Tuesday, December 30, 2008

it's still rock and roll to me

yes, it's been 11 days and counting for me... i guess we have all learned something about me. i play a lot of cards and not so much blogging in these snowy days in fargo, north dakota. apologies for the lack of posts, i have a TON half-written and will probably begin back-dating posts in the next few days, so keep checking back for updates on what i was doing - ha!

until then, enjoy my weekly post of kitchen katastrophe. version: mulled wine and puppy chow. mmmmmmm.... delish! i also have about 5 kit kat posts in the wings, so be sure to check out mad tasty AT LEAST every week.

enjoy and a bientot!

Monday, December 29, 2008

first dude around the house

first dude hangs out with the the snow babies' trees and presents at christmastime

Saturday, December 20, 2008

how tall are you? (poll archive)

how tall are you?

extremely stubborn and suspicious
1 (12%)
rather inclined to giggle and doesn't put things away
1 (12%)
practically perfect in ever way
3 (37%)
other (comment)
3 (37%)

Votes so far: 8
Poll closed

Friday, December 19, 2008

wonder boy

friday fun time. enjoy my brother's video from high school (about 10 years ago). my bro is the one in the sombrero.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


a dear friend of mine from high school, we'll call him kane, was one of the first people to ever get a gmail account a few years ago when google first launched their email service. i think it was in 2004. at the time, people could only get an account through someone inviting them - i think kane knew someone or someone who knew someone who worked at google. in any case, he got me an account. when another friend of mine, kevin, heard about this, he was incredibly jealous - he wanted an account right away. at the time, i only had a few "invites" (versus the hundred now). i sent one to kevin and he sent all of his friends this exciting email about how he got in to gmail before most of them.

anyway, i don't think any of us at the time would be worried or even think about the impact of having a gmail account would have on us. and, in my opinion, i think we still have no idea what will come. there was an article on a blog i read about the scariness of it all and you can read it here:

for example, this morning, i awoke from a bizarre dream. i instantly went to my computer to look for my friend, rich, who was in my dream. he wasn't online so i sent him the shortest email
subject: "where are you?"
email: "i just woke up and you were in my dream."

the next second, upon returning to my inbox, i noticed this advertisement at the top:
Your Dream Is No Accident - www.Life-Answers.com - See why your dreams are really you
this is kind of freaky, folks. granted, this is not new and if you noticed, google has been doing this forEVER. i was just reminded of it by this article and thought you all should be, too.

in other news, happiness for today: spent the day xmas shopping with my mom. it was good. we got a lot done AND i bought six sweaters for $109. thats CRAZY. at least i'll be warm in this cold winter. oh, and on that end - i still refuse to admit that it's too cold here. we went shopping and i had a short sleeved shirt on with a long-sleeved sweater, hat, scarf and gloves and it was a bit drafty. i probably wouldn't stand outside in that for a long time, but it's not TOO cold. i have to wear a sweater because my jacket is packed somewhere downstairs and i dont want to look for it. we'll see how long that lasts....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

practically perfect in every way

there is this thing on the internet called "the happiness project." i'm sure if you googled it, you could find lots of info about it. from what i understand - the gist of it is for people to actually try to improve their lives by doing things that make them happy. like, crossing items off your list doesn't actually make you happy. or maybe you pretend to like something (like watching the news), but it doesn't really make you HAPPY. so, after reading about this, i decided to try and do at least one thing a day that makes me HAPPY. today i did two things i genuinely like - watching movies and playing cards.

this evening my parents and i sat down to cozily watch tv (still below zero out there) and what was on? not much, but i found mary poppins starting right when i turned it to the channel. my father had never seen it (??!! how is this possible??) so we watched. it was fun to see a movie i haven't seen in probably 20 years. i remembered almost all of the songs - just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down - chim chimeny chim chimeny chim chim cho roo - superkalifragalisticexpedaliocious - etc. and then i beat my mom a few times in cards.

on a sad note, i discovered that first dude is missing. he is not to be found anywhere. i wanted to take a picture of him with all the snow, but i have no idea where he is. any thoughts? ideas where he could be?

but more importantly, what makes you TRULY happy?

