Monday, December 21, 2009

Vegetable Soup and Beyond

Vegetable Soup. Home Fries. Veggie Frittata. Biscuits.

I've been sick slash have 4 finals in 24 hours. In light of that, these are all things that have been prepared in our household in the last 36 hours. From scratch. Sans recipe, save the last one.

Not by me.


It would be impossible to overstate how totally not normal this is.

EDIT: Oh, and all were phenomenal. Really.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is Blogging Outdated?

As you can see, I've hardly blogged since, oh, May. It seems that many of my friends have neglected their blogs, as well. Was blogging just a fad? If so, why is it over? If not, will people ramp it up in the new year? Discuss.

Also, I'm in a funk. Usually I am in love with this time of year, but sadly, not this year. I think I mostly need to remember the words of this talk.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Mmm I love thunderstorms, especially when I am inside and warm and toasty and dry. To quote Dan, it's like a monsoon out there. I love it. It's even better when one has skylights in her roof. And by "one" I mean "me."

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Lawn Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Lawn Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

So I somehow stumbled across this and am mildly obsessed. Or maybe very much obsessed. I've never done this blog link thing before, so hopefully it works, because, as mentioned, I am obsessed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Um, hi

So, uh, yeah. It's been a while since we've blogged. And we haven't written one teensy little post about our summer adventures, despite the (very kind) requests to do so. I'm sorry. Things have just been a little nutty around the Harbuck (lack of) household for the last month. As I'm now in business school, I feel compelled to do everything in bullets.*

I'm in business school! At Georgetown University. And I love it. A few highlights and lowlights:
  • The PEOPLE! Are fabulous. For the most part. There are, of course, a few self-serving and -centered ones, but for the most part, they are spectacular. Their interests and backgrounds are wonderfully diverse, and they are kind and caring and want to change the world.
  • The professors are equally spectacular. Wow, they are so personal and willing (almost anxious) to help. They are brilliant and know their stuff. There is one blatant exception. I will not name names.
  • The facilities. We have a brand new building. That has natural light. Tons of it.
  • I'm almost sad to admit this, but I like Accounting now. And am good at it. What is happening with the world?
  • I also love Organizational Behavior and Management Communication (separate classes). Less surprising.
  • Low point: 3 weeks ago, we had 2 midterms, 2 group papers, and one individual paper due. 'Nuff said.
Other happenings:
  • Dan's job is awesome and is giving him great training.
  • We went to Mobile, AL this past weekend for a wedding. It was oh so lovely.
  • I'm going to Minneapolis this weekend for a career conference.
  • I'm going to Philadelphia/NYC at the end of the month for another career thing. And may need to go to Anaheim. October = travel, apparently.
What else? About what do you want us to write? I feel so out of the blogosphere, and so out of events. I don't know where to start, so if you want to hear from us (not a given), requests are welcomed. :)

*Who am I kidding? I totally wrote/spoke/ate/breathed bullets well before business school.

Monday, June 1, 2009

End of the Beginning

Today is the official day of our move from Philadelphia. Paired with Dan's brother's wedding in Utah last week, his graduation and his other brother's first baby arriving the week before, our one-year anniversary, and me finishing up work, the last couple of weeks have kind of left me gasping for air. But this morning, as I drove my last drive to work along my beautiful routes, I was just calm, and felt a sweet peace. With slightly wet eyes, I drove past City Hall, the Masonic Temple, St. Peter's cathedral, the Free Library, the Franklin Institute, Logan Circle, the Rodin Museum, the PMA, up Kelly Drive beside Boathouse Row, and so many other lovely, lovely places all shining in the beautiful Philadelphia morning. We ADORE this city, and I love that just about each day, I stumble across something new, something beautifully new, a wonderful gem. I can't wait to come back and go to all the places that I still haven't been able to visit in almost seven years, just because there are too many.

Moving is just absolutely loathsome. Really, truly dreadful. But I have been grateful over the past few days for the many perfect angels and the sweet experiences we've had because of it. Three friends decided to just come over on Friday and help us pack up our (surprisingly enormous amount of) stuff. It was truly incredible to me how much we had in our not-that-big apartment, especially our kitchen. We'll just call it a testament to my organizational skills. In any case, we were so blessed by these people who helped pack, load, unload, keep sane, etc., without whom it would never have gotten done. I am also so very grateful for our wonderful South Philadelphia branch. We (unfortunately) haven't talked about it much on this blog, but words don't totally express how much we love our branch. The people there are such treasures, so sincere, so kind, so loving, so familial.

