Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mahi Oasis

The internet has gone on strike at work. Evidently our server crashed yesterday and won't be fixed today. So I'm at the nearby public library. What a useful service.

On my way to work today, I saw a sign outside a restaurant that made me not want to go there at all. I already didn't really want to go there. Since our town is a tourist haven, G and I try to avoid the touristy restaurants (where everything on the menu comes out of the freezer and into the fryer and the meals cost four times as much as they should) in favor of the local places.

This restaurant is one of those touristy places. Actually, I'm assuming it is. We haven't been there. But all signs point to touristy - cutesy name, advertisements for "lunch baskets," shrimp 40 different ways (I bet 30 of them are fried, just served with different sauces).

Their sign this morning: Try our Mahi Oasis

This sounds like a drink to me. A really gross drink. Like that Saturday Night Live skit with Dan Aykroyd advertising the Bass-O-Matic.

I tried to come up with a tasty dish that could be called Mahi Oasis, but I just couldn't. It's always a drink in my head. And I don't think there's any way to make a fish drink sound good.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Home sweet Borders

Last week I was tutoring at Borders again. We were set up at the same table next to the comfy looking couch and chairs area. There was a man sitting in one of the chairs reading a book (I couldn't quite make out what he was reading, unfortunately). No problem there. Until I noticed a split second later that he had taken his shoes off and had his sock feet up on the coffee table.

I certainly have no problem with feet on the coffee table - I'm a big fan of that myself. And I've got no problem with feet in general. But I think if you can't keep your shoes on in the bookstore, it might be time to buy the book and take it home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I don't want to brag, but . . .

I've been nominated for an MBA and a Ph.D.

That's right. Perhaps you thought these programs involved an application process and required study at an accredited university. That's what I thought, too. According to the two emails I got this morning, though, I guess I just have to accept these degrees. I've been nominated.

One of the emails also mentioned that they have MBA degrees available in my field. Are you sure? I would think that a Masters of Business Administration degree would be mainly in the field of business. I'm not in that field.

But whatever. I won't let it go to my head. I promise to still talk to you even when I have multiple initials after my name.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who am I?

I am a vegetarian. Or at least I thought I was until a couple of minutes ago. I searched online for the definition of what kind of vegetarian I am (a dairy, egg, seafood, but no meat or poultry eater). Evidently, there is no definition.
In case you're wondering where the "demi", "semi" or "pesco" vegetarian definition is (i.e. someone who doesn't eat "meat", but eats fish) - there's no such thing... - veggie planet
Hmmm. I'm having a bit of an identity crisis here. I've been calling myself a vegetarian for 28 years (i.e. my whole life, but I suppose, technically, I didn't call myself anything for the first year or so), and now I find out I've been lying.

So I checked out the other Google hits, and number four gave me what I was looking for.

Pesco vegetarians eat fish but no other meat. - the site that reinforces my (false?) identity
Yes, thank you. That's what I needed to see.

So anyway, I'm an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian in case you were wondering (you are too, Mom and Dad). The point being that my parents and I did not have turkey for Thanksgiving, while G and his parents did. And of course there were leftovers. So G ate many turkey sandwiches in the ensuing days. He probably would have had more, except, as a bad wife, I let us run out of mayonnaise.

A couple of days after Thanksgiving, I stopped by the store to pick up a couple of things, one of which was mayonnaise. I took it home and alerted G to its arrival. Then it disappeared. No one has seen or heard from it since.

Now if it's Miracle Whip you want, we have gallons. Let me tell you the story. Once upon a time (when we were first married five years ago), G let me know in no uncertain terms that he does not like mayonnaise. Only Miracle Whip. Okay, fine, no problem. We still had both condiments in the house, but the mayonnaise was off limits for G. After several years of this, he started complaining that I was putting too much Miracle Whip on his sandwiches. He would sometimes not finish the lunch I sent because it would make him gag. I couldn't seem to put a thin enough layer on the bread. Meanwhile, he always ordered mayo on his subs with no gagging.

So after years of insisting (seriously insisting) that he doesn't like mayonnaise, only Miracle Whip, we stumbled upon the truth - he hates Miracle Whip and likes mayonnaise. What a kook. Of course, the day before we have this revelation, Miracle Whip was two-for-one, so we have a cabinet full of it. And no mayonnaise.

Because we somehow lost it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Double take

The place I work has about 100 employees. Its relatively small size coupled with its location in the middle of nowhere lead to an environment where everyone knows everyone else. It's very nice.

There is a guy who started here a few months ago. I don't work with him, but we have had many conversations since he arrived. Both he and his fiance (who works here also) are very nice.

Every time he sees me, he does a double take and then gives me a warm greeting. It makes me feel so special. For example, if I'm walking down the hall behind him and he briefly turns his head to see who it is, when he sees it's me, he turns again and says hi. Or if he's working in a common area and I walk in, he might look up to see who entered. He invariably looks back down at his work and then quickly looks back up with a "how are you."

