Monday, October 31, 2005

Cold Blues
So I'm sitting in the kitchen Friday night watching SNG make some chicken and sirloin stir-fry with about 1/4 cup of cayenne pepper and I start sneezing-- and sneezing, and sneezing. At first we thought it was the pepper in the air, but after dinner I was still sniffly and then my throat started to hurt and by bedtime I was full-out sick with a cold. Or maybe allergies, I can never tell the difference.

I don't get sick very often. I probably get food poisoning more than I get flu & colds combined. Part of the thrill of business travel is the uncertainty of restaurant cleanliness standards-- Salmonella Roulette! Anyway, I don't get sick very often, but when I do, it lingers for weeks. Good timing. I've got 5 straight weeks of travel, and if you've ever flown with a headcold you know it's an experience in pain like no other.

This is definitely some kind of avian-bird-flu-SARS head cold thing. I felt too bad to workout on Saturday so we just hiked with the dog in the woods out back. We probably walked 2 miles, but Goofch ran about 5 or 6. The woods are full of deer. It's nice to see that he's getting some of his fitness back. This time of year is so nice because it's still green, but there are very few spiders or bugs. It's the Golden Mean of the forest, that balance of the hot and cool forces, when the sky is a rich shade of blue and the squirrels are fat.

Sunday we took the tandem out for the 2nd time in over a year. First time was a couple of weeks ago when we discovered that the left-side gear shift lever was broken and we were perpetually stuck in the granny chainring. It's now been repaired, and I figured riding the tandem meant if I started feeling rotten, I could let SNG take up the slack. It was a good call because I needed to drink about every 10 seconds and on the tandem I can just let go of the handllebars the whole time if I want to. Besides, the view is nice where I sit...

Last night Peace and Fuzzy came over for dinner and a movie. They brought over The Third Man-- an old B&W murder mystery/con film set in post-WWII Vienna. It was written by Graham Greene, who is really good at developing quirky characters that have a certain awkward realism that came through even under the veil of late-40's-movie elegance. The main character was really good at blundering his way through every situation leaving a trail of destruction all the while apparently oblivious to the role he played.

So today I'm back at work after about 4 hours' sleep last night. On the upside? I did get our spanish homework done about around 2:30 this morning. But you know how your nose gets all raw when you have a cold? I've got vaseline slathered all over my nose and lips and it probably looks like boogers but I swear it's vaseline, and I should probably work with my door closed today. Not only for the ick factor, but because when I'm sick, I worry about being Too Much Information Girl. And while you, my cyber-friends, certainly want to hear about clever tricks to drain hard-to-access sinus cavities, I doubt that my coworkers do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's winter already?
It was 41 degrees this morning!!! It's still October. It's still hurricane season! It can't be 41 degrees.

So when it's this cold, I don't like getting on my bike. Jogging is much nicer in the cold because there's not so much wind. Maybe if I ran faster there'd be wind. But the way I run, I only feel wind when someone passes me. ;-)

Spanish class is coming along OK. It's fun and all, but last night we spent almost the whole class reviewing homework. It moves along pretty slowly, and I'm afraid that by the time the Spain trip rolls around, all I'll be able to say is "What time is it" and "The professor is tall" and "I have a hardworking piece of chalk." I still don't know how to ask for the bathroom. "Donde esta la toilet?" Or is it "Donde es la toilet?" Is a toilet always a toilet? Does it meet the requirements of geographical-location-means-verb-change? Oh drat. "Ou sont les toilettes" is just so much easier.

I wonder whether more Spaniards speak French or English?

The people in my class are a hoot, and some of them seem pretty cool. I wonder how many will take the level 2 class next semester. Heck, I wonder whether I'll be able to, with the travel schedule that looms on my horizon. I was just lucky that this semester all my business trips start on Tuesday or Wednesday so I can take a Monday night class.

And speaking of travel, last week in Boston I visited the museum of fine arts. It was terrific. I'd recommend it to anyone headed up that way. There was a free exhibition called "Things I Love" which was a collection of William Koch's art and other nifty things. Koch (I didn't know who he was, either) is a wealthy tycoon who raced in and won the 1992 America's Cup race. He sounds pretty arrogant, to tell the truth, BUT what was really really really cool is that out in front of the museum were THE SHIPS that took 1st and 2nd place in that race. The winner was Koch's ship, America3, and the 2nd place was a ship called Il Moro de ... (something in italian). Right there, in the MFA's front yard. Words can't describe. They were so beautiful.

There was also an Ansel Adams exhibit, but it was $22, so I skipped it and looked at the pictures that were made into postcards in the gift shop. It looks like it would have been a great exhibit, if I'd had enough time to make it worth $22.

But the best part of visiting the MFA was the concert. As I was walking around looking at the Asian and Islamic art sections, I could hear faint music, like bells only kind of like strings, too. Gradually the music became louder, so I went to find where it was coming from. Up in the musical instruments collection they had set up a small platform where a group of about 15 musicians were playing various ancient chinese percussion-type bell and stringed instruments. The music was different from anything I'd ever heard before. Little by little all the visitors to the museum made their way into the little room to listen. The people watching was almost as good as the concert.