Yesterday felt like a perfect sendoff largely because of how wonderful church was, and that we got to have a special experience by speaking and sharing our love for them. It was topped off by spending the afternoon with one of our favorite branch families, followed by dinner with Dan's incredible mission president and his wife who are blessedly in our stake, and then a second dessert with our wonderful, wonderful landlords. I am so glad Philly is getting a temple because she and her people deserve it.

We've had so many miracles in the last few days, mostly delivered by other people, but just to recount one of the many, many stories of help we've received, I called our landlady before putting out desk on craigslist to ask if she maybe just wanted it. She told me not to worry about having to do anything with it and that I could just leave it. She asked if we wanted it again after our long trip this summer*, and that they could hang onto it until then if we wanted. I told her not to worry about it. BUT if and only if she had space that they were not using at all and if it was no hassle, we had a TV that could use a storage spot for the summer, because it might not fit in our last car load. She said no worries at all, and that we could just leave it there and they'd store it in their basement. I told her that we could bring it out there (especially since we were planning on dropping by that night, anyway), but she said really to not worry about it and that we had enough to do. She said that they were going to do a bit of renovation on the apartment, anyway, and that we could just leave anything we wanted to keep but for which we didn't have room, leave a note with our names, and that they'd have someone bring it up to their basement for the summer. WHAT?? This is our LANDLADY, people. As in, the person with whom most people have monthly spats and who usually refuses to fix apartmental problems and who, if you're my friend's landlady, complains when her final month's check is just a couple of days late because she was in finals and graduating and just totally forgot, and was immediately sent when she realized it and still charged a late fee even though for the previous months, she paid a lump sum four months in advance (at which point the landlady said that made it more difficult for her...ridiculous). This is that person that usually gets mad at you for forgetting something in your emptied apartment. She actually told us we could just LEAVE our extra stuff and not have to move it anywhere, that they would take care of and store it for us, and that we could retrieve it anytime we wanted. At this point I basically started jumping up and down in ecstasy and called my mom and almost fainted from relief.

In any case, the point of this is that a) we love Philadelphia and its people, b) we're so very, very grateful for their kindness to us, and c) we're gonna miss this place. Dearly. We love you, Philly.

*Oh, uh, yeah. We're going to Europe, India, and South America this summer as a sort of last hurrah-this-may-be-the-last-pre-children-large-chunk-of-time-in-which-neither-of-us-is-working-or-in-school. And the recession is making plane tickets uber-cheap.

Friday, May 8, 2009

If I were to marry a voice...

Whew. Friday. I'm sad to say that this week has been completely overwhelming. It's not terribly often that I feel that way, and even less frequently does my pride let me admit it. But hoo boy, this week totally kicked my trash. Don't get me wrong - it's been awesome. We got to host one dear friend from out of town, spend time with another, had a couple of awesome swim workouts at the gym, got to some awesome parts in Harry Potter, may have found a place to live, and got to eat at 3 (!!) fabulous restaurants (really, it's unusual for us to even eat out once for dinner during the week). I was productive at work and got to play my violin and came back with probably over $150 worth of awesome specialty food from a work food show I attended.

And I am totally pooped.

Dan jokes that whenever I am stressed, I read through my planner before bed. Much as this seems completely oxymoronic, doing so actually helps ease the stress. Instead of reminding me of all I have to do, it lets me organize what I need to do and plan a time for it, and it releases me from worrying about remembering it because I know it's already been recorded in my trusty planner. Call it The Crazy.

In any case, on my (very lengthy) drive home yesterday, I totally relaxed for a moment when a gorgeous voice came on my iPod. And thus, I bring you:

Voices I Would Marry!

