Monday, January 26, 2009

if you like it, then you should've put a ring on it

looking for something to keep you warm in these cold winter days? check out homemade applesauce over at mad tasty.

it's delish!

again, comments welcome while i take a brief hiatus on the blog writing...

(i woke up with this song in my head - not cool)

Monday, January 19, 2009

blueberry nights

i had a fun weekend and posts are coming about that soon, but for now, check out mmmmm mad tasty where i have a delicious recipe for bran muffins!


bran muffins.

and please comment - please, please!

what should i do next? (mc avail) poll archive

get a job
0 (0%)
apply to grad school
0 (0%)
habitat for humanity
0 (0%)
0 (0%)
berlin - learn more german
0 (0%)
write a book
0 (0%)
start a business
0 (0%)
some other fellowship
0 (0%)
other (comment)
0 (0%)

Votes so far: 0
Poll closed

[editors note: poll left up too long and answers were erased]

Friday, January 16, 2009

illusion, coma, pimp and circumstance

have you ever gone on vacation and come back and been so wiped out that you don't even want to talk about it? people are like, "ohhhh, how was your trip to the maldives??" and you're all, "oh yeah, it was good." and you can't talk anymore. you're just worn out and the idea of repeating your vacation to half a dozen friends is not appealing. this happens to me a lot. and i kind of feel that way about my fellowship.

i feel very spent just thinking about it, BUT i dont want people to think i left my job to sit on my ass, so i shall explain...

last may when i gave my notice at work, i had the idea that i would apply for a kiva fellowship. my friend, anny, told me about it. basically, kiva fellows go to third world countries and help people get microfinance loans. it sounded like a great opportunity and i was really excited - i want to help others and know a bit about finance. i went to their website, and they were in the process of changing their recruitment process, so the first deadline wasn't until nov 1. in the meantime, i finished at work, spent time with the family, went all over europe, etc. i applied on nov 1 and right before thanksgiving i was accepted for an interview. i had my first interview right after returning from europe. it was partially in french because they need foreign-language speakers. in my 2nd interview, they cut to the chase, "we're interested in sending you to one of four french-speaking, african countries." i originally wanted to go to eastern europe to help women who were victims of genocide. since i don't speak an eastern european language, this was not an option.

this is where things get confusing. actually, the interview process was a bit discombobulated, as well. half the documents they sent me said that the first interview would be in french, then some websites said that if i passed the first interview, the second would be in french. it was hard to prepare, but not a big deal.

anyway, they sent me documents - agreements and forms and confidentiality, etc. due to the condensed time frame, we were speeding up the process. i didn't understand - if i signed the documents, was i a fellow? or did i have to sign the documents before i was allowed to be considered to be a fellow? there was one document where i had to fill in my living preferences based on the 2nd interview. during the 2nd interview, he basically told me he wanted me to go to mali, so i only did research on mali. mali is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. i wasn't sure if i could cut it, so i specified on my form that i wanted to be in a city and have internet access. i was still confused - was i a fellow? was i not?

i had issues with some of the agreements they sent me - i would clearly be a volunteer and everything was my choice. i understood this, but had questions. they put me in touch with past fellows and other people familiar with the work. the more i heard, the more unsettling everything became. i won't go into the details, but i felt like i would be flying into a situation for which i would not be prepared at all. i sent an email to the head person and never heard back. i asked what would i learn at training, what sort of support was available, was i meant to plan all my travel or were there any directions, etc. i was concerned about living conditions, food, and the heat. but i truly thought that i could overcome all of this, or should at least try (how often have i seen people roll their eyes because i don't eat something or there are too many bugs around? don't think i haven't noticed). after hearing more about the program, organization and experience from other fellows "no support," "sad, disheartening," i realized that this might not be the fellowship for me. i was willing to go out of my comfort zone, but not without any support or training. i tried calling, but never got in touch with them. finally, i sent an email explaining my concerns and saying it probably wasn't the best fit for me. despite sending an email five days earlier asking numerous questions (i spent all week assuming the guy was out of the office and feeling HORRIBLY for not being able to accept the fellowship), i get an email within 2 minutes of mine saying "sorry to hear that" or whatever. after all this hard work, its over. i am no longer going to africa and suddenly have months free that i hadn't planned on.

