Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jefferson is back!

Jefferson wearing his sweater over his head!
(photo taken a few weeks ago)

Jefferson is back!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

born November 21, 2006 (my own birthday!)
(pictured above at age 2 months being held by his grandmother)
No, I haven't posted here for several months, but I've been busy with this whole motherhood thing!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Is this for real?

Well, I haven't posted to my blog for a while...I'm feeling neglectful.

I had an appointment with the midwife yesterday, and it seems that everything is going fine. It still doesn't seem yet that this is really and truly happening to me, but I did hear the baby's heartbeat at my appointment. I started laughing because it was just so weird.

And when the midwife felt around my belly, she said, "Yes, that feels about the right size."

I said, "I don't know what to feel for. I can't feel anything there." (I tried at home later to see if I could feel the baby, but I still couldn't.)

She also said to me, "You won't be fitting into those pants much longer!" (Well, they don't really fit me very well now, but I'm still wearing them despite that.)

I guess it's safe to say that I'm feeling freaked out about the whole thing at the moment. Is this for real?

Is this for real?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well, I don't want to jinx anything....

...but I took two different home pregnancy tests on Sunday, and both turned out positive. I'm feeling tired...very tired. I'm almost having trouble believing that I'm actually pregnant after just one month of trying. I assumed we'd be trying for months!

Well, I don't want to jinx anything....

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Supergrass Photos!!

These are just a few of the photos taken by my husband during and after the Seattle show. (Click on photos for larger images) More photos can be found here, including some some still photos taken from the movie footage we shot in Seattle and Vancouver. These photos are a bit grainer.

Supergrass Photos!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

More from my Supergrassy Weekend (Vancouver, BC)

(Find the first half of my Supergrassy Weekend story (Seattle) HERE.)

By the time I got to the Vancouver show, I was slightly soaked and windblown from the weather, and we got there very early to be assured a spot right in front. The crowd in Vancouver was great! No one was pushy, and everyone was having a good time. We listened to the opening band Pilotdrift for the second time, and that night they were pretty good. They hadn’t impressed me too much during the Seattle show, but I started getting into their music in Vancouver…they sounded a lot more on. There was one song that sounded like a cross between Pink Floyd and Radiohead that was excellent. When they finished their set, the crowd applauded ecstatically. People really enjoyed it.

When Pilotdrift ended, it seemed like a million years before Supergrass finally came on stage. I was really excited about being there for a second show, and I knew they were going to be fabulous like the previous evening….They were so much better! I think I’d have to invent new words to sufficiently describe how incredible the concert was. No doubt people will be talking about the show for years to come. This was the final concert of their North American tour, and it was evident that the band wanted to rock hard.

The show started as it had in Seattle, with acoustic numbers played by Gaz alone and then Gaz and Mick. They played “St. Petersburg,” “Caught By the Fuzz,” “Sitting Up Straight” and “Low C.” I can’t remember which songs Danny and Charlie joined in on, but Danny came in dressed in old-time, black and white striped jail garb. I don’t know what message he was trying to send with that outfit, but it was interesting. I should say that Gaz looked fantastic in a black, button-down shirt and a wild-looking tie. He was also wearing what looked like gray, flannel trousers and white shoes (sort of the type Simon LeBon would have worn in 1984). I think Mick was wearing a black, button-down shirt also, but no tie. Charlie was wearing a big floppy hat that looked similar to the one Gaz wore in the “St. Petersburg” video.

I wanted to be in the center of the action this time, with no one’s head in my way, and that’s why I chose front-row, center. Sometimes people will say that the sound isn’t as good at a show if you’re too far in front, but I thought everything sounded incredible. It was as though every song had been kicked up 10 notches from the night before. Danny seemed to hit the drums harder, Gaz and Mick seemed to be more into the songs, and Charlie’s keyboards sounded even groovier. Maybe it was just that the sound system was better, or that the crowd seemed to be totally mesmerized. I’m not sure. And while the band was rocking out… they also seemed to be having a good time. I could see smiles between the band members on stage. This was their final show of the tour, and I’m sure they wanted to go out with a splash. The members of Pilotdrift could be seen off to the side of the stage, and having a wonderful time dancing, singing-along, taking photos with their cameras, etc. They must be even bigger Supergrass fans than I am (if that’s possible). At one point, Gaz called them out onstage, and he gave them each a hug and told them how great they were. It must have been amazing for them to tour with Supergrass.

When the band took a break before the encore, the audience at the Commodore went absolutely crazy, stomping and chanting, “SU-PER-GRASS… SU-PER-GRASS… SU-PER-GRASS” over and over. I could see that I wasn’t alone in finding the show to be INCREDIBLE! I had hoped for the band to throw in a couple of extra songs for the encore, but they performed the same numbers as in Seattle, “Fin” and “Lenny.” I had not been a particular fan of “Fin” when listening to the “Road to Rouen” album, because I couldn’t really get into the production style. It seemed a bit too contrived. But when Gaz performed it live with an acoustic guitar, it was an absolutely beautiful song. Maybe this version is available as part of the “Fin” single that was released. I’ll have to look into that. The final song, “Lenny,” blew the roof of the place, and at the end Danny kicked over his drums a la Keith Moon (as he’d done the night before), and threw his drumsticks out to an eager audience. One of the drumsticks hit my husband in the arm (because he was looking in the other direction), bounced off him and then landed on the ground on the other side of the barrier. Fortunately, he was able to grab it. Meanwhile Gaz had thrown one of his guitar picks in our direction, but it didn’t quite make it over the barrier. One of the security guys reached down and grabbed it for us.

