Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Few Firsts

Some of you may be appalled at this, but neither Dan nor I have ever had a fresh tree for Christmas before. But as this is our first Christmas together and we both love the idea of a real tree, we decided to go for it. So we bought our very first real Christmas tree last night! It is so adorable. It's a little 5' Frasier Fir and it's the cutest thing ever. I went a little overboard in using extra branches to decorate the whole place. And then we hung ornaments, the first being a lovely "Our First Christmas" engraved photo one from a wonderful friend. And then we started dancing to Christmas music. And then Preethi died of bliss.

The end.

In other news, we're having our seminary Christmas party tomorrow night, and we're playing/singing in our stake performance of Handel's Messiah on Sunday night. If you live in the Philly area, you should definitely come! It will be really fabulous. My parents are coming up for it, for which I'm so excited. Especially because that means we can take them to Scannicchio's. :) Then only one more week before Christmas break! Hurray!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Confessions

First, mine: I love Delilah, and not just since the onset of my old age. There. I said it.

Hers, from last night:

Random Woman Calling into the Radio Show: Hi, Delilah!
Delilah: Hi, [insert name of Random Woman Calling into the Radio Show]! What can I do for you tonight?
RWCitRS: Well, a lot of times I get kind of moody and cranky. We have 5 children with the 6th on the way, and I'd just like to thank my husband for always putting up with and being kind to me.
D: Wow! Six children! You've been pregnant or nursing almost all of your adult life!
RWCitRS: Yes, I have!
D: Are you Mormon or Catholic?
RWCitRS: Catholic!

Two's company, at least.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Very Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I'm kind of ridiculously excited for Thanksgiving this year. The family, the free time, and oh, but of course, the FOOD.

Per Max's tag, here's our Thanksgiving menu:

Anyone have any indispensable last-minute suggestions?

Happy Thanksgiving!

(PS - For those of you who find it blasphemous to celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey, I challenge you to eat even 1/10th as much turkey as everything else, or to come up with a better menu than this. Yeah, that's what I thought.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to the Midwest




Dear City of Minneapolis,

Thank you for your thoughtfulness during my brief stay this week. In a matter of 24 hours, your residents acted in the following most amiable ways:


  • Finding that there was no earlier flight in the 3+ hour time span between my arrival at the airport and my scheduled departure, no fewer than four of your ticketing agents clamored to assist me in locating and understanding the time frame to visit the Mall of America.

  • Having been told by the aforementioned Kind Ticketers that the ticket machine for the light rail accepted credit cards (a minor miracle in and of itself to we Philadelphians), I did not concern myself with my lack of readily-accessible liquid assets. However, seeing me fiddling with one of the machines, a nice young gentleman approached the other, informing me that the credit card function was currently broken, and directed me to an ATM. I thanked him and mentioned that I might just try the other one when he was done, just in case. However, as he finished, he reached out and deposited the exact fare amount (in two gold-dollar coins, no less) into my hand.

  • While in one MoA store, one young lady offered me the large dressing room to accomodate my small suitcase, and another interestedly asked me the details of where I was from and if she could do anything to help.

  • On the tram back to the airport, a pleasant young man asked me about my trip, and remained friendly but not over-chatty even after determining that the ring on a certain left finger was, indeed, indicative of matrimony (and kindly verbalized the breaking of his heart - twice - once for not living in Minneapolis, and once for being married).

Thank you for your outstanding welcoming committee!


Sincerely yours,

Preethi

Friday, November 14, 2008

Foodie Friday: Huevos Rancheros


So I've decided to do a weekly recipe post, mostly to encourage myself to not eat huevos rancheros every single night (oh, how close we are). And since there's not a day of the week beginning with the letter "r" for "Recipe [insert-imaginary-R-day-of-the-week]," and Tasty Thursday just doesn't have quite enough alliterative punch, well, that leaves us with Foodie Friday.
Now for huevos, adapted from Smitten Kitchen. These are so. good. People, I just don't think you understand quite how good these are. We hadn't made them for over a week (a whole week and two days!! quite an accomplishment, considering we typically eat them 3 or 4 times a week - not for lack of other recipes, but just because they are actually that tasty), and I think my taste buds had forgotten a bit, but they leapt for joy with the first bite. Now I have to say, the last couple of times we've made these, they've been awesome, but I haven't been as bowled over as before, but Wednesday night's were truly spectacular. Perhaps it's because I actually remembered to salt and pepper the egg in the pan? Maybe it's because we actually had jalapenos this time? Maybe it's because we ate them after the longest huevos drought since probably July?

Overall, these are amazingly good. They're terrifically fabulous. They're familiar but not boring. The flavors and textures are wonderfully bold, but not so much so that they'd be inappropriate for a run-of-the-mill, gray-skied Wednesday. But perhaps that's exactly the oomph needed to nudge an average day into awesome status.


Disclaimer #1: We both adore all things Mexican, so if you don't, you might not necessarily give this dish a 19 out of 5.

Disclaimer #2: We all know that I'm terrible at uploading and posting photos. I've borrowed the one at the top of the page from the Smitten Kitchen website, so all kudos go to Deb. I even have some of our own for this, but can't get them off of our camera...


Huevos Rancheros, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  1. Brown a tortilla (she uses corn, but I much prefer flour - especially Trader Joe's habanero lime or whole wheat) lightly on one side in an oiled pan. Flip the tortilla over and sprinkle a bit of cheese (I like cheddar or a Mexican blend of jack, etc. in the absence of some actual white Mexican cheese) over it. Crack an egg on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of (preferably sea) salt and cracked black pepper.

  2. Let the egg set a bit (about halfway) and then flip it over. At this point, the pan will almost certainly be an utter disaster. Don't worry; just roll with it. If you can get it to flip so that the egg is still under the tortilla, I'd consider that a success.

  3. Let the egg cook to your desired consistency and then flip onto your plate. Cover with mounds of black beans and salsa fresca and guacamole.

Black Beans

Okay, I admit it - I totally cheat on this. I do not soak and cook and season my own black beans. I pop open a can of them - typically from Trader Joe's (I like the consistency of the organic kind better, if you're willing to spring for the extra $0.20), add in a bit of taco seasoning, crushed red pepper, and/or cumin and ride. Usually I'll do it on the stove, but if I'm feeling particularly lazy, I use the Pyrex + microwave combo. Do NOT overcook the beans.

Salsa Fresca

It's really the condiments that make this dish. I could probably eat just plain salsa fresca as a snack, it's that good. Tomatoes aren't the best right now, but come July, hoo boy.

  1. Chop up however many tomatoes you like - I typically use about 3 romas or 2 on the vines for the two of us. Then again, we really like salsa fresca.

  2. Chop up some red onion. Salsa is so much about preferences. I happen to really adore red onions (this coming from the girl who a year ago literally would not TOUCH an onion) so I usually have about a 1:2 ration on onions to tomatoes. Feel free to add less (or more) according to your tastes. Yellow or white onion also work fine, but I think red really gives it the best flavor.

  3. Mince some jalapeno. Again, preferences. I usually use about a quarter of a jalapeno for the two of us. If you want, you can also mince in a bit of fresh garlic.

  4. Chop up some fresh cilantro. This isn't necessary, but I LOVE cilantro. As in, I probably have almost as much cilantro as onion. Put in a lot or a little or none - this step is sort of optional.

  5. Mix together all the above ingredients with a good splash or two of lime or lemon juice, some sea salt and some cracked black pepper, and you're good to go!

Guacamole

  1. Slice open an avocado (one is usually enough for the two of us, though who am I kidding, I always want more guac) and remove the seed. Cut out and smash up to desired texture (I like mine pretty chunky, and sometimes just cube it).

  2. Mix in some diced red onion (again, about the 1:2 ratio), jalapeno (ditto the quarter of one), cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon/lime juice. Done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Winners + I'm a slacker

Congratulations to Malinda, Max, & Natalie! Max, please send me your address. The other two, hopefully I can just give you yours in person. :)

Also, the above-mentioned Marvelous Max tagged me eons ago. Yeah, I'm slow. Anyway, I bring you Six Random Things About Preethi. I'll try to share truly random ones, as opposed to things I find perfectly normal, like being a grammar Nazi, alphebetizing my spices, and only eating two flavors of yogurt.

