Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sweet Relief

I couldn't hear for 3 days. Technically i was only deaf in the left ear, but that was bad enough. Everything was muted from the outside, but crazy loud on the inside. I couldn't have on the radio in the car. When i ate it sounded like i was chewing glass. Work was a nightmare : i had no way to judge my volume on stage and i couldn't hear my volunteers when they'd talk to me (volunteers stand on my left on stage). It was awful. I knew, intellectually, that my hearing was gone because of the infection and that it would come back. eventually. But there was a tiny part of me that was still afraid. What if it never came back? What if the antibiotics and decongestants and steroids (i've had more prescriptions in the last 10 days than in the previous 5 years) didn't work? Or what if they worked, but there was irreversible damage? Or if the pressure got so bad that my eardrum ruptured?!? I am not someone who took my hearing for granted; in fact, i always said that unlike most people, i would choose being blind over being deaf. I love sound : crickets outside of my window, the fan over my head, the tap of the keys as i type and of course, music. Living the last 3 days without music has been more difficult than being sick. What if i had to go the rest of my life only hearing half of what was there? Last night my hearing popped back on - it hurt like you wouldn't believe but it is wonderful. It's still not at 100%, but i now know that it is going to be okay. Don't take your hearing for granted, people. And go listen to some GREAT music.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Here in the Nikiverse balance is not necessarily found in the middle; generally, balance is struck with the extremes existing at the same time. You've met me, right? Extrovert and introvert, thoughtful and bombastic, intellectual and emotional. Somehow, it works for me. It also seems that my life is usually balanced in the same way - no middle-of-the-road path for us, oh no. Today, i had not one, but TWO new people start at work! We are fully staffed for the first time in 14 months! YES!!! What seemed to be a summer cold was actually an impacted infection that has been resistant to antibiotics. I'm running a fever that won't break and my ear has closed up like it is stuffed with cotton. So basically i had a great first day getting to know team members AJ and Alex, but was kinda high on prescriptions and couldn't really hear what they were saying. nice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Are you hot? It was hotter than Hades around here this past week - i mean it wasn't Florida or Texas hot, but then again there is a reason i don't live there. In Maryland we get heat plus humidity, which after several days with no rain makes the very air you breath oppressive. I was having my friend Justin over for dinner [shrimp cocktail (i'm trying to teach myself to like seafood) and Phad Thai with chicken] and in an apartment with no air-conditioning i knew that i was going to need something really cold and refreshing to combat the heat. Enter watermelon margaritas. I had them once years ago at Franci's wedding shower and figured i could make up a recipe. Firstly, the night before i cubed up some watermelon and stuck it in the freezer: (i'm not sure what the contents of this side of my freezer - 3 bags of spinach and a bottle of Vox - say about me; sounds like a research project - Mel?) Normally to make Nikiritas i use 1 part tequila, 3 parts mixer and .5 part of the Secret Ingredient (which most people know by now but i insist on calling a secret ingredient cause i'm like that) vigorously shaken (of course since i broke my shaker 2 years ago i don't drink them much at home any more) and served over ice with an orange wedge. Building from that base i put one cup of tequila, 2 cups of mixer and a BUNCH of frozen watermelon chunks in a blender and got spinning. Depending on the watermelon and your texture preference you may not need any ice, which means you don't water down the taste. I added a handful of chunks and blended three times, adding 1 handful of ice, a healthy pinch of sugar (cause i'm more of a sweet than a sour) and a shake of salt (to bring out the fruit's natural sweetness) on the last blend. It should look like this: YUM! I made the pitcher about 30 minutes before Justin was coming over so that i could put it in the freezer along with the glasses i was using to serve - lovely Indiana Blue Harvest Carnival goblets, in case you were wondering (which, btw, were introduced into the market in 1971 which is the same year yours truly was introduced to the market) The great thing about watermelon is that depending on your taste you can either salt or sugar the rims of the glasses, or serve it the way i like it naked rim with a tiny coordinating umbrella. If you don't like tequila, you can always go with rum for a daiquiri instead or skip the alcohol altogether - just remember that without the alcohol it will freeze rather solid if you put it back in the freezer. OOOOOHHHHHH.... i bet that means you could then scoop it and serve it as SORBET - i'm trying that next time. If you still want refreshing, but you can't be bothered with the work or the mess or you're allergic to tiny umbrellas, buy the watermelon already cut up, freeze it and just eat the frozen chunks. They're cold and delicious.

