Saturday, December 31, 2005

Vodka Tonic in Hand, People, Vodka Tonic in Hand

I don't normally do these internet meme thingies, but I'm feeling lazy, and I'd like to do a little recap of 2005, so...

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before? Bought a house. Moved to Nebraska. Saw the state of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri. Saw the prairie. Attended graduate classes in English.
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't make New Year's resolutions. If I did I would resolve to get on with graduate work already, but that's not a resolution. That's a given.
3. Did someone close to you give birth? No, but I have a couple of pregnant friends right now.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No, and thankfully.
5. What countries did you visit? None. I don't like this question. This question takes for granted--nay--EXPECTS that you have visited MULTIPLE foreign countries in the time of a year. Listen here, Question, most people are lucky if they even visit ONE foreign country a year. Geeze.
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? A little bit of stability and progress when it comes to work and school and getting on with the getting to a place in my life where I feel proud of what I've done and what I do professionally.
7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Most recently, my first wedding anniversary with Dominic. That seemed like a big milestone for us.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I haven't been a big achiever lately. I suppose I have to take us back in the magical time machine all the way to January of 2005 when I successfully enrolled myself in grad school in Texas. I'm in the process of doing the same here in Nebraska. My achievement, I guess, is the continuing process of making sure I'm working toward having a Master's.
9. What was your biggest failure? I rear-ended someone (again). That made me feel like a failure. Maybe also my settling for a menial paying job instead of trying to get a "grown-up" job.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Sort of, I guess. I had to have another mole removed. Other than that, both Dominic and I have been very healthy and very thankful for our health.
11. What was the best thing you bought? I bought a lily flower arrangement for Dominic a while back. I enjoyed doing that for him.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I'm going to say my own. Sometimes I misbehave, but mostly I try to be good.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I wish I could answer this question, but some things must go without saying on the internets...but I'm shaking my proverbial finger at you, AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
14. Where did most of your money go? First rent. Then car. Then mortgage. Then gas bill.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving to Omaha. Buying our house. Walking to the bars nearby (like we're doing tonight). Seeing my sister when she came to visit me in Texas. Seeing Brooke and Dale both times they came to visit us.
16. What song will always remind you of 2005? Whole CDs will remind me. Among them, John Legend, Tegan and Sara, Garden State soundtrack, the Arcade Fire, Regina Spektor, Common, Kanye West, Ben Folds, Interpol. Probably mostly Interpol.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? I'm the same amount of happy, which is pretty darn happy. I have my moments when I feel like I'm messing everything up, but I think that's a pretty normal feeling for anyone to have no matter their level of happiness...and did I mention I was happy?
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Visiting Brooke in Jersey. I said I would twice and flaked out both times. I WON'T DO IT AGAIN, BROOKE. (call me)
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Crying because people let me down.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? We already spent it by the fire in our beautiful old house, drinking vodka tonics, and being all disgustingly in love.
22. Did you fall in love in 2005? A little more, with Dominic. It's strange, but I've definitely found that love is not static and that it can mean and feel like so many different things.
23. Any one-night stands? Nooo.
24. What was your favorite TV program? I've been going through all the Gilmore Girls. I think I'm in love with them. I am pathetic. (Lorelai, call me)
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No. And maybe. Feelings aren't always so black and white, so easily distinguished.
26. What was the best book you read? I read a lot of good books. But the one I'm reading now, The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is shaping up to be the best, I believe.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Interpol, I have to say. I wouldn't call it a great musical discover, because--hello--they've been around a while, but I like that band, I do.
28. What did you want and get? A really good husband, who loves me, really, really loves me, and puts up with all my quirks. I have a lot of quirks.
29. What did you want and not get? The perfect job to magically fall into my hands without my having to look for it or even know what to look for at all. Perhaps, a realistic way to go about getting an MFA instead of an MA.
30. Favorite film of this year? The best surprise was St. Ralph. Recently, I enjoyed The Family Stone, even though it was nuts and really contrived. Dominic and I liked the family dynamic, though, and want to shoot for something like that with our own day...very far from this day.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Dominic took me to a winery. I was 23.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? For me to stop being such a coward about most things already. But whatever.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? In Texas it was one of three white tanktops with one of two pairs of shorts from American Eagle EVERY SINGLE DAY and a pair of flipflops (and I wish I was joking about this). In Nebraska, it's been a variety of sweaters, pants, and jeans. With boots, scarfs, toboggans, gloves, and a brown wool peacoat. One day I mixed it up by wearing a short plaid schoolgirl skirt with almost-hooker black leather knee length boots and fishnet stockings. I wore this to Dominic's work's Christmas party. It was quite satisfying.
34. What kept you sane? Dominic. My crazy sister (you know I love you).
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Lately I've had a crush on Rachel McAdams.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Not the Valerie Plame crap. But mostly the same-old, same-old. Feeling like we're all being lied to by the higher-ups.
37. Who do you miss? My sister and brother. They're so cool. Too cool for school.
38. Who was the best new person you met? I haven't met anyone new who has become an important part of my life in a long time. Here's hoping 2006 brings some of that.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005: It's important to constantly re-evaluate yourself and your attitude. If you're out of line, apologize immediately.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I Do Go On

