Saturday, January 31, 2009

Song of the day

I'm a little lacking in affect today. Probably from more or less unsuccessfully fighting off a stupid virus. But anyway, the rocky music I've been craving of late just isn't doing it for me today.

So! Damien Rice. Always the right answer. This song in particular, "Blowers Daughter," really shows off his voice. Which I could listen to all day. If he were to read the phone book, I'd sit at his feet and listen attentively.

Anyway, I think he really does melancholy like no one else. Everything on O is really good, but I have a few favorites. This chief among them.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Burger Club takes on Nationwide Freezer Meats

When you tell people you're in a burger club, or that you and some friends are trying to find the best burger in Sacramento, there is generally one of two responses -- either someone says, "Oooh! What do you think of [fill in burger place name here]?" or "You have got to try [burger place]. Best burger I've ever had."

In the days leading up to our trip to Nationwide Freezer Meats, I heard a lot of the second response. It's clearly a bit of a cult favorite here in town (though I'd never heard of it before we planned our lunch), and I was excited to see what all the hubbub was about.

We went Monday when the weather was warm and sunny. Which turned out to be a good thing, because it is a trek from the Capitol, y'all -- at 20th and H. We walked and walked and walked to get there (and since G and M2 drove, G didn't have to listen to me repeatedly whine, "Are we there yet? How much longer?" like he usually does).

When we finally arrived, the decor was predictably kitschy, and rock music pumped out of the speakers. You've got to love a place with "Dirty White Boy" on its soundtrack.

More kitsch: here, for example, is the salt shaker that was on the table:

There's also a mural painted on one wall which must be famous somehow because it's featured in nearly all the web reviews of the place. We sat next to it:

The menu was a little hard to figure out, burger wise. There were two basic kinds of burgers as far as I could tell -- a "small" burger and then a French burger. As A pointed out, there was no indicator of what made the French burger French, which was a bit disappointing. The bun, maybe? Dunno. About half of us ordered smalls and half French, I think all with a side of fries. J went nuts and, belying her teensy size, also ordered a peanut-butter-and-chocolate shake. More about that later.

The food was delivered in brown paper bags. As an aside, when the waiter/delivery guy yelled out my name, I about came out of my chair, which amused him.

Here's my order. I had a small cheeseburger, fries and a Coke. It came to more than $11. Which seemed high for what it was. As someone pointed out, In'n'Out would be half that price for the same amount and general type of food.

There were a lot of us for this outing -- eight people, including several new members -- and as usual, the table got quiet as our food orders trickled in and we started to eat. But criticisms were quick to arise.

M thought the bun was fine, but other people who had the elusively-titled French burger thought theirs were soggy. I was happy that the meat was flavorful, particularly after the bland Lucca experience, but others thought it was overly salty. Then there was the special sauce -- some thought there was too much, others thought it was fine. The fries were a clear dividing line -- I'm not a steak fry person at all and was really unhappy with them. Others thought they were good, for steak fries, while G, who's the French Fry Guy in the group, said J's still has the best steak fries in Sac.

We ate and debated. And finally voted. Most of us gave passing grades, but none of us thought the food was particularly great, particularly for the price. J would have failed her burger altogether, but her rapturous love for the peanut-butter-and-chocolate shake saved the day.

Final Burger Club vote for Nationwide Freezer Meats: B-/C+

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eight years

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Going from crack to heroin

I played World of Warcraft for a while tonight and, got so involved, completely forgot "Lost" was on.

And I meant to write a Burger Club review of Nationwide Freezer Meats. But no. All time and space was sucked into the WoW vortex.

A month ago, I didn't even know what this game was. Now I'm wandering around, killing wolves and bears and kobolds and I don't even know what all.

Back to some form of regular programming tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 things

Sweet Colette tagged me for this endeavor on Facebook, so here goes.