  1. While I actually DO find this entirely normal, I'll share it because so many people think I am absolutely crazy for this, including my husband. I don't eat cereal with milk. There. I said it. This stems from a long-standing aversion to any and all things even remotely mushy. I cannot tolerate cereal that is anything but perfectly hard. The ONLY cereals I will eat with milk are Grape Nuts (don't tell my company) and, on occasion, a really hard granola. Honey Nut Cheerios - plain. Frosted or Honey Nut Shredded Wheat - plain. Corn Flakes - never ever ever BLECH they even get soggy in my mouth DISGUSTOID. (Random side note: when Dan got his wisdom teeth out several years ago, he decided it would be a great idea to blend all his foods so he could drink them through a straw, including cereal with milk. He continued to do this for some time after, asserting that it was way faster to drink 3 bowls of cereal than to eat them. He thought this was the best idea ever, and made me one. I took one sip and nearly hurled.)
  2. I really adore straws. I think they are so functional. I always have one in my Nalgene bottle at work, because it just makes it easier to drink from them. They are particularly useful in the car, because then you don't have to tip your bottle to drink, thus spilling on yourself 95% of the time. A friend and I once created the KPSC - the Kelly Preethi Straw Club.
  3. I am a huge stickler about not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I've actually felt guilty the last few days because everywhere I go, it's Christmas-this and Christmas-that and Christmas music is playing and much as I know I should be vehemently opposed, I get slightly giddy. But I refuse to play any myself. Except to and from rehearsals for our stake's performance of Handel's Messiah. This is a tradition from at least my freshman year, and maybe before, that, in the spirit of the season, allows us to listen to Christmas music on the way to and from rehearsals prior to Thanksgiving.
  4. I'm only really attached to one baby name, and it is after a character in a book that I read in 6th or 7th grade, reinforced by biblical and historical figures. (Ten points to anyone who guesses it!)
  5. I really love to staple things. For some reason, the noise is really satisfying to me. For some odd reason, it reminds me of the crimping that my orthodontist used to do on my braces...I get this odd sort of pleasure out of making the same sound.
  6. I dislike clothes shopping. While I certainly love clothes (probably too much...), I really hate having to search through racks (especially disorganized ones! which is why I particularly loathe shopping in most department stores) and having to try things on - it's such a pain. It's my same issue with actually liking to be vegetarian at most restaurants because it limits the options. We once went to a vegetarian restaurant in Greece and I was really stressed with all the options.

I tag...Alex, Whitney, and Christiane.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pay It Forward!

My awesome friend Lizzie chose me for her Pay It Forward. She gave me an awesome PINK reusable shopping bag (cute, environmentally-friendly, AND going to a good cause? what??), candy/cookies, pistachio pudding (you have no clue how excited Dan was about this), and some adorable notecards. So now it's my turn to pay it forward! Just leave a comment and I'll choose 3 of you for gifts. The only requirement is that you then have to pay it forward to 3 others.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pensieve-ing my post-election thoughts...

There are a lot of thoughts swimming around in my brain following Tuesday's historic election, ranging from "Hooray!" to "Boo!" to "Meh." Here are some, in no particular order:

Pros:
  • It's over! Finally, maybe my morning NPR listenings will contain more about the economy than which candidate says the other has been unanimously voted Most Likely to Deep Fry Babies and Eat Them with Honey Mustard.
  • Perhaps this is entirely blasphemous, but the whole "black" thing didn't matter to me all that much. As in, I guess it never seemed that far-fetched to me. I'm now more inclined to think I am just blessed with the people I'm around, to whom skin color is really just not that big a deal. Unless they're jealous of someone else's tan. That said, I think it's awesome that we finally have a president of this amazingly melting-pot-alicious country that's not a balding white male. Just male. And we'll see how long he lasts without the balding.
  • Sara Palin will now be free to take up the SNL post of Sara Palin as Tina Fey as Sara Palin. (And won't be VP. Hallelujah! And seriously, as my mom says, can go take up acting or something about which she knows more than the average 2nd grader. And did I mention she won't be VP?)
  • I'm interested to see what we can accomplish globally with foreign leaders feeling blatantly more friendly right about now.
  • I'm excited to see Pres.-elect Obama garner some of that "experience" about which so many are concerned. I look forward to seeing him use his past perspective in his youth and collegiate years for the good of the country.

Concerns:

  • I'm definitely not psyched at the prospect of having a Democratic Congress and executive branch. I generally think that's a bad idea, but I particularly think so in this type of economic climate. Let's hope they don't make any impetuous decisions that we'll all later regret.
  • I'm sad that the recent history of the Republican party severely got in Sen. McCain's way.
  • I hope we are able to curtain spending instead of letting it burgeon. I hope we give capitalism the resources it needs and let it do its job.
  • I hope we cut our new president some slack and give him time to fulfill his promises.
  • I hope we are not rash about how we approach the wars.

Other Thoughts:

  • I've heard a ton of people in the last few days say things along the lines of "This is the first time I feel like an American!" or "America has betrayed me. I'm moving to Canada."
  • First off, as if moving to Canada is going to help! You certainly didn't see either candidate getting fed up and taking off and giving up. Seriously, it's selfish and immature on either side to be like, okay, "something's happened that I don't like so I'm going to take off," or "this is awesome! I'm only staying because of this". Too many people have struggled to make this country better, and continue to do so each day, for us to just expect everything to be perfect and to give up when it's not. Perhaps we should be willing to sacrifice just a smidgen of what others have...
  • Secondly, America as an entity is not about one single president - he or she shouldn't dictate whether you feel like an "American." Really, it's not even just about the people (though it does COME from the people); it's about principles. It's about values. It's about what we've stood for in the past, for what this nation was founded, and for what it continues to stand. Seriously, I really dislike fair-weather patriots. [Stepping off soapbox.]

For what are you most excited/unexcited?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Addendum

I know I said the Wednesday night's post would be my last about baseball for a while. But I think the following is hysterical (written across the bottom of the screen on NBC):

"Due to Parade of Champions coverage, 'Days of our Lives' will be aired overnight at 3:05AM."

hahahaha. For some reason I find that ridiculously amusing. Overnight??

Also, some quotes from the parade:

Jamie Moyer: "This is better than winning the World Series." (about the parade and being with all the fans, thanking them profusely)

One of the thousands of kids skipping school today: "Philly is way too important!"

Another kid: "Oh my gosh, I can't even explain it, I'm so happy."

And to close it out, a few Phillie Phacts:
  • The Phillies are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of American professional sports.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies are the first Major League Baseball team to join the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership Program which motivates organizations across the world to purchase green power in order to minimize environmental impact. The Phillies announced on April 30, 2008 that their home field, Citizens Bank Park, will be powered with 20 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green energy purchased in Green-e Energy Certified Renewable Certificates (RECs).[39][40] The EPA stated that this purchase holds the record in professional sports for the largest purchase of 100% renewable energy.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Absolute Mayhem

Is what has overtaken Philadelphia (at nearly midnight on a frigid Wednesday night, mind you). This is nuts. I've never seen anything like this in my entire life. Dan & I just went outside of our bordering-Center City-and-South Philly apartment and there were literally thousands of people gathered in streets and intersections and sidewalks. Some of my favorite observations:
  • Everyone is just so happy. We walked out our door and were immediately bombarded by half a dozen people giving us high fives. Guys and gals in the street were hugging and kissing and just had these expressions of pure joy. It was truly beautiful and special to watch. It was an experience I'll never forget.
  • I love that the city completely bonds together. It truly is a CITY team. It's not just that Philly happens to have baseball fans. Practically everyone is thrilled about the win. And there were people out there that weren't just wearing Phillies gear (which, don't get me wrong, was at least 90% of the crowd, maybe 94%), but there were people in Eagles jackets, Sixers jerseys, Flyers paraphernalia...it was awesome. It's like it doesn't matter which Philly team it is; if it's about Philly, Philadelphians love and support it.
  • The Phillies totally forgot about their trophy because they were too busy congratulating the Rays for their fabulous performance (Charlie Manuel's very first comment), profusely thanking and giving credit to their insurpassably devoted fans, thanking their teammates, thanking their coaches, and overall diverting attention away from themselves individually.
  • Everyone came together as a team. I loved that complete strangers were running down the street yelling and slapping hands with fans of every other possible ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, you name it. Tonight, every Philadelphian is a Phillie, and is a winner.
Overall, I am SO grateful to be here right now. I was out of town for the past 5 days and was so sad about it. Hello blessing that it happened to get postponed to 3.5 hours after my plane landed. :) Pictures to come tomorrow.

(After the parade on Friday - on Halloween day, no less! could it get better than that?? - we will return to our regularly scheduled posting, and I promise I won't talk about baseball nonstop, or gloat. Maybe.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three Down


I live in Philadelphia, where I enjoyed Games 1 & 2 of the World Series. Dan & I spent a lovely weekend in southwestern Florida, where we energetically watched Games 3 & 4. This morning, Dan flew home, but I am still in FL for a work meeting until Wednesday. So I'll watch Game 5 here.

Clearly I am very much hopeful and excited for tonight's game to be the last, even though I'm still in the reverse state from where my beloved Phils are playing. If (if if if highly-unlikely if) they must return to Tampa to shut out the Rays there, I will be back in Philly. Cruel. I'm totally bitter that I haven't been able to be in Philly for ANY of the games to experience the excitement there. At least I can have Dan report back tonight.

And can we please just talk about the amazingness of the last two games?? What??? Moyer, Rollins, Howard, Werth, Bartlett, Blanton...holy heck. Game 3 = nail-bitingly incredible. Game 4 = YEE-AH!! Special shout-out to my wonderful and patient husband for explaining the ins-and-outs of baseball to his I-grew-up-watching-Pete-Sampras-and-Steffi-Graf wife.

Pointing to left field (or right, or center...) for tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Holy City


Q: Which is God's favorite city?

A: Philadelphia!!

A temple and the World Series all in fewer than 2 weeks?? The righteous truly are blessed! ;)

Somewhat tangentially, I do love how the entire city rallies behind its sports teams. Dan & I have discussed how we think it's great that Philly only has one of many rally-worthy things, such as a baseball/football/basketball/hockey team (though we wish it had more than one airport). This means that pretty much everyone in the city loves the team in question, with no division amongst the members.

