Today I brought Hamtarra to our house. See, we're housesitting for our neighbors next door, who have: 6 chickens, 2 rabbits, 2 cats, a turtle, and a hamster. Eddie, the turtle, hasn't eaten in two days, even though Sean and I spent half an hour over there tonight trying to get him to eat. Then I realized that Hammy re-arranged her cage again, and decided that she needed some space to run and play. She was in her ball at our house for about two hours, plus free to run around in my office for about half an hour. She'll probably sleep for the next eighteen hours now.
The cats had a good time following Hammy in her ball - there really wasn't much they could do but follow her around. She paid them no mind.
I also stopped by Johnston Architects to get a few last-minute things done, while Sean cleaned the house (see how I do that?).
The house is now ready for our housesitter, Manuel, to stay here for a week. We are off to Ft. Myers beach, just like last year. Even my slippers are packed.
From what I've heard (Aunt Julie called tonight), movie night is Monday and White Elephant exchange is Wednesday night. We are staying in the condo with the dining room (the one that's used for most social events as it has the most space), and Laura (my cousin from the Alaska cruise last summer) is also staying in the living room.
I promise I will take oodles of pictures and try to remember everything that happened.
Happy New Year, everyone. My New Year's resolution:
2004 Will NOT Suck.

Boxing Day
Tonight a whole whack of us (Lori, Josh, Emily, Jon, Amy, MJ, Kolja, Alexandra, Me, Sean) went to see Calendar Girls (fun, cute, heartwarming) while Noah and Monica saw Big Fish. After the shows we split up into two groups - those who wanted to drink, and those who wanted to eat. Or something like that. Anyway, we ended up at Zao; big surprise.
It was our last night with the 6rms gang before we head out to Florida Sunday, so it was a great evening with everybody.

Jon, Amy, Kolja, Me, Alexandra, MJ

Sean wasn't done taking pictures
MJ is in town, too, and it was great that he could join us. I hope he can stop by tomorrow night, too, since he's here for a few days.
Today I was insane enough to go to Old Navy in downtown Seattle. The deals made it worth the trip, though. All sweaters are $9.99 - 14.99.
I am fully recovered from yesterday's Christmas Fiasco, thank you, and no, I won't tell you about 1989. HA!
It's Midol Time.

Last night we had the Germans and Manuel over for Christmas Eve dinner and Settlers.
Today, Sean and I fought until 7 pm. We opened our (awesome) gifts from my family late tonight, then had Chinese Buffet for dinner.

Sean describes Settlers to Manuel

It was, by far, one of the suckiest Christmas Days I have ever had; ranking all the way down there with 1989.
Hope you all had a better day.
Now I feel like a total jerk for complaining about my day. Everyone go visit Treefen and send your support.

How To Eat Cake, by Hobbes Watterson Dayment
1. Slowwwwly reach over my arm, touch cake with paw
2. Lick paw. Repeat.
3. Now we're thirsty... is that water?
4. Dip paw in water.
5. Lick paw. Repeat.

Cookie Exchange at Naomi's
I met most of these women at Heather's Halloween Party, and it was great to hook up with them again. Heather made stellar english muffin pizzas, and I played with Lotty the dog and talked to their beautiful snakes. Some of them also exchanged Christmas gifts (you can see Abbie's Special Gift of Pocky to the right).
I came home with a bag full of goodies, which is probably all for me, since Sean isn't a big dessert guy.
And that's okay.
Today I loafed as long as I possible could, then headed to the International District for the Culver Duck Pick-Up Fiasco of 2003. I finally got home MUCH later, and Sally was waiting for me, as we made plans to make this bundt cake I've been alluding to.
My brain was scrambled the whole time - I just wasn't capable of multi-tasking and talking while remembering where I put the hot pad or how many eggs I had added to the mixing bowl. I also forgot to add sugar to the hot chocolate which made it... interesting. The cake turned out wonderfully, thankyouverymuch. It's covered with peppermint glaze, broken candy canes, and powdered sugar, because it looked a bit ugly from greasing and flouring the pan.
The next time I have Sally over, I am doing NOTHING but sitting down and talking to her, or risk burning my kitchen.
In closing, I will leave you with a clip from my Mom's latest e-mail:
"I awoke to the receipt of a message from Amazon that another batch of yulebooty has been shipped and with 2-day shipping, it should be arriving tomorrow."