Have a Nice Day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crimson-tuffed Snarvelgass

We were at a library that had a lovely community garden. There were all shapes and sizes of botanical delights and right in front of our parking space was this What the?!?!?!?!? Its leaves are giant and pink and vaguely marijuana shaped. It has red poms-poms on it - living, growing pom-poms. It's like something that would grow wild in the Nikiverse. Team member Miriam looked at it and said "Wow; that's like something out of Dr. Seuss." Yes, yes it is. Does anyone know what this thing actually IS?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Yesterday i was napping in the van between shows. I opened my eyes for a moment (probably to adjust the radio or something) and i noticed this AAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH! Do you see the troll - the scary, sharp-eared, pointy-nosed troll halfway up that tree, holding long vines like he intends to tie us up and drag us off to slavery or (more likely) a cooking pot. I pointed it out to team member Miriam, who she said "oh yeah; that one with the sharp teeth." YIKES! I didn't even notice the teeth. Cripes. How am i supposed to nap knowing that is looking at me? Right before we left for the next show i got closer, thinking that the closer i got the perspective would change and hungry, angry Mr Troll would become benign wood again. nope.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So good it hurts me

All Hail Joss Whedon. So this link is posted on several blogs that i read, but i know that there are people here that don't read any of those, so excuse the redundancy for some of you and for everyone else: Go watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog right now. Go. GO! (i'll wait here for you) Wasn't it good? Wasn't it hilarious? Wasn't it poignant at the end? I love that no matter how funny Joss Whedon can be, he always rings a true emotion. Who knew Nathan Fillion could sing? Yes, many of the songs sound uncannily like Once More With Feeling, but i can live with that. Neil Patrick Harris was awesome - i love you Doogie; his expression at the opening of Act II was great. Did you read the message from Joss about trying to do something different in entertainment? I really hope that people will respond well and actually pay to download it once it is removed from the site. (tomorrow night - July 20th) If the public can prove that there is an audience AND market for things like this perhaps we'll see more. Personally, I can't wait to get the DVD. I loves me some DVD extras.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lost on purpose

I like to go driving : roll down the windows, crank up the music, point the car in any direction and GO! When the sun is shining i want to be on the open road, but with my schedule and gas prices there has been a major curtailing in the adventure department. One of my favorite things to do when driving is trying to get lost. With my job I go everywhere in Maryland so it is very difficult to find places that i don't recognize. I love to make random turns and see how long i can go before i know where i am. It amazes me that i still can find new places in this tiny state, but normally i have to be in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, last week i was in the middle of nowhere so I just threw caution (and my budget) to the wind; after picnicking i turned left out of the park instead of right and just went. Did you know that there is a regional airpark in Montgomery County set up for flying model airplanes and helicopters? Me neither. Did you know that there is a renovated turn of the century Negro school in Boyd's? Me neither. Did you even know there was a town in Maryland called Boyd's (significant cause that is my sister's married name)? Me neither! Gosh i do love exploring. While driving i saw a little side road with this sign on it: hmmmmmmmm... i've never seen that sign before... "ford"... that makes me think of Western movies where cowboys have to drive mustangs across raging rivers. That is what "ford" means, right - crossing a river or something to that effect? I wasn't sure and am intrigued by traffic signs i don't recognize (i mean i do spend like 2-6 hours a day in the car) so i made a last minute turn down the road. It was a lovely, twisty little road with some houses on it: kinda narrow, but perfect for adventure driving. About 2 miles down, the pavement abruptly ended About two tenths of a mile down the gravel road i saw what looked like a puddle Nope. It was a stream. A stream that just cut right across the road. Really. I guess that's what the "ford" sign meant - a stream crosses the road. I bet when it rains you can't drive across it without 4-wheel drive. I bet when it REALLY rains you can't cross it at all. Cool. I wonder what is on the other side. I wonder if anyone is crazy enough to live down there. I wish i had a jeep (can't you just see me in a Wrangler with the top down and the door off, off-roading it, giving the "jeep wave" to all the other jeep drivers... sigh). But even I wasn't about to attempt that in my beautiful, wonderful, faithful Hyndai Elantra - she's great, but she's no Jeep. Instead it was back up the twists and turns and several more random turns. For 11 glorious miles i saw new scenery and had absolutely no idea where i was. It was lovely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He's got the whole world...

I've read about it on Roadside America and i once caught a glimpse of it through the trees, but i'd never actually seen the globe water tower, until now. Located in Germantown, MD it really is a ginormous water tower painted like a globe. The cool part is that it really isn't a tower so much as a tank (as it sits close to the ground) so you can't photograph it from the road. You have to go find it. I tried all sorts of places based on a section glimpsed over some tress and visited a lot of dead ends in business parks, but finally VICTORY! It is on the campus of Montgomery College; i'm pretty sure i was on Rt 118 when i finally found the correct entrance. You can't get too close to it what with the barbed wire and all, but you can at least get close enough to appreciate the detailed paint job of our little island in space ( i really liked the weather patterns; is that a hurricane headed toward Mexico?!?). Look - i think i see my house!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Go to DefCon2

Travelling in and around our nation's capital one sees some odd things; like Polaris missiles in parking lots, for example.