That also means that the city goes absolutely nuts any time one of those teams wins. Take last night, for instance - I was told (since a) we had gone to bed after the 6th inning so we wouldn't be exhausted for seminary and b) I don't wake up for anything) by Dan that the noise after the game was unbelievable - yelling, crying, fireworks (sounding like they were right in our parking lot, in fact), and general exuberance, preventing him from falling back asleep for the duration of it.

PHILLY!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Honestly, folks

I think the blogosphere is over-politicized already, but I just have to say how I am seriously so disappointed with both of our presidential candidates. A year ago, I was thrilled that John McCain was entering the race, as I'd admired him for years, and was so excited when he got on the GOP ticket. I liked Obama very much, as well, and admired his character and spunk. Perhaps my favorite thing for both candidates was that they weren't overly concerned about pleasing their party or anyone else and were willing to stand up for what is right.

Aaaand that's pretty much all down the tubes. I'm absolutely sick of how neither of them can say anything about what they believe and why they think it's a good idea/why it will work; instead, all they can do is fling insults at the other. One of my biggest political pet peeves is when either side assumes the other is just plain evil and has no good intentions. Okay, perhaps they might go about things in a different way than you would, but in general, I really believe most politicians are out to help our country (misguided as they sometimes might be). In any case, clearly neither of them is focused on helping our country right now - they're too busy trying to smear the name of the other guy.

Case in point - this morning, NPR did a whole story about fact checking last night's debate. Fact checking? Seriously? They need to make sure what a PRESIDENTIAL candidate said was truthful?? That should be the least of our worries. They interviewed Obama's campaign manager and asked about a McCain smear campaign saying that he was opposed to stem cell research, despite the fact that he's voted in favor of it for the past 7 years. The campaign manager had some ridiculous retort about how that's what McCain's party stands for and...and...previous to the past 7 years, maybe he voted against it... Yeah, ridiculous. This is not at all to say that the McCain campaign hasn't done the exact same to Obama - I'm sure they have; I'm just too sick of it all right now to look it up.

Anyway, November better get here mighty fast. And if the market could improve in that time, also, that'd be swell.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Game On

Between the two of us, this week includes:
  • 2 job interviews (addendum: it's actually 3 job interviews)
  • Resume/cover letter drop deadline for top choice job
  • Finance midterm
  • GMAT
  • Grad school applications
  • Busiest possible time at work
  • A trip to NYC
  • And, of course, seminary

We're pointing to left field on this one.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Temple!

I think every general conference has met me with internal aspirations for announcements - the calling of David Babbel to general church leadership, a temple in Brasília, and perhaps most importantly, a Temple in Philadelphia.

This conference, however, found my mind encumbered by no such speculation. I was really mostly just excited to listen to the living prophet and apostles. My former speculation, fortunately, was not powerful enough to keep the Lord from showering this blessing upon his people here.

We actually first learned of the announcement through my sister Elizabeth, who texted me the moment it was announced. She beat the internet connection we were watching by a minute or two, which is why her text took us by such great surprise. Upon hearing of the announcement, I sent a text message to my friend Vai Sikahema on the subject asking if he had any previous or further knowledge. He responded immediately, also via text message. This is what his text said:

"Yes. I was involved in discussion bc (Vai speaks in txt) Trey (Vai's son) worked 4 mayor nutter & mayor was helpful. Broad & Spring Garden!!!!"

There is much remarkable about what he said, among them, the fact that Philadelphia's mayor is reputable AND supportive. Of course, what could do more to improve a city than the presence of a House of the Lord? I'm glad the decision seemed so obvious to our chief municipal executive.




So, I do believe this is the site. You're welcome to find it on google.com/maps street view for yourself. The location is Broad and Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA


I'm up for getting together with some other people who would accept my $10 (or more if I can get a raise :) ) towards a fund to buy the parking lot across the street to convert into a visitor's center. Or garden. Or Family History Center. Or something the church could use to benefit the area further. SEPTA subway stops, such as is also to be found on this corner, are not always famous for the upstanding characters they attract. . .

The location, not by coincidence, is only a few subway stops up the Broad Street line from our tiny Branch. Both seem to be unexpected locations for sacred buildings (then again, our branch doesn't exactly have it's own building. It's more of a one-stop shop; Hollywood tans, Income Tax, The Church of Jesus Christ. . .)
There's our branch, the blue glass building you see in this image :)

We'll keep you posted with any further information. . .

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TEMPLE IN PHILADELPHIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Passport!

I first sent in my documentation for a new passport probably about 3 months ago. It got sent back to me. I sent it in again. Again, sent back. I'm guessing my photo wasn't up to its requirements both times. So I sent it in for the third time about 3 weeks ago and today my new passport arrived in the mail!

And wow. I have to say, this new passport is AWESOME and I just had to share. I've had 3 or 4 previous passports. And let me tell you, none of them looked like (or changed as much from one to the next) as this one. First of all, it is WAY more patriotic. While in the old ones, you'd open right up to the picture and info page, this one invites you to page through it. You open to a black and white image with words from the national anthem scripted above it. The next has a quote from Abe Lincoln. THEN you flip to the picture/info page, with an eagle pictured in the background across the 2-page sperad, and with the first words of the Constitution written across. I love this, as I'm sure most people (myself included) rarely get the opportunity to read those beautiful words.

After that, you flip through a few informational pages and all the visa pages, all of which have different American scenes in the background accompanied by quotes. Overall, it's just really fantastic and beautiful and touching. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Put da liquid in the hard-candy-shelled exterior and mix it all up...


I've never been a huge gum person. But oh my. My friend Audrey introduced me to this gum a couple of weeks ago. I had another piece yesterday. I went and bought some at lunchtime today. I've gone through 3 pieces in the last hour. Clearly I cannot resist bullets if given the slightest reason to use them, so here are some reasons I love Trident Splash Peppermint Swirl:
  • It has a burst of liquidy goodness right at its center.
  • It has a crisp shell that becomes soft with chewing.
  • The flavor is nice and minty, though not overbearing. It does come in fruity flavors but obviously the only good gum is minty gum.

It is SO delicious. I just thought you all should know.

The end.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tag what?

So as some of you may know, technology is not my strong point. Except with Excel. I am awesome at Excel, and am the resident team Excel guru. And this may sound extraordinarily random, but I'm mainly writing this to pat myself on the back for a) knowing what a tag is and b) actually doing it! Plus, I was trying to think of a clever 4-month anniversary spiel, but I figured this was close enough since Dan & I were pretty much inseparable near the end of high school.

Thanks, Miss.

Did you date someone from your school?
I read this tag on a friend's blog a few days ago and when I read that she had dated 4 guys in high school, I was like whoa, four guys! But then I embarrassedly realized that I more-or-less dated John, Joey, Scott, and Dan. The last one's my favorite.

What kind of car did you drive?
I started out with a gold 1995 Mazda 626 that I loved. Her name was Mia because one day I had left it in the parking lot after school because I rode with a friend to a competition. When we came back, she wasn't there and I freaked out and finally managed to find a pay phone inside (oh, the days before cell phones) (luckily some play or something was still practicing) and found out my dad had taken it to get something fixed. My friend Jill said I should name her that since she was missing in action. We were so clever. I was very sad when Mia got totaled when a guy rear-ended me and tried to swerve. After that, I got an awesome silver '98 Honda Civic that I adored and that my family still has. She was Mia 2. I think for the same reason. And this is a very long paragraph about my pre-collegiate modes of transportation.

Were you a party animal?
Ha. Though I did stay up way later then than I do now. Mostly talking to Dan. I also liked being in big groups more than than I do now.

Were you considered a flirt?
Double ha. I think.

Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
Never the school orchestra because it wouldn't fit in my schedule (and of which Ms. Tate always tried to convince me otherwise), but I did the Mobile Student Symphony, the Utah Youth Symphony (hurray for playing in the Olympics), and several chamber orchestras. I think I played the flute part in band when I was in 5th grade because there wasn't an orchestra. (Um, yeah, I lived in Alabama then.) I still regret not doing choir - I tried to fit A'Cappella in my schedule, but it wouldn't work. The same awesome Ms. Tate told me to join Madrigals (she was convinced that because I'm a violinist I can sing... ...) and I felt bad about it since I'd never done A'Cappella but looking back, I totally should've done it.

Were you a nerd?
Um, do you really need to ask? Nerdiness is not typically a characteristic that develops later in life.

Were you on any varsity teams?
Soccer my sophomore year, and then we moved to Utah, where we weren't allowed to do sports our first year at the school. I would've done tennis senior year except for a certain fiasco requiring me to take IB French AFTER SCHOOL. Not that I'm still bitter.

Did you ever get suspended or expelled?
Clearly not. Though Mr. Norton regularly got mad at me for wearing flip flops to school.

Who were your favorite teachers?
Dan Campbell - Theory of Knowledge impacted my entire frame of thinking to this day.

Jim Powell - Let's see, I was randomly put in his class for a technology credit and made some of my closest high school friends, he told me about Penn, and he encouraged me to start doing business competitions, which obviously has affected my entire career (I'd never even considered it before then) and at one of which I met my husband. Um yeah. He also makes a fantastic Jiminy Cricket.

