capricious_k: (Default)
Last Sunday I went shopping for jeans because most of mine are wore out or don't fit anymore. I decided going in that I'd follow two principles that I've gleaned from a few makeover shows/blog posts/etc:
- the size on the clothes is arbitrary, just buy what fits
- clothes are made for an "average" woman who doesn't exist, buy what fits at the widest point (nothing is too tight), then take them in where they are baggy

I ended up with 4 pairs of jeans (thank you Eddie Bauer jeans sale):
- dark wash boot cut
- dark wash curvy slim straight cut
- dark wash curvy trouser cut
- grey cargo cut

Due to following the principles above, the jeans in different cuts that I bought ended up being a couple of different sizes. I also asked a bunch of questions of the salesclerk and was informed that all of the pants were pre-washed and wouldn't shrink and that one pair had 3% spandex so it would stretch a bit over time.

I came home and Paul immediately washed (in cold water) and dried (in the dryer, not sure what temp) all 4 pairs of pants.

Day one: Wore the curvy slim straight cut pair and found they were looser than when I tried them on in the store. Will definitely be taking them in.
Day two: Wore the boot cut pair. Also seemed looser but fit the way I want them to for the most part so will leave them alone.
Day three: (business trip) Tried on the remaining trouser cut pair the night before and decided they hadn't stretched yet and picked a slightly concealing top to wear with them. Put them on the next morning and either they stretched overnight or I shrunk because the concealing top is no longer necessary.
Day four: I'll be wearing the first pair again. Will be interested in their relative fit compared to first wearing and store try-on.

All in all, I like the results of shopping with the principles, I'll be making a few alterations so the clothes fit ME, and things amazingly shrink or stretch in my life on a daily basis so I should just be prepared for the variance.
capricious_k: (bee)

Lots going on as we prep to move to the new house.

  • On Saturday, we went over to the house and painted. Of course, it poured rain. Weather, you so crazy.
    Paul's dad and stepmom came over to see the house since they are very rarely in the bay area and won't make it for the housewarming.
    A few friends also came over to see the house without furniture and hang out while the paint dried.



  • On Sunday, Crystal and I went to church where the sermon was all about dealing with change which included an extended metaphor about buying a house (the minister stopped at one point and said she hadn't written the sermon with us in mind, really). We announced that it was our last Sunday at church and we got a lot of hugs and well wishes. After church, we ran errands/shopped for 3.5 hours. All of it was related to the move and necessary, but oy, it felt like we wasted the day.
    We did go to our favorite framer at Michael's in Union City - he's a genius and came up with three awesome solutions for three different pieces. He practically hyper-ventilated when we asked him to reframe the hand-signed and -colored Salvador Dali lithograph. It feels good to trust it with him because he recognized the value. Not that we left the piece at Michael's - hell no, it's back at home until the frame comes in then one of us will be present the entire time he does the work - also his idea. :)


  • On Monday, we checked out a friend's couch then went to drop off more stuff at the new house and see if the couch fit now that we had accurate measurements. On arrival, we found an awesome present: our agent bought us a wine fridge as a housewarming present! Sadly, we decided the couch won't work though.
    Also, we pulled the masking tape off the edges of our paint job from Saturday and... it didn't mask very well on the textured walls. I need to remember to pull it off while the paint is still wet, too. *sigh*

Before, after, and in between all this, we have been packing, sorting, donating, and packing. The movers are coming at 8am on Saturday which seemed fine until last night. I think we're 90% packed, but the last 10% is killer.

In other news:

  • There was a fairly horrible "review" in the Wall Street Journal that was actually an editorial, basically saying that all modern young adult (aka YA) fiction was depraved and warping our kids. There was a massive backlash from writers and readers alike, which I mostly noticed on Twitter as the #YAsaves hashtag trended around the world. As important as I think reading is to me now and even more so was to me as a teen, I have to confess that I hated YA fiction when I was a teen. I almost flunked an assignment in English because I was pissed they wouldn't let me read Jane Austen instead. Looking back, I read a lot of genre fiction that I would now classify as YA but it wasn't presented that way at the time (Eddings, Lackey, Anthony). Following links in various reaction articles, I came across a list of "unsuitable" books that teens should read anyway and that felt a lot closer to my experience. My point, sorry it took so long, is that teens should be free to read anything they want - it helped me in more ways than I could possibly count.