In no particular order,
  1. Michael Buble. His gorgeous, dusky, rich voice definitely makes the cut. The aforementioned song was him singing "My Grownup Christmas List." Now, let me make clear that I'm usually adamantly opposed to listening to Christmas music outside of the Thanksgiving-New Year's window, but I consider this an exception because that's not really the point of the song anyway, and because his voice is such that, to quote Randy, he could sing the phonebook and it would be awesome. Despite the fact that he was singing about wanting to cure the world's ills, well, Sa-WOON!
  2. Gary LeVox. Lead singer of Rascal Flatts. My goodness, he has one of the clearest and most controlled voices I've ever heard. It is just gorgeous. His runs are seriously spectacular. I love the uncut versions of their songs because even then his voice is pretty near flawless. And seriously, how could you not love a voice that sings about a grandma?
  3. David Archuleta. Okay, okay, bring on the mockery. I can take it. Seriously, though, go youtube his performance of "Imagine" or "When You Believe." That kid has some serious pipes. And his pitch is well, just wow. He is spot on .
  4. James Taylor. 'Nuff said.

Who owns your voices of glory?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sewing help!

Dear friends in the Philadelphia area,
Is anyone talented with sewing and/or blanket-making and/or have a sewing machine? I have the cutest fabric to make my soon-to-arrive baby nephew a blanket, but I lack all of the above. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Deepest thanks,

Monday, April 27, 2009


Unfortunately, I am the type of person whose taste buds decide to become soul mates with something for some indeterminate period of time. And much as Dan enjoys eating the exact same thing for dinner every night for a week, well, not so much. A couple of summers ago, it was Grape Nuts (don't tell my manager) with soy milk and fresh blueberries. Mmm. Random, I know (especially since I refused cereal pretty much throughout my early years) but oh so delicioso. Seriously, I would eat literally 3-4 bowls every day. And crave it when I was eating something else, caving to my vegetable appreciation. What sane person craves Grape Nuts??

Lately it has been Nutella. But not just any old Nutella. Nutella with coconut and bananas (occasionally substituted for strawberries) on toast (or crepes, if available). I won't eat it without any one of those components. No fruit - too sweet; no coconut - too...something. It just doesn't have the same flavor. No Nutella - well then what would be the point of anything?

It's seriously getting ridiculous. This part is especially embarrassing, but I like it on bread that has been sitting out for a little bit so it has that crackly sort of exterior, without actually being toasted through. Lately I've made myself layer on more banana to increase the fruit:carb ratio.

Another dear love is homemade pesto. I made a cilantro bell pepper one yesterday and pretty much want to scoop up the extra with my bare hands.

Am I the only one with insatiable food cravings? What do you crave?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Loved Frankie. Only mostly loved the book. The main thing that kept this from a 5-star read was the writing style. It just wasn't totally my thing. The 3rd person narrator interludes were a bit off-putting to me, and it just sounded pretentious at times.

(For instance, "How does a person become the person she is? What are the factors in her culture, her childhood, her education, her religion, her economic stature, her sexual orientation, her race, her everyday interactions--what stimuli lead her to make choices other people will despise her for? This chronicle is an attempt to mark out the contributing elements in Frankie Landau-Banks's character. What led her to do what she did: things she would later view with a curious mixture of hubris and regret. Frankie's mental processes had been stimulated by Ms. Jensson's lectures on the panopticon , her encounters with Alpha, her mother's refusal to let her walk into town on the Jersey Shore, her observation of the joy Matthew took in rescuing her from her bicycle accident, and her anger at Dean for not remembering her. All these were factors in what happened next... (107)"

All the talk about the panopticon was totally interesting, but written weirdly, in my opinion - it was written like an encyclopedia or a biology textbook, not like a novel. I get that it is written in sort of the essay style as a parallel to Frankie's own essay on the subject, but it was just kind of annoying and distracting to me.

That said, I LOVED Frankie. What a fabulous character. Matthew and Alpha and Trish were also spot on. But really, Frankie. She was just so interesting and punchy and awesome-girl-power-esque, without being crazy (which some thought her to be, but from seeing her progression, she decidedly was not). So yeah, awesome characterization.

All in all, aside from some writing shortcomings (style, ending, etc.), I'd recommend this wholeheartedly.

[Total sidenote: for those of you who appreciated the aardvark/ardvark post, you will totally love the use of neglected positives in this book. :))

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another year down

Happy birthday, Dan! In honor of the event, I threw him a surprise party this past Saturday. It was so fun! We're grateful for the many wonderful friends who came out. Since I am typically a terrible liar, I was rather pleased with my trickery this time around.