Mrs. Brown - To this day, she is the best math teacher I have ever had. She just made everything seem so easy. I'm sure everyone in that class rocked the IB test.

Ms. Anderson - She's just all-around awesome and IB Chemistry was super fun. See nerdiness question.

Madame Schroeter - I totally learned French. It was awesome.

Mrs. Zuhl - I LOVED the books we read. And she was awesome at leading discussions.

Also, a shout-out to Mr. Norton who, while getting mad at my flip flops, gave me an "A" in physics even though I was miserable at it. Hurray for effort meaning something. And sometimes even the lack thereof.

Oh, and Mr. Jones from Murphy High (also the Panthers!) who was the NICEST math teacher on the planet. And lived in my neighborhood.

(I do, in fact, recognize that that lists most of my teachers. Again, see nerdiness. West also just has awesome teachers.)

Could you still sing the fight song?
Probably with Dan's help.

Where did you sit during lunch?
South Lawn. :) Or the Yearbook room.

What was your school's full name?
West High School (and Murphy High School before that in Alabama)

Did you go to homecoming?
Yes, sophomore and senior years.

What do you remember most about graduation?
Seeing how excited my parents were and being really nervous to play a violin/cello duet with Nick Epperson.

Where did you go senior skip day?
I think we just drove around to random places. I'm not really sure.

Were you in any clubs?
Oh my yes. Key Club, Chem Club, Yearbook, and probably about 15 others.

Have you gained some weight since then?
Hm, I think so. I don't really remember.

Are you going to your ten year reunion?
I'd love to, assuming airfare isn't $3,000 by then.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Future House

Email from Dan:

"Things to put in our house when we build it:

A library, a master bedroom, a dining room, a BIG KITCHEN, and an owlery. Thoughts?"

Agreed.

(When asked about a music room, his response: "I was thinking of an entirely separate music house, which is why I didn't think of making it a room.")

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Man I love this city



So I have this...quirk? gift? weirdness?...where I tend to really adore wherever I happen to be living at the moment. Before my family moved to Utah, I was so in love with Alabama and swore I would never leave. But then I adored Utah (and you'd pretty much have to tie me to a tractor trailer and drag me there to get me to live in Alabama again) and then Philly and then France, etc. etc. I'm typically fairly convinced that my place is better than other places in the same grouping (e.g. Philly > NYC, Lyon > Paris :)).

So there are these two dueling forces in me. One, the rational one, the one that understands and knows me, says that I'll love wherever we live in the future and will be convinced it's the best ever. The other one, the one that IS the one that the first one knows, is convinced there is no place better than Philly.

On that note, fall is one of my very favorite seasons in Philly and I'm so excited for it. Some reasons why:

a) The weather! I pretty much keeled over from joy and joyfulness today when I looked at weather.com and EVERY. SINGLE. day on the 10-day forecast showed a high temperature of 70-75 degrees for the most part and again EVERY SINGLE day was sunny, oh beautiful glorious sun. (Cleary I had to embed this in my memory.)


b) Everyone's outside again! I love watching the runners by Boathouse Row and going to Reading Terminal and Washington Square (way cooler than Rittenhouse).

c) I think everyone's in a happier mood when it's so lovely out. I actually think people in Philly are incredibly kind and I love how real they are - there's absolutely no pretense. But I think they get even nicer at this time of year. Case in point:

1) A couple of weeks ago, I was at Reading Terminal buying some produce. I was waiting for Dan to meet me there, so I figured while I was waiting, I'd wander over to the cheese shop. Now, I've bought cheese from here, I don't know, maybe three or four times. In any case, I had an idea for dinner that night and it called for Havarti so I was just going to use whatever was on hand, but I figured since I was there, I might as well get Havarti. So I taste it and like it so he's cutting me off some when he (Robert) says that they had already closed down the credit card machine for the day (it was just before closing time). I realized I had literally not one dollar bill with me, which was problematic. He told me that it was fine and that I could just bring it to him tomorrow. I tell him we're going on a trip the next day (why I was buying produce the day before leaving on a trip is only explainable by the celetial quality of nectarines) so he says it's fine, and that I could just bring it the next time I was there, he sees me there all the time. (Um, how nice?!) So I tell him thank you and he wraps it up and weighs it and it comes up to about $4 and he just hands it to me and says "Don't worry about it, it's a gift - enjoy your trip!" Um. He gave me CHEESE. For FREE.

2) The people at the Free Library are the nicest people on earth. Period. Not to mention its utterly awesome history.


3) Except for possibly the people who work at Trader Joe's. I think they're in a deadlock competition for Nicest Slash Most Helpful Service Providers of the Century.


4) We had a little incident with getting our (awesome and totally worth it, but easy for me to say because I wasn't involved in the situation) couch into our apartment. Long story short (that omits the part where the guy who brought it just left it in the doorway after trying to push it through multiple times and putting several holes in the wall but actually I just told you all of that anyway so I guess this really isn't the short version), we had to hoist it over the balcony with ropes. Dan and two of our incredible friends helped out, but it got stuck on the balcony of the floor below us. So they were trying to hold it in place while pushing it out to get it over. Then a guy calls up from the street (after many business suit-types had passed by) and asks if they need any help. They kinda look at each other and are like, yeah, actually, we do. So he comes up through the propped open door, tattoos and multiple canister-piercings and all, and helps pull the couch over the balcony. Just because. People are awesome.
Anyway, this has turned into a why-people are nice post. I'm okay with that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Red Cherries, Red Cherries!

A very important thing happened to me several weeks ago. As previously discussed, I don't think I'm a picky eater, even though Dan does. So this is not really going to help my story, but seriously, it's only with sweet things that I'm picky - never savory (assuming they're non-carnivorous).

Well, up until a few weeks ago, I only ate one kind of yogurt. No, I don't mean one brand. No, I don't mean one flavor. I mean one flavor of one brand - Yoplait Original Red Raspberry (never the Light - tastes like aspartame - or Thick & Creamy or LIGHT Thick & Creamy or anything else). Then a few weeks ago, I was on a cherry kick and decided to try Yoplait Original Cherry. And loved it. Oh so much. So much more even than the Red Raspberry. So now I eat TWO kinds of yogurt. It's funny how your spouse wears off on you.

(Oh, and when our youngest sister was little, Dad H. used to get her to spot the "red cherries" - brake lights on cars ahead.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Mommy

Clearly I only believe in honoring birthdays late. What you didn't know is that it's really on purpose so as to extend the celebration. Right.

10) She has an awesome sense of humor. My mom is seriously one of the funniest people I know. More than that, though, she's willing to see things as funny. She allows herself to laugh and appreciates humor in situations. She has no problem (kindly) teasing people to make them not take themselves so seriously. And her laugh is beyond contagious.

9) She's curious. When she moved to the US after getting married, she'd never before seen a computer until she she arrived in the JFK airport where all the ticketing agents were working on them. So she signed up for a class and learned how to use them. And then proceeded to work with them. And now does everything online. She embraces new things and isn't afraid to try them out.

8) She gets really excited over ripe Reading Terminal tomatoes. Like mother, like daughter.

7) She's passionate. She tries really hard at everything. In her job, she puts in the effort to make sure she understands everything and works hard to do it all.

6) She's awesome with money. Even though she could totally afford to buy a whole Walmart's worth of tupperware and ziploc bags, she always washes and reuses the ones she has. (She likes to say she doesn't collect things, but oh man. :)) But then when we need money for education or books or music, all systems are a go.

5) She's really diligent in making time for what's important. She exercises every weekday (Um, yeah, I don't. My parents are in better shape than I am.) and always makes time for my ride-home phone calls. I am so grateful that our family had the opportunity to have her at home with us while my sister and I were young.

4) She is the. best. cook. Ever. In the world. For all time. No questions asked.

4b) She always cooked from scratch growing up, so I didn't know this was unusual. It just seemed normal and healthy to me. Vegetables always tasted good and were always incorporated into the meal, so I just grew to like them; I never understood why people didn't.

3) She has cute style. But not in a "I'm trying to dress like I'm 17" kinda way. In a "I'm a really, really adorable mom" kinda way. Like with her one navy skirt with red bows embroidered along the hem. That I've adored further back than my memory goes. On that note, she likes cute things in general, like calves (she had one named Gowri growing up) and baby giraffes.

2) There is absolutely no pretense with her. What you see is what you get.

1) She's unbelievably lovingly affectionate. When she loves, she really loves. With her entire heart. And is so sincere about it. She comforts and cares and hugs and floods you with an inexpressible warmth of love.

(As before, I can't think of my parents independently. To see how incredible my dad is, see here.)

I love you, Mommy, and Daddy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dominofish

Hello Internet! There is much to report and little time to report it. So I'll just do a quick update and maybe actually post pictures (I know, don't let your mouse slip from shock) later. This past weekend we went up to Vermont to camp/hike/raft/taste cheese and maple syrup/soak up the stars/etc. We were in church on Sunday (we drove in to this teensy town - literally, one stoplight that went to flashing at night, and one restaurant of which we were aware - on Friday night and not 3 minutes from our campsite was a church building) and a woman gave a fantastic talk. At one point, however, both Dan & I thought she said domino fish. If not for him, I'd probably still think that, but he managed to determine that she had said "dumb and oafish."

