Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow's 'Black Friday' and all those glossy sales flyers make it look awfully tempting. But I've decided to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. Even the bargain hunter in me can't be tempted to venture out into the cold, dark morning for a $199 laptop computer or the $79 8.1 megapixel camera. I was nearly tempted for the Elmo chair, but decided online was the way to go. Nothing good can come of Black Friday, so my credit card and I shall stay home and celebrate having that much less stuff.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chariots of smoldering embers

So I've taken up running. This has been a slow jog in progress since probably mid to late September. Today, I successfully finished 2.5 miles in 31 minutes, and my one mile time was 11 minutes; not too shabby. I'm definitely feeling stronger and my stamina is there, but fatigue and I are now best friends. I sleep awesomely, deep and hard, through the night, and honestly, when I come home, my futon is my favorite place to rest my weary legs. My original goal was to hit 5 miles by Dec. 9. I don't think that's going to happen, but I am getting close to my goal of a 10 minute mile. I think 3 miles at a 12-minute mile average pace will, however, be very doable by goal date. I'll just stagger and limp my way through the last 2 miles.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LotD

I really like looking at the pictures on this website. The cupcakes are particularly mouth-watering, but so far, my only action has been drooling. Baking season is coming on us and I'm contemplating going the Kraft Food & Family route. It's more realistic for one pot cookers like yours truly. I especially recommend the chocolate mousse recipe; I substituted a really nice dark chocolate for the Toblerone, used low-fat whip cream, and garnished with raspberries per the pictures and it was scrumptious and done in the advertised 5 minutes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Books

I just finished P is for Peril by Sue Grafton. I still don't know what happened at the end and that's totally aggravating because dangit, I like my mysteries tied up with a nice little bow. Open-ended endings, those are best left for 'literary mainstream' novels. In general, the book was not the best of the Alphabet series. It was slow, plodding, and just over-burdened with Grafton's key eye for detail. I mean, seriously, the woman describes EVERYTHING, right down to what Kinsey bought at a grocery store. Unless it's a plot point that leads to the killer, I'm not interested in Kinsey's eggs and bread. Add to that a random subplot that had NO bearing on the main story and was a little hard to swallow, and I was left cold.

I do, however, think Grafton's gift is really in her descriptions, rather than her plot pacing. She can describe the heck of out anything and so her scenes and characters are very vivid. But the problem is, we have all of these details and no emotional resonance. It makes it very hard to care about any of the characters. The murder victim himself was merely a footnote to the whole elaborate set-up. It was as if Grafton had 80 million subplots and tangents she wanted to go off into and then decided in the last 3 chapters to pick up the pace and then... nothing. It was as if Grafton got tired, lost track of her 80 million subplots and decided to pack it in. I can only hope that these story threads are meant to be picked up in the next Alphabet book. But as it is, given the density of this one, not sure I'll remember or even care.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

LotD

freerice.com/ -- donate rice and improve your vocab at the same time. I'm feeling a little fiesty about the challenge here. I warn you though -- it can be addictive.
These twists and turns of fate

I don't listen to music much anymore except on my commute to and fro. It amuses me because I used to have my headphones glued to my ears and I never thought there'd come a day when I didn't know everything there was to know about the Top 40 chart. Now that I'm in the car a lot more, I do know more of what's out there, but still nothing like when I was a teenager.

One of the songs I really like is Pink's "Who Knew?" It's one of those songs that just really encapsulates a certain sentiment, one that I didn't even know I had, but then then song comes along and it's like "OMG, you too?" Pretty much anything, starting back with by Rob Thomas has that same effect on me. Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" amuses me greatly even if I can't identify it with at all; I think it's "you go girl!" element that I like the best.