The rules:

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person that tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. To do this, on your profile page, go to the "Note" tab; click "Write a New Note" (towards the top of the page); paste these instructions in the body of the note; add/type your 25 random things; tag 25 people adding their names in the box under "Tag people in this note"; click publish at the bottom of the note.

1. I hate coconut.
2. I always used two straws in drinks.
3. I'd rather watch CNN than almost anything else.
4. I have the worst sense of direction of anyone I know; this is not news to my friends.
5. Even four years in, I can still hardly believe I became a Christian.
6. I have 1.5 tattoos. If I could get away with it, I would have many, many more.
7. I have wanted to go to Paris for as long as I can remember, but am concerned that if/when I do go, it will not live up to a lifetime of expectations.
8. I own more than 100 pairs of shoes.
9. If it weren't for my BlackBerry, I would never remember birthdays, anniversaries and the like.
10. My favorite way to spend an evening is to cook dinner for friends and then to sit for hours around the table, talking and laughing.
11. Chocolate. Always chocolate.
12. Fall is my favorite season.
13. I have a horrible weakness for leopard print.
14. I hate reality TV.
15. But I'm too shallow to watch most documentaries.
16. Or to enjoy museums.
16. Or to listen to opera. All I hear is screeching noises.
17. I love horror movies but am easily freaked out by them and live alone, so I rarely watch.
18. I don't get tea.
19. I don't want to be alone. I accept it, but I have not yet come to want it.
20. My closets are generally a horrific mess.
21. Sometimes music sounds so good to me, I want to wriggle all around from the goodness of it.
22. I don't think I'll ever find a solution for the Migraine Situation and that saddens me.
23. I hate having my picture taken.
24. I could eat grilled cheese sandwiches every day.
25. Bacon is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Insane Dog Posse

I petsat for the Briggses over the weekend. They have three critters -- Harrison, who looks like a Bernese mountain dog to me but I have no idea what that is exactly; Mozart, a sweet black-and-white cat; and Jackson, a standard poodle who is a little crazy.

Look at Harrison's sweet face. All he wants to is play tug-of-war with his rope and sit at your feet.

Then there's Mozart, who spent a lot of time peeking around corners to see if the dogs had him in their sights before coming out of hiding for food or attention:

And, here's Jackson. He has challenges with sitting still, so most of my pictures of him are like this one (and like him) -- a little askew.

He has these crazy puffs of hair on top of his head and the end of his tail, like a Dr. Seuss character. The one on his head is a bit oddly shaped, like a bad toupee, and especially since he's always in motion, the whole effect is a bit cattywompus.

He did stand still long enough to drink some water before streaking off to harass Harrison or the cat. I can't remember.

When the dogs play, they wrestle like bears: standing on their rear legs, front paws grabbing at each other, a great deal of poseur growling and snarling going on. It's hilarious. Here they are circling each other before a bout:

I have to say, after eight years of having a small lady dog who weighs 11 pounds, it was really something to wrassle and herd a pair of young, healthy male dogs. Every time I came home from visiting them, Daisy would sniff the exposed bits of my skin, trying to get her fill of them.

Speaking of Daisy, here she is with Armando from his visit last night. She was all over him the whole time he was here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Operation Junkless Trunk

I've been going to the gym for a couple of months now, and I'm stuck. It was bound to happen. I tend to thrive once I can get into a new routine, but being basically lazy, I also flounder without clear goals. Throwing my Type A tendencies into the mix, once I set upon something, though, I tackle it pretty hard.

I took a good, hard look at my physical self Friday. I didn't much like what I saw, despite two months of mostly-aimless-though-consistent gym going. And decided that I needed to focus, get a goal and hit it. Operation Junkless Trunk* was born.

So! Yesterday, full of resolve, I grimly marched into the gym, iPod and Sigg bottle at the ready, to engage in my own personal death march. I hate cardio so much, but there's just no more efficient means of losing body fat, never mind increasing stamina and overall fitness. All of which are admirable goals, but frankly it was the, um, rear view that was focusing me like a laser.