Dan then proceeded to lean over to my notebook and draw pictures of the "Pescadis Dominonis." There was "Pescadis Dominonis Solitarium" and "Pescadis Dominonis Pentagonum," etc. It was rather wonderful.

Then today, in response to the dictionary.com word of the day (which we both receive, shut up you know you have your vices too):

Dictionary.com: comestible: suitable to be eaten.
Dan: ex: Even though many species of the dominofish (pescadis dominonis) are highly comestible, their rarity values them such that their protection of personal property and life is assured.

Monday, August 18, 2008

To the world, and whomever else this may concern,

I have in fact read all of The Sorcerer's Stone and loved it, even more than I expected to love it. Thank you for not throwing soft projectiles at me, as I was never even aware that the items to which I devoted my attention (courtship, school, church callings, starting this company, working for two additional employers, etc.) were cause for reprehension. Now my only concern is that I still make enough time for all of those things now that I have discovered for myself the wonders of Harry Potter. Good thing that at least courtship and Harry Potter are not mutually exclusive (but are, rather, "co-requisites", at least in my case).

Sincerely,
The world's newest Harry Potter fan
Daniel Harbuck

p.s. How in the world could anyone successfully translate the nuances of those books to any language other than English? That would require a gift indeed. . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trip!

Tomorrow at 6am, Dan & I are heading off to California for a wedding. I'm super excited because a) I love weddings, b) we get to stay with/see several of my cousins and their kids, c) it's in California, and d) Dan & I get to travel together. It's kinda sad, actually, how much I enjoy traveling together. Perhaps because it's somewhat rare that something else isn't vying for our attention (laundry, dishes, cooking, friends, callings, see here). We're all geared up with Pimsleur language training CDs (Dan stopped by the library the other day and picked up, I am not even kidding, FOUR of them: Spanish, Russian, Italian, and Farsi...no joke), movies, and HARRY POTTER!!!

It's true; I married a person who had never before read Harry Potter. Worse, he HAD seen the movies. I know, I know, it's reprehensible - please refrain from judging me, I've done my best, okay? You can throw something at him, but please limit projectiles to soft ones. And he really is making an effort now, and is not one of those who has a bias against it or anything, so that should count for something.

In any case, I am SO EXCITED for us to finally read it together. For those of you who don't know, I happen to think Harry Potter is some of the most engaging, thought-provoking, clever children's literature ever created, and competitive with much adult literature. Plus, it's just so dang fun. And I happen to abhor the movies. Yes, even the fourth one. Yes, even after not comparing them to the books. Sorry.

Plus, I first new I wanted to marry Dan on a plane. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Worth the Wait




Holy heavens alive. These cookies are. so. good. I mean, they are beyond good. They are terrifically, astoundingly fantastic. I know, I know - you're thinking, "They're just chocolate chip cookies. I've had dozens, even hundreds of chocolate chip cookies." Oh, how even the thought of those words makes my heart hurt. It pains me that you might brush these cookies aside thinking they're like all the rest. Because they're just that delightful.

When Dan got home from EQ meetings last night, I asked him to try one, trepidation written across my face. "I'm scared to let you try them." He bit in somewhat hesitantly, soon exclaiming, "WHY?" I was quite justifiably worried that he wouldn't let me take them with me to my work picnic.

I woke up thinking about how I wanted to eat one. Dan almost didn't let me walk out the door with them. He made me promise on the phone ten minutes later that we would make them soon (aka tonight). I just can't say enough about these cookies. Just keep the butter cold. And use sea salt (heck, you could even go wild and sprinkle a teensy amount on top of each cookie). And if you really want to live on the edge, throw in a bit of coconut.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Indications that Preethi is OCD, aka Crazy

10. My closet is organized by category (e.g. short-sleeved casual shirts, long-sleeved, casual shirts, button down shirts, short-sleeved sweaters, etc. etc.), and by color within category.

9. I am a compulsive list-maker. I make them for everything - grocery lists, movies-to-watch lists, songs-to-download-from-iTunes lists, places-we-want-to-visit lists, recipe lists...my favorite, however, is the CONSOLIDATION LIST! I love making lists of lists.

8. All of our books and movies are ordered by genre and author and/or title.

7. It stresses me out if plans get changed last minute.

6. When cutting my nails, I absolutely must make sure they are perfectly even and rounded, without any points sticking out along the edge of the nail.

5. The other day when someone put the Parmesan cheese on a refrigerator shelf instead of in the door, I had to move it.

4. I pick up every single hair from the bathroom floor.

3. Each pot and pan gets replaced to a certain spot on the rack.

2. I feel the need to give the kitchen floor a quick sweep most nights just to gather any stray crumbs.

1. I alphebetize our spices.

Thank you for still being my friend. Particular thanks go to Dan for willingly being married to me.

In other news, we've had several visitors of late, particularly of the sisterly variety. Two weekends ago saw the arrival of Priya, and it was glorious in its relaxation and food consumption. This past weekend, Liz and her friend Spencer were here. We shopped and cute new clothes were purchased. We went up to NYC on Saturday and were submerged in Indian-ness (Indian food, Indian temple workers...). It was great fun to see a number of old friends. There was also more cooking.

Off to another week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Phobic

I'm not scared of many things. In fact, I like the dark (I especially love driving at night) and love thunder/lightning. I dislike bugs and think they can be gross, but I'm typically fine killing them on my own if need be (unless it's a cockroach, in which case the demolition of it falls into the category of Things My Husband Must Be Willing To Do). I may get a teensy bit nervous when I have to speak in public, but never scared. Admittedly, I do have slight skunderphobia*, but what girl doesn't?
(*When I first started working, I had my training in Minneapolis along with about 35 other new hires in my division. We had to come up with lists of fears we had regarding entering the working world. One table came up with "skunderphobia" - a fear of one's skirt getting tucked into one's underwear after using the restroom without one noticing. This was a table of all girls.)

I've recently decided, however, that I have a fear of blenders. (Sadly, I was unable to determine a specific name for this illness, even after much googlage; surprising, considering there is even an official name for a fear of buttons: koumpounophobia.) Wait - let me amend that; I have a fear of having to clean blenders. Don’t get me wrong - it's not because of the sharp blade (I'm perfectly fine regularly using my uber-sharp Cutco knives, even after gashing my finger wide open while cutting an avocado) or anything similarly rational. It's mostly because it's heavy and unweildy to clean. I dislike having to lift it into the sink, tip it while cleaning so water doesn't accumulate, and, most of all, I don't like removing the blade and reattaching it when I'm done. Again, not because it's sharp, but because you have to screw it on really tightly (there's even a contraption that comes with it to help unscrew, but you can't use it to tighten), so it makes it really difficult to remove and replace. Good thing Dan is nice and cleans the blender in return for roasted butternut squash and onion tart, corn chowder, avocado shakes, and peach/mascarpone/gingersnap tart.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mondays: Like ships on the horizon

As the relentless march of time advances, another Monday at work has come and gone for the whole of us. As I sit in my state of blogger idleness (idle bloggerness?) I assure you that what I lack in contribution to the blog I make up for in something else. Then I see all that my wife does AND still finds away to leave her delicate footprint on the sands at the edge of the blogosphere and, frankly, I just have yet to discern what that something else that I do is.

In which stilled danandpreethi blog waters shall I dabble my toes? Perhaps I'll start in relation to my lovely wife's post of earlier this morning.

Why do I love Mondays? Well, mostly because its the freshest day of the week - after the weekend's activities and spiritual renewal, there's always a little bit more spring to be sprung in the step. Again, we can return to our daily labors and have until the weekend to complete those tasks, rather than the Friday afternoon crunch I often feel. That's not to say, of course, that I would in any way prefer Monday to a weekend.

Earlier in my growing up days, I became quite familiar with the monster that ended the summer. Every time we began to return to Salt Lake City on our summer family 10,000 mile road-trips, a sinking feeling entered my stomach and swallowed my esophagus with the epiphany that the sun was beginning to set on that summer. And so it was, summer after summer. But with each sinking, there was hope and vivid imaginings of where the road would take us the following summer, indeed, a whole school year of dreaming.

So may it ever be with Mondays - mellowed by the acceptance of another weekend passed, but vibrant with the hope of another weekend to come (and that, with a beautiful wife), indeed, with every man's dreams on board.

Mondays

Every Sunday night, I get this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach because the next day is Monday. I admit it - I just don't like Mondays. Possible reasons include:
  • I get really sad after a weekend of spending every second with Dan that I can't do that anymore, and have to wait a whole 5 days until I can again.
  • I don't get to sleep in.
  • I like my job, but I think holidays are still probably better.
  • Traffic is always unpredictable on Mondays, and there seem to be more cops out.

I actually really dislike this about myself. I really WANT to like Mondays. Mostly because I don't want them to feel sad and unloved. Perhaps I just need to remember that I'm seriously so blessed. So, here's a list of things I love about Mondays:

  • The mail comes! To this day, that little kid part of me that gets excited to get the mail -even though I know the most exciting thing will probably be that I'm pre-approved for the Kansas Homeowner's Mortgage credit card - gets a little sad when I involuntarily reach for my mailbox key while walking in on Sundays.
  • Give me an F! Give me an H! Give me an E!
  • I don't have to worry about Monday coming - it's already here.
  • I get to listen to my John Adams book on CD.
  • I can buy avocados if I want (and why wouldn't I?).
  • I can go to lunch with my awesome co-workers.
  • I can look around my cube at my fax from my future self, pictures, and penguin of death/pig of happiness cards.