Monday, December 15, 2008

break me off a piece of that kit kat bar

it's monday, so you know what that means! kitchen katastrophe! actually, today is my first post in a while because i was traveling - i admit it! i was bad. but from now on, be sure to check out my piece on monday's over at mad tasty.


today's recipe: never-fail-fudge!

please comment and enjoy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

i didn't leave the house today thanks to "the worst storm in years." the 10 o'clock news is on right now and the main story is today's blizzard - which is still going on (blizzard warning for all of eastern nodak). there is a no travel advisory for all of north dakota. they are saying that people who * must * venture out should cover ALL exposed skin - the temperature right now is negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 celsius) but with wind chill it is -38 F (-39 C) - and at this temp, skin can freeze in a matter of minutes. while the snow is dwindling down now (we've gotten a foot of snow in less than 24 hours), the wind is high. since the snow hasn't had time to pack down (partially also because there is no moisture in the air), it is blowing around fiercely.
today has been rather slow. actually, i can't remember most of it. that's what happens when you * can't * go outside. we made fudge, which was good. and i played rummi against my mom. my parents watched football while i napped and then i talked to my friend jen who is home in the states for a few weeks. other than that: uneventful.

the news has compared today's blizzard to those blizzards of the winter of 1996-97. i remember this winter clearly. in jan '97, my appendix ruptured. a story for another time, but i can recall this easily because we could not actually get to the hospital (which is only 5 blocks away) because we were snowed in - even though we live in the middle of the city. i think we had nearly 10 snow days (where we couldn't go to school) that winter - usually 2 was a lot. the storms were so bad, we had so much snow that when the snow started to melt, the land and rivers couldn't handle the water and thus was the famous flood of '97. it really is famous, there are even wikipedia articles about it.

what i remember most about the flood was that we would go to school in early april of that year and everyone was divided into groups. i think i was in the blue group. at the beginning of the day, during morning announcements, they would say "blue group will be leaving at 9. red group will be leaving at 1. etc." then when our time came, we would board a bus to head to a warehouse full of sand. we then made sandbags until everyone stopped dreaming of vacations on sandy beaches. there were these machines in which sand would enter from the top. at the bottom, we would put a sack and fill it with sand about 3/4 of the way full. then we would close the bags and load them on to trucks which would take them to the river (which is 4 blocks from my house - opposite direction from the hospital) to build dikes. at night, my parents would wake up at 1 and 2 in the morning to go monitor the dikes. they would walk back and forth all night to make sure there were no leaks - the water on the other side was higher than many of the houses the dikes were built to protect.

at the time, i don't think i really realized what was going on - how a community could come together to help each other. i didn't realize how special that was; how quickly our city mobilized. i definitely did not realize how much our hard work affected the city. fargo was saved, but on the night of prom that year, we got word that our friend's in nearby grand forks (70 miles north of fargo) were all evacuated. their dikes weren't high enough to stop the water and the whole city was flooded. on the news, you couldn't even see the tops of 2 and 3 story houses. my friend's homes were gone - no more pictures, clothes, memories. some of my friend's went to live with relatives in fargo or minneapolis. they didn't finish school that year.