last week was an emotional roller coaster for me. i had all these plans and then in one instant, with one email, they were gone.

so now i have no real plan. or rather, i have a plan to someday make a plan. since my grandma isn't in the best of health, i'm fine with staying around here to help out - but only for a bit. eventually i will need to get a job, go to grad school, do habitat for humanity, or something. any ideas on what i should do next are greatly welcome...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

fly by night

have you ever discovered that you're doing something incredibly wrong? what do you do? do you change your method? do you research, look to improve? crave to do it better or the best? or do you feel defiant and want to continue in your own path to prove that your way could be better?

i just discovered that pretty much everything i do when flying is the opposite of what one "should" do to "have the safest journey."

i've never been scared of flying. i LOVE flying. it's almost calming. i feel like i'm safer in an airport than anywhere else. knock on wood. and i've always thought, "hey, if i die in a plane crash, at least my name will scroll on the bottom of a tv."

i've flown a few hundred times in my life and can only remember one flight where i was really afraid. i'm sure there have been more, but nothing scary enough to remember. about two years ago - wow, almost exactly two years ago, in fact - i flew from LA to Albequerque, NM. since it's a short flight - less than 1.5 hrs i think, the plane stays pretty low. it was slightly bigger than a puddle-jumper, and i had a single, window seat. i had my DVD player and i was watching a foreign film, which meant i had to read subtitles. the pilot warned us before taking off that we would have a bit of turbulence. that was an under-statement. the whole flight, i could see the lights of the city - it's pretty much straight city from LA to albequerque. i felt like i could reach out and pick up a house and hold it between my fingers. and for the rest of the flight, i thought that i would just fall from the air onto one of those houses. i had to quit watching the movie, reading subtitles was making me sick. the flight was bumpier than any amusement park ride i've ever been on. i really thought we were going to die.

in any case, what i learned today is that, had we fallen from the sky, i was perhaps the least likely to survive based upon my flying habits. here are the highlights:
1) aisle seats are "safer." i love me a window seat.
2) most dangerous part of a flight is first 3 minutes and last 8 minutes (knew something like that - thought it was first and last 10 minutes). SO... don't do anything in the first three minutes like take off shoes or put on headphones. my rationale has always been, if i am going to die in the first ten minutes, i'd like to be asleep. so thats what i do. i take off my shoes, wrap a blanket around me, prop up the pillow and turn the ipod on. then i fall asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down, most often without seeing the person next to me or even seeing if there IS a person next to me.
3) sit within a certain number of rows of the exit. i am almost always in the back of the plane, but not near the exit.


i'm pretty sure i'm stubborn enough to not change any of my flying habits...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

talk dirty to me

i just fell. not the i'm-standing-up-and-just-pass-out fall down. the other kind. i was bounding down the stairs in our house thinking, "be careful, your socks are slippery on the carpet." i was so proud of myself for making it down the stairs without falling, so my first step on the hard-wood floor, i kind of took with a leaping-bound and i thought i would do a famous risky business slide and i lost my footing and whomp there it is! there it is as in "there she is on the floor." my whole left knee is red and slightly swollen from my fall from grace. oops.

my parents were in the computer room, which has a door right into the living room where i fell and my mom leans into the doorway, "omg! are you ok??" all i could do was laugh. i thought my slide would be so cool. so the opposite. and it has nothing to do with the two italian margaritas i had tonight. i promise!

so yeah, italian margaritas: mixing two of my three favorite liqueurs - amaretto and tequilla. what's the third? chambord. if anyone knows a drink that mixes all three - please let me know.