In other news, this was our first really relaxing weekend since probably before we got engaged. No traveling, no visitors, no organizing our apartment (all of which we love, especially the organizing - hurrah for alphebetized spices!)...it was glorious. On Friday, we went to the Mann and had a picnic with the Babbels, Dan's wonderful mission presidents who happen to live in the area and were going the same night we were. They played the glorious Pictures at an Exhibition, which was truly phenomenal - oh, the brass and percussion at the end! The harmonies! The clarity of tone! If that weren't enough, the spectacular Leila Josefowicz performed one of my very favorite violin pieces, the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Very nearly flawless.

We slept in on Saturday and then got up and made a ridiculously awesome brunch (pancakes with berries/walnuts, cheesy hash browns, zucchini/basil frittata, vanilla/pear/berry muffins...I should really just start a sidebar of all our cooking adventures). We sat around and napped for a while (I never could nap before we got married, ever, but it seems like we catnap all the time now) and then decided we'd use our free movie tickets!

Sidenote: several weeks ago, we were at our local Superfresh (which I typically avoid at all costs in favor of Reading Terminal and TJ's, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures) and they were having a General Mills sale where if you bought $35 worth of GMI products, you'd get 2 free movie tickets. I didn't even consider it at first, thinking to myself, "There is no way we could possibly buy $35 worth of General Mills products, and even if we could, there is no way I am keeping $35 worth of General Mills products in our big-for-the-city-but-still-small kitchen." Dan, however, got all excited and thought we should definitely do it. Now though I work for The General, I'm kind of picky about which products of ours I'll actually put into my body. When we realized that we already had about $15 worth of Yoplait (I literally only eat one flavor of yogurts in all the world of yogurt - Yoplait Original Red Raspberry - not Light, which tastes like aspartame -, with occasional exceptions made for Yoplait Original Cherry. I've finally come to terms with the fact that I'm weird about food.) which was on sale for $0.50 compared to its everyday retail of $1.09, we decided maybe we should just go for it. So we stocked up on Honey Nut/Multigrain Cheerios. With a couple boxes of Trix thrown in for Dan.

Anyway, I digress. The movie tickets. So we decided to see our very first IMAX by way of The Alps. Some of the camera work was truly spectacular, and it was even cooler to feel surrounded by these majestic mountains. While it made me even more terrified of doing something like that, Dan felt some of the lure. Umm...

After that, we put our feet in the water of Logan Square with all the little kids. We absolutely adore community things like that, where everyone is just together and happy and nice. It was so relaxing. We went home and changed and went to dinner at La Croix in honor of our upcoming 2-month anniversary, as our wonderful Lizzy had given us a gift card there for our wedding gift. She wanted to give us an "experience" rather than a "thing," and experience it was! The service was stately, and they gave us little petit fours at the end with to-go muffins and made a little Tiffany-box cake in honor of the occasion (they asked if there was one when we made the reservation).

Sunday, Dan was sustained as Elders' Quorum 1st Counselor, and I was sustained as seminary teacher. In addition to my Primary chorister calling. Whoo boy. This will be awesome, but boy will it be work. For those unaware, in our church, we each have certain "callings," or responsibilities to which we attend. For Dan, that means being one of two "counselors" to the president of the Elders' Quorum, the men's group (counterpart to the Relief Society, the women's group). As for me, I've been teaching the children (the Primary) music, and come September, will be teaching daily religion classes to the youth. Early religion classes. As in at 6:30 every weekday morning, they will come to our home and we (clearly if I'm getting up that early, so is Dan :) and he's sweet enough to want to help) will attempt to teach them about the gospel. Yikes. But cool. Now I just need to inform my manager that I might need to leave a little early to make my new bedtime of 4:30pm.

Oh, and I chopped my hair off.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's the difference between an elephant and a blueberry?

A few weeks ago, on a glorious half-day Friday, we went fruit picking at Weaver’s Orchard Farm. It was beyond perfect – it was the end of strawberry season, right in the middle of raspberry/cherry season, and the first day of blueberry season! So, needless to say, we picked all of them. And gorged ourselves along the way. It was just so relaxing to be out in Middle-of-Nowhere, PA (that could easily be a real name in Lancaster, cousin to Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand) picking and eating fruit. Plus, they had an adorable little market at which we bought other yummy things like raw honey and homemade fudge and herb plants.

Anyway, $40 worth of fruit later, including almost 5 pounds of blueberries, we decided to not purchase their pies and make one of our own! So last week, after being tempted to make many other desserts in the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook (namely, the Blueberry Fool), I ventured into my first fruit pie-making experience. It was delicious! Warm and crumbly and oh-so-blueberry-ish. Mmm.

We’ve been pretty into cooking lately; in the last week, we’ve made that, yummy orange and dried cherry scones, a delicious balsamic & basil bruschetta, a wonderful sweet & spicy vegetable meal over brown rice, and mascarpone-stuffed figs. Cooking together slash for two people is way better than for one.

Speaking of cooking, we had our housewarming party this past Saturday! It was so fun and we had lots of people come by. It was great to just relax with many friends, and it was SO fun to have my parents come up. Mutual love between them and our friends ensued. Many thanks to them for helping us finish things up at the last minute. Menu items included several tarts (chocolate, lime, fruit), cheesecake, fondue, fruit (some of which was arranged quite spectacularly, if I do say so myself, thanks to inspiration from our cruise J), spinach artichoke dip, apple/blue cheese/walnut stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, homemade pizza bites…and, a clear winner of the evening, chocolate balls.

Long story short, I was making the tarte au chocolat and was ever-so-slightly cocky about it because it was so easy the last time I made it and turned out unbelievably. So I’m waiting for it to bake and it just ISN’T. So I finally decide to take it out after it had been in 20 minutes longer than it was supposed to be. As I pulled it out, though, it completely collapsed in on itself. It was a disaster. And I almost cried. Except Dan was super sweet to me. Anyway, it just sat there looking all forlorn and destroyed for several hours (with Dan all the while telling me he would eat it) when it finally occurs to me that we should just make little balls out of it to dip in the fondue. Not even kidding, that’s the only thing on which I got complimented all night. If only they knew.

PS - Answer: They're both blue, except for the elephant.


PPS - I didn't come up with it.

PPPS - Though I may or may not have giggled out loud at it. In my cube.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Come Again Another Day

On Sunday, we decided it would be fun to take a little stroll down to Penn’s Landing. We both absolutely adore wandering through Old City and Society Hill, and it was the perfect lazy afternoon for a walk. We walked past all the cute old townhomes, speed-walk-raced a horse carriage up Lombard, and said hello to the church where Joseph Smith preached.

So here we are on a quiet Sabbath, just wandering around (still in our respective skirts/dress pants, mind you) when all of a sudden, I feel a raindrop. We ignore it, thinking it would just sprinkle a little. And then they sky opened. Without notice, it just started pouring. So our umbrella-less selves quickly ducked under a tree, and when that didn’t really do anything, we huddled under a teeny Old City awning…well, it’s more of a 6-inch overhang than an awning.

So here we are, hugging this random wall, when (how this was even possible, I don’t know) it starts to rain EVEN harder. So we climb up on the steps to stand directly in front of the door to sneak a couple extra inches of coverage. We’re just chatting while watching the rain when all of a sudden, the door flies open behind us. We turn abruptly to find a nice, middle-aged woman framed in the opening. We hastily (and flustered-ly, in my case) explain how we were just trying to take refuge from the downpour, did she mind if strangers just invaded her doorstep and passed the time there? Luckily, she was nice enough to not mind, and we turned back to the wetness.

Since it was raining so unbelievably hard, it couldn’t possibly last very long, right? Um, yeah. About that. Forty-five minutes later, we were STILL on this random woman’s doorstep. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for running about in a drizzle, especially when clothed in pajamas and/or my ladybug galoshes. But when in a skirt and dressy shoes and when it is pouring buckets upon buckets of water, yeah, not so much. So Dan finally suggests that maybe we should just ask if we could possibly borrow an umbrella. I laugh this off, thinking it absurd. But when the rain seriously didn’t even slow down, I figured, hey, why not?

So yeah. We knocked on a random woman’s door to ask to borrow an umbrella. The best part was that she actually asked us to hold on while she went to check (she didn’t actually live there – she was visiting her son), and came back with her son, her husbands, and not one, but TWO umbrellas in tow. They were seriously the nicest people – they asked if we wanted to come in to dry off, told us to keep the umbrellas as long as we needed, and told us we should come over some time, as he had just moved to the neighborhood from Brooklyn Heights. Clearly we will be taking them some sort of sweet treat in honor of their newfound status of Nicest People on the Planet.