Yeah! Mom's talkin' yulebooty! Next word into her vocabulary shall be shiv.


Meet my bathroom
I love my online friends.
Hat provided by Amy Choppa, who knitted it just for me. Also see the kangachicken cookie she baked for me a couple weeks ago (which I never received - so to the postal worker who stole my kangachicken cookie - I hope you got gas. No, that's too fun. I hope it stuck in your throat).
Yulebooty t-shirt made by Tyd and John, by my request. I want to wear it every day, although I'm not sure if I should wear it to work.
Got more Christmas cards yesterday, too, from Greg & Corrina and JenB.
My eye and I still feel fine, thanks.
Today Sean's One Big Thing To Do Today was replace the faucet in the utility room. The faucet actually crumbled about a year ago - we've had to use pliers to turn it on and off since then. But after the dishwasher fiasco, he wanted to go gently and carefully. It only took four different runs to Lowe's and he only said MF twice.
And now we can clean the fish tank, which is Really Necessary.


Tomorrow is a cookie exchange party with Heather, and hopefully Tuesday Sally can join me as I try to bake a super-chocolate-pudding-bundt cake with crushed candy canes. And maybe some sort of glaze, if I learn how to do one. Shouldn't be too difficult. I hope.
Tonight I made hot cocoa only to discover that I was out of marshmallows. This was upsetting. I found these kitties - they are Peeps, but from Halloween. They've been disappointing anyway, since the purpose of these kitties was to get hard and stale* and it's been, well, since Halloween, and they're still soft and marshmallow-like (that's with the package open all this time). Into the cauldron they went, and I gotta admit, it was dang tasty.
(*Down with preservatives! I like stale crunchy Peeps!)
Remember this next Halloween - hot cocoa with marshmallow kitties.
P.S. Please send kitchen towels.

Andrea's Christmas Party at Guu with Garlic - Vancouver, BC

The food just kept coming

Something snoutish

Our host was plastered

And I accidentally got drunk on sake

This was like round one of food
Sean and I scrambled up to Vancouver to have enough time to get to Debra's, as she had Shane's house key. Shane and Shan and Pete are all in London for Christmas so we had the house to ourselves. One problem, though, which was realized at the border - Sean didn't bring Debra's new phone number. I can't tell you how many cell phone (roaming charges) calls I made with Joe's cell phone. We remembered the store where Debra's boyfriend Dave works and I called and asked for Dave. So Dave gets on the phone and I say "Hey, it's your future cousin" and he says something like "Oh! How's it goin'?" And I say "We can't find your f*&^*@! house! We forgot Debra's number!" And he says "Debra?" and that's when I knew I had the wrong Dave, who I just swore at.
And I meekly say "Does another Dave work there?"