My favorite wedding photo in the one year photo album I made for Dominic.

Part of the flower arrangement he surprised me with.

Another part.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Anniversary/Merry Christmas to Us

So, Dominic and I have had a great holiday, and I hope, sincerely, that each of you have too. We went out on our fancy-pants Christmas Eve dinner, and I had ostrich! Ostrich!

Christmas morning we opened all our gifts. Christmas night we drank vodka tonics by the roaring fire. Today, we're eating pizza and watching 13 Going on 30. Quit judging us! Anyway, here are a few pictures. Yes, I bought Dominic a shirt with our Mexican kitty cat on it. Yes, I love my ear-flap toboggan. And yes, the Calvin and Hobbes are all belong to me!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sham On -- A Ben Folds Odyssey

First off, I'm going to send you guys here. Click on the link that says Smoke Orchestral Ve... Please ignore the title of the song directly above it. Unless you think sensitive white guy piano covers of hard-core gangster raps are funny, which personally, I do, but whatever.

When I was in Symphony Band in college, we would often play with vocalists. Marching band was the same, and because of that I can say I have played with such notorious artists as Lee Greenwood! And Brian McKnight! Anyway, all I'm saying here is that I would have peed my pants to have the opportunity to toot my clarinet along with Mr. Ben Folds. Peed my pants! Because he is awesome! And so, now, I present to you a short history of my reknowned fascination for this man.

I'm pretty sure the first Ben Folds Five CD I bought was the "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner," sometime in '97. I can't remember why I bought this particular CD first, as it was one of the last ones released by the band. Probably I bought it because at the time "Army" was getting relatively heavy airplay. I'd heard "Brick" and even "Song for the Dumped" before it, and liked them both so I bought "Unauthorized Biography" and even though the latter two of those songs weren't even on it I enjoyed the CD. It was good--competent even--but not great. Later that year for my birthday, I asked for an earlier CD, "Whatever and Ever Amen," mostly because I knew there was a song on it called, "Kate," and I thought it would be wicked cool to own that song, and then I could play it late at night on the stereo in my bedroom and listened to it through my headphones and pretend it was about me. Anyway, I received the CD and listened to it all once through and, lo, religion reached down to me from among a collection of the most amazing songs ever, and an obsession was born.

My freshman year of college, my roommate, Bonnie, and I took full advantage of the heyday of Napster and "free" downloading, and we pilfered all the Ben Folds Five songs we could off the internet. I have fond memories of wasting endless hours listening to "Philosophy" (which I could argue may have been their best song ever) and "Twin Falls" alone. Another thing I discovered, was that being a Ben Folds Five fan gave me instant music cred in most social situations. The fact that I knew their music so well was, arguably, the only cool thing about me for years and years--and well, actually, maybe it still is.

The purchase of "Naked Baby Photos" came next (favorite song from it: "Jackson Cannery") and then much, much later I finally bought their very first self-titled CD (favorite song: "Video,") but nothing, nothing will ever touch the love I have for "Whatever and Ever Amen." There are only two CDs I can still listen to in their entirety after years and years of rotation on my various CD players. Weezer's Blue Album is the other one, and I love you, Blue Album, I do, but you don't have a song titled, "Kate," so you don't win the big prize of My Favorite CD Ever, but hey, don't look so down, little guy. Second place is an honor!

Ben Folds Five split up almost immediately after I really became aware of how much love I had for them in my heart. It was a terrible moment when I realized I would never get to see them play live, but then Ben Folds came out with "Rocking the Suburbs" shortly afterward, and I was mollified. I didn't actually buy this CD. My sister's boyfriend at the time burned me a copy, and I would have felt bad for totally ripping off his first solo attempt, except for the fact that I GOT TO SEE HIM LIVE IN BIRMINGHAM later that year. I bought a small turquoise t-shirt that night that I've had to since retire (though I still have it; oh, you know I do) and that t-shirt, by the power of its ability to successfully communicate my aesthetic tastes in music by the words, "Sham on," alone has granted me access to friendships I may have never had otherwise.