So either he avoids talking to some people, he thinks I'm extra nice, or he does this to everyone. I don't know. I'm going to go with the extra nice theory.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The closet klepto

I judged another science fair on Wednesday. (Un?)Fortunately, these were done by high school honors students, so they were higher quality than the previous fairs I judged. They still left much to be desired.

One of the biggest problems with the projects was lack of originality. It seemed like half of the projects in my category (Chemistry) tested which laundry detergent works best. You would think that at least this is useful because you can learn which products to use, but each project tests the same detergents, and each one gets different results. So either Tide is the best detergent, or Tide is less effective than cold water. Take your pick.

The other half of the projects tested which hand soap works best. The methods for testing this usually involved putting vegetable oil in water, adding soap, and shaking them up to see what happens. One of these projects seemed to be more advanced. The student asked which antibacterial soap works best. Then she tested it by putting motor oil in water, adding soap, and counting the resulting drops of oil. I appreciate the use of a different type of oil, but this has nothing to do with bacteria. As G's dad will tell you, nothing can grow in oil. It's antibacterial itself.

The highlight of the science fair was the man I was paired with for judging. He was in charge of holding the score cards on a clipboard and writing down our notes. Every time we would leave a project, he would pick up the student's log book and/or report, stack it neatly with the clipboard, and move on to the next project. The first time he did this, I thought he might have a good reason, and having just met him, I didn't want to point out his mistake. But then he just kept doing it. He would realize he had picked up something that wasn't his a couple of projects down the line and he would look at the folder like he had no idea how he had gotten it. I would dutifully take it back to it's proper project. Then when we moved on to the next project, he would take that projects stuff. He did this over and over - at least five or six times. At one point he referred to himself as a closet klepto. That didn't stop him, though.

I wonder what it's like to work with him. I'd imagine you'd have to keep your desk completely clean or nail everything down. Otherwise, he'd be liable to walk off with something everytime he walked by.

By the way, none of the detergent or soap projects won.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Black out

Our bathroom is nearing completion, but G and I are still showering in the cottage. It's not really that inconvenient - it's kind of like being at camp or something where you have to go to the bathhouse. It's a nice shower, too - plenty of hot water (unless G takes an extra-long one right before me), good water pressure, and a window in the bathroom to let in natural light.

This morning there was a problem. As soon as I plugged in my hairdryer, the lights started flickering. They went off and on and off and on and off and on and then just off. My first thought was that I had caused this with my hair dryer. The outlet was one of the safety ones that has test and reset buttons. I pushed them repeatedly in various combinations, but still nothing.

So I took my hair dryer back to the big house to finish getting ready there. Surprise - no power there either. I was pretty sure I couldn't have caused both the cottage and the big house's electricity to fail, so I began to suspect that something bigger was happening.

I finished getting ready in the semi-darkness and dried my hair the best I could with a towel (not a pretty sight for my curly locks). This wouldn't have been a big deal at all except that I was heading to judge a high school science fair this morning, and I didn't want to look like a ragamuffin.

I drove through the neighborhood looking for lights, but I didn't see any. There was a fire truck parked at the end of the next street and I almost asked them if they knew why our power was out. Then I noticed the bright orange cones surrounding the dangling power line.

So it wasn't me, then.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Maybe I already told you about this . . .

but if I didn't, then you'll be glad I blogged about it.

Some friends invited us over for dinner a couple of weeks ago. They were serving a dish similar to fish tacos (which G and I are fans of). The dish had a really snazzy name, but I can't recall what it was right now - Fiesta Salmon or Mexicana Salmon. Ooh I remember - Salmon Mexicali! This inspired me to try to name all dishes something exciting. I think it might make everything taste better.

I consider myself a good guest. I always ask to see if there's anything I can bring. If they say no, I try not to bring anything (this goes against the grain, but I try). On this occassion, our friends said we could bring something if we wanted to. In our current state of home improvement, I barely have time to grocery shop and make decent meals (spaghetti) for G and I. I'm generally not up to making things good enough for other people to eat.

So G and I decided to stop and buy some chips and dip on the way over. We did so, spending more than a couple minutes on the chip aisle. We aren't big chip eaters, so this aisle is a bit foreign. We just wanted regular potato chips, but G thought all the bags were too big ($4.00 for a bag of chips?). We finally found what we needed and moved on.

As I was exiting the chip aisle, a separate display caught my eye. It contained Cheetos, but the bag had the word "natural" on it. Is this not an oxymoron? And who are they marketing to? I'm not sure the health food crowd is going to embrace a Cheetos product, and I'm not sure any self-respecting Cheeto-eater is going to choose a bag with "natural" written in big letters.

We happened to enjoy some Cheetos (not natural) this weekend with our niece and nephew (their choice of chip). I had forgotten how good they are. I don't want to like them, but I really do. Maybe that's the market - adults who forgot how good Cheetos are but feel guilty about eating them now. Hmmm . . . maybe they're onto something.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The family

G's brother drove nine hours to come visit us this weekend. That's nice all by itself, but he brought our niece (7 years old) and nephew (4 years old) down with him, too. What a great bonus!