It was an evening I'll never forget, to say the least. That was only the fourth time I've ever seen Supergrass, because they only seem to come around every three years. I hope they won't make us wait that long again!

More from my Supergrassy Weekend (Vancouver, BC)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Supergrassy Weekend (Seattle, WA)

In Seattle, my Supergrass weekend started off with an almost run-in with Gaz Coombes at Pike Place Market. My husband and I had been wondering around the shops, and there was one that I had been trying to find all afternoon—a shop that I remembered from awhile back that sold scented oils, candles, etc. As I was searching for the shop with that single-minded goal, apparently I walked right past Gaz without even seeing him! My husband did see him, however, and as I passed him by, my husband called out to me, “Are you blind?”

I turned around and said, “What…?”

He said, “Turn around…that’s Gaz isn’t it?”

I turned around, and saw the back of Gaz from about 50 feet away. “Oh my god, yes, that’s definitely him.” I recognized the cowboy hat I’d seen him wearing in the Monkeybasket photos. He was standing in front of a donut stand. I gasped and said, “No way! When did you spot him?”

My husband said, “You walked right past him! I thought you were just being all cool pretending not to notice!”

I started laughing. My husband had seen his face, and knew for sure that it was Gaz, but I only saw him from the back. Sometimes I can’t believe what absolute tunnel vision I’m capable of having. For a minute I thought it would be interesting to follow him from a distance to see where he went, but then I decided that he might notice and get the impression that I was a stalker. Anyway, I turned around after a moment, and he was gone without a trace. Maybe he has a sixth-sense about when crazy fans have spotted him, and he can flee in time for a potential run-in. The funniest part is, just 30 minutes earlier I thought it would be fun to get my fortune from a silly Elvis fortune machine, and my fortune happened to say I would have a surprise meeting with someone special that day. How did Elvis know?

Finally the time came for the concert at Showbox. I was absolutely giddy. I really, really wanted a drink before the show, but I can’t have one because I’m trying to get pregnant, so there’s a small possibility right now that I could be pregnant without knowing for certain. Anyway, I didn’t try to get a spot in the very front because I was worried about getting pushed around. We ended up in a spot with around the third row.

Gaz alone, and then Gaz and Mick started out with some great acoustic numbers, including “Caught By the Fuzz.” When the whole band came out, and they started playing “Tales of Endurance,” I knew for sure that this was going to be an amazing show. Mick played the slide guitar, and I love slide guitar, and then when they got to the second part of the song, they slowed down the groove a bit compared to the version on the album. It sounded great. I liked that song before, but I LOVE this new version, and it’s been in my head for the past few days. Other notable songs included a modified version of “Sun Hits the Sky,” which had a groovier guitar riff that sounded awesome, and of course, “Rush Hour Soul,” which they totally rocked out on as usual. I wasn’t sure whether I liked the new version of Mary. The vocal parts were a bit too mono-toned, but speeded up it sounded like a totally different song. My idea for shouting out a request for “Coffee In the Pot” (for a laugh) was carried out by some other people who must have read my message board posting (or else it was just a coincidence). The Seattle show was wonderful, but as I'll go into later, the show in Vancouver was ten times better. It was the most incredible concert I've ever attended.

The only annoying part of the Seattle show was when two very drunk girls managed to push their way in front of us, then they started flailing their arms around and pushing into people. I decided I was not about to put up with this, so finally I just pushed my way in front of them, pulling my husband with me in. They looked all astonished when I turned around and said, “You can stand behind us, thank you very much.” As the show went on, the two of them talked throughout, including the quiet “Roxy” number, basically spoiling the song for everyone around them. When the show ended, one of the girls actually tried to start a fight with me. She started calling me names, and saying I sucked and whatever. I don’t recall exactly what I said to her in response, but I remember saying something like, “This is my favorite band and I wasn’t about to let you ruin my time. So go ahead and call me a bitch. I don’t care.”

After the show we went back to the car (which was parked around the corner) so that I could pick up my special early birthday gift for Gaz. I’ve sort of started this new hobby recently of making mix music DVDs for friends just for fun. I came up with the idea of making one for Gaz because I thought he might get a kick out of it, and could watch it on the road. Then when I saw on TV the classic, 1970s “BBC In Concert” acoustic performances (with Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, etc.), they immediately reminded me of the new, mellow stuff that Supergrass is doing now, so I thought I’d make a copy of the concerts for Gaz, in case he didn’t already have copies of them. It might sound totally dorky to be giving a gift to a rock star, but I just wanted to show my appreciation, and let him know that he has adoring fans here in the States.

I wandered near the tour bus to have a look, and I didn’t see anyone except a homeless guy sitting right behind it and doing a #2. I must have startled him somewhat. Anyway, I hope no one stepped in his business. Eventually a few people gathered around the door of the bus. They all looked middle-aged, and one woman claimed to be there to get an autograph for her teenage daughter (yeah, right!) She was being quite pushy with the road manager, so I decided to stay away from those people. Then I bumped into a girl from France who was waiting to meet the band. She was very nice, and we started talking a bit. My husband went to see if the band was hanging out in the Greenroom next to the club, but he returned to say they weren’t there. I was prepared to be patient, and it paid off because eventually Gaz and his brother Charlie came around to drop some stuff off in the bus.