This week I'm in the office (except for the lunch date in DC Wednesday) for the last time until late December. Next week: Chicago. I'd like to catch a jazz show or a few museums while I'm there. Any suggestions? I'm staying downtown just a few blocks south of Navy Pier.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Stocking Stuffer!
Whoa, y'all. Check this out. One of SNG's friends at work saw this bike for sale in a shop in Italy for about 1200 euros (about USD1500). Check out what it retails for here.

SNG summed it up best when he wrote "Holly Carp!"

Holly carp indeed.

So, who thinks I should bring a few bikes home from Europe this winter? I could always use another bike...
I know that people like to be festive, and I'm certainly the LAST person who should be critical of others' holiday decorations, but...


It's just so obvious that the FatCat Executive of Creative Ideas sent a memo along the lines of, "If we have the sweatshops use the same dies for cutting nylon Christmas gewgaws but cut orange fabric instead, and then silkscreen jack-o-lantern faces on them, Voila! We'll have a fresh new profit channel! They'll sell like hotakes in February!"

The locals are just MAD about those inflatable halloween yard critters, in all of their 8-foot-high glory. My neighbors (a.k.a. The Woodspeople) haven't put up many of these, but I suspect that's just because they don't decorate for anything.

Like all the lawn inflatables, the Halloween critters have their charm while they're on, but by morning they're just a bunch of sad puddles of dead rip-stop, lying there like Oz witches after a storm.

OK, now that I got that out of my system, I sincerely apologize for offending any of you who may have one such critter on display in your yard. Go enjoy your lovely lawn thingie. Even if it is an exact replica of the Snowman critter, only orange-and-black.

Tomorrow I'm headed for Boston, where it'll be cold but the public gardens are still good for jogging any time of year.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Since my cousin has brought up the topic of embarrasing holiday candy-related-topics, I have to take this opportunity to admit to something slightly embarassing.

During October, the cafeteria at work (the World's Best Cafeteria, complete with live pianist, no joking) has candy corn as one of the toppings at the frozen yogurt/sundae bar. I love candy corn. And being too ashamed to just get a scoop of candy corn in a cup, I have been getting a teensy dab of frozen yogurt and scooping a few spoonfuls of candy corn on top. Yeah, that's a sundae, really. Oh just ring it up already. I'm just here for the candy corn.

But if I bought a whole bag of candy corn, it wouldn't be as good. The Forbidden/Rare Treat is so much better than the plentiful harvest. Besides, I can justify 10-15 corns. I cannot justify a whole bag in one sitting. Oh yes, in one sitting.

So anyway, with the candy corn harvest in full swing comes pumpkin season. I tried a new recipe for pumpkin-chicken stew that has hard cider, apples, and parsnips in it. It's based on a beef stew recipe my MIL sent to me. It's so good that it deserved a fancy name. I've decided to call it Pumpkin Poultry Parsnip Pomme stew. Just has a nice ring to it. Email me if you want the recipe. It's outta sight.

Back to mildly embarrassing things people do in 4th quarter, I'll be having lunch in DC National Airport on Oct 26. Just lunch. Off the plane at noon, and 55 minutes later leave again. Why? Because I'm 2 segments short of Platinum status on that airline, so I found the cheapest round trip 2-segment in Q4, and that's it. If you're going to be in DC, perhaps you can join me. But it'll be a real eat-and-run thing. Lunch: $78+tax, fees, and market price for a lobster roll at Legal Sea Foods. Platinum Status Perks for 2006: Priceless.

I think this act will, once and for all, land me in the category of Road-Warrior-With-Borg-Looking-Perma-Bluetooth-Earpiece-Geek. Except I don't have a borg-styley bluetooth earpiece.

Monday, October 3, 2005


We had SUCH a great weekend. I was so sad watching the sun go down yesterday because it meant the weekend was over. SAD! BLUE! We mountain biked Friday, rode a Ridge Rd loop Saturday, did all our house chores, went to work and got some stuff done, biked some more Sunday, went kayaking and open-water-swimming in Lake Jordan, made about 8 QT spaghetti sauce, cooked 2 pork loins and a mountain of veggies in the dutch ovens over an open fire in the backyard (yes, we ARE the "bubba" neighbors who burn stuff in the yard) and slept with the windows open.

It never got over 81 degrees, and never got below 68 degrees. The sky was blue. At one point there was candy corn falling from the sky, and it had no calories.

And now it's Monday. We have spanich class tonight. Or, as we've taken to calling it, Espanich class. In classic Cat&Tony style, I did my homework Tuesday last week, and have been fiddling with it to get it "just right" ever since, and SNG still hasn't done his. But it's OK, because I will let him cheat off me on the exams. 'Cause I hear that he puts out.

Did I say that out loud?

I'm in town all this week and next week. I was actually supposed to be in Austin this week, but that class was cancelled. And if I had gone, I would have had even MORE fun this weekend. Mom & dad went to a huge "Thank you" party for the city of Austin that was thrown by Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crowe last night, and it must have been some party, because every one of my phones has a voice mail of my mom hooting and hollering while Sheryl Crowe sings live in the background. What fun! We should have been there!

Finally, a big congratulations shout-out to my dad who handily took home the Texas state championship road race title for his age group in the Senior Games on Sunday. For bicycling. As if you had to ask.

PS- Blogger has been giving me a hard time with comments lately. If you don't see a comments field below, try again later- it'll be back.