  • There should be another bullet here, but I've forgotten what it is. Oops.

  • More so than any other place I've lived, I'm really looking forward to having people over to the new house. I've been picturing dinner parties, garden parties, summer bbqs, movie nights, relatives visiting from out of town, dancing in the living room, and more. I want people to start coming over right away, but we're not going to be ready for weeks and then Crystal will be in Scandinavia somewhere. Stay tuned for invites though.
capricious_k: (bee)
Last night, Crystal and I went through a bunch more books (non-fiction, cookbooks, poetry, and graphic novels and comics), deciding what to keep and what to chuck. Anyone want a 1920 edition of The "Bab" Ballads by W.S. Gilbert? We also have some old editions of Longfellow, if interested. Free to a good home.

It's weird because I had thought we were doing a pretty good job not collecting too much stuff, but nearly eight years in a single location has taken its toll. I'm very happy we've got the time to do proper sorting before we pack up and move.

In other news, I got a jury duty summons for 1 week after we plan to move. Looking at the court's website, I don't think I can tell them my address has changed until it actually has, so they'll be loosing a potential juror at kind of the last minute. However, I've received a summons every single year I've lived in this county and I've only had to report to the courthouse twice (still never been picked to serve), so I don't think they really need me. It's just annoying to have to keep track of this piece of paper during the move. Oh well.
capricious_k: (bee)
I woke up at 6 and stayed in bed reading until 7 (finished my book). Then:
  • crammed a few more things in the dishwasher and ran it
  • made and ate breakfast (with veggies! because Crystal isn't here)
  • checked new house listings and updated the map/plan for today
  • checked the rest of my internet stuff
  • scrubbed and swept my bathroom
  • hand-washed the pots/etc. that didn't go in the dishwasher
  • scrubbed and swept the kitchen
  • tidied and vacuumed my bedroom
  • changed the filter in my air purifier (damn pollen!)
  • turned off the heater (it's a gorgeous warm day, no idea why it came on)
  • reset the time on the thermostat (the one we always forget on daylight savings day)
Now I'm going to take a shower and do my nails. Feels pretty good for just after 10am. :)
capricious_k: (fly away)
Oops, I forgot to post for a day. It's okay, not much happened on Thursday. Went to conference. They took us out to dinner again - a cool converted warehouse space called La Salle - really yummy lamb. :)

Friday, I decided to play hooky since the final day of the conference was for a group I'm not involved with and I had nothing to contribute/learn from them. Instead, I booked another tour online. Or, I thought I did. They didn't email me back, so I went to sleep Thursday night without setting my alarm. I slept through my roommate leaving and was woken up by a phone call from the tour company asking if I still wanted the tour. I said yes, they said gimme your credit card number, and I had just over an hour to shower, dress, breakfast, and get across town to the pick up point. I made it just barely. It turned out that only I and two other tourists had booked the specific tour to Rigi then on to Luzern - everyone else on the bus was just going to Luzern for the day with the guide. We got dropped off at the bottom of the cogwheel railway that went to the top of the mountain. Oh, and the other two tourists were from Argentina and only spoke Spanish. :) While on the train, we ended up in a very multi-lingual conversation with a guy from Canada and his Swiss friend. The Canadian was the real linguist - he conversed pretty well in Spanish, French, and English. I understood almost all the Spanish and French but didn't manage to speak either well. It was a nice international moment.

So, the mountain: Rigi "Queen of the Mountains" she earned this title not for being the tallest (she's not even part of the Alps) but because she has the best view of the Alps from the outside. Cool, huh? The little cogwheel train up to the top was neat - very steep grade. At the top, I discovered I was wearing almost the worst shoes ever because there was still a bit of snow here and there, and I had no traction whatsoever in my street boots. Sigh. Definitely should bring/wear my hiking boots on my next trip to Switzerland. So, I didn't get any hiking in, but the views were excellent if somewhat obscured by clouds. I sat for quite a while watching them float by and reveal different views every few minutes. Then came the quandary of lunch - I had left so quickly in the morning that I didn't get cash. So I had less than 5 Swiss Francs on me and there was no ATM at the top of the mountain. So I got some OJ from a vending machine and left the mountain an hour early to head down to the lake.