And, within minutes of serious running on the treadmill, I was limping and in tears. A few years ago when I previously decided to start running in earnest, I gave myself wicked shin splints in both legs. And, being both stubborn and stupid, I kept running. To the point that I gave myself a stress fracture in my left shin. And yesterday, after less than four minutes of running flat out, the all-too-familiar ripping pull in my lower leg was back.

A trainer saw me hobbling and came over to help me. Brought me ice and sat down to talk to me for a bit. And it became clear pretty quickly that I was going about things completely wrong (shocking). He talked me through the difference between training and rehabbing: what I wanted to do was train (run fairly aggressively and consistently for increased fitness), but I needed to rehab first (slowly and deliberately increase my exercise back to pre-injury levels through a monitored program of staged increases in duration and intensity). Since my body hadn't ever properly rehabbed from the prior injury, despite all the time that had passed, I was setting myself up to re-injure unless I went about running the right way. He said I could definitely get where I wanted to go, but that it would take longer and require strategic, steady effort.

We worked out a 12-week, three-days-a-week treadmill routine. I'm to lift and/or stretch the other days. The maniac in me is screaming at the thought that all I can do today at the gym is walk for 10 minutes on the treadmill, and that it will be nearly all walking with short bursts of running for about seven weeks. But if this works, I'll be running 30 minutes at a stretch, safely, in about three months' time.

*Maybe Operation More Trunk, Less Junk would be a better name.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Song of the day

I really love the Bee Gees. I mean, I grew up in the '70s, so there's the whole disco thing that I am just now beginning to come to grips with, but also I think it may have been their beautiful harmonizing vocals that first turned my head as a young girl from the pop garbage on the radio to real ballads, lyrics with meaning and the fact that music could be good to listen to while not horrible to think about.

Anyway. This song has been a favorite from the first time I heard it. The Bee Gees released it in 1967. They had written it originally for Otis Redding, but he died in a plane crash before he could record it. It's been covered numerous times by folks as diverse as Nina Simone, Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin. I love this version of it performed by Damian Rice and Ray LaMontagne.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New favorite thing: boyshorts

Underwear is an incredibly personal thing. Obviously.

Given that it serves a basic function (to put a layer between us and our clothes), you'd think that by now there would be some sort of standard, commonly accepted form. But no. The varieties, fabrics, cuts, styles are seemingly endless.

And it feels like I've tried them all. Visible panty lines (VPLs) present one set of challenges -- when I was younger, your basic ladies cotton underwear worked fine, but once I got a bit older and started wearing suits and nicer clothes, they bunched up. I then moved on to French cut ones, thinking less fabric would help. Not so much, as it turned out. They left a whole different kind of VPL. Then, on to thongs, which dealt with the VPL but created a whole new set of problems by way of The Perpetual Wedgie. Trying to discreetly pull underwear out of one's bottom, it turns out, is not really ladylike.

Then there's the fabric. Cotton is bulky (and I've got enough junk back there not to need any more width), silk's not durable enough for daily wear, and modal is OK but oddly slippery and not in a good way. For the longest time, I had a drawer full of one kind of every panty imaginable. Because I'd buy one pair to try them out, and be disappointed. Then a different kind, then another, and so on.

Finally, I tried boyshorts. Cut similarly to men's boxers, with straight legs and waist, there's full coverage of, um, things without so much fabric that it can bunch. They're longer on the leg, so VPL isn't a factor. The straight waistband also leaves fewer lines and serves well under dress clothes and jeans both.

Here are the specific ones I'm currently loving -- Shimera boyshorts from Nordstrom:

I got them on sale. They are nylon and spandex with some modal, making them comfortable and good for everyday wear (and washing). I tend to buy the nude color, because it's the most neutral and least likely to show through clothes (and it's not like anyone else is seeing them). Though -- they are flattering. I don't feel like I'm wearing granny panties, but there's sufficient coverage that everything stays where it's supposed to. Too, the lower-cut leg opening doesn't make a line across the widest part of my thigh, which doesn't hurt in terms of appearance. In this case, more fabric (if it's cut right) is definitely better than less.