it was a very memorable time in my life - a time i didn't fully appreciate until much more recently. for now, though, no flood. my bedroom windows have 3 inches of snow inside them. and yet, i have yet to complain that it's "too cold" outside. i love the cold. ahhh. thus is the life of a north dakotan.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

let's get lost

just got back from cvs. i was really excited to go because i had a 25% off coupon - off of EVERYTHING. that's really awesome. but anyway, something weird happened. i was walking down the feminine hygiene and oral hygiene aisle - tampons and pads on the left and toothpaste on my right. i'm looking at the wonderful pink and pale blue products on the left and there is a cvs man looking at the toothpaste on the right. maybe he was taking inventory? making sure the toothbrushes didn't up and walk away? i'm not really sure, i didn't really pay attention. all of a sudden, he says, "can i help you find anything?" i look around. there was no one else to be seen. "umm, no, thanks. i think i've found everything i need." i was not embarrassed - why should i be? every girl needs to get feminine hygene products. i figured i must've just missed him looking at me before he went back to his work. so i'm standing there comparing and i hear, "and how is your day going today?" i turn around. staring at his back, i respond, "great, how is yours?" "i'm doing well, thank you," he responds still not looking at me. "it's getting pretty cold out there, isn't it?" now i'm kind of standing with my hand on my hip and my head tilted, "yeah, it's gonna be cold." still not looking at me, "that's what they say." then he promptly marches off. i stood there a little stupefied. i'm not sure if he was embarrassed or just busy or what. it was the most bizarre conversation EVER.

Friday, December 12, 2008

everybody hurts

i can't think of anything i hate more than dry skin. maybe bent papers. but dry skin really really sucks. and fargo in the winter is DRY DRY DRY DRY DRY. after you take a shower and dry off, you can hear your skin crackling. you have to be ready to lube up right away. if i wash my hands at all during the day, instant lotion. i keep lotion in my handbag, on my desk at work. at any of my past apartments, i have hidden lotion all over the house - in the bookshelf, next to the kitchen and bathroom sink, behind the tv, on the desk, on my night stand, etc. but now that i am not really in my own home, i don't really have that luxury. i could leave lotion all over the place, but i've learned my lesson.

last winter, when i was home for christmas, i was free with my lotion bottles - i would carry them around wherever i went. if i was going to put on socks downstairs (my bedroom is upstairs), i would bring my lotion down and put it on before putting socks on. i even told my mom how my nightly ritual is to put lotion on my feet and arms and if my feet are dry, i can't sleep at night. one night at like 4am, i bumped into my mom in the hallway. we were both going to use the bathroom. i had been up for HOURS because i couldn't find my lotion and was dry as... well, something really dry. around 1am, i had gotten up and gone downstairs to look for my lotion. couldn't find it. so when i met my mom in the hallway and she said, "what's wrong with you?" i could only growl. i was so upset. i went to my room and quietly slammed my door.

the next morning, i got up after my parents (because i couldn't sleep all night) and went into their room. what do i find on my mom's nightstand? THREE BOTTLES of lotion. i told her what i found and she said, "is that why you were in such a bad mood last night?" i could hardly explain how important lotion is to me. so now, my mom doesn't take my lotion on random walks around with her and i do not let the lotion leave my room. i have two bottles, just in case, and i keep one bottle in the basement (where my parents send me to watch tv when they want the main one, and where they rarely venture). i should buy stock in aveeno during the winter - i'm pretty sure i alone keep the company afloat.

so what's the point of all this? apparently we are going to be in the midst of a major storm on sunday - 8 to 12 inches of snow. my main goal for tomorrow is to go to cvs and buy lotion, lotion, lotion so i can hole up and be a hibernating bear on sunday. what are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


i just got back from a mid-day run to target. it's humbling - i had to ask my dad to use his car since my mom took the other car to work. luckily, my dad comes home for lunch so i could use it. you know you're cool when you have to ask your parents to use their car.