Vistnau was the tiny town on the lakeside. Not a lot was open, but the view was spectacular so I grabbed a picnic lunch from a small grocery store and a bench by the lake. It was awesome: small round of local cheese, roll, salmon sandwich, quarter bottle of local white wine, and bottle of water. The swans wanted some but I wasn't sharing. :) The boat ride over to Luzern was lovely (except for the guy smoking a cigar somewhere upwind of me - I moved and it wasn't a problem). Luzern itself is a little jewelbox of a town - right on the lake and with a river running down from the hills into it. The river has two gorgeous covered bridges with murals on triangular wooden boards in the roofs. How scenic was it? I walked by two different wedding parties taking pictures in about an hour.  I had two hours there and wandered all over the downtown bit near the river - into three different churches and a few small shops. Then I stopped and had a glass of Prosecco at a sidewalk cafe until the bus came to pick us up.

The most hilarious thing to happen to me in Zurich: on the way back into town, the guide started narrating again - pointing out landmarks and talking about history and current events and hot spots - and he pointed out the Google office and talked about how many jobs we'd brought to the city and how it was a coup for them to get us. I laughed out loud but I don't think the others on the bus knew why. Hee!

Back in my room now. I went to the big grocery store - Coop - and got all my souvenir chocolate plus some takeout dinner: carrot salad, curry chicken, and pasta salad with a bottle of local wine. I also got a small white chocolate bunny for dessert and a bag of sour cream potato chips to sustain me through packing. I'm meeting a bunch of coworkers at 7:15am tomorrow to head to the airport (we're all on the same flight), so I'm going to go to bed fairly early. I'm going to try to download my pics first so I can work on them on the plane. Hopefully, I'll post them Sunday after I get over my jetlag. :)
capricious_k: (fly away)
Another early morning as I went back to the conference hotel from the day before to retrieve my earring then on to the local office for our first session at 8am. The conference is very interesting and useful at least. :)

Our activity yesterday was to take the train up a local really big hill/small mountain and have fondue for dinner. They gave us a ton of time to walk to the train station so we were just sort of milling about there for 20 minutes before our train left. It was interesting going out on a regular commuter line and seeing where a lot of people live in the "suburbs" - not only do trains go everywhere, there are walking/biking paths all over the place. We went all the way to the end of the line and our restaurant was right there at the train station. We had mulled wine while gazing out over the valley - a different perspective from the usual since metro Zurich was hidden by the hill. The dinner was salad, a giant pot of hot bubbling cheese with chunks of bread and little potatoes to dip in it, and dessert (custard). The cheese was tasty, but I would have really liked some other stuff to dip in it - say a vegetable or two?

After dinner, there was some confusion on train tickets back to the hotel, but it got sorted out eventually. Then at the station, we had 4-5 people with maps to get back to the hotel from the station and another 15 people or so that milled about again. None map holders (other than me) seemed to know how to read them. I marched up the block, found the landmark and street named on the map, and yelled at everyone to follow me. It worked! The guy in the front of the pack with me was my teammate on crutches. There were a few jokes about the fastest way between two points is to follow the guy with only one leg. It amuses me that sales people, who travel all the time, don't know how to get around in a strange/new city.

Back at the hotel, they settled into the bar and for the first time, I hung out for a couple of glasses of wine. I got to chat with the co-worker on crutches about his travels in Israel and Egypt. Definitely on my list of trips to do, just not right now. He had some good advice on assessing the situation to decide when to go. Then it was midnight and I went to bed because Friday morning we start at 8am again.

Bis morgen (until tomorrow)!
capricious_k: (fly away)
Long day at the conference is looooooong. The buses came to pick us up at 7:15am and dropped us back for the scheduled dinner at 7:30pm. Oy. Of course, I and several others said no to the bus and walked the 20 minutes or so to the hotel and back.

Late afternoon, we had a giant video conference call and I happened to be sitting near the front of the crowd and had a good look at myself on the big screen. Yeah, that sweater is really not flattering. Note to self: never wear it again.

Dinner was a hell of a lot of wine and appetizers circulated by waiters. This had us quite nervous about the amount food we'd get, but it turned out they were just saving the little bowls of pasta and sliders for later in the evening. The veal meatloaf with mashed potatoes was really really good. Whew.