I love these so much, I actually own more than one pair.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In which Sean scares me about half to death

There have been a lot of "firsts" for me since I joined Capitol Ministries in June. Like the time that a bunch of donation checks were delivered to the office sopping wet and I had to figure out how to dry them out so I could deposit them. Or last week, talking with a sweet old Dutch dairyman who called the office looking for Sarah Palin's address because he was going to send her a letter to let her know that CM wanted her to be president.

Yesterday, Sean's considerable ninja skills (skillz?) nearly killed me. Let me explain.

For those of you who haven't been to CM headquarters, we have a small office space in the basement of the Senator Hotel across the street from the Capitol. Lynne and I share the main space you enter when you first walk in; Sean has his own office immediately to the left. The door that leads out to the rest of the basement is directly in front of my desk, and it's that door that is most commonly used. And it's used a lot -- as people wander in and out, make bathroom runs, head to the bank or the mailboxes.

I've learned since I've been there to sort of not be terribly conscious of staff's comings and goings. For one, I don't want to dwell on people's potty habits (and let's be honest -- that's where people are mostly going), and for another, there are times that I need to concentrate on whatever task I'm doing, and keeping mental track of everyone's whereabouts isn't bandwidth I have to spare.

I had a busy day yesterday, to the point that I stayed back from the noon Bible study to keep working. I was trying to get through a deposit, juggle phone calls and keep up with my email. Not an unusually busy day, necessarily, but definitely plenty to hold my attention. Lynne had already left to head across the street and, in the midst of my little flurry, at one point I was vaguely aware that Sean had stepped out. A couple of minutes later, again, a vague sense that he'd returned sort of registered. But I kept my head down on my desk and email.

Then. I became aware of a presence near me. Coupled with the slightest of movements, enough to raise my eyes and attention from my work. And as I looked up, this is what I saw:


I shrieked! Obviously. And I think I half-scared Sean back when I did. He asked me, "Did I scare you?" (Answer: No, your hiding from me and then peering over my computer like a stalky maniac didn't scare me at all. I just shrieked like that because I have Tourette syndrome) Finally, I started to laugh. And laugh and laugh. Out of relief and just the general funniness of the situation. I had tears in my eyes and couldn't catch my breath and turned bright red (apparently). Sean was laughing pretty hard, too, and even poor David heard all the commotion and wondered what was going on.

Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny. And good to know Sean's covert ops/Marine training hasn't gone to waste.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


'Lost' is finally back tonight. Yes!

Do you watch "Lost"? No? You are missing out, friend(s).

It's basically the story of a group of plane-crash survivors interacting with a tropical island and its inhabitants. The longer story outlines the interconnectedness of all the plane's passengers, the role that the island dwellers (one in particular) may or may not have had in causing the plane to crash when and where it did, and what powers, if any, the island itself may hold.

I've watched faithfully since the pilot. Starting its fifth season, "Lost" is interesting, exciting and quirky. The plot is also somewhat complicated, so it's not really a show you can pick up in the middle. Netflix it from the beginning, if you're so inclined. I recommend this, because it's good.

Proof I have too much free time?

At the age of 43, I've apparently decided a wise use of my time would be to begin playing an online game.

World of Warcraft (which some female online friends refer to as The Widowmaker) is a role playing game set in a lush, incredibly complex electronic world. There are 11.5 million players worldwide so as your character works its way through various quests and tasks, there are tons of other "people" to talk to, fight with and band together with for common goals or against shared ills.

It's the free trial that got me. My character is a priest. Seemed appropriate. If you play (and care to admit it), email me. We can kill wolves together!

Obligatory picture of Daisy being adorable

She really loves this chenille woobie.