The Guu kitchen
Eventually we found the right Dave, found our way to Debra & Dave's new apartment (holy COW can you say VIEW?) and changed clothes and ran off to find this Guu restaurant. When I got there the place was packed and I'm looking for Andrea, who I've only seen in images on her website, about 200 pixels high, and so I'm looking for a skinny Chinese girl. About 70% of the clientele of this restaurant was skinny Chinese girls. Thankfully I saw a separate room with a private party, so I just stuck my head in and yelled "Andrea?!" and it worked.
The food was so incredible - they just kept bringing in these tapas style plates of who-knows-what and we wolfed it down. There was raw beef, raw tuna, raw salmon, eggs wrapped in pumpkin, mystery balls, mystery snout, etc.
It was all beautiful. Plus the only drinks in the room were sake and beer, so after too much sake, I whispered to Sean "It's really hot in here!" and you should have seen the look of alarm on Sean's face. I'm that chick that's freezing cold if it's below 68 degrees. He said "How much sake have you had?" and I replied "My chest is sweating!" and then I leaned back against the wall in an upright sleeping position and felt a bit better. Andrea's guests were a joy - it was so nice meeting all of them. It was especially funny sitting next to Casey, who is Chinese, who assisted us by saying "Oh! I think I know this one! It's filled with shrimp" and we'd all take a bite and he'd say "Okay! No it's not!" (I must admit, though, he was usually correct.) Brendan Frasier (Tani), on the other hand, didn't need the specifics. He would pick up something and wiggle it, and say "It looks snouty" and eat the whole thing, then say, "Mmmm, no... fishy." It was such a fun experience. If you go there, I highly recommend the grilled beef salad with ginger sauce, and the grilled calamari, and some grilled fish with with fried garlic chips and grilled tomatoes. The rest was really good too but I don't know what it was.
We walked to Starbucks and I had a chance to talk to Saen a bit more (Andrea's boyfriend) and soon after that we crashed at Shane's, because my surgery was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning.
Surgery was surprisingly pleasant - I updated the Lasik Page with the whole story.
After surgery we went to the Moderne Diner on Broadway (YUM), and then I slept for two hours. That night Sean made dinner and we played euchre with Dave & Debra.
This morning we went to Tangerine for brunch with Andrea and Saen and hit the road from there.
Thanks, Dawn, for watching the house. Hope Hobbes didn't attack you.
P.S. Not pictured, but new friends: Mark, Shnewt, and more when I get the sites from Andrea.
P.P.S. Thanks, everyone, for all of your well-wishing e-mails. I truly appreciate it!

Yesterday was a good day

It started with me waking up too late to take a shower, so I washed my hair with a washcloth covered with Target apple-scented soft soap. I usually can't wake up unless I take a shower - or I'm groggy all day. Instead, I was fine. Maybe it was the apple soap.
When I got to work, there was something funky going on with our phone system, so I contacted Valerie, who installed our phone system for us. We chose her because she was the least slimy, salesy, pushy person to offer us a phone system. Since that connection, Valerie and I have tried to hook up when we can - you may remember from the archives that she went to Sean's birthday party last year, and I've been to a couple of her brother's shows (he's in a band called Punchdrunk). She was super busy. Apparently the planets were misaligned or something because everyone was having phone system mini-emergencies and she was in the middle of all of this when I called. Finally she just said "Why don't I just come up there, then I'll take you out to lunch?" Fabulous. Of course we went to Zao.
So there on the right is Valerie - single, beautiful, happy, owns her own business. Contact me for her number. Ha!
When I got home from work, I had three Christmas cards in the mailbox, from Julie, Styro, and Tomoka in Japan. The card from Tomoka included some of those little tiny Japanese mini-booth pictures (you know, that are about the size of a postage stamp?) and I scanned them so you can laugh like I did. The one of her getting bonked on the head is precious.
Tomoka, I miss you!
After I read my Christmas cards, I took a batch of cookies and the rent check to the Setterberg home (our landlords). Only Nick was home, so I hung out with him and Bingo (the cat) for a while, and then I took these pictures of Nick out on their patio:
Next stop was the Blogger Meetup, which we have once a month, usually at the Uptown Cafe. This month was a pretty big showing, maybe because it was right before Christmas?
We managed to finish off the rest of my cookies from last weekend, and I met some new bloggers. Tyd and John created some "Jeff Goldblum is Watching you Poop" stickers for the bathroom stalls, and I was going through the Stranger newspaper and came across a show at the Crocodile Cafe called Yulebooty and I yelled "Yulebooty!" It's just the greatest word ever! Then I spoke to Tyd and John about making me a Yulebooty t-shirt (you may recall they made the "I'd rather be playing with my weiner" t-shirt at the white elephant party).