Most music just plays in the background, but there are other songs that I think if I were to put together a soundtrack of my life, they'd be included as lyrical descriptors, putting both emotional distance and solidarity together in one 3 1/2 minute bundle.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Funny LotD

Hat tip to Lori for pointing me to this latest case of plagiarism. The comments are hilarious. The author in question (Lanaia? Mary? Jane?), whose agent is casting spells and lawsuits left and right, has a Yahoogroup over here. Funny, funny.
If you're on this list, I need your email address

Pretty please send an email to the Top Sekrit Addy (tm):

T'Other Liz
Alex Voy
Jerie
Busy Bee (work address)
jemima
Tracy
Sarah K (aka munchkin's mom)

Everyone else, I believe I have your email address saved in my Yahoo! address book.
Out of practice

I finally got around to upgrading my browser so I'm now blogging at you from SeaMonkey. But I also am so out of practice that I forgot to back-up my files. Okay, maybe not so much 'forgot' as relied on Mozilla's past track record of not writing over my files. Well, note to the wise: BACK UP YOUR FILES. I have lost every email sent to the Top Sekrit address since 2001 ::sniff:: including email addresses. Which means, if you've emailed me very recently and I didn't email you back, well, chances are you won't be seeing a response to that email. I'm actually more concerned about the email addresses since there are some people whose email I don't know by heart and not sure how I'm going to deal with those.

On the plug side, as related to last night's blog entry, I did lose some of those emails that I wanted desperately to delete and forget about, but couldn't, and now as fate has it...

If anyone has any idea of where my email might have disappeared to during the installation process, I'd love your input.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Letters never sent

I was thinking about an email I never responded to. It's been a while, and I don't know why it just stuck in my brain now. At the time, I was just floored by the contact because it had been so long -- more than 2 years -- since the last communication and I was finally getting to this 'good' place in my life where pieces were starting to fall back into place and make sense again, and then this email. A couple days later, another email came from someone else who hadn't been a particularly bright spot in my life and I thought, "Good grief, just pile on."

I made a polite but reserved and rather abrupt response to both emails and didn't respond to any further emails. There was, after all, so much I could say, so much I *wanted* to say, so much I wanted to *know* and maybe even some questions I wanted to ask. But in the end, I realized, it didn't matter. The past is the past, and how you treat people at the moment you walk out of their lives, well, that resonates for a long time. In fact, I think about it, because I was similarly harsh to someone else about 18 months ago and I still feel badly about it.

I've been thinking about those unanswered emails, contemplating responding, but what's the point? In many ways, re-initiating contact, even for the sake of the apology, is selfish. The people who wrote to me had no idea where I was in my life, what I was feeling, or even what I had 'suffered' as a consequence of the minefields they left behind. Maybe they felt better by coming back into my life, I don't know, but I certainly didn't. Suddenly, here they were, reigniting memories I had firmly tucked away -- not forgotten, certainly, but I had learned to live with them. If I respond, or even if I send the apology that I so desperately want to send, it's not the thing to do. Sometimes, not hitting 'send' is the hardest thing to do.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More pictures

Budapest trip 013
Budapest trip 013,
originally uploaded by seemag.
The view from Buda Castle; the parliament building is in the background and that's the Danube River between the trees and the shore.
For the best

I really, really wanted to respond to an entry about yoga on a conservative blog but couldn't figure out how to register. It's probably all for the best, because those blogs are not really for lefties, and I'm not sure -- even though I intended to be completely respectful to their opinion -- that they would have been respectful of mine. If I posted there, I'd probably have to, in Addison's words, special-order myself a thicker skin. And as much as I'd like to have said something (especially in response to someone's thoughtful question), I don't think partisan blogs are really intended for the free flow discourse of information and learning. They really are just one big echo chamber. I really need to stop reading this last partisan blog on my list. It doesn't do me any good, especially since a) I can't respond when I want to be and b) my input wouldn't be valued anyway.*

* I find this rather ironic, as the readers on the blog say liberals are especially hateful. I'd like to challenge that assertion, but maybe I'll just have a margarita instead.