And then we came home to find a hole in our guest room ceiling with water gushing through. Yay, rain!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fourth

The only thing better than a 3-day weekend? A 3-and-a-half day weekend. :) Since the 4th was on a Friday this year, we got our summer half-day Friday on Thursday and it was glorious. It all started with me morphing into Super Errand Girl and, I am not even kidding, in 4 hours going to Wal*Mart, the bank, Macy*s, Williams-Sonoma, Linens 'N Things, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Now I know 4 hours is a long time to be shopping, but that's SEVEN places, people. The best part was that we actually made money off of it - I won an award at work for which I received $100 (deposited at the bank), and I spent a grand total of about $29 (about $3 not including Wal*Mart...you still think I'm making this up) since we had wedding gift cards at each of these places and we wanted to use them up in getting all our new house-y things for our open house next weekend. So a huge thank you to all who were kind enough to gift us something in honor of our nuptials. :)

When I got back to the city (finally), I met Dan, Nastya, and Lee at Reading Terminal where we bought approximately 7/8 of the produce place and several types of cheeses for the weekend festivities. That night, we went to Vetri for dinner. Vetri is widely lauded as the best Italian restaurant on the east coast, if not the entire country. Sooo we decided to check it out. OH MAN. Yeah, the portions were miniscule, but the FOOD. Oh, the food. It was magnificent. It was actually less pricey than I expected (~$20 for a pasta entree), so if we had each gotten two entrees, which would have been plenty sufficient, it would've been more along the lines of what I expected in terms of price. So anyway, the spinach gnocchi literally melted into a light, fluffy ball of goodness in my mouth, and the almond tortellini and eggplant ravioli were both wonderful, as was the golden onion crepe with truffle sauce. Whoo boy.

After dinner, we got some Capogiro and wandered over to Independence Mall, where the Philly Pops were performing patriotic music in front of Independence Hall. A Tommy J look-a-like read the Declaration, and the band played the tunes to each division of the services (veterans were asked to stand). Perfect 4th-eve activity.

The next day, we slept in, had Liz & co. drop by to say hi, and went to eat at Sabrina's Cafe, one of our favorite places in the city. Delightful. We went back over to Independence Hall and did a little tour with our wonderful guide, Larry, but sadly missed the giant block of cheese (I'm skeptical about it being donated for food...it was sitting outside the whole time...) and then went home and rested for a bit. Dan & I went over to the Art Museum to meet up with Liz & her friends for John Legend and awesome fireworks behind (and in front of!) the museum. Spectacular, despite the occasional rain.

Saturday was filled with cooking (I made apple scones and a zucchini/asparagus/basil frittata for brunch) and grilling (burgers/veggie burgers, corn, portabellos, other veggie skewers, and the hottest jalapeno poppers on the planet, with caprese salad, good cheese, homemade guacamole, etc.). Let's just say we created our first true feast. Thank heavens Nastya & Lee were there to help out. We went over and watched Fireworks and heard Boyz II Men (whoo!) in the rain that night. We were soaked.

Sunday deserves its own post, and this is getting really long. And the lengthiness is directly correlating to how badly written it is.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mann Center

Back in May, I got an email announcing that the Mann Center was giving away tickets to most all of their Philadelphia Orchestra concerts over the summer. Happy day! Needless to say, I immediately obtained the maximum of 4 tickets to every single one that was available. So we now have a summer full of fun and free concerts!

Last night was the first of our 2008 outdoor musical adventures. One of my favorite things about the Mann is that it's outside and you can bring a picnic and relax and if you wanted to just fall asleep while listening to beautiful music, it would be okay. I never really got offended when people fell asleep in my orchestra concerts (namely, my mom :)) because I figured if the music were bad, it wouldn't lull them into a sweet slumber. Anyway, so last night, we went with our dear friends Jen & Audrey in celebration of Jen's second-to-last night in Philadelphia. We took salads and drinks and fruit and it was delightful.

As the season opener, it was an incredibly diverse program, but it came together in a unique and wonderful way. First up (after the national anthem, obviously...which is actually one of my very favorite part of Mann Center concerts) was Copland's Appalachian Spring. Glory of glories. Oh my. I love Copland in general - he's probably my favorite composer - but listening to the outstanding Philly Orchestra performing him on a simply stunning evening was breathtaking. I actually looked up at the perfectly dusky clouds and commented to Dan that if those clouds were to have music, that would be it. Wow.

Next was the phenomenal Yo-Yo Ma playing Saint-Saens' first cello concerto. I'd never heard him perform before, and boy was it incredible. His tone and control and precision were all flawless.

After intermission was Musorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Stravinsky's Firebird suite. Both have fond memories, as Dan & I studied the first in our History of the Symphony class years ago (cue Fantasia), and the Orchestra played the latter in a concert to which I took my parents.

Anyway, this post is probably really boring to read but I pretty much adore the Mann/the Philly Orchestra/music in general so clearly I had to detail it out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Really Back

For all 2.4 readers of this blog (and probably even fewer who are still checking after this long hiatus), we've returned! The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. I don't think I have the time energy, or procrastination skill (that tells you something about how dense this time really was) to detail everything that happened, but I'll try to do a brief recap before swinging back into normal posting.

The wedding was absolutely perfect. We could not have asked for more. The ceremonies went beautifully, the reception was tons of fun, and the details were exactly how we imagined them. Best of all, we were able to celebrate with the vast majority of those we love most. A HUGE thank you to all those who helped make our special day way beyond what we ever expected (including family, friends, bridesmaids, groomsmen, incredible photographers, DJs, caterers, servers, cake makers, hair do-ers, and oh my! so many others). You can expect an actual written thank you soon. I promise we will get around to it.

We spent a grand total of about 6 ours in our hotel room that night, after arriving at about 1am and needing to leave promptly on the 7am shuttle to the Dulles airport to catch our flight to Puerto Rico. Incredibly, I felt more rested than I remembered in a long time that morning, having nothing else to PLAN. Wow. That's a great feeling. We bummed around Old San Juan that day, enjoying a little snooze on a old ledge overlooking the beautiful Caribbean waters. We explored some before boarding our cruise ship (the Carnival Destiny) that evening to set sail for St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Kitts. Highlights include:

  • Sleeping! I took a preemptive Dramamine the first night for fear that I'd get seasick (I did the last time my family took a cruise, and was fine after taking Dramamine). We fell asleep around 11pm that night and finally raised our heads from our pillows at 11:30am Monday morning. We went to eat something out on the deck and, made even more drowsy by the warm sunshine, I literally could not even walk down to our cabin. So we stretched out on some deck chairs until 3pm, at which point we (I) finally woke up and decided we'd better at least take a peek at St. Thomas. We had to be back on board at 4:30pm, so we came back and took a nap from 5-8pm (walking off the ship really takes it out of you!). We went and ate dinner and fell asleep again by 10:30pm. Mmm. Though I'm pretty sure the drowsiness would've worn off after a day, I decided to forego the medication after that since we were really only sailing at night, anyway (there was a port every day).

  • Winning the Love and Marriage Game aboard the ship! Announcer slash Cruise Director Lenny asked for the newest wedded couple and the oldest, along with one in between. When one couple with our same date volunteered, we kept our mouths shut. But then another couple spoke up that they'd gotten hitched the same day, so he started asking for times. We chimed in and conveniently used the latter of our two ceremonies to get called up on stage along with the couples of 52 (Santa & Mrs. Claus...not kidding, there was some joke about this and they just played it out the rest of the cruise) and 40 years. And...we won! Actually, we dominated. Lenny said that he couldn't remember the last time newlyweds won the game. We were presented with a fake gold cruise ship statue and champagne, which we traded in for sparkling cider and drank up on the Lido Deck under the stars. Entertaining moments included my response to the question of favorite honeymoon memory (snorkeling with baracudas in St. Lucia). Lenny made fun of me. Then read Dan's answer (the same).

  • The aforementioned snorkeling with baracudas. We swam over to the side of this cove and I got nervous about the old abandoned logs and planks in the water (what if something's hiding in there? what if they're slimy?). I didn't really pay attention to the long silver things floating next to me, merely thinking they were unusually cool. Dan later pointed out that they were baracudas. I'm glad I didn't know that there.

  • Scootering around Antigua. Dan had been wanting to rent a scooter the entire trip, so we finally managed it in our second to last port ($20 for almost 2 hours...we were top-notch negotiators everywhere). We took it to the beach, up some beautiful overlooks, and through random residential and rather run-down (hello unintentional alliteration!) communities. Though I got scared every time we pushed above 25...kilometers...Dan maneuvered the bike like a pro.

  • Snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados! $10 for the two of us. Bigsweetsupercute turtles. Awesome. Enough said.

  • Eating way more amazing food than is humanly fathomable. Really, if you've never been on a cruise, it's difficult to even describe the degree to which we gorged ourselves. And it was all. so. good. Wow. Favorites included chilled strawberry and cucumber soups, mushroom caps, mango cardamom cheesecake, guava jelly, hash browns, molten chocolate cake, nicely arranged fruit, and oh my so much else.

  • Juggling. Comedy. Magic. Dancing. All were included in the nightly shows on board.

  • TOWEL ANIMALS!!!

  • Being together 24/7. Married life is unequivocally the best.

So that was the cruise. It was the greatest. And the perfect honeymoon - SO relaxing. We didn't even have to decide where to eat for each meal! We sepnt another night in San Juan when we got back, which was great. We just went to the beach and walked around - so nice! And we stayed in an adorable little non-chain hotel that was right by the beach - highly recommended. It was so lovely and peaceful and the people were so nice, and the amenities top notch.