Anyway, "Rocking the Suburbs" was good, but Folds's latest release, "Songs for Silverman"--oh man, that CD is SOLID, and good enough so that it grows better and better the more you listen to it. I've been smitten with it ever since it was released earlier this spring. All I can say is I must loves me a good piano man.

I suppose that's it--my Odyssey. Something just seemed to click in my head just now when I listened to his orchestral rendition of "Smoke," and I felt like somehow I'd come full circle, because I remember what it was like to be part of an ensemble of instruments, to be part of what, in the end, makes something that can be beautiful--even, I would argue, transcendently so. And so what if I can't play piano, or sing or play a guitar for crap? I can remember what it was like to be briefly, briefly a musician. It makes me think I have something in common with Ben Folds, and maybe this is silly for me to admit, but that makes me smile.

Go Away, Scrooge

There's been a bit of humbuggery going around here these days due to some shocking news (and for me, personally, because I am in the middle of a little gem by PKD that poses the question: What would the US have been like had we lost WWII? Slavery! Labor camps! The extermination of the entire indigenous population of Africa!) Anyway, at the end of last night, Dominic and I snuggled down in a bed full of blankets (because it's cold in our house now; we've turned the heat waaaaay down) and spent a moment feeling thankful that we have each other and a beautiful old (bottomless heat-sucking pit of a) house and a fat little cat and a happy marriage. We also felt grateful that we're able to spend Christmas together this year. We know we can't always count on our circumstances to be as such, and for the mere fact that we can celebrate our anniversary on Christmas Eve night and then wake up together on Christmas morning and go downstairs and open all our gifts to each other--for that fact we're thankful.

Speaking of gifts--will there ever be a point when I don't feel like a 10 year-old as Christmas approaches? I feel like I'm losing my mind, I want to open my presents so bad. Probably be up half the night of Christmas Eve, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holy Crappity Do Dah!!!

Well, I know I haven't posted anything for a while, but it turns out a THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE dollar natural gas bill will make you immediately write a post on your blog! Isn't that something? If before I lacked the motivation to write, in my need OPPD(the gas company)was there for me. Now, I knew that there were reports that the Midwest was going to have some inflated gas prices and heating oil costs, but I never expected this.

This is what happened: I hadn't received my first bill yet so I was concerned and I called the utilities company, OPPD. I asked the nice woman for my bill amount and why I hadn't been billed and she was kind enough to tell me 379. 95. I said "thank you" and hung up. Then after that number registered I said "wow" and called back. I talked to another woman and asked her if that was right. She said "yes" and since they estimate consumption it could be lower, and that forty dollars of the bill was a "connection" fee. I said "thanks" and hung up. I worried about it again for a while and checked my meter calling back the woman, Roxanne, and read her my meter number. She said "wow" and then I said "what?" Then she said, "This is bad, you are at least 120.00 over the estimate." I said "Holy Crappity Do Dah!"

Holy Crappity Do Dah. I have a 500.00 natural gas bill. I can't recall that part of the American dream. I most have been sleeping.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sugar Crash

Adding to my recent Reasons to Be Psyched About the Holidays, this past Friday Dominic came home and surprised me with a Christmas-themed tin full of Reese's Cups and York Peppermint Patties, took me out to a local burger joint, and then took me to the movies. We never did share a strawberry shake, two straws, but that was the only thing the night was lacking. What happened afterward, was that I spent all day Monday in my pajamas, eating EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Reese's Cups and trying to decipher how it was possible that I had made such a succession of careless mistakes with my bank account, combined with bad timing and bad luck, as to virtually nullify the results of two weeks worth of paychecks.

The bank account drama has been mostly straightened out, and Dominic took the rest of the candy to work today, away from me, where it would just be abused, so today is looking to be better, even though I had a terrible hair day. But they can't all be winners, you know?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Reasons to Be Psyched for the Holidays

1. All the presents under our tree! There are so many this year!

2. The fact that I'm wearing a white turtleneck sweater, an almost-too-short pleated skirt, and knee high black leather boots to Dominic's office Christmas party tomorrow.

3. 10:00 p.m. tickets to David Sedaris's "The Santaland Diaries" at the Blue Barn Theater after said Christmas party tomorrow.