Security Detail

Sometimes you just need a little extra protection for your desk and you know how cutting edge my place of business can be. Introducing our new anti-theft device, the Kallie 2008 try to break into my computer now, suckah

Monday, July 14, 2008

Friday Picnic

I took off from work on Friday and went on a picnic. I drove to my favorite regional park in Maryland which is in the middle of nowhere Montgomery County. It takes about 45 minutes to get there, but it is worth it. There is a nature center with cool stained glass of local animals (why no pictures? you say. i don't know; just felt like enjoying the sunshine i guess), a lake, a dog park, hiking trails, an observation deck, pavilions, play grounds, a fitness course which i actually did, tiny ponds and lots and lots of flowers: They grow specific plants to lure specific insects and birds here. It is a stopping point in the Monarch Butterfly migration. I've seen more hummingbirds here than any other place. On Friday i didn't really feel like taking a lot of pictures (i really wanted to get to my yummy picnic and reading a book in the sun), but i was taken with these orange butterflies on pink flowers; it's a nice contrast: But then it struck me how everyone is taken with butterflies. Everybody tries to capture the cool butterflies in pictures, but what about the poor bees? They work hard. They're industrious. They're lovely, in their own way. No one loves them. So in the interest of insect fairness here are some bee shots : (though i hafta admit that they are SO industrious that it is a bit hard to capture them)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So i'm bored

Got back from my show in Acokeek - yep, that's a real place. Kinda not ready to go home yet, but don't want to do work so i punched out and starting reading blogs - lots of pictures of people on vacation... lots of people traveling... sigh... Kate P was procrastinating on 3 grad school projects and did a meme mosaic of Flickr pics. I enjoy cruising Flickr so i figured, why not? Besides, it was something to do. So here is my meme mosaic: 1. What is your first name? 2. What is your favorite food? 3. What high school did you go to? 4. What is your favorite color? 5. Who is your celebrity crush? 6. Favorite drink? 7. Dream vacation? 8. Favorite dessert? 9. What do you want to be when you grow up? 10. What do you love most in life? 11. One word to describe you. 12. Your Flickr name. Probably my favorite picture is the one of the squirrels drinking margaritas. teehee... My least favorite would be the freaky fairy - YIKES! - but the instructions said that i had to use a picture from the first search page and it was the most interesting, to say the least. So there you have it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We're nuts

Yep. That's a gazebo shaped like a giant acorn. It's in the town of Silver Spring, MD. And that is my logistics coordinator, Wendy. She went on the road with me today as my Adult Safety Partner, since I am 2 team members down. (side note- anybody need a job? bad hours, even worse pay, but you get to see acorn shaped gazebos... anybody?) I love being out of the office THIS MUCH!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fun with light

I hope everybody had a great holiday weekend. I went to a cookout at Ron's house; man, i love cookouts. Food just tastes better straight off of the grill. We decided not to drive somewhere to see fireworks, but went outside after dark to play with crackers. Turns out that there were duelling fireworks going off right over the trees! We also had more fun with glow bracelets than should be allowable by law. Dontcha just love chemiluminescence? We started out just wearing them, but quickly people started connecting them and having fun with light, which translated to me having fun with camera settings: Ron and Justin built large interlocking rings and stared playing glowing ring fling across the road, trying to throw and catch at the same time with the rings crossing over top of the cars driving by. Mark my words, light ring fling could be the next Olympic sport! This was my favorite picture; it would be awesome if i could actually remember how i got it to come out like this: And this was hands-down the best light creation of the evening: Now THAT is a hat.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Neato Burrito

My shows today were in a little town in Pennsylvania south of Harrisburg. You can always find the most interesting places to eat in tiny towns; places you would never expect like Recommended by our librarian this place made yummy kinda non-traditional burritos. I had the burrito of the day "Cowboy Crunch" which had BBQ chicken, BBQ rice, beans, lettuce, ranch sauce and crumbled tortillas. It was fabulous. Adult Safety Partner Jami had a buffalo burrito made with pulled bison roast. She loved it. The decor was mixed retro: wood paneling, string art, 50s counters, tattoo print tables, stuffed animal heads, fun mid-century album covers and lots of paint-by-number animal scenes. Of course, there was a picture of Elvis on the office door. Add to that the early-emo music of The Cure and The Smiths that was playing and it was truly a unique experience. Jami especially felt a strange vibe since she had a giant bison watching her eat bison. You can't help but wonder if her burrito was someone he had known. (this is how it looked to Jami) If you are ever in New Cumberland, PA i strongly recommend the Neato Burrito; it's across from the volunteer fire station. [apparently there are 3 other locations as well - i say try them too!]