For months, I'd been thinking it would be fun to have a float party, since Dan loves ice cream soda floats of all kinds. My awesome friend Lizzie, ballet buddy and cake-decorator extraordinaire, offered to make the cake. Who could refuse? Sadly, I don't have a picture offhand, but will upload its magnificence soon. In any case, I wanted to go help her decorate it, so I crafted a fake email from her asking if I wanted to go over for dinner/girl time after last week's ballet class, and forwarded it to Dan. Of course, he said yes, and I was careful not to get food dye on my clothes.

Next came planning how to get him home while others were already there, and getting all the food there without him noticing. So I bought ice cream/weird sodas on Thursday during lunch, stored them in my work freezer, and dropped them off at a friend's house that evening. Then at the aforementioned ballet class on Thursday, I gave my keys to my fabulous friend Becca, figuring I could just call Dan excitedly when I got home in hopes that he'd run down to meet me. Luck prevailed - it turned out he was still on campus working on a group project, so we got to drive home together and he was none the wiser.

Friday got a little sticky - I had to take home a bunch of frozen food samples from work, and wanted to drop them off before we made our drive down to DC that night. I get home and walk up to my door and stop. DUH! Dan was at the previously-posted-about competition, from where I was going to pick him up, but I called and suggested he just meet me at home - it was probably faster for him to bike than for me to drive at that hour, and that way we wouldn't have to transport his bike to DC and back. :) He heartily agreed, and met me at home. I also told him that it was so nice out (thank heavens it was sunny) that I would just be reading outside until he got there (totally believable with my sun obsession). When he showed up, I was sitting there reading, and I feigned surprise and fluster (noun form of to be flustered?) and exclaimed that I'd been so absorbed in my book that I'd completely forgotten to take up the frozen stuff (again, totally believable). He rolled his eyes but didn't think a thing of it.

Saturday arrives and we're driving back from DC and a friend calls to ask what time the party is. "Um, 8." I was totally rude and brusque but then had my shining moment of cleverness as I turned to Dan and asked, "Branch council is at 8 tomorrow, right?" Finally, we arrive at home (me having sent a preconstructed warning text) and walk out the gate to the parking lot...fortuitously, I walked out first and noticed a group of friends standing on the doorstep. I quickly made some shooing motions and they turned and walked the other direction, the back of their heads going unrecognized by Dan as he walked out. We walked up, they screamed, he screamed, and the rest is history. :)

Thanks to everyone who made the party so fun!

Oh, and what birthday would be complete without a brief 10 things? In honor of all our recent road trips, how about things I love about him that I've learned on road trips?
  1. He loves looking at barns, and taking pictures of them. He'd probably paint them if we had more time.
  2. He adores American history, and fills in the gaps when I forget names and dates and such.
  3. He's nice to me and only makes fun of me for falling asleep when it's within the first 5 minutes, and on rare occasions, 10.
  4. He's not into the over-touristed places and exhibits and such, and would much rather pull out a map and wander and figure things out.
  5. He really really really loves car treats. Especially Fruit Snacks.
  6. He always likes going to Taco Bell and thus does not make fun of me for liking it, too.
  7. He loves having a wide assortment of cartertainment, but is perfectly content reading Harry Potter for the majority of the ride.
  8. He likes bringing the baben along. :)
  9. He's excellent at starting random and interesting conversations, such as those involving aardvarks.
  10. He is completely my favorite person ever with whom to travel. I can't wait until this summer. :)

Love ya, sweetheart.

This pretty much makes me physically ill

There are just so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to start. It makes me sick when people try to twist religion into meaning the opposite of what it does. Makes Bliss all the more meaningful.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where my mind goes at night

I got a speeding ticket in my dream last night. Except the officer was going to mail it to me, and when it arrived in the mail, it had my cute little visiting teachee's name on it instead. I, of course, was thrilled since I knew she wouldn't have to pay it, anyway, and it allowed me to escape the wrath of the terrifically unkind Upper Dublin police force.

Total sidenote: did I not already have a ring on an important finger, I would, without question, be sending out invites to my marriage to this weather. The end.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why we married each other

[Intro of who knows what leading up to this.]

Daniel: Yeah, you know, like on Wikipedia where it has the disambiguation.