When I got back to my hotel room that night, I discovered one of my earrings was missing. It's one of my very favorite pairs - I wear them all the time and have never lost one before, dang it. I walked back to the restaurant, searching the halls of the hotel, the sidewalk, and the restaurant floor to no avail. No luck with the waitstaff or the front desk at the hotel either. My roommate asked if I could have lost it at the conference hotel since we were there all day. I tried to call the other hotel but couldn't figure out the phone, so I just called the switchboard of my own hotel and asked them to connect me. She seemed surprised/confused by my request but she did it. Good service. I managed to correctly greet the lady at the other hotel and ask her to switch to English in German then asked if anyone found my earring. She asked me to describe it then said someone found it on the sidewalk out front and turned it in. Yay!

Then I promptly fell asleep with the light on. Oops. And I got an automated phone call at 4am reminding me of the dentist appointment I forgot to cancel. Doh. Then I couldn't fall back asleep and accidentally set my phone to play a really annoying tune every time I turned it on to check the time. My roommate must hate me. I finally fell asleep and had a series of nested dreams where I'd "wake up" from one and be in another, then "wake up" from that one and so on.

Ok, that's the end of my boring travel update for the day. :)
capricious_k: (fly away)
Not much to talk about today since I spent it working instead of sightseeing. Two fun things though:

1. I had to go out for lunch and didn't know the area of the city that the office is in. So I followed some people who looked like they knew where they were going. They took a shortcut through a college campus near the office and on the other side, I found myself at a train station I'd walked by before. Inside there was a huge line at one sandwich place so I joined it - my reward was a really yummy prosciutto sandwich on a pretzel roll. Win!

2. I'd been staring at the conference room names all day thinking there was something familiar but not quite right about them. Mid-afternoon, I finally switched them around, reading the names in terms of distance from the lobby instead of the order they were written on the wall and went "aha!" - the building has a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy theme! Awesome! (And I had the theme song for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation stuck in my head all afternoon, which didn't suck.)

Tomorrow is going to be a really long day - the bus comes for us at 7:15am! Ugh. Hoping I get more sleep tonight so I won't totally hate life in the morning.
capricious_k: (fly away)
I managed to get about 10 hours of sleep so jet lag was not a problem on day two. Instead, I find I am very allergic to something that's blooming here or a very popular perfume or both. My eyes and itching and watering like mad, I've sneezed a hundred times, and I'm congested. Bleh.

I had a good day anyway. Got up and had breakfast with the roommate and ran into a teammate there. Nice to chat with someone I actually know. I've deeply impressed my roommate with my mad travel skills: my suitcase is "tiny," I brought both an adapter and a power strip, and I booked a tour in advance so I had something to do today.

The tour was nice. Our guide was actually Japanese, so there were I few times I lost him in between his accents (his tour narration was in English, but I heard him speak fluently in Japanese and German as well). He was knowledgeable and friendly though and those are them main points you want in a tour guide. We did a quick jaunt through Zurich - pointing out the major landmarks and statistics - then got out of town. Our first stop was Rapperswil aka the city of roses. Sadly, the roses weren't out yet so we saw a lovely barren garden, the local castle, and a lovely church before lunch. I've been sticking to local cuisine so I had the house special - a "cheese pie" - for lunch. I was expecting something like a pot pie or a Cornish pasty but with cheese; what I got was sort of a very thin cheese quiche on pizza crust. It was tasty though. Next stop was the capital of Liechtenstein, Vaduz - a tiny town in a tiny country. It was raining and I found a brief spot of free wifi while browsing in a souvenir store. *shrug* Not much to say about it really. The flag was up so the royal family was home. /factoid

Our third and final stop was Heidi's house. Above the real village that the author mentions in the book, they built a house that was used in the black and white German movie version of the story. Then the government came in and step up all of the Swiss locations from the book - the tiny village, Peter's house, Grandfather/Alm-Uncle's hut, and the high mountain meadow where all the good stuff happens. Heidi's house is sort of in the tiny village at the bottom and it's a two hour round trip hike to the top so I didn't get to see everything, but it was charming and there were adorable goats with bells on their collars. I bought a little wooden one in the souvenir store. :)

We got on the bus to head back and that's when it finally hit me that my misery was allergies (duh!) and that I had no antihistamines with me. So I suffered and dozed (and finished reading Heidi) on the way back. Then hopped on the closest tram and came back to the hotel for antihistamines. They helped somewhat so I didn't look too terrible video-chatting with P who caught me online before I went to dinner.