my drink tonight was the first time in nearly a week - wait - more than a week (?) i dont know... that i have had anything to drink. not that i am an alcoholic, but i have SO MUCH wine stored, i feel pressure to not waste it! it's not like the time a month ago when i couldn't find my wine glass. i literally lost it. i had been in the kitchen making something (couldn't have been any good, i don't remember what it was) and i lost it. i searched the first floor, i went to my bedroom and looked. i even checked downstairs when i knew i hadn't been down there. after an hour, i found it in the computer room in a bookshelf. i had put the glass down when i was helping my dad and brother on the computer. clearly, i was so engrossed in my cooking in the kitchen, i forgot about it!

and then i watch shows like rock of love bus, currently on vh1, and i think, "wow. i am soo not like that." in case you haven't seen it, you're not missing much, unless you give a lot of credit to watching others who make you feel good about yourself. who am i to judge? no one. but tonight as my father was going to bed, he walked by as i was watching rock of love bus and he said, "he's really got some skanks on there, doesn't he?" my reply, "aren't you glad i'm not like them, dad?" he agreed. can you imagine me as a half-naked, inebriated, bad hair, fake gigantuan boobed gal? hmmm... i really have no problems with women who enjoy being on those shows. i just know i would feel incredibly self-conscious and wouldn't like it. but who knows? maybe that would lead some excitement into my life...

but watching the rock of love bus made me think about poison which made me think about guitar hero. gh - which i love, btw - is like the awesomest game in the world. i have yet to get rock band for the wii and maybe that will surpass, but for now, gh is fab. last spring, after i got the wii and gh, i would play gh before i went to work every day. one day, my colleague says to me (knowing very well that the reason why i was 1 hour later tha i "liked" to get there was because of gh), "what were you playing today?" "i can't remember the song, but it was by poison, you know, with bret micheals. it was sooo good! i got a 5 on the song!" i was really excited, but annoyed at myself for not remembering the name. not that annoyed, though, i promptly forgot my irritation. that morning i went to a few meetings and was back at my desk working on some spreadsheets when i felt the urge to IM my colleague.
me: talk dirty to me.

[30 seconds later]
colleague: ?
of course, when the song i was playing popped into my head, i didn't literally translate the lyrics, i just IMed the song name to my colleague. clearly when the lyrics are something like "talk dirty to me" or "pour some sugar on me" or "you shook me all night long" or basically any other 80s monster ballad title, one should not just randomly IM a co-worker the song name without explaining what one means.
me: i'm so sorry! i meant, thats the song i was playing on guitar hero this morning.
slightly awkward if you want it to be. sometimes awkwardness is fun, i guess. there hasn't been a lot of awkwardness in my life recently...

and tomorrow? why there is no awkwardness and the fellowship that wouldn't be...

Monday, January 12, 2009

there's no one like you

i just woke up from the most bizarre dream and this song by the scorpions is in my head. weird. anyway, for fun monday morning reading, be sure to check out kit kat at mad tasty: recession proof salad.

please, leave a comment!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

small town

exciting day! comparatively, of course. probably not an exciting day for say... someone in a war zone. or the obama family. or someone giving birth. or someone getting married (wait. who gets married on a thursday??). still, exciting for me. (apologies in advance, rcs, this is gonna be long.) go go go.

today was the day of grandma. i woke up late and had to rush to get ready. i was driving down the normal city street and tried to change lanes so that i could make a left turn and realized that i had absolutely no control of the car. the road was about 3 inches thick of nice, slick ice. i was turning my wheel to the left, but the car kept going straight. good thing i'm an experienced ice-driver. i did not panic, pumped the breaks and turned into the curve. or wait. is it considered turning away from the curve? if the car curves to the right, i turned to the left. into or away from - i turned the right way. i gained control of the car and thought, "love it! absolutely love it!" it was like the time when i was in high school and took a wide left turn onto a curvy ice-topped road and promptly did a 360. the whole time, i was turned in the direct opposite way of our turn which prevented me from continuing to turn and go off into the ditch. score. and i just realized that now that i have made a big deal about driving on the ice, i will probably get hurt doing just that.

