Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Casino Royale

Go see this movie. It's fabu. I don't think I was ever really into Bond movies before, but this one was amazing. Daniel Craig's 007 is such a bad-ass, it's crazy. Plus, you get to see him pretty much naked (which is not a bad thing).

Still snowing

It's probably been snowing for the last 18 hours or more. I haven't been outside since I came to work, but I'm guessing we have at least 6-8" and it's COLD. The busses are all way behind schedule, everyone is late, roads are messy and yet, school is still wide open. Apparently, they've only closed the university twice in the last 20 years. Does not bode well for us :-(

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat

Vineyards in Sonoma I
Originally uploaded by shanbrite2.
So last week, this is what I was enjoying. Sunny, clear days, a balmy 70 degrees, nights dipping almost to a frigid 40. Ah, California. There's a reason why so fricking many people move there (thus destroying the wonderful quality of life they came for).

Today, however, Colorado wanted to remind us that we were back and definitely NOT in California. We're supposed to have a high of 17 and there's at least 6 inches of snow on the ground now, with more falling and snow to continue through the day. The best part is that this is probably the fourth or fifth decent snow storm we've had this fall already. It's pretty, but I hate having to go outside in it. I would have been very happy to stay at home this morning, snuggled under the down comforter with Peter, waking up to some hot chocolate and the prospect of a warm, sleepy day interrupted only by the occasional peek out the window to see how high the drifts had grown. That would have been nice. Oh well!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turkey Time!

I know what you're thinking, "Wasn't that last week? Does this mean we are going to get a juicy, blow-by-blow of the trip now?" Sadly, no. And I'm realizing that may never happen, given my schoolwork schedule for the next few weeks, by which time it will be Christmas.

No, last night, Peter and I made our first turkey. Costco had fresh turkeys for $.49 a pound, and since my baby loves turkey (and traveling for Thanksgiving means no leftovers), we decided to get one.

After shopping for all the ingredients needed, getting home from school and pulling the bird out of the fridge, we realized none of our pans would be suitable for roasting this bad boy (we got the smallest one Costco had--20 pounds). So, off to Bed Bath & Beyond and Marshall's to see what we could get. After much deliberation, we got a very nice, heavy duty pan for $25 (after rebate and our many coo-pins).

Finally, we got the 20-pound beast (we named him Freddie) into the browning bag, into the pan and into the oven at about 6 PM. For those of you who are math and turkey wizards, you realize that this means that our turkey would not be done until 9 or 10 PM. Right you are! But when it was done, the stuffing baked and the mashed potatoes made, oh, the deliciousness! We also had gravy and corn, and for dinner tonight, we'll have it all again with the addition of cranberry sauce (from a can) and crescent rolls.

And with a 20-pound turkey, we will be eating it for a LONG time! I'm also going to make turkey frame soup, probably tomorrow for dinner. That should also give us some nice leftovers. All this is fabulous because we are going to be poor December and January, so cheap food is great!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


One of my newfound heroes passed away last week. I discovered Robert Altman when I watched Gosford Park sometime earlier this summer. I was in love with the subtle plot, the beautiful and intricate characters and how deftly he was able to weave together so many storylines so beautifully. After that one, I went on to watch Nashville and The Player and I have several others on my queue. I also realized one of my favorite weird little movies, Cookie's Fortune, was directed by him as well. Losing him is truly a loss to the art of filmmaking. I can't think of many other directors who are so beloved by so many actors that their films can be made into a parlor game of name-that-actor with multiple cameos by actors of every strata.

I think I'm especially sad because I had just fallen in love. It's not like my love for Hitchcock or Orson Wells. They were long dead and safely ensconced as geniuses by the time I came around to them, and the new directors I love (Sofia Coppola, Zach Braff) are still so young and untested that their careers can't be judged yet. But Altman was such a force, was still working, and yet was somewhat proven as an artist. It's just not fair he was taken from us at the tender age of 81. I wasn't ready :-(

For a lovely eulogy, see this Slate article.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Home again, home again. We went to Reno and California for Thanksgiving, but since I am paranoid about posting things on the all-knowing Internet, I didn't want to write about it until we were home again so we could protect our enormously valuable personal belongings from any wandering marauders. 'Cuz even though I only have three readers, I'm still weird like that.