Everything by the hotel was closed, so I walked back toward the center of town and found a sort of tapas bar where I had a lovely Rioja and some yummy pasta with Serrano ham. Not local but by that point I didn't care and it was good. (Last night I had veal strips in creamy mushroom sauce and rosti aka hashbrowns which come with just about every local dish.)

Finally it was back to the hotel, where I sat in the bar with a glass of wine and read some more. It was mostly empty when I got there and slowly filled up with co-workers as the night progressed. It was loud and jumping by the time I bailed. I sat by myself the whole time as I suck at mingling and didn't even notice most of the people arrive because I was reading. Oh well.

Now it's time for bed as I have actual work in the morning!
capricious_k: (fly away)
I made it safely to Zurich if not comfortably. Note to self: remember you hate American Airlines - the only reason the ticket is cheap is that they are cheapskates. Bleh.

Got here, negotiated train into the city and tram to the hotel with only minor delays. Arrived before 9am so they couldn't check me in. I got a day pass for the tram system, left my bags, and went to explore the city. I looked at the lake and the river (both full of giant white swans!) running through the old part of town before I found a lovely cafe where I had muesli, cafe creme, and orange juice while reading. Nice. Then I wandered the streets looking at shops, churches, and an old fort for a few hours. The weather is surprisingly nice - mid 50s, sunny with a light breeze. Then it was on to a park by the lake and lunch at a museum cafe (the museum is in a set of villas on an old estate so surrounded by parkland and just beautiful - I didn't even go in and felt enriched). Then more wandering through a residential part of town until I got back to where my hotel is.

They told me the room would be ready between 2 and 3 so I didn't want to show up before 2:30 so I also wandered a bit in the mall that's right next to the hotel. It was here I realized that I must really look like a local - everyone I'd encountered during the day immediately spoke to me in German and kept at it until I badly mangled my reply, then they switched to flawless English. I got away with a murmur or just a smile/nod in a few cases, too. I'd forgotten that aspect from my trip to Germany a couple of years ago. It's mildly hilarious because my German roots are 13 generations back. :)

Anyhoo, back to the room - turns out they completely failed to notice that my assigned roommate was already checked in and I could have gone up to the room in the morning and had a much-longed-for shower instead of perambulating with a vague itchiness all day. *sigh* Also, when I did finally get that shower, the water couldn't stay one temperature for more than 30 seconds. Also also, the room is fairly small for two people who are strangers - the twin beds are pushed together to form a king, sort of, so we pushed them apart and there's no door on the bathroom so if someone comes into the room as you step out of the shower, they will totally see you naked. Made me quite nervous as my roommate wasn't around when I started my shower (thankfully, she didn't show up until after I was mostly dressed).

So far, I like this town. Everyone is nice. The food I had was yummy. The sightseeing with little to no prep is good. Tomorrow I have a tour booked that will give me all of the highlights of the city, a trip through the countryside to Heidiland and a visit to Lichtenstein - 2 countries!

UPDATE: Am now in hotel bar. Free and reasonably fast wireless. Comfy chair. People watching opportunities. Glass of wine while I work on Saturday from Zurich in order meet my deadline. Not bad. :)
capricious_k: (Cartoon Speak)
I had a good week: spent last weekend and the holiday enjoying LA with C and P, project at work crossed a major approval, got my car cleaned,  took P to the Linkin Park concert as an early birthday present, and so on. A bunch of friends/family members had bad to very bad weeks, starting with my aunt and uncle were in Christchurch during the earthquake (they and the rest of their group are ok and were evacuated by military cargo plane). I wanted to share my good week vibes with everyone having bad weeks - maybe it worked since my weekend has been fine but quiet so far. I spilled mustard on my favorite new pair of pants on Friday and multiple stain removal attempts failed on Saturday, but the rest of my laundry is done and put away. I sewed buttons onto a blazer and a coat that I got at the last clothing swap. I framed a print that my parents gave me and P from our trip to Rome. We'll see if I try to find a place to put it up here or if it will go live at P's until we consolidate households. C and I had a lazy evening on the couch, sort of watching tv while mainly watching our laptops. 

