Friday, April 29, 2011

avocados beware

Mayhaps i've mentioned my dismal attempts to make guacamole: my avocados never seem to be ripe enough or it is too bland or i didn't have lemon juice or the onions are too strong; it is a litany of green, goopey failure.
But not any more.

ugly, but delicious
While i was at my mom's we went to her little local produce shop and procured an avocado of perfect guacamole ripeness. The whole thing went together like it was meant to be and resulted in this delicious accompaniment to our soft tacos.
Plus it turned out that mom does not like guacamole so i got the whole thing to myself.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I don't believe it; That's why you fail

This week's T-shirt worthy quote is from The Empire Strikes Back:
Do or do not... there is no try.
because who am i to question an 800 year old Jedi Master?
As a new month (the glorious month of May containing the High Holy Day of the Nikiverse) approaches i am hard at work on the Art Exhibition (May 15th, people - put it on your calendars), summer programming at work and some new goals for myself that aren't quite ready to share.
I will not be bogged down with the fear of failure.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

back porch chat

Hello old friend.
Pull up a chair.
I'm so glad you came to visit.
Let's relax here on the porch and catch up some.
Can i get you some sweet tea?
Would you like crushed mint or mayhaps some rum in that?

Did you hear that there is a new thrift store in Catonsville?
It's called Just In 4 U and is right behind the Papa John's on the Old Edmondson spur.
The store is pretty small, but i like that they have not only regular clothes, but petites, plus and maternity as well. The ladies that run the store seem nice (as a bonus they are from Catonsville and want to invest in the community) and one of them has a thing for shoes, so there are plenty of good shoes to be had for cheap.
But you know me; shoes are not my addiction. 
Hello lovelies  
I thrifted 2 great pins the day i visited.
The cat in the washing machine made me laugh out loud when i saw it. The pearls as bubbles are a fab touch and there is no solid backing so you'll be able to see through to whatever it is attached.
I once considered collecting pearl-heads; they are so weirdly ugly that i like them. I had a great cowboy in jeweled chaps who unfortunately lost his head when he went through the washing by mistake. sigh So i couldn't pass up this $4 ballerina.
When i went to Just In 4 U they didn't take credit (cash or checks), but it was in the business plan to add the machine as soon as they could. Stop by for some good local thrifting.

Do you realize that Dashiell turned one in March?
 Is it my imagination or is time speeding up every year? I swear that i just posted the first pictures of him and now it is already a month since the fun filled birthday party.

Of all of the pictures i took that day, this is the one that makes me smile the most because it captures all three generations of boys in one frame, plus you can see the picture that Jason's dad is taking at the same time that i am taking this one.

Have you ever been to the 8X10 in Federal Hill?
I went there for the first time
to see TM Adam
play keyboards
with the John Mancini Band.
I guess you'd call them a jam band with a jazzy flair.

Normally a quartet, for this local show John Mancini's dad joined them on stage playing the trumpet for a few numbers.
mother, sister and wife all snapping away
It was a family affair all around as not only did the entire team come out to support Adam, his family came up from Virginia. Even his elusive wife Rachel -whom none of us had met yet cause she is interning at Sinai- managed to have the night off from the hospital.
Though not particularly a fan of jam bands in general, i thoroughly enjoyed their set and highly recommend the new John Mancini Band's new CD, Sun King.

It is a well known fact that i am also not particularly fond of reggae. I mean, reggae is fine one song at a time, but after 3 songs i feel like i'm just listening to the same thing over and over again.
After Adam's band there was another band on the bill called Yellow Dubmarine.
Yes, it is a Beatle's-cover reggae band.
Obviously i had to stay, just to satisfy my curiosity about what in the world this band could be about; especially after i saw the stage crew set up about a jillion mikes on that itty, bitty stage.
 There were eight band members always on stage, but that number went up to 10 or 11 during different songs as there were 2 guest vocalists and a PR/manager/friend guy who'd show up to do percussion and raise sing-a-long signs.
This is a tight, well-rehearsed band. They had some arrangements that i really enjoyed and others that made me cringe (who the heck slows down Help?), but either way they sounded great. It was certainly a different experience so i'd recommend going to see Yellow Dubmarine if they are playing a gig near you.

After the personnel shake-up at work I decided to rearrange the Happy TSP Corner. We needed to utilize the space better, I wanted a meeting/work table and frankly i couldn't stand to look at the empty desks where the rest of my team used to be so over 3 days everything got moved and cleaned. We also took out all of the cubicle walls.
At one point a desk was moved and we found this:
ummmmmmm... ew! There was detritus down there from every person that has ever had this desk, including me and i moved over to The Big Desk 10 years ago. And let's not even talk about little buggy corpses  or that snarl of cordage.
I highly recommend that if you haven't rearranged and cleaned your office recently you might want to get on that cause goodness only knows what might be lurking.

On my trivia team it is understood that i can not do anagrams. My brain just doesn't work like that. I'm great at puzzles and patterns, but not mixed-up words. That's why i suck at Scrabble. In an effort to exercise that part of my brain and to do something new, i decided to do the Jumbles in the newspaper (yes, i still get a newspaper; how else am i gonna have coupons?)
My Grandma Craig did the Jumble every day after finishing the crossword and i was always amazed cause it looks incomprehensible to me.
So one night after reading the funnies and working the Sudoku i tackled the Jumble. I worked that mother like a dog after a bone, determined to not give up. Even though they were short words it took me almost 30 minutes to solve all 5 of them, but by jiminy i did it
 and having finally accomplished this mind expanding exercise, proving to myself that i am capable of conquering it, i feel compelled to never, ever do it again.
It made my brain hurt.
The team will simply have to count on Karen and Kate for those stupid anagram questions.