Anyway, we got to see lots of friends and family, have some amazing experiences and ate a lot at Thanksgiving. Only problem, I pretty much got zero homework done. Last year, we stayed here for Thanksgiving because we had such a short break and I wasn't sure how overwhelmed I would be with my first year of school. Now, I'm medium-worried about catching up, but I'm also not overly concerned, which might be a byproduct of my lovely week of relaxation.

I took a ton of pictures, some of which I'm rather pleased with, though I'm not done going through all of them yet. I'll try to get them uploaded to my Flickr page and to my Shutterfly page. Here's a sneak peek for those who might be interested (taken in Sonoma, where my uncle lives):

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I need to take more pictures

I haven't been taking as many pictures as I would like to, since school and work are stealing time from my precious hobbies. Also, my iMac is almost 3 years old now and it's rebelling against the 15,000 pictures I already have on there, so it makes me reluctant to take even more. I was able to take a lot over the summer and so I got a lot more practice then, and I feel like those pictures were much better than the ones I'm taking now. I don't know if I just need some distance, some more inspiration, or simply more time to really compose and seek out good shots, but I'm just not satisfied with the few pictures I have been able to take. It's also hard when every day is so routine and I rarely ever go someplace out of the ordinary during the semester, so it's hard to see unique perspectives when I walk by the same creek ten times a week. I think I also feel like I'm hitting the limits of what my camera will do, since many of the shots I would like to take require a different set up than what I have now. I think I could probably achieve some of the effects I want in Photoshop, but that requires even more time post processing, and I'm not very skilled with that yet anyway. *sigh* Maybe winter break will allow me a little freedom to play. Something to look forward to!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Method Deliciousness

I just bought some stuff in Method's new holdiay "flavors." Spiced pear, frosted cranberry, and (my favorite so far) peppermint vanilla. Oh, the deliciousness! I got the first two in dishsoap (in fun little bottles that look like old-fashioned christmas light bulbs) and the last in a countertop spray. Our counters are going to be so clean!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happiness Runs

We are obsessed with this song. I just downloaded two versions of it from iTunes. Isn't it freaking catchy?

Monday, November 13, 2006

I may die next semester

I've been trying to figure out my classes and schedule for next semester. Thanks to the perfect storm of a complete lack of classes in my department (due to a separate perfect storm of retirements, sabbaticals and positions not yet filled), and my attempt to take some classes to do double duty for this degree and for the next, I just might go insane next semester. I haven't yet talked to all the right people, but if my current plan stands, I will be taking 11 credits (I'm taking 9 this semester and ready to die, bear in mind these are "grad school" credits and therefore take up five times the normal amount of time). On top of those 11 credits (9 of which come from just two classes), I think I'll be working three jobs, if I'm offered the one I just applied for. One of them is fun and pays the bills (and takes 10 hours a week), one doesn't pay enough but is related to my future career, and the third is just a few hours a week sporadically and I would hardly consider it work at all. But all the hours add up and then I don't have any time left to blog! Boo!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Double Take

A few years ago, I started to notice a general pattern in my life. Whenever it came to big decisions, big life steps, other other important changes, I usually did them twice. The first time, I'm not quite ready for whatever it is, but I either am forced to do it or force myself to do it. After that first attempt (often aborted or failed), I usually wait a while, a month or a year, then I find myself truly ready for taking that step and I successfully take it. Sound weird? Wait till you see how often it's happened:

High school-chose to go to private Catholic school, not totally my cup of tea, but the lesser of two evils. Didn't do as well as I should have. We moved before my junior year, I got to start over and excelled. Not a "choice," but I did do better on my second chance.