4. Two reservations for Passport Restaurant in the Old Market part of Omaha for Christmas Eve, our first anniversary.

5. Getting to wear my Ann Taylor strapless, black cocktail dress for the second time when we go out on Christmas Eve (yes, I own something from Ann Taylor; don't mock me).

6. Tapas for Christmas dinner! --if Dominic approves because I haven't exactly run this idea by him yet. Anyway, tentative menu includes: sherried mushroom empanadas, garlic shrimp, chicken yakitori, proscuitto wrapped asparagus, apricots and blue cheese, and paella.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

No Rest for the Weary

And it's snowing again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Attention: State of My Biology

So, I've got most of my Christmas presents finished for the year, but, alas, I haven't touched the Christmas cards. Oh, Christmas cards! You are the bane of my existence!

Today the babies really got to me while I was working in the children's section of the bookstore. They were crying and BEING REALLY LOUD and they looked like they all had red kool-aide rings around their mouths and that's just unsanitary. So I guess every time the state of my biology tries to convince me I want a kid, I have to be around one and it FREAKS ME OUT.

No offence to those of you with kids or who are right now brewing kids (two of my friends included). It's just that babies can't talk or even think coherently and are therefore not to be trusted.

Did you hear me, Dominic? Babies are not to be trusted!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Running on Icy Sidewalks=Maybe Kate is Stupid

Being that it is 40 degrees outside today, I had to take advantage of the veritable tropical heat and go for a run. Parts of the sidewalks are still icy from our having just emerged from Omaha's 100 years of snow, where it is always winter and never Christmas, and so I mostly jog-skated instead of jog-jogged. And if you're wondering what that is like, let me tell you that it involves much flailing of the limbs and muttered expletives.

Before my jog-skate, I dropped Brooke and Dale off at the airport, then drove off blindly in the direction of downtown, hoping I could blunder my way back to Dodge street, and thus find my way home again. At one point I was in Iowa. I despaired for a moment that I would have to live in Iowa always and never see Dominic again, but then a minute and a half later I drove back into Omaha, and all was safe and right with the world again.

We saw the Narnia movie on Friday, and while it could certainly never compare with the majesty of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was very satisfied with the feel of the movie in general. Each of the characters seemed to have done well conveying the personalities the book first created for them, and even though I had to roll my eyes a bit at the chase scene made up for the middle of the movie, the final battle scenes were especially well done, as was the CGI Aslan, which was nearly perfect I thought, especially as voiced by Liam Neeson, the man I would have married had not Dominic first blinded me with his perfect pecs. The four children were adorable, and I told Dominic that out of all the possibilities* our collected gene pools may create for our future children, we will never have white, rosy-cheeked, British school children, which is what I really want, especially a boy, or just Edmund--can I have Edmund?

Anyway, I'm excited about the Narnia movies continuing and hopefully growing even better in the future.

Oh yes, also, I was accepted to UNO last week. "Dang!" I told Dominic, "Now I have to start working hard again."

*Dominic says we might have a Jewish baby instead of a Chinese baby. He says it will pop out with a jew-fro and say, "Oy Vey!"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Psycho Jungle Weather or the Opposite Thereof

I had a distinctly Calvin and Hobbes moment this morning when--on the long walk from my truck to the front doors of my work--my boogers, they froze.

P.S. I tried to find on the internet the particular comic strip that inspired me to note my frozen boogers this morning so I could give you a link to, you know, further your knowledge of all things frozen and boogery; however, though there are many good Calvin and Hobbes comic strips to be found on the internet, I could not find the one in particular I was looking for. Thanks a lot, internet. Way to go being a pal.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Home Improvement Moment...

Hey Dad, This is what I'm looking at. I hope it helps.

Flood and Loathing

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Windchill is Negative Seven, Captain

This morning, after having dressed himself, Dominic said, "Everything I'm wearing except my underwear is from Gap." I said,"Do I need to plan an intervention?"

Let me tell you about how it's cold here. A new kind of cold that's only going to get colder. Dominic and I are like bewildered newborn babes out here, blinking our eyes confusedly into the negative degree windchill. Apparently he has forgotten some things about being cold since he last lived north of Alabama. I'm drinking a lot of hot tea to cope and considering carrying a flask of whiskey with me wherever I go.