anyway, i wonder if there is some sort of study or statistic to show when the majority of people are born. one might think around this time of year because valentine's day is more or less 9 months ago. but i don't think so. or if that is the case (btw, i have always felt bad for people who are born around the holidays. parents, if you are doing some family planning, try to avoid this - no kid wants to share birthday presents with christmas / hanakah presents. of course, if it just happens, it just happens) then target doesn't know it. i went to target with the sole purpose of buying a box of birthday cards. i am drearily behind in my birthday card writing (if you usually get one from me and you haven't and your birthday is in nov or dec, i am sorry - hopefully its coming. if your birthday is in sept or oct, you should've gotten a card because i wrote all those before i left for europe and asked my mom to send them while i was gone). well, it turns out, target is not selling boxes of birthday cards at this moment. hundreds of boxes of christmas and other holiday cards, but no birthday cards. do they think that birthdays stop because of the holidays? i should hope not! jesus's birthday is dec 24, in fact. way to piss off the big guy, target! (apologies for being christian-sentric to my dear readers who are not. most people in the midwest are, so most things around here are "merry christmas" instead of "happy holidays.")

so then i got to thinkin' (i be smart like that), and realized that i could MAKE my own birthday cards! i've got enough time on my hands. so, i bought some fun stickers and blank cards and am going to do some fun crafting over the next few days. speaking of crafting, i went to the hobby lobby last week to find my mom a christmas stocking to make. apparently people don't sew christmas stockings anymore - you just buy them pre-made. oh, wait. excuse me. STITCH. not sew. i was at hobby lobby and i asked a woman for the christmas stockings that you sew and she looks at me with disgust written all over her face, "you mean STITCH?" "umm, yes?" i humbly replied. who knew there was a difference between stitching and sewing?? well they didn't have any patterns, but i got nostalgic walking around the STITCHing aisles - growing up i STITCHed a cute pattern for the bathroom. crap. now i can't remember what it was. it had a blue bathtub and i think an elephant in it or something like that. i should find that. i never hung it because you're supposed to wash the pattern after you finish so the fabric stretches or something like that and i was always afraid i would ruin it. i'll look for it and hopefully take a picture. but i digress. so card-making and STITCHing are how i shall spend my days since i have so much free time on my hands...

and speaking of time on my hands... it's not as if i left my job to come home and do nothing. i kind of have always had a plan but haven't really told a lot of people about it because i'm not sure if it will work out. so far things are moving along. i had an interview last night for this opportunity, which is good. so there i was at 5:30pm putting on make up to (attempt to) look pretty for my skype interview. so she calls me via skype and then - shock of all horrors! we didn't even use the video function! it was just TALKING. gasp! i was somewhat pleased, but somewhat disappointed, as well. know what i'm sayin'? pickin' up what i'm layin' down? is the cheese spread too thin? ok, i don't know where that one came from. things seem to be moving along for now. i'll keep you posted...

today, on my way home from target, i passed a scholastic book truck. scholastic books! instantly, i was brought back to elementary school days when you'd get those two flimsy, but colorful pages of books that you could buy.you'd take the flyer home and then bring it back with a check from your parents. then, a few weeks later, your books would arrive! as a childhood bookworm, scholastic books were the BEST. i've just spent a few minutes looking on their website and i kept saying, "oooohhhh!!" at every button i clicked. so apparently they only make books for K-Grade 7. wtf?? grade 7! i want some scholastic books! i could still learn new vocabulary and look at pretty pictures! they should totally make books for people in my grade - grade 18. it's like when i was in 4th grade, i went to this after-school program and on the first day, i went up to the "teacher" or "organizer" or whatever a glorified babysitter is called and i was like, "what grade are you in?" kind of all hoity-toity. he was really nice, treating me like the kid i was, "well, i'm in college." "yeah, so what grade is that?" i replied like i was real smart. "well, i guess i would be in 15th grade." his name was troy and i think i had a crush on him. back then, i had a crush on EVERYONE. including some of my cousins. i even have a polaroid picture of troy. speaking of which, polaroid is going to stop making the instant developing film. so sad! i LOVED that camera so much! anyway, back to scholastic books. i felt a little guilty when i saw the scholastic book truck. you see, i don't consider myself a BAD person, but i'm not really sure that i'm GOOD either. i guess i don't know a lot of GOOD people. what have i done to help humanity? what is my long-lasting effect on the world? or maybe i am a bad person. you see, i have done some bad things. when i was in mrs. treiglaff's 2nd grade class at washington elementary school, i did something bad. we had just received the books from the scholastic book club and mrs. trieglaff called each one of us up to her desk and gave us the books along with our little receipt where we had checked off which books we wanted. i got my books and was so excited. i was sitting at my desk when she said "there's a book left. did i forget to give anyone the oak tree book?" no one raised their hand, so i took out a pencil and wrote a "1" next to the oak tree book on my slip. i went up to her desk, "mrs. trieglaff, i think you forgot to give me a book." she looked it over and "realized her mistake" and then gave me the book. i forgot the book's actual name, it had a tree on the cover, was thin, and i think it won some award so it had a bronze medal on it or something. i just went downstairs to our plastic bins where we are keeping all the children's books and looked for it. it wasn't there. but whenever i did see it, i would think about how i had stolen it. the stolen book.