anyway, after stopping at the pharmacy drive-thru, i picked my grandma up for her hair appointment. she was in good spirits. we were in the lobby of her building (she lives in an assisted living complex) and the woman at the front desk said, "Cece, where is your cane?" my grandma laughed, "oops! i dont have it." she told me about 10 times on the way to get her hair done how she had told the woman at the front desk that she has needed a cane for 27 years, after having her first hip surgery at the age of 50. her doctor told her at the time that she would need her cane every day for the rest of her life. now the woman at the front desk knew it, and that was the only thing on grandma's mind. her first hip lasted her 15 years and the second one has lasted 20. i didn't point out that this would make her 85 instead of the actual 77 that she is. we finally pulled up to the stylist's and i suddenly felt like a mother. i took her hand to help her on the ice since she, despite what her doctors have told her, did not have her cane. i walked her in and dropped her off like i was taking my daughter to her first day of kindergarten. "what time should i be back?" i asked the stylist. "i like to have her a few hours," she replied. literally, that was her reply.

keep in mind fargo is not big. taking more than 15 minutes to get anywhere is annoying, and since fargo is growing, it now often takes more than 15 min to get places. it's about 15 miles from north to south. my family lives on the north side and my grandmother lives almost out of town on the south side. after driving all the way across town to get her, then across the short way (east to west), i dropped her off in the western part of town at the salon. then i headed back north to my house to get my cell phone charger. while briefly at home, i checked online where the nearest post office was to the stylist - i had to mail a package to my friend in london. it was in the grocery store that was in the same building as cvs, another place i had to go, a few blocks from the salon. i drive across town again to cvs and gleefully spent my $12 in extra care bucks. zaz! i then went into the grocery store called sunmart. sunmart is kind of the ghetto grocery store in fargo, if you can imagine anything being ghetto in fargo. after realizing that there is not actually a real post office, just a check-out lane that mails things for you, the cross-eyed woman manning the checkout line informed me that they actually don't process international packages. she could do international envelopes, but not boxes. wtf?? i've been deceived! BACK across town i zip to the real post office (which is actually quite near my house, so i could've just gone there in the first place!). blah blah blah...

i end up back at the stylist a half hour early. no prob, i sit and play games on my ipod and call people (annoying those of you who didnt pick up!). apparently my grandma's stylist, marianne, couldn't handle the water hose and drenched my grandma's shirt. while her top was in the tumble dryer and my grandma was sitting under the hair dryer, marianne came and sat next to me. "so, you're going to russia?" she asks. i smile and secretly sigh. the "no-idea-what-i'm-doing-how-do-i-make-not-doing-anything-sound-good?" talk. "no, actually, it's africa," i replied (long story, will explain later). we chat for a bit then she goes to finish grandma's hair. don't worry, there really is a point to this.

we then go back a few blocks to another grocery store, this time not the ghetto one but to hornbacher's, where we get groceries for grandma. it was kind of funny. i caught her putting candy in her cart a few times when she thought i wasn't looking. it's not my job to tell her what to eat, so i didn't say anything, but she looked guilty every time i saw her quickly drop something into her cart. when we were standing in line, she suddenly became very quiet. as we were leaving she explained why, "don't look now, but the man behind us in line WINKED at ME." this absolutely 100% made her day, although she would not admit it. "it must be my new hair!" her hair did look good. this was our conversation all the way back to her apartment. "grandma, you should've blown him a kiss!" "i'm sure he has a wife at home and he wants to step out on her with me!" "grandma, you could've told him to turn around and pinched his butt!" "i hope he doesn't think i'm going to marry him!" after unloading her groceries, i hung out with her a bit at her place talking about my potential next step-grandfather ("make sure he's rich and doesn't have any children") then left to head home for dinner.

called my dad on the way and asked if i should get something for dinner. he suggested i get chinese, which just happened to be in the same building as a comic store - my first time in a real comic book store! i went in and bought two issues of the CHUCK comics (based on the tv show - zaz!). back to the point, in case you can't imagine, there are not a lot of chinese restaurants in fargo. the one my dad wanted me to go to is owned by the mother of a girl i went to high school with. get this: they don't accept credit cards, but do accept in-town checks. since i don't have "in-town" checks i had to do the "i'm tom erdmann's daughter" and "i went to school with your daughter" speeches for her to accept my boston-addressed check and california-addressed license. this is the benefit of a small community.