Driver's License-I was putting it off anyway, getting my permit at 16 (at least a year late). I kept putting off the test itself, until my dad surprised me after school to take me down to take the test. I failed miserably (though a street was a one-way, when it definitely wasn't). A few months and a lot of practice later, nerves recovered, I took the test again and did very well.

Haircut-sounds minor, but it wasn't. I had had long hair (waist length or longer) since early elementary school, and I felt like I needed a change. Sophomore year of college, I got it chopped just below the shoulders and HATED it. I cried and cried and cried. A few years later, I decided to try again and I was really *ready*. I cut it shorter and loved it. Last year, I cut it even shorter (above the shoulders) and loved it even more.

MA program-I'm planning on doing two because I didn't really know what I wanted with the first one, but now I'm pretty sure I do, so I'm applying for a second one when I finish this one. Luckily they are related!

Proposal-OK, so I didn't have to choose to do this, but I did have to say yes! A year before Peter really proposed, he got inspired and started to do it (no ring, no planning, spur of the moment). I freaked a little bit, wasn't sure if I was ready (even though I had thought I was up to that point), and delayed until other people came and the moment was gone. A year later, I was *really* ready and he proposed and I really said yes!

For a little while, I was freaked out that my marriage was going to be a failure because I would have to have a "practice" marriage like I've had to have a "practice" everything (see above). I then realized I was being a total dork because I've had other long-term relationships, and therefore those were really my practice ones, so this one is fine. Also, if I need to quell my superstitious side, I just look at the double proposal and consider that the double take.

Yes, I am crazy. And I probably have weird commitment issues (weird because I don't have them in relationships).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Daily Photo

One of my favorite pictures from the football game last Saturday.

Kris's Clarinet Recital

One of our friends is a Ph.D. student in music, and one of the many things she has to do is complete 4 recitals. Last night was her first and it was amay-may! You know people who are getting flipping Ph.D.s in an instrument have to be good, but damn! We had never heard her play before and we were totally blown away. Here are some of the random clippages I took last night made into "movie" form:

Election Day!

So the results are slowly coming in from across the country. Yay for "regime change"! The only thing I'm a little sad about is that it doesn't look like the Dems will take the Senate. I'm sad for this because I heart Harry Reid, my former senator from Nevada, who we got to meet when we were in DC several years ago. He was so intelligent, well spoken and clearly important and busy, yet unassuming, that he made me proud he was my senator. He's currently the minority leader, so if the Dems took the senate, he would be majority leader and that would be so cool!

Other things of note: on the TV scrolling info, they have several races where one candidate got 0 votes. As Peter said, they would have at least voted for themselves! How can it be 19,000 to o? Plus, it's sketchy because they claim 0% of precincts are reporting. 19,000 people is 0%? Weird.

Also: Possibly super sad, the current votes are showing that Ref. I is down (but not by much). I really hope it passes; it would give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. Gay marriage would still be illegal, but at least with I, partners would be able to visit each other in the hospital and have the same legal rights they deserve. The campaign tagline was "It's not marriage, it's just basic legal rights." I will be very sad if this doesn't pass, esp since it's looking like the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages will pass. Yeah, that SO needs to be in the constitution when we already have a law against it.

(PS Our new [Democratic!] governor just called us "Coloradoans." I thought we were Coloradans?)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Are you ready for some football?

I'm working for the athletic department now as a tutor in sign language, and as an employee, one of the perks is free tickets to the game for me and one other (very restricted, not even all immediate family members qualify) person. So Peter and I are going to our very first, and possibly last, big time university football game. I medium-enjoy sporting events, though I always have much more fun cheering and groaning with the crowds than actually really following the game (since I usually have no idea what's going on). The real reason I really really wanted to go to game is because our mascot is a real live buffalo and the tradition is to run her into the field with the entire football team behind her to start the game. Doesn't that sound cool? Plus, one of Peter's classmates is one of the selected few Ralphie handlers, which means he gets to lead her onto the field and help care for her (it's a her because female buffalo are smaller and slightly easier to handle, which is rather important).