The middle-aged people quickly crowded around the two of them asking for photos and autographs. I waited for everyone else to get their fill, and then I approached Gaz to introduce myself. I was a complete dweeb, of course, but at least I got up the courage to speak to him. I asked for his autograph, and then I handed him the gift. I told him I made it for him, and hoped he could watch it. He smiled a lot and said, “That’s really sweet of you. Thanks a lot”… etc. (I’m still a little concerned that there might be some compatibility issues with European DVD players or TVs, but hopefully they worked in the case that he actually tried to watch them.) I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say at that moment, as my mind had gone totally blank. I could have talked about the time I lived in Oxford in the mid-90s and how a friend of mine had seen one of their early shows at the Jericho Tavern, but I was tongue-tied. I can’t even remember if I looked him directly in the eye. But he was wearing his cowboy hat and a green corduroy jacket, and he looked really good.

As he wandered toward the tour bus, I called out, “I’ll see you at the show tomorrow!” And I explained to him that we would be going to the concert in Vancouver. He said, “Okay. See you there!”

I forgot to mention that I didn't ask to have my picture taken with Gaz (because I always end up looking retarded in those kinds of photos), but my husband took a couple of pictures of Gaz talking to a group of fans. As I discovered later, he also made a movie (with the digital camera) of me talking to Gaz and giving him the gift. Watching this footage it was confirmed to me that I really sound like a dork when I talk to famous people.

I met Danny a few minutes later, as he was headed for the tour bus. He was extremely friendly, and said that he had been a bit tired during the performance, and he apologized. I hadn't noticed that he was tired. I told him that he was my "favorite drummer" (which is true), and he said, "Oh, really? What about John Bonham?"

My husband then said (jokingly), "Well the order goes, first you, then Keith Moon, then John Bonham."

Danny laughed and said that made him feel really good.

There is more to come including details about the mind-blowing Vancouver show, and eventually even photos!

My Supergrassy Weekend (Seattle, WA)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cheney's Got A Gun...

Ever since the vice president shot a 78-year-old republican donor in the face while hunting for wingless, farm-raised quail, I've had that stupid Aerosmith song stuck in my head. I can't get it out! Somebody help me...please!!!
(GW Bush was heard to say: "That's one lousy hunter!")

Cheney's Got A Gun...

Monday, February 13, 2006

So it's officially unofficial...

...that my husband and I have decided to stop using birth control. That is the extent of our "trying to conceive" plan. We were going to wait until next year, but then I decided that maybe we should just see what happens this year.

The change in plans happened for a funny reason. My last period was quite a bit late, and that has only happened to me once before that I can remember. There were a few days there when I was sort of in limbo...and I thought maybe I was pregnant, and I didn't feel wholly freaked out about it. A home pregnancy test, and the eventual late arrival of Aunt Flo, finally confirmed that I was not pregnant. And that was when I realized that I was disappointed. That was a different emotion for me. The last time I had this sort of experience, I was an emotional wreck for about a week.

My husband and I have agreed that we are in no way going to become obsessive about this (like, there won't be any taking of temperatures or using of home ovulation predictor kits). I did tell my hubby that it would be a good idea if he stopped smoking the you-know-what, because stoned sperm are not very good at getting the job done. He was like, "some of the sperm can be stoned, can't they? There are millions of them, and it only takes one to do the trick." I told him that if I can give up alcohol for 9 months (but I'm not much of a drinker anyway), then he can stop smoking the you-know-what for a while. He wasn't very happy about this, especially since we're planning a trip to Vancouver, B.C. later this month, but he wants a baby more than I do, so I expect that he will behave.

So it's officially unofficial...

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's Rotten in the State of Denmark?

As a Danish-American, I feel I should have an opinion about the recent uproar caused by some apparently Muslim-bashing cartoons published in Denmark. I have to admit that right now I'm paranoid about the fact that I have Danish flag stickers on both of my cars. I've had these stickers on my car for years, and now I suddenly thinking I should pull them off just to be on the safe side.

I don't think Denmark has ever received so much international attention in recent history. It's very sad, because I've always been proud to be Danish-American, and I've always been proud of the country's progressive nature. When I visited Denmark in the past I thought it was wonderful, and the people are quite tolerant. The Danes don't deserve this sort of ill-will...they really don't.

What's Rotten in the State of Denmark?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In-Law Annoyances

I haven't complained too much in the blogosphere yet about my unfortunate father-in-law situation, so I'd like to take the opportunity now. Lucky me, I get to deal with a father-in-law who's a male chauvinist pig, and a stepfather-in-law who has similar issues. I guess some people get used to it, but it's tough for me to be around men like this due to the fact that my own father is a caring, sensitive human being who never makes sexist, racist or homophobic comments (and wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near a Hooters).

Let's see, I'll start with my father-in-law. I think I talked about one of our very first meetings in a previous post (near the bottom). Suffice it to say, my father-in-law has old-fashioned ideas when it comes to "a woman's place." Basically, he seems to think that any woman with a nice body should either be working as a waitress at Hooters, or married and producing offspring. When we first met, he didn't enjoy hearing about my educational background (Boston University and Oxford University) nor my career (working in philanthropy). He didn't take me at all seriously, and he still doesn't.

As for my stepfather-in-law, he's not much better. Let's put it this way...he's been unable to maintain any sort of eye-contact with me on the several ocassions he's visited and stayed in our home. It's as though I'm nothing more than a pair of breasts to him...I mean, he's checking them out every other minute. (I'll never understand what's so damn fascinating.) What makes it worse is that he and my mother-in-law always visits during the summer months when it's harder to hide beneath bulky clothing.