Preethi: Disambiguation?

D: Yes, that's when you look up, say NBC and it says something like, "This article is about the National Broadcasting Company. For National Bank of the Colonies, click here."

P: Oh. You're so clever to have just made up that example off the top of your head because I'm fairly certain you would have never ACTUALLY looked up the National Bank of the Colonies on Wikipedia.

D: ...

P: So, why is it disambiguation? Why not unabiguation?

D: Or a-ambiguation?

P: Yes, a-ambiguation! Like Asymmetrical. But it would be hard to distinguish between ambiguation and aambiguation. People might get confused and think it's really the opposite of what it is. Maybe that's why aardvark has two "a"s!

D: Yeah! Maybe there's really an ardvark, and an aardvark is the exact opposite of that. Maybe some people saw this new animal and were wondering what it was and someone said, "Well, I know for sure that it is NOT an ardvark! It looks like the exact opposite of that!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Namesake

[I read this several weeks ago, and I feel even less inclined to recommend it after the mulling period.]

"Meh" is really all I have to say. I really WANTED to like this book; and, for that matter, did - to some extent. The strongest thing about it is the way Lahiri describes some of the emotions of an Indian born and raised in America. If I weren't an ABCD, myself, though, I don't know that even that would really be very meaningful to me.

Overall, the story was mildly interesting, but not thrilling or particularly deep. In fact, she tried far too much to be deep, sounding trite with some frequency. Some parts were downright cheesy (Near the end, so a slight spoiler: "Without people in the world to call him Gogol, no matter how long he himself lives, Gogol Ganguli will, once and for all, vanish from the lips of loved ones, and so, cease to exist. Yet the thought of this eventual demise provides no sense of victory, no solace. It provides no solace at all."

The writing wasn't anything about which to rave - in fact, it was overdone or underdone most of the time (there was a weird dichotomy between wanting to sound colloquial and thus using dangling participles, etc., but then using overly elaborate verbiage in other parts). The charaters weren't particularly loveable or identifiable. They also did not stay true to themselves, or to what they were written to be. The story...the story was interesting, but frustrating. It didn't seem to have a point. I was rather annoyed in a lot of places. There was a lot of unnecessary sexual escapades that while weren't graphic, seemed to just be thrown in as attention-grabbing devices.

And the whole name thing...oh, the name thing. Was. just. ridiculous. It didn't make any sense to me and seemed to be blown way out of proportion. It just seemed to be some random common strain around which to develop a book that really had no other purpose. The second half of the book strayed completely, anyway. Oh, and the second half - it was worse than the first. It meandered all over the place and was so ridiculously predictable. I was totally bored by it.

All that said, it was interesting. I kept reading. I wanted to find out what happened despite the fact that I already knew. I guess that counts for something.

Overall, a marginally-better-than-average book.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Books and Brooklyn

In response to Julie's question on a previous post and as Goodreads clearly does not leave ample gushing room, here's my take on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In a word, phenomenal. Fabulous. Spectacularly achingly beautiful. This was one of those books that I see myself reading over and over through the years, and giving to my daughters and cherishing and smiling every time I see its spine on my bookshelf.

I try to be restrained in giving out 5 stars on Goodreads; this often leads to comments in the reviews that go something along the lines of, "Well, if there were half points, this would really be a 3.5. Or maybe a 3.72, but that might be pushing it, because I know that those 2/100ths of a point will definitely tip your decision in favor of reading the book instead of going to eat French fries. Or at least make you do both at the same time." It's a good book, is all I'm saying.

But this one, this one, is a must-read. Not just if you're a girl or have been to Brooklyn or even if you've ever imagined your life better. This is just so lovely that I can't imagine that anyone who reads it wouldn't be touched in some way. So many books (including, sadly, the one I'm currently reading) cross the line between poignancy and triteness; they go a little too far. [Clearly I am an authority on this, and my ability to blather on and on until my effusion floods your view is a testament to this fact.] ATGiB, though, says just enough. The writing, like a main character, is pragmatic, matter-of-fact, with spurts of abiding emotion. The outbursts are all the more moving for their infrequency, but after it all, they move on, as we do. Every word is carefully crafted to be meaningful but not too much so that it is taken out of context. The themes are oh so very real and moving.