The Bon-Macy's star

Click here for roll call

The sticker
The very end of the evening, Steve Pool walked in. He's the weatherman for Komo 4 TV here in Seattle. Right away we all started whispering about him, which made it really obvious. I mean, if you were Steve Pool, wouldn't you pick up twenty people whispering "Isn't that Steve Pool? It looks like Steve Pool!"
Of course, this means that I had to walk over and say Hi. And like a dork I say "Are you Steve Pool?" (of course he is) and then "We are all whispering about you so I thought... I'd tell you.... that... um, we're all whispering about you." soon after followed by "Can I take a picture with you?" (am I ever not a groupie?! You see, you guys, I do this for you.) Then I talk to him about websites, and write mine down on a napkin for him, and Tyd gives him a Jeff Goldblum is Watching You Poop sticker, and right there, I knew my evening was complete. So everyone, meet Steve Pool, who's just as hot in person as he is on TV.
Oh! Also, Manuel will be housesitting for us while we're in Florida! And he likes cats! The house is saved from the destruction of an angry, neurotic, over-dependent siamese cat!

Cute cafe guy, cute weatherman, me.
Life is good.
I'm off to Vancouver this evening to go to Andrea's Christmas party, then get my right eye re-lasiked Friday morning. I also want to try to visit with MJ and maybe even Stephanie while we're up there. Remember what I said about scoring some street drugs if you ever get Lasik? I have to make a drug run today before I leave. Yes, I'm serious.
Get Well Soon cards can be sent to my work or home address.
Secret message: Hi to Shelly Rouch (leave a comment!)

So I saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind yesterday and I loved it. So much so, I watched it again that evening with Sean. If you don't know the story - I'll tell you: it's about Chuck Barris, host of the Gong Show, and his other life in the 70's - as a hired killer for the CIA. There were some things I didn't know about him (other shows he invented, a song that he wrote - I won't tell you), and then of course the hired killer twist that you can choose to believe or not. Some things that made me appreciate the movie were:
The acting - I loved this lead actor so much I looked him up online. Sean said "I think he was the comic relief guy in Galaxy Quest" and I said "No, that was the guy with the funky eyes from Men in Black" and he said "No, not that guy, the guy who was only on the show once, so he knew he was gonna die." He was right - it was him. Sam Rockwell. He's been in many movies but I only remembered Galaxy Quest enough to picture him. He did an amazing job portraying Chuck Barris - I had forgotten how well I remembered Chuck Barris on the Gong Show until I saw Sam Rockwell doing the dance in the tux, clapping and pointing, playing with his hat. And lemme tell you, this guy wears hats very well. rarr.

Sam Rockwell on the left
Also, it was directed by George Clooney and there were some styles (lighting, funny shots with phone conversations, movie theater-goers, the colors of the show sets, the close-ups of Chuck's paranoia) that I loved. George played his role wonderfully, as did a surprising cast (Julia Roberts' "kiss" had me laughing out loud, Drew Barrymore is always adorable, and some of the cameos were fun).
Also included were actual interviews with some of the real players - Jaye P. Morgan, Dick Clark, Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, the Unknown Comic. Has anyone seen the E! True Hollywood Story of The Gong Show? Because I want to see it now. So bizarre.
Also, the screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman, as in Adaptation.
Hey thanks everyone. I'm done now.

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Who's Stupid Idea Was This? Pt. II
This is my kitchen last night around ten pm. I stopped baking around midnight. What you see all over the counter, cupboards, floor, and fish tank is flour. A giant bag of it. I went to set it on the counter, but hit the edge, and it went POOF! in a big arc all around me. It couldn't have been done better in a movie.
Sunday afternoon I went to Jon & Amy's cookie exchange, where many cheated by bringing store-bought or pre-made ready-to-bake dough. On the way there I rushed to the Ballard Fred Meyer, by Tara's advice, to purchase big containers for Tuppermail. When I finally got to the register, I realized I didn't bring my bank card, so away I went back to my house, then back to Fred Meyer. Grrrr. I did a lot of driving yesterday and it seems that NO ONE was sensing my urgency. I have fingernail claw marks on my steering wheel. SJ and Frenchie came over after dinner and I had planned on two extra sets of helping hands in the kitchen. It just goes to show you how I know nothing about children. I wasn't prepared.