Anyway, it's a good thing that my husband's dad wasn't around much when he was growing up, so that not too much of his dad's chauvinism rubbed off on him. My mother-in-law (bless her) is a lovely woman who unfortunately has horrible taste in men. But she was able to bring up two wonderful sons to her credit (completely to her credit).

My sister-in-law recalls one of the first times she met the man who was to be her father-in-law (who is mine as well). He thought he would share a joke with his son (and his son's girlfriend), and it was in the form of one of those stupid forwarded emails. This one was a photo of two naked women flying an airplane, and of course there was a sexist joke that went with it. (My father-in-law is an airplane pilot). He had no qualms about sharing such a joke in front of his son's fiancee, and she was shocked. She told me that later the same evening she cried herself to sleep wondering how she could ever deal with having that man as her father-in-law, and went so far as to contemplate whether she could go forward with the marriage.

Another annoying thing about my father-in-law is that he's very wealthy, and yet the biggest cheapskate on earth. He's the sort of father who made his son wear standard military-issue frames for his eyeglasses (because his Air Force benefits paid for those in full), or if he wanted more stylish frames, forced his son to pay the difference out of his own measly $2 per-week allowance. And he wasn't at all poor. He was a union airline pilot at the time.

Believe me, there are many, many stories I can share about my father-in-law that would make anyone wonder why I chose to marry into the family. One that especially takes the cake for me personally (pun intended), involves a special birthday cake I made for my husband a few years ago (before we were married). His dad had invited us up to his ocean-view home near Seattle for a birthday dinner. I had gone to hours of trouble slaving away to make a Three-Layer Citrus Poppy-Seed Cake (completely from scratch!) with two layers of decadent cream cheese frosting in the middle, topped with a lemon glaze. (It was only the most delicious cake known to humankind). The morning of my husband's birthday, I spoke to his dad on the phone, and told him I couldn't wait for everyone to try the birthday cake I'd made. He suddenly become all angry that there had been a "huge misunderstanding," and said, "I already ordered a special bakery cake for him. You'd better leave yours at home. We won't need two cakes."

First off, I was quite surprised that my father-in-law wouldn't be more ecstatic about me doing something so domestic as baking a cake. I was disappointed, but imagined that the "special bakery cake" must be something spectacular if he was to turn down my baked-from-scratch Citrus Poppy-Seed Cake. The birthday dinner was quite delicious, and I was eager to taste the dessert, but he waited for quite some time after dinner to serve the "special bakery cake." As it turned out, this was a cheap Safeway/Costco-style cake--the kind with no flavor and inedible frosting. When he brought it out, I thought he must playing a joke on everyone, but he wasn't. The rest of the evening I had to pretend that I didn't hate my father-in-law's guts. I don't think that my performance was convincing, however, because I wouldn't eat the cake he'd bought. When he asked why, it was as though he'd completely forgotten about our conversation about my cake earlier that day. He said, "Oh, you could have brought your cake. I didn't think you were going to leave it at home."

In-Law Annoyances

Oscar Nominations

I don't get into the Oscars very much usually, but this year I will definitely watch because Jon Stewart will be hosting. I find that the best way to enjoy the Oscars is to set your DVR to record it, then start watching about 1 hour into the program. That way, you can skip through all of the crappy musical numbers, as well as the awards for categories such as "Achievement in Makeup" (not to mention the annoying commercials...but since getting a DVR, I haven't really watched a commercial in its entirety).

I'm happy to see that "Good Night and Good Luck" was nominated in several categories, as well as "Walk the Line." I think Reese Witherspoon pretty much has the Best Actress award in the bag...not much competition there (I mean, come on, Keira Knightley?) This was a breakthrough role for Reese (and she's a much better singer than June Carter). The Best Actor category is tougher to predict. I haven't actually seen "Capote" yet (I've really been meaning to), but I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman may be the winner. Joaquin has a good shot though.

As far as "Brokeback Mountain" goes, I did enjoy the movie for the most part, although I don't think it's quite worth all of the fuss it's been getting. I haven't ever seen "Titanic," but I guess "Brokeback" could be suffering from the same amount of unnecessary hype. Anyway, it might win Best Picture and it might not. Is it groundbreaking? Not really. But the Hollywood system isn't much about that. Brokeback's cinematography is wonderful though, and I'm all for movie-goers coming to appreciate the Canadian Rockies (if any of them realize that the movie wasn't actually filmed in Wyoming).

Oscar Nominations

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fake Braces?

Fake braces all the rage for Thai teens

When I was teenager, I recall my parents had to pay extra so that I could get the supposedly "invisible" kind of braces.

Fake Braces?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brush With Greatness...Special Edition

In honor of my husband's upcoming birthday, this special edition of Brush With Greatness features my hubby's favorite, personal BWG recollection. (Other great editions of BWG can be found here: #1 (Ron Howard), #2 (Noel Gallagher), #3(Gerard Depardieu), #4 (Mark Wahlberg) )

The time was somewhere in the early 90s. My husband was a student at University of Georgia in Athens (yes, he's a Southern Boy!) On one particular evening, my husband went to hear a local band play at a club in Athens. He can't recall what band was playing (and I can't recall which club he mentioned). Anyway, he was there listening to the band until the lights went on for closing time. There were only a few dozen people left in the place by that time, and my husband immediately spotted Michael Stipe sitting at the bar. That was no big deal (he often ran into members of REM living in Athens)...but River Phoenix just happened to be there hanging out with Mr. Stipe. To the best of my husband's recollection, this brush with greatness occurred probably a year--or possibly just a few months--prior to River's death from a drug overdose.