what do you think of snow? (poll archive)

what do you think of snow?

love it! i'm gonna move to nd i love it so much
4 (25%)
love it as long as it's not around too much
5 (31%)
it's ok once in a while
3 (18%)
prefer the rain
0 (0%)
hate the cold
5 (31%)
snow? is that like blow?
1 (6%)
other (comment)
0 (0%)

Votes so far: 16
Poll closed

Monday, December 8, 2008

family affair

my mother has three sisters and every year since before i can remember, my mother's side of the family has gotten together for christmas. typically, it is a weekend or two before actual christmas day - christmas eve and christmas day are usually reserved for the immediate family. this year is no different. my family (parents and two younger brothers), along with my grandma (only living grandparent), great aunt, and my mom's three sisters and their families (8 cousins + 3 cousins' spouses + 1 fiance + 2 babies + a gf/bf here and there = about 28 people in total) will be congregating at my aunt's house in west fargo (separate city from fargo) the saturday before christmas. each year, the grandchildren (my brothers, cousins and i - now including their spouses and children) exchange names and buy a gift for another cousin. this year, i have my cousin's fabulous wife, becky's name. becky has, however, been ignoring my many emails asking what she would like for christmas. i think she wants me to surprise her. what shall i get becky?

actually, that was just a tangent. i really need advice on what to MAKE. that's right. i have to MAKE something. and by something, i mean food product. my aunt sent an email asking for everyone to bring something (a pot luck, of sorts). I originally signed up to bring cheese and crackers (mostly because it's easy but also because usually whatever crackers they have, i dont like). but then i realized, i should actually attempt to MAKE something. bake or cook. it will be great fodder for my posts at mad tasty, where i have (due to a relentless travel schedule) been absent for the past 3 weeks. there will be a new post tomorrow, however, so be sure to look. anyway, i sent an email to my family stating this:
no, i changed my mind, i need to do some baking for my mad tasty blog so can someone suggest something really hard to make? wait. really hard and something no one is worried about not eating in case it turns out badly....
and no one has written back! i'm rather annoyed at my family. don't they care about what they eat? don't they care about what i attempt to make? don't they care enough to email back so i don't "accidentally" poison them?? actually, i shouldn't joke - what if i really did accidentally poison someone. that would not be good. in any case, i need some help deciding what to make...

fun stories from the menier christmas's of past to come. until then, dare me to make something really tough.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!

let's play a game. fill in the blank: you know you're cool when ____.

winter is quite nearly my favorite season. i love snow and snowfall, but always forgot how much i loved it. i recently discovered the key to my snow enjoyment - snow in fargo. snow in other cities where i have lived is not so nice. i cannot remember a beautiful white day in boston - as soon as the snow hits the ground, it is either melted or mixed with dirt to form slush. maybe on the rare snowstorm day is it truly pretty, but then the city can't handle it and everything is closed. the key to snowfall is to enjoy it, but don't let it interrupt your life.