G took his bro fishing - both fresh and saltwater - and I got to hang out with the kids. We had a lot of fun. We made Christmas ornaments (or "ordaments," as the nephew says), played on our local playground, had dinner with G's parents, watched a couple of movies, and played pick up sticks (this is an actual game, not just picking up sticks from the yard).

Our nephew is a very easy going kid - very agreeable and happy most of the time (all of the time this weekend). He is also very much into trucks and tractors and anything with a motor, I think. Any truck that has tires bigger than normal is a "monster truck," and an extra large tractor is a "monster tractor." Luckily, there were two tractors in the construction site across from our house on Saturday. He almost couldn't contain himself long enough to get his shoes on. He kept saying, "Aunt ______, hurry up. Hurry up." We sat on the sidewalk and watched them for quite a while.

Our niece is a super fun kid, too. Of course, she's at the age now when she knows everything. On our way to dinner with G's parents, we could see the moon. I told her that phase of the moon could be called a crescent because of the shape of it. She disagreed because she hadn't learned that in science class. I reasserted my statement. She said quietly, "That's fine, but it's false." I added an additional fact or two to strengthen my position, but I don't know if she bought it.

Later in the drive she asked if I knew the word "SunCom." I told her I didn't, and she told me it comes on TV where they live. I told her I hadn't seen it on our TV, so she kindly explained. "It's truth in wireless." (I checked it out, and that is their slogan. It sounds very heady, but it turns out that just means they include taxes and fees in their rate quotes instead of adding them on later.)

We had a great time this weekend, and we can't wait to see everyone again for Christmas in January!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bengay and Old Spice

There are many quirky little things G and I do in the interest of saving money or "beating the system," as we like to call it. One of these things is that instead of renting movies from the store, we "rent" them from our local library for free. (We often end up paying a dollar or two for them since the late fee is a dollar a day, but it's still cheaper than Blockbuster.) As a result, we rarely see movies while they would be considered "new releases." We're okay with that.

We recently watched the movie Something's Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. It was relatively entertaining, but it reminded me how very repulsive Jack Nicholson is. Particularly as a love interest. Every time I look at him, I think of the Joker. This might be appropriate, since Nicholson played that character in Batman, but it's not a pretty picture.

When he does this:

I see this:

Not pretty, huh?

I won't ruin the movie for you if you haven't seen it, but I find it very unbelievable that dozens of attractive women half his age would go out with this guy. You've got to be kidding me. I was flabbergasted at the ending of the movie. No way.

As G said, you could smell the old man scent through the TV screen.

One really nice thing about the movie was Diane Keaton's character's house. It was in the Hamptons (I always thought this was a mountain range, but it turns out it's a beach area on Long Island) and absolutely beautiful. It was decorated in muted shades of white, cream, and khaki, and it looked so homey and inviting. G and I both commented on liking the color scheme and mused about how we could incorporate that into our house renovations.

After thinking about it more, I'm not sure that color scheme's going to work out for us. Neutral tones can make a nice house with nice stuff look understated and chic (particularly with the backdrop of sand dunes and sunrises through the windows), but they can also make a more average house look like a rental.

We've done "rental." We're ready for some color.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fooling the natives

Guess where I stopped after work yesterday? Home Depot. If you didn't get that right, then you haven't been paying attention. Try to keep up. And if I ask you to guess where I was, always go with Home Depot as your first guess.

Anyway, as I was wheeling my cart toward check-out (more tiles and a bathroom sink - we've decided to nix the premade vanity top we bought and fashion a tile countertop instead), I headed down an aisle occupied by an older couple. They were blocking my way, but they weren't paying attention to me because they were engrossed in looking at something on a high shelf and speaking to each other in something other than English.

The man saw me and alerted his wife to my presence so she could move their cart to the side of the aisle. I thanked the woman as I passed, and she said "you're welcome." When I passed the man, I thanked him as well, but instead of "you're welcome," he said "hello."

You might think that he was just saying hello, but I think I caught him off guard and he said the first English word that popped into his head. I did this constantly when we were in Costa Rica. I studied Spanish on tape before we went, and as a result, I have rudimentary Spanish skills. I can do the important stuff - ask for directions, order food, get a hotel room, find the bathroom. Conversation eludes me.

When a local would say something to me I wasn't ready for, I would invariably just say the first thing I thought of, usually si (yes). I'm a good listener in English, but I panic a little in Spanish. I think one salesperson asked me if I spoke English (I assumed she was asking if I spoke Spanish - that was more common). So I said, in Spanish, "a little." Then she started speaking very slow and enunciated English, which makes me think I fooled her into thinking I was challenged in English. I continued the conversation with a series of si's and a parting gracias, and high tailed it out of there as soon as I could.

Needless to say, I didn't buy her wares.