It's also fun that we are finally going to a game because we live so close to the stadium that we can track the success (or not, this season) of the team by the noise of the crowd. When I hear a really long, extended cheer, I usually run upstairs to the bedroom window, get out the binoculars and check the scoreboard to see if we scored. The picture on the left is of the scoreboard the only time we've won this season. I'm hoping we'll be a good luck charm today! We're so close that they sell spaces in our parking lot for tailgaters, so it's fun to walk around and see how crazy people get, but it's also annoying because we feel like we can't leave on game days because we're never sure if they'll sell all the spots, leaving us with no where to park. But after being on the outside so many times, it'll be fun to be on the inside for once!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why I don't know why I don't own ten of these at this very moment

These are Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and I *will* have one one day! Here are two images from If you've never been there before, you must go immediately for vast quantities of the cutest animals ever to walk the face of the planet (animals of all kinds, they don't 'scriminate!). Without further ado:

And the killer:

Aackk!!!! How can you resist??? (AOUS????)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reno hotel burns

Very sad story, about a fire in a historic hotel in downtown Reno that killed at least 6 people. Not only are the deaths very, very sad, but so is the gutting of a landmark. The Mizpah wasn't on the sight-seer's to-see list, nor was it a cherished landmark in a city that earns its living from the newer, flashier casinos, but it had a quiet dignity that can only be found in those grand old buildings just a few blocks off neon-lit Virginia Street.

I love Reno and its old buildings, partly because they are generally so unloved. Here in Boulder, old downtown is celebrated and has been gentrified. The old buildings are occupied and still very much alive in the heart of downtown, overlooking the parade of street performers, vagrants and vagabonds, shoppers, restaurant diners and tourists. Everything is generally clean and happy.

But Reno's historic buildings have been pushed aside from the hub of activity, sometimes physically (several historic buildings have been moved, several times) and sometimes metaphorically. As newcomers stream into town, different areas become hotspots for new activity and building, and the town's collective history quickly dims in the memories of the shrinking percentage of natives. Most of the historic buildings are now in less than great areas of town, occupied by tiny businesses and the less-than wealthy. They are the kinds of places you don't want to linger after dark, they are haunted by their own pasts and by people with their own haunted pasts. They are unnoticed, unremarkable, merely average... until you look up. Most of them might be plain brick or stone at street level, but at roofline, their Art Deco roots show in the ornate tiles and other detailing. It's this hidden surprise in plain sight I love so dearly. That so many can pass by them day after day and never notice what a gem sits glowing under that slight film of grime.

My own personal temple is the Art Deco post office next to the river, the "main" post office for the city, though no longer truly the hub. I can go in there and feel my soul relax in its vaulted ceilings and gorgeous "silver" detailing present everywhere. Even the tall tables for sorting mail were designed to live in this building, echoing the "futuristic" style of the 1930s seen in the window casings, the service windows, the mailboxes themselves. At one point, there was some talk of tearing it down to accommodate the flood plan, but if such a thing ever comes to pass, I will chain myself to its glorious walls before I ever let them tear down such a beauty. And yet no one says anything about its architecture, its decoration... no one even talks about it at all! If I ever mention to anyone how beautiful it is, the most I'll get is an odd glance and possibly a remark about the length of the lines there.

But if everyone loved it, I would not feel so passionately about my "secret" bit of beauty.

**Edit: Someone else loves my post office too! See some pictures of it here and read about its history here.

Also, I was looking for pictures of the Mizpah to show you, and came across this:

This is funny because this is a different Mizpah hotel located in Tonopah, NV, one which looks nothing at all like Reno, let alone the actual Mizpah (pre-fire):

Those silly Canadians...