The plan for today is church, then P's coming over and we're going to a housewarming party. Tivo is getting the Oscars for me because I like to look at all the clothes and fast forward through most of the speeches. :) I don't think C and P are that interested though so we'll probably watch All-Star Superman instead. I still can't find my graphic novels of the same which is really annoying but I'm sure I'll enjoy the movie any way. 

And now in complete randomness, one of those question memes: )

Argh!!

Feb. 18th, 2011 07:55 am
capricious_k: (rarrr)
This has been a very frustrating morning and it's not yet 8am. I went to catch the shuttle to work for the first time in about 3 weeks. I checked the schedule in case anything had changed but it was the same. Then the shuttle didn't arrive and I started digging through my email to try to find out why. Turns out I was unknowingly unsubscribed from the email list where they announced that the shuttle stop had been relocated. Great. I figure out where the new shuttle stop is (more or less) and head to Starbucks because it's cold and the next shuttle won't come for an hour. At Starbucks, the wait is really long and when I finally get my turn, the new guy behind the counter doesn't know my drink. He keeps asking me to repeat it and turning to stare at the tea trying to figure out what I mean. He eventually gives up and asks a co-worker who explains to him how to prep my cup and what to write on it for the person actually making the drinks. It comes out fine, but really, new guy? It's not like I ordered something that's not on the big menu right behind you. *sigh*  I know, I know - first world problems.

Anyway, I'm sitting at the new shuttle stop, I think. I really hope I figured it out because C dropped me off here and I don't have any other way to get to work that doesn't involve either a BART ride into the city to try and find a later shuttle stop there or a very long walk home to get my car. 

Edit 1: Oh thank goodness, other people are hear waiting for the shuttle now, too! 

Edit 2: Shuttle arrived and am now using the wifi on the bus! Morning is looking up. :)

Bleh

Jan. 31st, 2011 09:57 am
capricious_k: (bun of the dead)
Day two of being sick. Not as bad this morning, though. At least until I took a shower and almost fainted. :( I managed a controlled slide to the bottom of the tub and stayed there till I got my equilibrium back. Feel fine now - wheezy, congested, and sneezing but not light-headed. Glad I decided to work from home.

Plan for the day: stay on the couch, drink tea, eat oranges and chicken soup, make some progress on my documents for work.

In the meantime, I saw a few people doing "things to do before I die" lists the other day. I couldn't come up with 25 things, but here's what I've got (in no particular order):
  • Cruise around the world - I've been on 4 cruises now (1 solo) and I quite enjoyed them. I'm a bit of a water spirit and I would dearly love to circumnavigate the globe in this fashion. I just need time and money and someone who wants to go with me (C & P were not as fond of the cruising experience and that was just a week - not sure if they'd tolerate 3 months).
  • Live abroad - I was a bit too chicken to do this in college when it would have been relatively easy, so now I'm planning to do it when I retire (my chance to live in Ireland for 3 months for work fell through). I love to travel and I want the chance to get to know a place deeply, which requires living there. Current dream: 6 months in London (spring to fall), a few months in Paris, then the rest of the year in southern climes following the sun. I just need to retire (and convince P that he wants to do this with me and C).
  • Fly in a small plane - I've had the opportunity to fly in a helicopter twice in the past few years and a hot air balloon last October for my birthday. I love flying and I'd like to experience a small plane, too. A nice little seaplane ride through the San Juans would be great. Keeping my eyes open.
  • Re-learn to play the piano - I took lessons for a year in elementary school and another year in high school (both times my teacher left - the first left for college and the second just disappeared after saying she'd be back in a couple of months). I have no natural musical talent, so it's just a matter of being diligent and practicing and thinking about it. I just haven't wanted it bad enough yet to carve out the time. 
Other than those, I want to keep doing what I'm doing to get the stuff I want - a house with C & P, travel (everything from carnival in Venice to wine-tasting in New Zealand to Comic Con every year for the rest of my life), and being healthy and happy. Working on it. 
capricious_k: (Default)
We saw Green Hornet, Tangled, and the US version of Being Human. Loved all three. Green Hornet was full of humor and ass kicking and the awesomeness of Kato. Tangled was sweet and fun and a good addition to the Disney princess canon. Being Human was smart and fun and really really really well cast. Other than that, we mostly sat around with brief moments of productivity/activity: sorted a bunch of books to get rid of, took said books to the used bookstore and actually got rid of them, went for a walk on the Berkeley campus (and had the semi-horrifying realization that it's now been 20 years since I first walked onto that campus as a student), went to dinner at Zut! on 4th Street (recommended), and did some laundry. As part of the book sorting, I found myself reading books that I haven't touched in many years - rediscovering the fluffy, uncomplicated happiness of romance novels mostly. Yay, for a huge library!
capricious_k: (Default)
Hi all,