My husband said he was trying not to stare at River, but that he looked so odd that it was hard not to look in that direction. He was dressed very conservatively in "preppie-style" clothes, including a white polo shirt and brown loafers, although his hair was long (past his shoulders) and dyed very dark brown. Suddenly, a giddy River got up from the bar and did a cartwheel in the middle of the room. Then Michael and River together went into the Ladies Room for a few minutes (to do who knows what). When they left, they acted even more giddy than before, as though huge amounts of some sort of drug had recently been consumed. After that, my husband left the club. He said he was surprised, because until then, he hadn't realized that River was a drug-user. To the press he had appeared to be such a health-nut!

Brush With Greatness...Special Edition

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The "Big 3-5"

My husband will be turning the big "35" later this month. It's funny how these things creep up on you! He says he doesn't feel 35, so how is it possible that he was born in 1971? He is also fond of pointing out the fact that he graduated from high school in 1989, and that kids who were born in 1989 are now in high school themselves. I like to point out to him that when I was in junior high and high school, it seemed to me like things that happened in the 1960s were ancient history...and now, for kids who are in junior high or high school, the 80s seem like ancient history.

It doesn't seem like all that long ago that I was listening to my favorite bands (in high school) the Jesus and Mary Chain, Mighty Lemondrops and the Stone Roses (oh, and I forgot The Church). Did I actually attend an outdoor concert one summer that featured the Sugarcubes, New Order and PIL...17 years ago?? (It may have actually been 18 years ago, I can't really remember). That was back when you could buy tickets to see CSNY or Bob Dylan for about $15 (rather than $115).

Okay, I will stop expounding on this now, because I'm starting to feel really old...But on the bright side, over the holidays I ran into one of my second-cousins who I really only remembered as 5-year-old little kid. He's 20 years-old now, and had little recollection of having met me before. He asked me how old I am, so I asked him to go ahead and guess. He guessed 26!! So either he's just really bad at guessing people's ages, or I look really good for my age...(I'll take the latter).

The "Big 3-5"

Monday, January 23, 2006

My Winter 2006 Cool List

Yes, it is that time again...time for my seasonal Cool List!
(See also, my Fall and Summer 2005 Cool Lists)

(This is a post in check back soon!)

MUSIC: I've been watching/listening almost non-stop to the classic BBC concert (singer/songwriter) series featuring the likes of Neil Young, Graham Nash & David Crosby, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell. These live performances were recorded in the early 70s, but the quality is spectacular. The Ovation network has been airing these concerts over the past month or so. I had only previously seen snippets of these shows in the past (aside from the Cat Stevens concert, which I had recorded on a poor-quality videotape). Now I have all of the concerts safely burned onto DVD, and I'm loving them!

Here's what's playing on my DVR--Impromptu; I loved this film when it was first released, and now I remember why. It's a very different sort of romantic comedy. And Hugh Grant was something of a nobody when this was released (unless you were a fan of Maurice or Lair of the White Worm).
A Little Romance; This was probably my very favorite movie when I was a teenager. I could relate to these characters so much. When I watch this movie as an adult, I still enjoy it a lot. It's just one of those little gems. (And I always, without fail, cry when I get to the end of this movie...always.)
On the theme of romantic movies and wintertime (the previous two I mentioned have nothing to do with wintertime, but they help with the dreary days), I also like the movie Chilly Scenes of Winter, although I wouldn't recommend that everyone run out and rent it. Supposedly this film has a cult following, but I'm not sure how it originated. I think the main reason why I like it is because the house of the protagonist lives looks spookily similar to my grandparents' former house.

In theaters--Woody Allen's latest, Match Point, probably isn't worth all of the buzz it's been getting, but it's the best I've seen from Woody in years (but that's not saying much). To compare it to other Woody films, it's most similar to "Crimes and Misdemeanors." I thought Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Emily Mortimer were pretty good, but Scarlet Johansson seemed too young for her role. At first she was really over-acting too...I mean, I actually found myself laughing at her bad acting in the scene where she and Jonathan first meet. Thankfully, she toned down her attempts to be "sexy" in later scenes.

I saw the big buzz movie...Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's very much E.M. Forster meets the Marlboro Man...the Alberta scenery is fabulous (although the film supposedly takes place in Wyoming). My husband and I honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies a couple of years ago (although we weren't roughing it. We stayed at Chateau Lake Louise) really is the most breathtaking scenery in the Rocky Mountains.

Here's what I'm waiting to see:Steven Spielberg's Munich, and Jonathan Demme's Neil Young concert film Heart of Gold (this is getting great buzz at Sundance right now!)

Book(s): The Beatles: The Biography (I'll admit...I'm still trying to finish this. It's rather lengthy!)

Current Girly Bath & Body Faves: Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme...this is extraordinarily creamy hand cream, and smells wonderful! Also...Les Couvent des Minimes Honey and Shea Body Balm--the hubby keeps saying he can't get over how sexy I smell when I wear this (...he says it tastes good too)

Clothing Trends: I'm into short trenchcoats (sort of that late 70s, early-new wave look), short pea coats, Cashmere, Fair Isle sweaters and brightly-colored corduroy jeans.

Restaurant(s): Vindalho: Spice Route Cuisine on 21st and Clinton Street (the latest "in" spot in my neighborhood. But please, people, walk or come by bus..we are really running out of street-parking in the Clinton Neighborhood).