Me, Amy, Jon

Frenchie makes crab cookies
Frenchie did make some crab cookies, and pushed the chocolate hugs into the peanut putter cookies. Sean and I scrambled through my "crafty box" to find some stamps and ink pads (bad idea), some construction paper, and pens. She was also entertained by the Christmas tree and ornaments, and the cats. Unfortunately, Hobbes was not impressed. She walked up and said something about how pretty he was, and he hissed and swiped her hand. I was so embarrassed.
I'm still thrilled that they came over - I hadn't met Frenchie in person yet, and I was charmed. And it's always a pleasure visiting with SJ.
This week: more cookies, Blogger Meetup, possibly seeing Mona Lisa Smile, and no! say it ain't so! Daymented's Lasik Eye Surgery, PART TWO. Oh yes. It's true. Stay tuned....

Hug Assistants


Sarah and Julie

Rashmi, Me, Sarah

Chris, Todd, Julie, Marc
Friday night we JAs decided to throw ourselves an impromptu party at Alison's. We had a very busy week, causing many of us to stress and scramble, so we decided to give ourselves a pat on the back. It was great because almost all of the spouses made it, too. The food was exceptional.
Saturday I made my descent into the madness that is holiday baking. I made, lemme count... seven batches of cookies yesterday, and need to make another eight batches today. SJ and her daughter Frenchie are coming over to assist me.

Some of the groceries
Yesterday afternoon I started the baking, plus I made matzoh ball soup (Sean's feeling much better, thank you). Then Julie and Scott called to say they were on their way over (they're in town!), then Heather and Zach called to ask if we wanted to have them over for a game night (of course we did). In the middle of all this, I was making a new tray of cookies every ten minutes.
Today I need to gather up all my addresses and get everything packed up for the first installment to be shipped out tomorrow morning before work.
Below are Zach and Dominique:

Last night I went to Six Arms and Jon and Amy gave us all these shell necklaces. After that I went to Heather's Tattoo Celebration Party, and then I rushed home to watch my taping of ER.
Sean is still sick so he missed work again today. He got a call from Callison this morning to tell him that he did not get the job - they hired someone else with more experience. I had an onslaught of work to do today, and now I'm rushing out the door to go to yet another holiday party.
On top of all the craziness of December here in Seattle, we are also desperately searching for a housesitter while we go to Florida this New Year week.
By housesitter, we mean someone to live in our house for a week. Who actually likes cats. Not an easy task, surprisingly.
I need to go to the Post Office tomorrow, and again Tuesday, and again next Tuesday. Daymented Christmas gifts are going out in installments. I had to go to the post office today for work and I really wished I had brought a magazine. Or television. Or a deck of cards.
Oh, and Bonnie, I'll be making Matzoh Ball soup for Sean tomorrow.

The Weblogger White Elephant Party page is up!
Yesterday I had that doctor's appointment and it took one and a half hours, most of that time was spent just waiting for my name to be called, and also the required 15 minutes of sitting in the room, by myself, in a little paper gown. By the time I got home I still had to make salsa, vacuum (with our old vacuum cleaner - one of the wheels popped off so you have to drag this thing), hang up the new light, fire up the stereo/computer, turn on some lights, and try to eat before I passed out. Sean called in the middle of this madness to say that he was stuck at work, so he'd be late.
The party was great - most of the presents were wonderful, there was tons of food, and Mike Whybark and Viv showed up and I almost started crying (I haven't seen Mike since I was 15 when we were in Bloomington). Sean made it home just in time for the gift exchange (see the page above to see what he stole), and the party lasted until 12:30.
Sean woke up this morning with a terrible headache, and realized that he hadn't eaten the night before. He called in to work to say he'd try to come in later. It's now 2 pm and he just woke up again, complaining of dizziness. He's having toast. I hope that helps.