We returned that Monday (the 2nd) to DC, where my dad graciously picked us up from the airport, and where we spent that evening with my wonderful family. We drove back up to Philly on Tuesday, stopping along the way to buy some beautiful furniture, including a bedroom set and a dining table. We were thinking we'd make do with some Ikea stuff for a while, but then decided we wanted something a little nicer as a married couple. It's so pretty!!

The weeks after that have also been hectic - the following weekend, we flew to Salt Lake to spend time with Dan's incredible family and celebrate with a reception there on my birthday, during which Dan pampered me to no end. The week/weekend after was spent frantically organizing and attending the sealing/reception of the awesome Steve & Mickie, who looked absolutely stunning! What an awesome couple. They were both so smiley and ridiculously happy both days, which was so great to witness. Since we were in the neighborhood (sort of), we decided to spend the weekend in Niagara Falls since I'd never been. We were chauffeured and toured about by our wonderful and gracious friend and hostess Mar, and had a delightful time hiking about. Then a couple of days later, I went to Minneapolis for work.

Whew.

The end. Of our traveling. For a while, at least. So now we're just trying to get officially and totally settled. Our furniture is built and arranged (thanks, honey!). Most things are organized, except for gifts we still have to buy with our gift cards. Couch arrived today (yay!). We'll keep you posted. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back!

I know, it's been 3 weeks. Wedding planning/finals/work are stressful. In the event that you've been faithfully checking, thanks! If not, maybe you'll return by the word of our millions of readers who will undoubtedly loudly broadcast our return. I also enjoy self-deceit.

Recent fun happenings:

  • We went to a Phillies game a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of the General. We had awesome seats right behind home plate. More importantly, they were right behind a guy who would turn around and yell to the entire crowd "Let's Go Flyers!!" every time the simultaneously playing Flyers made a goal, etc. Yay for Philly phans being all-around Philadelphia athletic team supporters.
  • My office has a kickball team, Team BooBerries. We are thus far undefeated. I now feel validated as a team member since I can bring Dan along, who is actually good at kickball, which I am not. We also have t-shirts and purple sweatbands. Be jealous.
  • My sister is visiting (hi Pri!)! Very exciting. Much fun has ensued. Much food has been consumed.
  • We had a surprise mission call party for David, Richard, and Joe. Richard has his call to the France Paris North mission, and the other two are awaiting theirs, so we had a French-inspired party. Audrey brought French music, and I and others cooked French food, such as tartes aux poireaux, a tarte au chocolat, a goat cheese salad, and a vegetable gratin. Others brought a tomato/cheese/olive quiche, chocolate mousse, crepes, cookies, cakes, and other yummy things.
  • We had my shower and bachelorette party this past Saturday! Both were beyond fun. Thanks SO much to Pri and Nastya for putting everything together, and my wonderfully sweet mom for coming up for it (and the day before Mother's Day!). The shower involved fun games, yummy food, and awesome presents. The bachelorette party involved karaoke in our own personal room with our group. SO FUN. Wow.
  • Wedding planning is almost OVER.
  • We bought paint for our apartment last night!

Sad news:

  • There's this really awesome Mexican place called Tortillas by my work. Every week, they host Taco Tuesdays, during which all their yummy soft and hard tacos are $1. Included in the price are homemade chips and salsa (including a vast salsa bar). Today we went over and walked in the door, only to see a notice that Taco Tuesdays are SUSPENDED. I am not even kidding, I almost cried.
  • My dress was supposed to be ready today. Now it won't be ready until Thurday, after Priya leaves. I realize that she'll see it in a week, but I really wanted her to see it before 2 days prior to the wedding. Alas.

Anyway, as the ticker shows, we're one week and 4 days (or 11 days) away from W-Day. WOW.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm A Slacker But I Do Still Love My Fiance

So Dan's birthday was on April 15th. I know, that's almost a week ago. It was a crazy week. And I thought it better to actually spend time with him instead of writing about him to the Internet.

Anyway, I still want to do a "Ten Things." So to change things up a bit, I thought I'd do a "My Favorite Quirky and Random and Frivolous-in-their-Importance Things About Dan" instead of just a normal "Ten Things I Love About Dan." Because clearly I think he's brilliant and cute and hard-working, etc. etc. but I think it's about time the world knew that I'm really marrying him because of his ability to raise his un-crooked pinky fingers straight up in the air without the aid of his ring fingers.

1) He has this uncanny ability to remember things (conversations, TV shows, lectures) word-for-word. Seriously, after watching an episode of The Office, I'll have a general idea of the plot and the fact that it was funny, and I'll attempt to recreate jokes and instead end up stepping on them and pulling them in between my toes. He, on the other hand, will repeat an entire lengthy conversation between Jim and Dwight verbatim after hearing it once.

2) He humors me when I talk about how much I love the skirt/shoes/headband/toe nail polish that I'm currently sporting. He also humors me when I mention 47 times a day how much I love springtime. In fact, he humors me in a lot of things. (Our conversations tend to go something like this.)

3) He thinks Edward Monkton is funny.

4) He's in a deadlock tie for the title of Best Whistler Whose Feet Have Ever Graced Planet Earth.

5) Sometimes during prayers in church he'll try to tickle me and scratch my head to make me laugh. At home, he regularly peeks so he can ask for forgiveness of my soul when I accidentally take a sip of water because it was in my hand and I just FORGOT dangit.

6) He likes to talk about how cool his bike is for approximately 62% of each day. It's a pretty cool bike.

7) He is likely the best dancer I know. And he gets me to dance. And stop being self-conscious. In fact, I never really fast danced at a school dance EVER until the dance we attended together. He also enjoys having random dance parties.

8) He rarely falls asleep in church/class/etc. anymore, but he used to do this regularly early on in college when he was way too busy doing nice things for me to make time for sleep. He has this really cool ability to start to doze to an eye-drooping, head-nodding point, but his pen will still be writing across the page. Then, as he starts to wake up, his pen hand will start moving, and then his head will jerk up and his eyes will open. I really hope he's retained this ability. It would be cool if it were passed on to our children.

9) He starts running towards Wawa for a milkshake and can eat ice cream at any given time or place and sometimes has random cravings for French fries.

10) Finally, I love how he is handsome, unbelievably intelligent, hysterically witty, and hard-working. (For those of you who don't know yet, he applied for a Wharton venture competition and just found out he's one of three winners. That's including MBAs and grad students. For the best and most-executable new idea, complete with a monetarily large grant to work on it over the summer. Yeah, he's amazing.) He is proactive and if he sees something that needs change or improvement or help, he doesn't wait for someone else to do it. H loves his family (including me and my family) more than anything, and gets along with each one of them famously. He is without question the kindest person I know with a heart closest to God. He loves people like no one I've ever met, and has a knack for touching souls.

Love you, Bookee.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Priya, Part II

Priya: My friend Val and her friend Laura went to penn this weekend! for spring fling or whatever. they're from nicaragua! (that is unrelated, but cool.) anyway. she loved it. she said she stayed with her friend in lower quad and i was like aw! my sister lived in upper quad! cute! but yeah, she loved it, especially the diversity. :)

Me: Yay for penn being 98.7% minorities.

P: Wow! That's impressive!

M: The percentage may have been slightly inflated.

P: hahah oh i totally believed the 98.7%. I was like wow, she really knows her numbers!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tudo passa... Até uva passa!

Dan and I have been best friends since high school. Nerdily enough, we started to become really close when we would go to our chem labs at the University of Utah together. We had many a Tuesday evening in which we'd twirl our safety goggle straps and gaze into one another's eyeballs and talk until 11pm and my family would wonder how my chemistry lab could possibly take so long. Let's just say I was extraordinarily studious.

Since then, we've gone through periods of time in which we were totally into each other, totally actively not into each other, into other people, pretending to not be into each other, etc. Some time after we had begun dating again (early last October), we took a trip to Utah. We had begun to contemplate marriage. We went to the temple in Salt Lake and it was wonderful, and began to confirm what we were feeling.

But it wasn't until the flight home to Philly that I knew for sure I wanted to marry this guy. We were sitting and chatting the entire way (Really, I absolutely adore traveling with him. It's one of my favorite things to do. We're fortunate that we enjoy doing that, even when traveling can be stressful.) and then for some reason he started telling me about this random Brazilian phrase, "Tudo passa... Até uva passa!" He said it and I am not even kidding, started giggling like a schoolgirl. He just thought it was the funniest thing in the world. He tried to explain it to me, (Something about how everything passes with time, even grapes...). I think it has to do with some sort of Portuguese wordplay involving the process by which grapes become raisins. I still don't totally get it, and I only lauged because he was SO amused by it.

Before Dan left on his mission, but after he'd gotten his call to Brasil, he was in this stage of knowing what was going to happen next and just wanting it to be there already, but having to wait still. That's kind of how we both feel right now. We love school and work and being engaged and Relief Society and all kinds of other wonderful things right now. But we're also sort of ready for the wedding to be here and to move on with this next exciting and wonderful stage of our lives and be done with presentations and exams and conferences and other great and fun things. So, Danny, just remember, "Tudo passa... Até uva passa!" I'm excited for the next 6 weeks, and forever after.