TV: I am still very much hooked on The Daily Show spin-off The Colbert Report, and I also love that "controversial" sitcom that features yet another Daily Show alum (Steve Carell--congrats on the GG Award!): The Office (USA). Now I understand that some people are snobs, and can't get past the fact that this show is "ripping off" what is supposedly the much superior UK version of The Office. But I am here to say that (if you don't count the pilot episode) the US version of the Office is one of the funniest shows on TV. I have watched it from its humble beginnings (before Carell's smash hit, The 40 Year Old Virgin) and I am very much addicted to it. The show doesn't have all that much in common with the BBC version (which I absolutely loved, of course)...Carell and company are doing their own thing...and it works. (NBC moved it to Thursday nights, so I guess someone else agrees with me.)

ADDICTION WEBSITE(S): Speaking of The Office, I can't get enough of the website for Dunder Mifflin (check out "Schrute-Space")

My Winter 2006 Cool List

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The "Women in their 30s Sexual Peak": Myth or Reality?

I've heard all my life that men supposedly hit their sexual peak somewhere in their late-teens, and that women hit theirs sometime in their early-to-mid 30s. I'm not sure whether it's been scientifically proven to be the case, or just been over-promoted in the media who enjoy the irony of the age-gap thing (and who like making Hollywood movies such as Class).

Anyway, here's the deal...based on personal experience, I think it's true.

I recently turned 34, and I have definitely noticed an increase in my libido (just over the past couple of months). Is it because of hormones or something? I don't know. But it's as though there's an autonomous part of my anatomy (located somewhere in the vicinity of my uterus) that's decided, "Time to make babies...get out of the're gettin' it on!"

Is it fun being constantly horny? Yes...unless it happens to be the middle of the day and I happen to be at work. I often have to take long walks during my lunch hour to work it off. (Now I understand why teenage boys are encouraged to get involved in sports). It's also no fun to be in my boss's office, in the middle of a meeting or something, and to suddenly have a sexual thought (not about my boss) pop from out of nowhere into my head. (What's that? were saying something about...? My mind just wandered off there for a moment there...Sorry.) It's also not a good thing when you have one of those thoughts, and as a result, unconsciously flash an inappropriate-looking smile in the vicinity of your boss (who in my case, just happens to be a recently-divorced male, and may not understand that I'm not actually intending to flirt with him!)

My husband doesn't mind my recent horniness at all. He's like..."Oh, yeah...I remember now..this is what it was like when we first started dating." The only problem is that he has trouble finding the time to work, study (he's re-examining his career path, and recently started going back to school) and cater to my enormous sex-drive. The poor guy doesn't get any sleep! Oh, complaints from him yet.

The "Women in their 30s Sexual Peak": Myth or Reality?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Gaz Coombes

Would somebody please tell this man to stop being so awesome? I can't take much more of it. How is it humanly possible for one man to be so cool? (Gaz, are you available to give my husband a few coolness lessons?)

Gaz Coombes

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On Nightmares and Babies

One of my co-workers (who's around my age) just announced that she's expecting a baby, and so that set off all sorts of speculation from everyone at the office about when I am going to have a baby, etc., etc. (as if I don't already get this sort of questioning from my family on a regular basis...give me a break, people!) Probably the most annoying part was when one of my co-workers (the one who's about 32, unmarried and without any marital prospects) started cooing on and on about how much she just loves little babies, and how they're just so cute (I'll bet at home she has some of those posters of the little babies dressed up as flowers...and anyway, everyone knows that puppies are way cuter than babies). I couldn't let her see me rolling me eyes though, because someday I'll be needing a babysitter.

It's not that I don't like children, or don't want to have children, it's just that I don't particularly look forward to giving birth and all of the other unpleasant aspects associated with having children. I absolutely adore my nieces and nephew...but I just get to enjoy being their favorite auntie, then leave them with their parents. It's all very easy. Then there's the fact that this country is being run by a criminal cabal (if President Gore had been able to take office the way he was supposed to, no doubt I would be feeling a lot more optimistic about the state of the world right now). Also, babies cost so much money, and I just got back from spending $30 on bubble bath and candles over my lunch hour (I'm not very good at saving money).

My husband really, really wants to have kids. Remember that movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he somehow impregnates himself and gives birth to Emma Thompson's baby? Sometimes I think my husband would volunteer do to something like that. As a matter of fact, I often get paranoid and think that he might try to secretly poke little holes in my diaphragm. He does continually try to dissuade me from using it. And whenever we're at Trader Joe's he has to point out to me the new fathers who wear their babies in those little sling pouches...he can act so jealous of men who have kids.

Which brings me to the dream I had last night. In this dream I had somehow given birth to three children, and they were now at various ages, and one of them was a newborn. Anyway, I was giving two of the children a bath while nursing the newborn. It was all very nice and pleasant until I started feeling a sharp pain around my nipple area was only a mild pain at first, but then it started getting worse, so finally I looked down at my baby, and he or she had suddenly developed a set of dagger-like teeth. That was about the time I woke up. It's sort of funny, actually...I mean, what a classic textbook dream!

But I have to stop putting off this whole childbearing thing soon, because it is my wifely duty afterall (sarcasm off), and my clock is ticking away, as they say. And I don't think I want to be changing diapers at 40.

On Nightmares and Babies

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year's Resolutions...and stuff

I hate New Year's Resolutions because I'm never able to stick to them. For example, I somehow gained about 3 pounds over the holidays, so I made a resolution to stop eating sweets for a while. Then I came back to work on Tuesday, found a truffle in my desk drawer leftover from a couple of weeks ago, and didn't even hesitate to eat it. My husband says he gained 5 pounds himself over the holidays, and I don't see him fretting about it too much (men rarely do worry about stuff like that).