to prevent your life from being bothered by the beautiful, light crystals, one must clear a path to move on with the day; you have to beat the pack-down. last night, i was enjoying a nice evening to myself (my parents are out of town - zaz!) when the Fed Ex guy came. with what to deliver, i shall not say for it is for my enjoyment only! oh wait. that sounds sketchy - stickers! he brought me stickers i ordered. anyway, i noticed he was chomping through the snow - we were in the midst of a 2 inch light snowfall - to get to my front door. i realized something had to be done. for clarification, the worst thing that can happen with snow is if you walk on it while it is still wet, you will pack down the snow so that it becomes hard and slippery.

i am reminded of this when i think about last winter in boston. my friend, ryan, stopped by my apartment before work one wintery morning. we hung out a few minutes and then decided to take the bus to work together. living on tremont street, i could stand on my stoop, look to the left and see the bus coming - if it was three blocks away or more, i would walk to the first stop to the left. if it were two blocks away, i would jaunt down the street to the right to get to the second stop. on this fateful day, ryan was in front of me and we saw the bus was nearby. we started to hurry down the stairs to get to the bus stop. i should point out that my neighbors and i were not so neighborly and no one had shoveled the stairs. the stairs had turned into pure ice that only a luger could love. not only were the stairs slick, they were bumpy from people having walked in the snow and not shoveling it away before it got too hard. ryan, seeing the bus coming, bounded down the second stair only to go flying through the air past the next five stairs. his fall was broken by the bottom three stairs appropriately hitting the soft spot in his back. it was hard not to laugh, but as soon as i saw how much pain he was in - he couldn't move for a good four seconds, i instantly cursed my neighbors (i hadn't been outside the previous night - they were not my footprints frozen in the staircase). i helped him up as the bus passed in front of my building. ryan was incredibly annoyed and growled at me, "we HAVE to get that bus!" so we shuffle down the street to the bus stop. luckily, due to the snow, the bus was stuck in traffic and not moving very quickly. we got to the bus in time to climb on. it was then that ryan's full pain set in. he could hardly move. i think he went home early that day from work.

so the point is made - shovel right away so you can enjoy the snow all day. there are other tips one learns by living in north dakota. at my house, we get to the garage by crossing the deck and walking through the back yard. to clear the snow each day, we keep a broom on the deck so whoever is first to leave for the day will sweep a path on the deck - do not use shovels on wooden finishes. i went outside and got my exercise for the week - i shoveled the sidewalk in the front, side and back of our house along with our basketball court and the driveway. it took me a good 45 minutes, but i don't think it was supposed to take this long. i started in the front where the sidewalk is about 3 feet wide. my shovel was a little less than 2 feet wide. i shovel down one side of the path and then return to shovel the other side. but the snow was pushed to either side of the shovel - one side was on the lawn and the other side was into the nice area where i had just shoveled. not cool. so i go back down the original side. it happened again! so finally i ended up shoveling not in a straight line down the sidewalk but going at it from the side and throwing it into the lawn. i think seasoned shovelers know to do this instantly. i go to do the backyard, which is considerably big with the basketball court, and find a handy shovel that is titled to an angle to prevent the snow from spilling out both sides - ingenious! AND it had wheels to be easier to push. the backyard, about three times the size as the front of the house, took me about the same time.

no one else was outside shoveling their sidewalks last night. it was then that i realized: you know you're cool when, as a 27 year old, you are out on a friday night shoveling your parents driveway. my life is so fun.

but seriously, i don't mind shoveling. and yes, 9 days now that i have been back in fargo. there are so many things to do and no time to do it: i need to finish reflecting upon my travels and more importantly, figure out what i'm gonna do next. i got a few emails / texts about the lack of updates since i have been back and i apologize - i haven't really found my rhythm just yet. but as of today, i have a new found resolve to write more often and chronical all the craziness that is fargo.

for today, when did you realize that you were truly cool?