughly if you ask me) with some bunnies. Lots of bunnies:

I'm not sure what's up with the kid who has no underwear or diaper. I think it may have been common to let the kids run around like that if there wasn't a special occasion and there was nothing the child could soil, like a carriage seat. Keeping up with laundry was hard enough in those days without mounds of diapers. Rural Chinese still put kids in split pants until they are toilet trained, so I would think it's a similar concept, although pretty disgusting to our way of thinking.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Bunday: Civic-Minded

Someone's getting civic-minded on me. I think he has an ulterior motive, though. They're soliciting volunteers to help with upkeep on the gardens in the little esplanades at the entrances to our neighborhood.

Okay, Cadbury. 'Fess up. What's your real reason for wanting to attend the next civic association meeting?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Recipe Share: OMG Seriously Good!

I made this Mac and Cheese recipe today, and let me tell you, this is some seriously good stuff. I doubled the recipe, thinking eight ounces of macaroni wasn't very much, and not noticing the part about having to double three cups of milk into six, etc. At one point I found myself thinking I had seriously screwed up by making so much, but then I tasted it.


If I hadn't doubled the recipe, Dan and I would've ended up fighting over it.

This was my first time making macaroni and cheese from scratch and I was surprised at how easy it was, so don't be intimidated if your only experience is with boxed recipes. Make this for someone you love. Or better yet, make it for someone you hate. They'll end up loving you, and won't that be nice?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Check-In

I realize I haven't been doing much with this blog lately other than posting bunny pics. Not that there's anything wrong with that, since who doesn't like bunny pics?

The truth is that things are pretty quiet around here and I'm happy for it to stay that way for awhile. Between changing jobs, losing Tid, learning the habits of a frisky new bunny, and dealing with a hurricane, I'm treasuring a bit of normalcy. I'm also working on a new novel, and my writing time is mostly diverted in that direction, rather than toward blogging.

(By the way, isn't it funny how the presidential slip-up "normalcy" has become standard English?)

I had an frustrating long run this morning. My hip didn't hurt (yay!) but my energy level was low and the early morning cold triggered some breathing difficulties. I honestly don't know how asthmatics in northern climes manage to not keel over every time they walk out the door, but I suppose that's another topic altogether. In the end, I did my nineteen miles, but wasn't feeling it. Too bad, since it's so rare for my hip not to bother me. I'm trying a new taping method, which I hope is helping. If I can get this hip issue under control, I can go back to doing triathlons, which would be nice.

Cadbury is all over this "sit in the chair" thing. Now he hops up here with me every night, which is sweet but sometimes interferes with what I'm trying to do. If I'm not quick to pet him, he'll get in my lap and put his front feet on my chest, demanding that I notice him. Right, little rabbit. Like you could ever be invisible.

I may be trying a new recipe tomorrow, so if I do, I'll be sure to post the results.

Gotta go. I have a demanding bunny in my lap.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All Ears

My, what big ears you have, Cadbury! They look soft, too.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday Bunday: Chair Time

It's official. This is Cadbury's chair. Humans permitted, but only if they behave.