I saw my nieces and nephew over Xmas and I'd just like to make a resolution now that when I have children or a child of my own (and we're supposedly planning to be expecting next year), I won't spoil them like crazy buying them all sorts of electronic gadgets and battery-powered rideable Jeeps (I wouldn't want my 3 year-old possibly driving out into traffic...I think I will wait until my child turns 16 to let him/her start driving). Not that my nieces and nephew aren't very sweet kids (they are, for the most part), it's just that when you start them out by buying them motorized vehicles when they're still toddlers, I can't imagine what they'll be asking for when they're teenagers. It's a scary thought actually.

New Year's Resolutions...and stuff

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
Here is one of my nieces (and myself) enjoying the lights over the holidays. She's 8 years old and sweet as can be. She's always been somewhat of a hippie child (we refer to her as "Robert Plant's child"), and I have to brag because she's also a fabulous dancer, musician and soccer player.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Winter Comes to Portland

Okay, I just have to complain for a moment because it's been really, really cold in Portland for about 2 weeks now. Normally, late Fall in Portland means 50 degrees with drizzle, and a low of about 40 degrees overnight. Lately it's been dropping below freezing overnight, and the high gets up to about 40 during the day...but it's been clear and sunny...until yesterday, when it SNOWED!

Unlike other Portlanders, I do not get all giddy on the rare occasion that it snows. I grew up in the Rockies where it snowed ALL THE TIME. My parents forced me to learn how to ski at an early age too, and I hated it because I really dislike being cold and wet. Even though I was a terrible skier, I would occasionally go skiing up until I reached my late teens. I just never understood what was so great about skiing.

However, I love visiting ski resorts...especially Park City. I used to make it a habit of attending showings at the Sundance Film Festival every year, back in the mid-nineties when it wasn't so extremely popular, and a normal person could actually get a hold of tickets. I thought it was fun to spot celebrities at the festival, although I never bugged them or asked them for autographs or anything like that.

Let's see...Winter mom sent me a box full of old videotapes of past family Xmas festivities, taken with the camcorder long, long ago. I had promised to transfer all of these tapes to DVDs to give out to everyone this Xmas, and I'm getting there.

Man, has my family owned a lot of dogs over the years! There's extensive holiday video footage of my older brother's late St. Bernard, named Dubage, running around in the snow. He was a very sweet dog most of the time, as long as he wasn't in the presence of my younger brother's dog, named Peanut (he was a large and friendly Cocker Spaniel). We had to be very careful that the two dogs never came into contact with each other, because the one time that happened, Dubage grabbed Peanut by the scruff of the neck and tried to shake him to death. My younger brother had to get in the middle of them to save Peanut's life, and ended up with a serious bite, and in need of dozens of stitches in his arm. Anyway, when my older brother moved to Liverpool to escape some trouble with the law (and in case you're the kind of loser who is busy calling the authorities to report my website, my brother is totally in the clear now)...I ended up spending a lot of time looking after Dubage until another home could be found for him. He was usually very kind and gentle, but he was constantly drooling.

I guess my family was always relatively normally over the holidays. We would get into fights about inane things such as games of Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. My brothers and I were always ultra-competitive about board games for some reason. Which reminds me, I recall an Xmas several years ago which was one of the first times I met the man who is now my father-in-law. We were over at his house, and for some reason we all decided to play a game of Trivial Pursuit, and I somehow managed to win against everyone in my husband's (then my boyfriend's) family...even his dad, who is supposedly a very smart guy (smart enough to have finished college at the age of 19 or 20). I wasn't even trying to win the game, but I did. Thinking back now, that's probably when my father-in-law started to dislike me. Apparently he was humiliated that his son's girlfriend beat him at a game of Trivial Pursuit. Isn't that the most moronic behavior? But I digress...

Winter Comes to Portland

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

X-Mas Tree

I've received a few requests to see the photo of my vintage 1960s Aluminum X-mas Tree (which my Great Aunt gave to me about 10 years ago). I haven't taken a photo of it yet since putting it up this year, but here's a pic from last year. I still haven't found a new color wheel for it, as the original one stopped working...(I'm not going to do the eBay thing).

X-Mas Tree

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Supergrass Weekend

It is now official that I will be going to see Supergrass shows in both Seattle and Vancouver in February...they're not coming to Portland this time, and there's no excuse for that in my opinion...but the official Supergrass Pacific Northwest Weekend takes place February 25 and 26. I love the 'Grass!
Although my husband likes Supergrass also, he was not easily talked into the idea of buying tickets for two shows (he thinks I'm crazy, but he puts up with my Supergrass obsession because he loves me..awww...) Also, I have promised him that we will get to eat at De Dutch Pannekoeken place in Vancouver (oh how he loves the Dutch-style pancakes!...but who doesn't?), so that gives him something extra to look forward to.

The question is, will I get up the nerve to try to meet my favorite band (that's still together) on the planet? (I have been known to suffer from serious boughts of star struck-induced bashfulness). Send all words of encouragement here.

Supergrass Weekend

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Fall 2005 Cool List

This is a post in progress...there is more to come (check back)

(Also see My Summer 2005 Cool List)

New Music I'm listening to:
Galaxie 500-Peel Sessions--a cool album with ugly cover art
Isle of Wight 2005 Festival Highlights --I realize the festival happened over the summer, but they just recently aired the festival highlights (which I saved to my DVR) on the INHD channel; the highlights feature Supergrass (Gaz Coombes pic: left) looking and sounding better than ever (and they really look like they're having a good time)
Neil Young - Prairie Wind--Neil goes back to Nashville..