Can you stand the cuteness? I think not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
-- 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Monday, January 19, 2009

So true

This made me laugh. From Sacred Sandwich (which frequently makes me laugh):

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In which my Sunday is deemed a complete fail by 2:30 in the afternoon

The days I get headaches, I've decided, are nearly always more trouble than they're worth. I mean, I start out with the best of intentions, but nearly inevitably the wheels come off the wagon pretty early on and I wind up stumbling, Stooge-like, through a series of misadventures.

Take today, for example. For two days off and on I've been trying to fight off a headache, and when I went to bed last night, since it hadn't taken hold yet, I thought I'd beaten it. But when I woke up hurting this morning, the battle was over. Oh well.

It took me twice as long as normal to get ready, largely because having water splash against my head and a blow dryer roar into my ear were not really working out terribly well, despite drugs and caffeine and other tricks of the trade. By the time I was dressed and put together, though, I was determined to go to church. Determined.

Where, after arriving late, I lasted all of 10 or so minutes before it became clear I was too ill to be there and, if I wanted to be able to get myself home, I needed to leave. So I drove home, squinting into the bright sunshine that ordinarily would be welcome on a January winter's day.

Once home again, I turned on the oven. Baking wasn't really what I wanted to do, urpy and disoriented from the migraine, but I have all this Amish friendship bread starter that needed to be baked into bread today or else it would no longer be good. Friendship bread is the product of nine days of preparation, beginning with the starter, which is a yeasty goo that, when mixed with flour, sugar and eggs, yields a lightly sweet, fluffy, cake-like bread. For nine days, I'd been tending the starter to arrive at today's baking -- mushing the goo in its airtight Ziploc bag, adding additional flour and milk at the proper stages, burping the Ziploc of the excess carbon dioxide emitted by the thriving yeast.

Under the influence of the headache, though, I'd make a critical mistake. Last night, I measured out a cup of the starter and poured it into its own Ziploc to take to church with me today for a friend who wanted to undertake the odyssey. Well, I didn't completely seal my bag when I was done. And air got in. Which is one of the few no-nos for friendship bread starter. In addition, the Ziploc had sort of fallen over on its side and a puddle of the starter goo oozed out onto the counter from the unsealed top -- which I, of course, didn't notice before I left for church. So, nine days of starter coddling went down the drain and I got to spend about 10 minutes literally chipping congealed yeast off my counter.

I won't go into the trip to the pharmacy to pick up more medicine -- where I went to the wrong pharmacy, stood in line and finally had the pharmacist tell me I was in the wrong place -- or the load of clothes I washed where I used bleach instead of fabric softener and forgot soap altogether.

So, yeah. I'm done for the day. Officially. When I can't successfully seal a Ziploc bag or wash a load of underwear, I need to just admit defeat. I'm off to watch "Goldfinger" and try not to hurt myself on the couch.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This is very funny

At least to me. A short-hand version of the Star Wars epic.

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Borrowed from say la vee.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taking a break

I know I resolved to blog every day, but I am sort of running through a bit of a dry spell. That, coupled with my working and praying through a couple of pretty serious issues, necessitates my stepping away from this little outlet for a bit.

Probably not too long, but for a little while. And I'm fine, by the way, but would still covet your prayers.

Be back soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another cartoon for today

I found this via StumbleUpon and just had to laugh.

32 days until pitchers report to spring training

I didn't know cats were so knowledgeable about baseball -- and so ruthless in their assessments.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Some friends who, like me, have too many books and not enough time to read them have created a blog/project to give away books for free at And I'm participating.

If you'd like a chance at winning some free books in the weeks and months ahead, be sure to bookmark the site or add it to your Google Reader account. Also, if you are interested in giving away some of your own books on the site, please let us know. We would welcome a few additional co-bloggers who have good taste in books.

Finally, please help us spread the word by telling others about Bookaway.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More of the baby

After church today, I got to spend a couple of hours with Cora, her baby, her mom and her almost-two-year-old brother, Jerry.