I thought of few more things I'm scared of since last we spoke. They are: babies, the DMV, and mailing packages from the Post Office.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Today, Dominic and I stopped in at a local coffee shop for a moment before heading back to the house for good, as it's supposed to snow tonight. While we were there we sat down on one of the shop's many couches, and he picked up a newspaper and asked me if I'd ever seen a tumbleweed. I looked at the picture he was pointing to. THE TUMBLEWEED IN QUESTION WAS THE SIZE OF A SMALL COUNTRY, AND IT WAS EATING A TRUCK ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. "Great," I said, "One more thing to be scared of here. Gigantic truck-eating tumbleweeds."

Maybe I've mentioned it before, but I'm scared of nearly everything, and after a while, being afraid of so many things that occur so frequently grows very wearisome and taxing. One day it would be nice if I could wake up and just be normal for once. You know, not have a minor anxiety attack if Dominic wants me to order the pizza this time, thereby forcing me to talk on the phone to a stranger. On the phone! To a stranger! So, anyway, here's an abbreviated list of things I'm randomly afraid of:

Phones and strangers, of course. Power tools, gas grills, most board games, most card games, cars, driving cars, driving cars in the dark, driving cars in unfamiliar places, driving cars in the rain, driving cars in the snow, driving cars on icy roads, driving cars on the freeway, driving cars in downtown areas of cities, driving...well, driving cars, period. I'm also afraid of falling down flights of stairs, falling down while I'm running outside, falling down when I'm on the treadmill, falling down because I'm clumsy. I'm afraid of making small talk, afraid of meeting new people, afraid of navigating crowded department stores, afraid of new jobs and new schools. I'm afraid of people older than me. I'm afraid of people younger than me. I'm afraid I'm not applying myself enough in anything I do. I'm afraid I'm too lazy and too indecisive to get anything worth doing done. I'm afraid I'm not smart enough. I'm really afraid I'm not smart enough. I'm afraid of math, of even doing simple addition, or figuring what kind of tip I should leave waitresses at restaurants. I'm afraid when people ask me the time if I'm wearing an analogue watch because I still can't read one quickly. I'm afraid when people ask me for directions because I still regularly mix up something so simple as telling my left from my right. I'm afraid when people look over my shoulder to make sure I'm not messing up. It makes me nervous; then I mess up. I'm afraid when I cry a little every time I read a sad story in a newspaper because I think life is making me more and more sensitive to every bad thing that happens, and I don't want to be always feeling so sad.

Okay, so that's a lot of stuff to be scared of. And like I said, that's not a complete list. But, hey! Here's something I'm not afraid of at all, not even a little bit: bugs.

Okay, I'm scared of spiders. But, I'm not scared of cockroaches! Or worms! And I can bait a hook! And then take it out of a fish's mouth! Not everyone can do that, but I can. It's a little bit of comfort, especially when I find myself being so impossibly, irrationally afraid of everything else.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hereafter, I will make it a point to end every paragraph with an exclamation point (!)

Well, I'm glad things are finally back to normal. And by that I mean there's a sink full of dirty dishes, laundry to be folded, and dinner to think about making, and yet here I am, wasting time, fumbling around badly with Dominic's guitar/snoozing on and off on the sunroom couch, wasting time better spent checking on my application process for UNO (due today. Gee, I hope they got everything in time) or sweeping the nastiness from the kitchen floor, where we tracked in snow from last night and throughout today. I was beginning to be concerned for myself because of the high levels of productivity I've shown lately--what, with getting a job and applying to grad school (last minute and haphazard as it was) and becoming the resident house-decorating drill sergeant with my rigid schedule of rooms to be painted. But now, alas, we're done with painting for the time being, and my laziness and carefully crafted skills of procrastination have returned to me, strong as ever. It just feels right, I say!

It snowed a good three inches last night, big fat flakes you see in movies (in my case) and Dominic and I went walking about our neighborhood in it. Everything was beautiful in a way I can't quite articulate. Hushed. An unbelievably soft white light infusing the streets and the beautiful old houses. Snow coming to rest on the historic lampposts. This morning it was deadly, a sheet of ice packed into the roads. Dominic tried to drive his Z up the slight hill in front of our house from where he'd parked on the side of the road the night before. I watched from the window of our house as his car slid sideways down the road. After fifteen minutes of being able to do nothing but coast backwards down the hill, he quit trying. He took the Blazer instead, and dropped me off at work, then came back for me at 11:00. Obviously, something has to give in our car situation. Also, why does this beautiful snow frighten me so much? Driving on it seems like a death sentence. I'm so scared of it. Argh! Adult responsibility. I don't like it, I say!

Our friends, Brooke and Dale, are coming to visit us on the 8th. It's like Christmas is coming early this year. Yes, I say!