my father and i are munching on chicken and broccoli when i hear from the other room the news. a name of a girl with whom i went to high school (not the chinese resto daughter). i jump up and run into the living room. this girl, i won't post her name her so as not to get hit with any searches of her name, but click on this link, was arrested for child abuse. i've known this girl for 20 years (un-zaz, that makes me feel old that i can say that) - we went to elementary school together. sad to say, this girl was never the brighest bulb in the pack. wait. is that right? brightest bulb in the toolshed? sharpest knife in the drawer? anyway, read the article and you'll see.

whew. i'm exhuasted just writing about this. i don't think i can take many more of these exciting days.

what do you plan on doing / did you do for new years? (poll archive)

what do you plan on doing / did you do for new years?

hang out with your parents playing cards 1 (12%)
drink alone 1 (12%)
party on the town 1 (12%)
its new years? 2 (25%)
other (comment) 3 (37%)

Votes so far: 8
Poll closed

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

support my brother's friends!

hey guys, thought i would try and get out the vote in my own humble way... my brother's friend (and my ex-boyfriend not really), charpie, is a masterful video-maker/designer/artist - anything creative guy (he was jack black in the video i posted a few weeks ago). he is in a group that makes videos (?) and they entered a video in to a doritos contest. out of thousands of videos, they made the final five! click on this link to vote:
for their video - the first one, called "too delicious." all the videos are good, but if you vote for any other video, i will hunt you down. you have to register to vote, and it takes a few clicks, but it's totally worth it. the winning video will be played during the superbowl - zaz!! so be sure to register and come back every day to vote until the end of january - i will love you forever!!

nike - just do it!

another night

when do you take someone off your holiday list? or even more to the point, when is it too late to send out holiday cards?? i take it that now is not too late because 1) my parents keep receiving them and 2) i'm still sending them. i think i sent out my last cards today. no, wait. i have 3 left - they are addressed, but i have to write a nice, heartfelt note. that might take some time for me to dredge up. :)

but seriously, when should one take someone off the holiday list? i seem to just keep adding people. (btw, if you have not received one from me, and usually do, let me know - i have 5 cards that i don't have addressed and i can't remember who i haven't sent to.) my mother is convinced that people are slowly widdling her off her list since we, as a family, send out cards on average once ever 4 or 5 years.

my cousin sends out her cards every year the weekend of thanksgiving. like clockwork. one year it will be my goal to beat her. that's about the time that i addressed all of mine this year. addressing, stamping, return labeling. these are actually my favorite part of sending cards. oh and picking out the cards, of course. i don't mind writing the note, i rather enjoy it. but i love filling out the front.

today was the first day i have left the house in... well, i have no idea how long. days. and i only realized it as i was driving to the grocery store. i was pulling up to a stop sign about to take a right and realized i couldn't see the cars coming from the left. the snow was higher than my car. i had to practically pull out into the street just to see if i could turn. december 2008 was the snowiest month in this area EVER. not for december. for ANY month EVER. we received over 33 inches of snow. thats a lot. and guess what. i love it. love it! love snow. oh, wait. i went outside on sunday for sure - i went out shoveling. or was that saturday? hmmm... oh how the days pass when you have nothing specific to do.

when i wake up, i typically watch all the new podcasts that have downloaded on my computer - AC360, wine library, and two french news casts are the daily ones. i spend my days catching up on a lot of reading online. i watch a movie or two or maybe some tv. there might be some wii thrown in. my fabulous left half, cousin sara, comes over a few times a week for yoga. then my mom is usually home in the early afternoon and we play cards while watching hgtv. my parents and i will eat dinner and i may or may not have some wine (tonight yes). i'll read some in a book before i go to bed (usually have 3-4 books i am reading at one time) and then i'll watch a podcast or two as i fall asleep. i see my grandmother and great aunt at least once a week (not usually together) and constantly try to get my brother to come over to play cards with the three of us. since july, i think i have set my alarm less than ten times to get up in the morning. five of those times were to catch trains or planes. sigh. now i shall go to bed and then repeat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

if everybody looked the same

try and try as i might, i just cannot seem to get my family into tea. i LOVE tea and tisans. i hardly drink pop or juices, can't remember the last time i had milk, so tea is my form of non-alcoholic drink. i even got my mom to try my favorite tea, a tisane from france called reglisse menthe. her first tastes were good and then she decided she just couldn't get into it. my father and brothers wont even try it.