The story is engaging, despite the fact that there's no real "climax," no frenzy to find out what happens, no denoument. For all that, I could not put this book down. And now I'm just being a lush, but, dare I say, this book is a new favorite.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I liked my Monday off, but Tuesdays are better.

Namely, because of this email (in response to a note I sent that mentioned how I'm working on a spare desktop):

"I'm glad that the spare computer is working. What does that do to your workflow though? Are you off in a room by yourself? That thought somehow makes me miss you even more because I'm not quite sure how to envision you at work.



7:00 am - I awake and peek out the window. Seeing a bit of snow (but not enough to keep me tied to my home), I lament the fact that I didn't bring my work computer home over the weekend.

7:40 am - I leave and walk out into the frosty morning. Dan, who has thoughtfully accompanied me, joins me in de-snow/icing our car.

7:53 am - I pull out of our parking lot onto the slippery but manageable roads.

8:25 am - I make it to the art museum (approximately a 4-mile drive).

8:45 am - Still driving.

9:00 am - Still driving. I'm halfway there.

9:10 am - I get to one uncleared road and pull over because I'm skidding that snowy skid all over the place. I make an executive decision not to risk the one-way tunnel I typically use. I call my manager as I pause at a Starbucks to see how conditions progress.

9:55 am - I finish my peppermint Signature hot chocolate as well as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I rejoice in its beauty but feel my shoulders droop a I realize it has finished.

10:20 am - I make it to the office, having taken a different route.

10:23 am - I turn on my computer.

10:30 am - My computer continues to try to turn on.

10:33 am - Blue screen of death.

10:35 am - I call the help desk.

10:36 am - I hear a recorded message telling me that the help desk is currently down.

10:37 am - I ask Sarah, the office guru, about what to do. She knows nothing about the BSoD, but hands me a spare laptop.

10:38 am - I return to my desk (still bearing the stamp of the BSoD) and plug in the spare. It refuses to turn on.

10:39 am - I return to Sarah. She walks back to my desk with me, telling me that she was having trouble with getting it to turn on last week. Hi BSoD!

10:40 am - The computer turns on! I log in.

10:41 am - The computer dies.

10:42 am - I call my manager laughing. It takes 2.5 hours to get to work, my computer dies, the help desk is down, and the spare computer dies.

10:55 am - I give up and go to the gym with Dan. We swim in the gloriously empty pool. I head to the library and then home to cuddle up with my new book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Almost as cool as last V-day

So I admit it, I'm a grinch - I've never believed in Santa Claus (the subject for a later post) and I don't like Valentine's Day. But this year, we went down to Houston to witness the wedding of our friends Manny & Lorie and oh it was so wonderful.

A) We got to see them get hitched! They were so happy and so relaxed, which I loved. Always the sign of a good relationship, I think.

B) We got to hang out with our fabulous friend Cynthia and her equally cool boyfriend Carlo. We ate and walked around and chatted and, importantly, listened to the Valentine's Day CD Making Contest contenders. I'm embarrassed to admit that this has been a bi-annual tradition for six. years. now. Yeesh.

C) It was warm! Joy of joys!

D) We got to dance the night away at their reception. I never danced in high school until I met Dan. He was just so uninhibited and just worried about having fun rather than how he looked or, um, running into other dancers, that I just couldn't help myself. I've loved dancing ever since, and he makes me feel comfortable enough to do it in public.

E) We saw a really fabulous Byzantine fresco museum and a lovely lovely sculpture garden. Where we read a book in the aforementioned warmth of the sun.

F) We had the adrenaline-pumping experience of almost missing our flight. Abnormally, we were at the airport a full 2 hours in advance because Houston is super spread out and we couldn't find a restaurant other than McDonald's within walking distance. So we figured we might as well go to the airport and eat there. So we get there and because of the (again aforementioned) warmth (do you see a theme emerging?), we sat outside on the grass for a while and read a book (theme numero dos). We go inside with a full hour and a half to spare and leisurely eat our dinner. Except, um, it was a bit too leisurely. Dan eventually glances down at his phone clock at 6:47. Yeah, our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:55. We frantically gather up our half-eaten food and start towards our gate, at which point we hear our names announced over the intercom. I race ahead (Dan is kindly carrying, oh, uh, ALL our luggage) to keep them from closing the doors on us and, thank heavens, we make it. But by this point, every single non-middle seat is taken and we have no chance at sitting next to each other. :( :( But about half an hour into the flight, Dan glances across the row at me and motions that his very very kind seatmate with whom he's been chatting has offered to trade up his lovely window for my middle seat across the aisle. Not gonna lie, a teensy tear of surprise and joy may or may not have escaped.