I need to buy a Christmas gift for my brother's wife. She's going to start her first student teaching gig in a month or so. My budget is around $30. Any suggestions for cool first-time teacher gifts?

Any advice much appreciated!
capricious_k: (Cartoon Speak)
I had a very nice Thanksgiving with [livejournal.com profile] wintergr3y. We slept in, then got up and watched the parade while drinking mimosas (my favorite T-day tradition). The coverage was better this year - more actual footage of the floats and bands and less pointless commentary and shameless plugs. I also finished up my latest crochet project during the parade: a new, large throw for P in his favorite color (since the last one I made him was too small and I couldn't find matching yarn to enlarge it). We're both sitting under it snugly right now. :)

After the parade, I called and talked to my family and then we played Dance Central for a while. I tried a new strategy of working through each song/routine from easy to hard all in one go. Worked pretty well. Plus it's pretty much the only video game P will ever get me to play.

By the time we finished and cleaned up, it was late afternoon so we just read for a little bit before getting started on dinner prep - setting the table, laying out pots and pans, chopping vegetables and herbs and such. We were going to take another break and wait for our guests (P's mom and her friend) to arrive, but more prep meant more time to chat when they arrived so we kept working and then they were late (got lost), so dinner was ready just a few minutes after they walked in the door. I stalled a bit so there would be at least a little chat time in the living room before we sat down to:

- Salad of butter lettuce, tomatoes, warm saute of prosciutto/chanterelle mushrooms/shallots & herb vinaigrette dressing (homemade)
- Mashed potatoes with herbs (chives and thyme) and butter
- Pan-roasted duck breast with a cherry/madeira sauce

Our guests brought a delightful Pinot Noir that went perfectly with dinner and a peach pie and really good vanilla ice cream. It worked out great all around - good food and good company.

After they left, we cleaned up (mostly I watched P do the dishes) and then watched a movie. So... we've been having a blast taking disco lessons from Richard Powers for the past month. Several times he's mentioned Saturday Night Fever and how you can see a specific move or line dance in the movie. Since I couldn't remember seeing the whole thing (turns out I'd seen none of it) and Paul hadn't seen it, we rented it. Ugh. I foolishly forgot in my enthusiasm for the silly, happy dancing that nothing else in the 70's was good - especially the movies. I swear every one I've seen is dark and depressing full of ugly people and awful deeds. Saturday Night Fever was no exception (well, except for the dance scenes) and I wanted to scrub my brain afterward. So I made Paul watch the first Transformers movie which I find bright and happy and mindless, and it helped me go to sleep without nightmares. Plus I got more ice cream. I'm calling it a win.

I hope everyone had a day of warmth, loved ones, and good food! I plan to hide from the world today since we're heading into the city tomorrow to celebrate our anniversary (NINE years since our first date!!) with shopping, dinner at One Market, and a night in a nice hotel. We'll be at Dickens on Sunday til it's time to pick up C from the airport.
capricious_k: (bee)
This weekend I spackled, painted, and redecorated our downstairs bathroom. No more holes in the ceiling, and it now matches the kitchen and stairwell thematically. I feel very accomplished and home-ownery. I also feel like a idiot because I didn't do before and after pics. Sorry. :(
capricious_k: (Lifeamgood)
Happy happy happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] fresne!!! More fabulous food and and and autumn vistas for you today!
capricious_k: (Cartoon Speak)
Gotta say, I'm pretty pleased with the results here in California. Most of the people I voted for won, and the two propositions that I cared the most about went the way I wanted. For the most part, no one was able to "buy" an election result. Now we just have to wait and see the effects.

Now if the housing market would just recover...