Old (not very old) Music I'm listening to:
Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips - L'Avventura--produced by the legendary Tony Visconti...Can anyone but Dean Wareham get away with covering Madonna and The Doors on the same album (and sound so good)?
The Doves - Lost Souls--this album flows over you like a mild, sunny day in the middle of November

New Movies I've enjoyed:
Proof--it sort of bugged me that Gwyneth played a 27-year-old in this (but then again, we're all used to seeing Jake Gyllenhaal star with an older woman as his love interest--that seems to be his forte)...overall, the cast is excellent
Good Night, and Good Luck--who knew the television news could have such a huge impact?
The Squid and the Whale-- I've enjoyed Noah Baumbach since the days of Kicking and Screaming (It seems that we went to college with the same people)...but couldn't you have found a role for Chris Eigeman again, Noah?
Walk The Line--I thought both Joaquin and Reese were excellent

Old movies I'm enjoying on my DVR:
Play It Again, Sam--My favorite Woody-Diane movie after Annie Hall...check out Diane's cool wardrobe, especially her jacket and floppy hat at the end of the film--also Jennifer Salt's groovy 'do (a lot like her hairstyle in Sisters)
All The President's Men--(photo: right) always a favorite of mine, and just makes a person wish there were still reporters out doing their jobs...this has to be my favorite Robert Redford film after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which has always been my Dad's favorite movie (he can tell you exactly where all of the scenes were shot because he's been everywhere in the four-corners region in the West)
Dick--sort of a parody of All The President's Men, and it features my two favorite guys from The Kids In The Hall
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--because Jack Nicholson is brilliant in any movie he starred in the '70s, especially the ones filmed in the Pacific Northwest
North By Northwest--Hitchcock and Cary Grant in their prime
Fast Times at Ridgemont High--I get a good dose of '80s nostalgia, and the soundtrack rules; I still own this 2-record set on vinyl, which I got free through a promo deal when I bought a pair of Van's back in 1982 (they had little rainbows all over them)
The Ice Storm --this movie is somewhat depressing, but I always want to watch it around Thanksgiving
Foul Play--for sort of mindless entertainment, I've always loved this movie...Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase are so cute together in this one, and I love the San Francisco scenes

New TV shows I'm enjoying:
The Colbert Report ..."It's French, Bitch!" (photo: left of Stephen Colbert, King of Deadpan)--I laughed hysterically when Stephen asked Congressman Udall of Colorado: "Have you ever gotten Rocky Mountain High?" I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say it's even more entertaining than The Daily Show. Wow!
The Boondocks on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)--the show that FOX found too racy to air
Blackpool on BBC America--possibly the cheesiest BBC program ever created

Old TV shows I'm enjoying:
Degrassi High (and Jr. High)--the "old school" episodes on The N...because I get another dose of '80s nostalgia, and because nobody does melodrama as well as the Canadians
VH1 Classic "Alternative"--Okay...yet another hefty dose of '80s nostalgia
Three's Company--on TV Land...I'm still waiting to catch the infamous testicle episode

Favorite Book(s): Paul Wellstone : The Life of a Passionate Progressive

Favorite Clothing Trends:
Wedge Boots--I couldn't wait for the cool weather to get here so I could wear them!; plaid menswear trousers; my purple corduroy blazer; Russian-inspired looks; Esprit

Favorite Girly Items:
Le Couvent des Minimes Orange & Cinnamon--their bath scrub, body balm and scented oil are my favorites; my other favorite fall/winter scented oil is the Body Shop's Spicy Berry; Perfumeria Gal's Red Currant Lip Balm is my favorite in any season

Food I'm Enjoying:
Caramel Apples (whenever I can get them); Pesto Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes; Trader Joe's English Coastal Cheddar; Trader Joe's Fair Trade, Organic Ethiopian Coffee (Trader Joe's carries Fair Trade items now!); Ker Cadelac Bretagne Biscuits (cookies); Whole Foods' Spanish Cocktail Mix (basically this consists of corn nuts, larqueta almonds and a lot of can find it in the fancy cheese section)

Favorite Restaurant:
Clay's Smokehouse Grill on Division St. in Portland (a little bit of Austin right here in Portland)...their salmon bbq with dill havarti sandwich is unbelievably delicious

Favorite Halloween Candy: Reese's Inside Out

Favorite Pass-time: Walking Duchess Penelope (my English Cocker Spaniel puppy)

My Fall 2005 Cool List

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Birthday at the Beach

I celebrated my birthday last weekend, and the weather was absolutely perfect for mid-November (60 degrees and sunny at the coast). Duchess Penelope (aka Neli P or "the Nelz"), my English Cocker Spaniel, also celebrated a birthday (she turned 4 months old!) We all had the loveliest time imaginable at the are some pics (click on the photos to view larger images)...enjoy!

(Older photos of Penelope here, here and here.)

Here's where Penelope spends her time when she's home alone...

And here she is at Thanksgiving...she got so excited that she wouldn't hold still long enough for me to snap this photo (then my husband fed her some gourmet, canned dog food because of the special ocassion [she normally only gets dry food], and she promptly barfed it all up just as we were eating dinner)

Birthday at the Beach

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday to My Niece!

My niece (pictured above with one of her puppies) and I happen to share the same birthday. She'll be turning 5 years-old on Monday (November 21), and I'll be turning...well...I don't want to think about that...But, we're alike in many ways. She loves animals as much as I always have, and she's cute as can be!

Happy Birthday to My Niece!