G) We met these cuties at the Houston Arboretum Discovery Center.

(PS - I even TRIED to upload pictures this time. But my computer is having nothing of it.)

(PPS - See here for last year's festivities. Because we all know it's cooler to celebrate 100 days until your wedding than Valentine's Day. Dang it, I just realized that this was supposed to be an annual thing.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Maybe this is TMI

The scene: Ladies' room at my work.
The time: 3pm-ish, aka a high time of ladies' room usage (does anyone else notice how there are certain hours that just seem busier than others?)

I walk into the restroom, minding my own business, and walk down to the far stall (the big one) because it's roomier. Maybe that's weird, but who doesn't want a bigger bathroom? Anyway, I turn into the stall (the door to which is WIDE open), and stop abruptly, as there is a woman standing in there talking on her cell phone. I was so startled that I just stopped, and then I paused, expecting her to walk out or something. But she just stood there and continued to talk on the phone while I stood there.

So after a few seconds of her using the stall for her chatting, I go to another stall. The woman stands in the stall for another minute or so, after which she begins pacing between the stall and the sink area, all the while talking about some very sick relative or friend or something, all while I and other people continue to walk in and out of the restroom.

Am I the only one who finds this terribly, terribly strange??

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On the Stars and Stripes

Let's just start out by saying that Jennifer Hudson is awesome. She's beautiful, has enough 'tude to keep things interesting, and, obvi, this gal has some pipes. She has a voice that I like - it's big without being aggressive, and she has a phenomenal amount of control. That's one of the things I love most in a singer.

That said, I just didn't love her rendition of the national anthem on Sunday. To me, this is about something so sacred, so moving, that I just don't want someone to belt it. I most admire those who have every capacity to belt, but don't. I love when individuals sing it and it leaves you thinking, "Wow, I love those words and the heroes of this early country. I love that it was, in fact, the enemy's fire that allowed this symbol of success and freedom to be seen through the night," instead of, "Yeah!!!! That singer is awesome!!!" I'd even allow that showing off has its place; this, however, is not it. Mind you, being reverent does not always mean being quiet, but to me, it does mean being thoughtful and not getting in the way of the song itself. On that note, it drives me crazy when everyone starts clapping before the end of it!

Regardless, I did still tear up round about the last line. I thought I'd make it the whole way through for once. Um, apparently not.

PS - Was anyone else as sad for the Cardinals as I was? :(

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rude Awakening

Oh, I'm sorry, what was that?  It's January 25th and it's been over a month since we've posted?  And the holidays are over?  Alas.  I think I figured that if I put this off as long as possible, I'd find that Christmas break was really just starting.

In any case, things really aren't as bad as that makes them sound.  We've actually had a lovely time returning to Philadelphia and grow ever more fond of it.  We had a truly fantastic break that involved lots of sleeping, family time, reading, cooking, temple-going, was really very lovely.  We're happy to have entered our first full year of marital life and have kicked 2009 into gear already by taking a day trip to Princeton/NYC this past Saturday (also our 8-month anniversary, celebrated at Cuba Libre) to spend some time with the fabulous Steve & Mickie and hosting Dan's brother Jonathan + Girlfriend Tabitha the weekend before. Several other good things have happened thus far in January:
  • Dan has started a capoeira class, while Preethi will be taking her very first ever dance class (ballet).
  • We saw the movie Valkyrie.  Really fantastic, and unbelievably historically accurate.
  • Dan was called as the new Elders' Quorum President.
  • Preethi has been accepted to Georgetown.
  • We watched The Brave Little Toaster.  "And gwumpy!"
  • We made Moroccan food for the first time.  It was quite easy and delicious.
  • We were reunited with all our wonderful branch friends, and had our favorite Primary-ites literally run to us to give us a hug our first day back.
  • We obtained multiple boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Stay tuned.