the differences between my family and me don't end there. today, my friend in boston said to me online, "i heard the vikings are in the playoffs, that's great for the midwest." i LOLed her. "yeah, they were. they lost yesterday." i only know this because my family was not pleased last night. i wouldn't have even noticed except that my brother was home and he would never come over here to just hang out with us. he made a comment, "danielle, i don't know how you're even in this family. how can you not watch the vikings?" it wasn't hard. i took a bubble bath with some wine and watched chuck on dvd. it was great.

a few weeks ago, i was at a bar with my cousin and her sister-in-law (is that my cousin-in-law?). it was a sports bar with numerous tvs on the walls. apparently they were showing the vikings game from '98 or '99. my cousin, sara, starts going on and on about how that was the worst day of her life. i asked her why and she said, "because the vikings lost and didn't go to the superbowl. it's the worst day of any viking fans' life." my cousin-in-law said to me, "aren't you a vikings fan?" "sure," i responded - i grew up in a sports fanatical home. i know my place. "i'm a vikings fan. i guess that was the worst day of my life, too." i had no idea!

i wish i was more interested in sports, i do. i just can't seem to get past the fact that it would be so much more fun, and far less time, to watch the highlights later in the day - if even that.

... i could go on with other differences between me and my family, but i just got hit with a horrible headache and unsolved mysteries is on. why do i watch these shows??

Monday, January 5, 2009

hotel, motel, holiday inn...

ok, i have absolutely NO IDEA what that has to do with food, but i was trying to be crafty in coming up with a song title for my blog post today and i was trying to think there might be a song that goes something like this, "snickers, butterfinger, and a kit kat, too." and there isn't. that i know of. so this popped into my head next.

on that note, check out my weekly kitchen katastrophe post at mad tasty.


and please comment!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

cel-e-brate good times, come on!

new years eve. how i hate thee. let me count the ways...

happy 2009 everyone! yes, i am awake. more importantly, i'm practically sober! it's 1:30 am and NO ONE i know is awake. (that i can tell, anyway.) spent the evening in playing cards, watching movies and tv, and drinking champagne with my parents - it certainly wasn't the most uneventful new years i've ever had.

senior year of high school, three of my friends and i went to a 9 o'clock movie - i can't remember what it was right now, but i am sure i have the movie ticket stub and could find out. anyway, we got out of the movie around 11:35 and realized that we could speed back to my house to get home in time to watch the ball drop. we got home at 11:58 and stood in front of the tv with our jackets on. then they left.

two years ago, i was in sacramento. i had been in boston for work from early december until mid-december. the day after the company holiday party - scratch that, four hours after i got home from the holiday party, i had to wake up and make a run to the airport to get home for christmas. completely hung over. NOT. FUN. FLYING. HUNG. OVER. spent a week or so chez mes parents and then flew back to sacramento. one of my best friend's from france was in new york for new years. the majority of my other friends were also in new york at whit's aunt's place for an awesome party. i was stuck on the west coast. hours behind everyone. i even tried to find a plane ticket but couldn't justify $600 for 3 days. friends called me before the balled dropped, but of course that was at 9pm my time. then they forgot about me and i couldn't call anyone when the ball dropped in LA. i put on a pretty dress and drank a magnum of champagne all by myself. it sucked.

last year, i can't exactly remember what happened but since i was disappointed in the holiday in general, i wouldn't go out with my friends (i'm stubborn like that) and i think i fell asleep before 11. drinking alone again, but not even to the point where it was fun.

this evening i spoke with my cousin, both my brothers, and exchanged texts with friends in DC and london. no one really had any cool plans. just another disappointing new years.

what did you plan to do? and what did you end up doing??