Pretty quickly after lunch, Jerry needed a nap (meltdown, anyone?), so he and Cora's mom traipsed off to bed, leaving me with Cora and her little one.

For two hours, we sat on the couch, watched bad game shows on TV, and cuddled with the baby. Who is nearly a month old now but still amazingly perfect. She's sure beautiful, with a really sweet little disposition and appetite that belies her size. Which is getting bigger all the time.

She was in my arms nearly the entire time. I'm so grateful that Cora is so generous with her and still seems to be doing so well, all things considered.

I hope by the time she's ready for college, I lose the instinct to scoop her up in my arms and just hold her constantly. But I can't guarantee that'll be the case.

Friday, January 9, 2009


The last two days have been a whoooosh of people and planning. And I should probably blog about it, but I am just so pooped and fighting off a migraine.

So, in short:
  • Yesterday was The Big Game: Florida at Oklahoma. The National Championship, at least according to the BCS. I was lucky to host my pastor, his family, the church's new associate pastor and some of his family over to watch a DVR-delayed version of the game. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sad for Greg that OU lost. I really am.
  • Tomorrow Lynne (with a little help from me, but not much) is hosting a baby shower for a lovely lady from church. It's her third child, but her first since she and her family have joined our church family, so we want to get together for fellowship and prayer to welcome the new little one. Tonight after work was shopping and table setting and tablecloth ironing in advance of tomorrow's gathering. Which will be a wonderful time, I'm sure.
  • Shu! and Anneliese are still in the vicinity from the wilds of New Jersey, and tomorrow night there's a get together in East Sac for them. It involves an in-home tiki bar. Which is a little daunting.
  • Two precious, highly anticipated baby girls were born this week into our church family, Eden and Kate. It's been so nice to be awaiting their arrival and then seeing pictures of their wee little faces poking up out of the hospital blankets. Baby burritos, as it were.
  • Sunday is ... Sunday. Sunday school and church and Cora and Baby Belinda!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daisy's new favorite thing: SnuggleSafe heating pad

Our winters are mild in Northern California, but there's still winter. Cold, damp, gray.

And if you're an almost-14-year-old dog with short hair and who weighs 11 pounds, you feel it. The house has wood floors throughout the downstairs, and while I can throw on my Ugg slippers and some sweats, neither is really an option for Daisy. When I was home more between Christmas and New Year's Day, I noticed her shivering at times, even while curled up in a ball on the (seemingly warm) couch. It was time to do something.

I read on the Interwebs about the SnuggleSafe, a microwavable pod that you can put in your pet's bedding. After being microwaved, it maintains a nearly constant 123 degrees for about 12 hours, and since there's no electricity or cords involved, it's safe for use without being monitored by a human.

And here it is. A solid Frisbee looking thing filled, apparently, with some sort of space-age gel inside.

And here it is in its Polarfleece cover. The surface of the thingy gets pretty warm, so the cover enables it to be moved and touched.

Five minutes in the microwave in the morning...

... and then it gets tucked into Daisy's dog bed under the "covers," where it gently radiates warmth throughout the day.

I was worried that Daisy wouldn't take to it, or wouldn't want some weird thing in her bed with her. But I needn't have been concerned.

It's her new best friend.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Guess who showed up at the office today?

Shu! and Anneliese. All the way out from New Jersey.

They got to meet Lynne and Lindsay and David and Frank (who had quite a first day of school, as it were) and Sean and even Russell.

They're here for MacWorld and into next week. Hurrah!

I'll see them again on Saturday night.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Merry new year

I chose not to celebrate Christmas last month. Lots of reasons, but it was the right choice this year.

Imagine my surprise when I found, in a postal box on my front porch...

a new year's card

and a hilarious book

and a beautiful sweater (in maybe my favorite color of all time)

and an amazing amber necklace, reminiscent of a great meal at the Russian Tea Room.

These were not Christmas gifts. Obviously.

I know this because they were wrapped in bacon paper.

I have such better friends than I deserve.