Speaking of Team Marge, here we are at our fourth Trivia Bowl
Cricket, Karen, Chris, Kate, Nancy, Jason and the goofball in the front
As i'm sure you can tell, the theme of this Trivia Bowl was sports. Not that the questions were all about sports (that would make me stick pins in my eyeballs), but the prizes and decorations and music was all sports themed. Jason outfitted us in jerseys, Karen gave us all hilarious hockey nicknames and we put together a lovely hockey-themed centerpiece. The Chalmers even outfitted our mascot Aloha Hello Marge.

How did we do? you ask.
Fifth place.
You might recall that there are money prizes for first through fourth places at the Trivia Bowl. You might also recall that we finished fifth last time. And the time before that. Yes, we have been out of the money by 1 to 4 points THREE TIMES IN A ROW.
Sorry to shout; it is a sore point.
There was some discussion about changing our team name to G*ddamn Fifth Place, but cooler heads prevailed. Team Marge continues on. However, they will be answering questions about vice-presidents and kicking butt without me for a little while. I am benching myself for half a season to save money and devote some time to other projects.

Which brings us to the Second Annual Catonsville Art Exhibition.
You know this is happening, right?
You know i am exhibiting again, right?
You know that i am in charge of promotions this year, right?
It's May 15th; your calendar is marked, right?

Gosh, its been nice to catch up.
I've missed you.
We should do this again.
You bring the nachos, i'll bring the watermelon sorbet.
Before you go i wanna mention that the quest to try and do new things has become a way of life. Just last night a had lobster ravioli (good, but i wouldn't order it for myself) and anchovies (dear lord was that repulsive) for the first time. Even the things i don't like are cool for being new.
Thanks for stopping by.
Be careful leaving the porch, that third step is a little wobbly.
Take care.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

from where you come

I will be spending time with family this upcoming holiday, so it seemed appropriate that this week's quote should be a famous one from Alex Haley:
In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
I hope between Passover, Easter and Spring Break you all have a chance to spend time with the folks who first helped to shape who you are.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

drive-by posting

- another reason i love my job is that after today's awesome show with a super responsive and well-behaved audience, the custodian made a point to come up to the stage to tell us how much she looks forward to us coming to her school each year
- things are going great for my booth on Saturday, but i'm about 15 hours behind schedule; does anyone know where i could acquire some more hours in a day?
- taco day in the school cafeteria either smells so bad you want to vomit or so delicious you crave Taco Bell; there is no happy medium
- middle school jazz bands should have to practice in absolutely sound-proof rooms
- i can't stop listening to 30 Second From Mars' CD This is War; i dreamed about it last night; do other people dream about music?
- i made a new faux carbonara casserole the other night and realized after it was almost done that i didn't have any crackers in the house to make a crumbly topping so i crushed up cheddar goldfish and it was delicious
- another new thing this month: i love green olives and hate black olives, but at an artists' opening i made myself try some marinated blackish olives (they were kinda black/purple/grey) and enjoyed them
- Ron gave me his old computer so that i could write some of my posts at home and save them to a thumb drive so that when i do have internet access posting will be faster; about 5 days later i tripped on the keyboard cord and ripped the plug apart; anybody know if that can be fixed?
- as much as i am enjoying the artistic endeavor of preparing a vendor booth, i miss doing long blog posts with way too many pictures

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Living the dream

More blog posts will be coming eventually, but right now i am trying to get my vendor table ready for Saturday, art ready for next month, notes ready for 2 committee meetings (one for work and one for home), a cool snack for Girl's Night on Friday and continue to get my job done. It is a fun, exciting whirlwind in the Nikiverse that i will share in words and pictures once i catch my breath - perhaps in 2017!
Until then, this week's quote from Leonard Bernstein speaks to my heart right now:
To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

because someone should do it

The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life has its Catonsville run/walk on June 11th this year. I think it is a great event to get the whole community thinking about health and service at the same time.
Someday i will participate.
But today is not that day.
Today i am too lazy.
However, i am not too lazy to send this month's $15 from the Nikiverse Charity Coffer to Relay For Life, via my friend Nathan's page.
Walk on, Nathan; walk on.
Thanks for doing your part and for giving me the chance to do my much smaller and easier part, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

girls night in

Everyone can benefit from some quality junk-food-eating, crazy-game-playing, giggling time.
As a new thing last month i invited some girls i know from Objects Found and theater over to hang out at my apartment. I had no plan for the evening besides issuing a $4.99 snack challenge: people should bring a snack to share that they love, but costs less than 5 dollars.
Cassie, Michele, Erica, Rachel and Mariel made it a night of fun with Ants on Logs, Monster Goo (which tasted like a fruity sewer - yech), Gushers, Marry, Date or Dump and Buzz Word.

Not only was it fun to laugh like unbalanced teenagers, it was good for me to leave my comfort zone and have people in my apartment. After 5 years of living there, it is starting to feel like home. Plus, if i continue to have guests, mayhaps i will keep it clean.

Friday, April 1, 2011

it makes me a little uncomfortable

What the freak?

Has anyone else seen the new hand driers
 that you put your hands down into,
instead of under?

Doesn't it look like something from a Stephen King short story, where some hapless malcontent finds a way to accidentally bring it alive so that it gnaws your hands off?
I'm not a fan.