Party! Party! Party!
Tonight is the Seattle Webloggers White Elephant Potluck Party at our house. And wouldn't you know it - today I am working a half-day because I have a yearly doctor appointment (you know what I mean), and I suddenly have lots to do at work. Plus I need some Kirby vacuum bags and they aren't something I can just buy at a store - I need to find my rep's phone number and buy them from him. So party attendees? It may be a bit cat-hairy tonight. Sorry. I'm also installing Sean's homemade living room light *hopefully* before people start showing up.
I got a gift in the mail from Amy-Choppa, but I'm waiting until I have a picture of it before I say anything further.
We have a case of Culver Duck waiting for us at a restaurant in the International District today, but I'll have to pick it up tomorrow. Stay tuned for the Daymented Duck Recipe Bonanza of 2003. Well okay maybe 2004, too. It's a lot of duck.
That's all for today, sorry for the short, pictureless post. You'll survive.
Update: Sir Mix-A-Lot translated into latin, then back into english again. Lovely.

More Blogger madness
I got Eleanor's comments done - I switched it to Haloscan and it's working fine. So if you have any, um, younger relatives who are interested in neopets, send them here! I find it so cool that a seven year old has her own website!
Also, if you know how to change the layout on Blogger, please let me know. She wants her site to be light blue and light green.
Today I got to talk to Estella for much of the morning. It started with us working on Eleanor's site, and just sorta kept going. She is even more hilarious on the phone than she is on her site.
Sean had his interview with Callison this morning. Once he figured out how to get into the building, all went well.
Tonight Jon's coming over to give us a re-cap of his & Amy's cruise around Hawaii last week. He's already told me that he doesn't plan on taking another cruise for as long as possible. He also has land sickness, which I had after my cruise as well, where you feel like you're riding waves for a few days. It's nauseating and exhausting; I remember it well. You'll just be standing somewhere, or sitting, or laying down, and then whoosh, your body has a giant wave run through it.
Here are some of their pictures for now:

Tree by day

Tree by night

I'm setting up a Blogger website with Enetations comments for a seven-year old and ten-year old. Need assistance with comments.
Anyone? Thanks.


Sean's boss Kraig gave us his (two year) old dishwasher, and Sean took it upon himself to pick it up and bring it home and install it himself.
He spent a very long time taking everything apart so he could pull it out from the cabinetry.
And then it happened.
I'm in the kitchen at the stove measuring out a batch of Hello Dollies (big surprise) and Sean says "Call a plumber."
And I say "What?!"
And he says "CALL A PLUMBER."
"Should I call Dan?" (Our landlord)
I call Dan to tell him that Sean's in the front yard, moving those stupid drainage PVCs to try to find the water line to the house so he can shut it off. There's a truckload of those things for Sean to move around.
I also called a plumber who said they'd have someone on call paged, who would then call me. In the meantime Dan said he would come over, so I told the plumber thanks anyway.
The plumber guy was very nice and he gave me his cell number, so if you need a plumber, call me.
Sean got the water shut off and the situation relaxed a bit.
I'd say only a quart of water leaked into the kitchen floor. It could have been much worse.
Mr. Cranky Dishwasher,
It came with dishes!
(Just kidding)
The beauty on the left is my husband and my landlord. That gack on the right is the inside of the cabinetry where the dishwasher goes.
Dan came up with some sort of fix. He used a lot of tool jargon that make men grunt happily. He was here for a couple hours working on this for us - and the old dishwasher wasn't even broken. I feel bad. This wasn't his responsibility.
While they were doing this, I went to Central Market, came home and made dinner, finished the Hello Dollies, and started cupcakes. All while climbing over both of these guys.
Now we have a new dishwasher and I want to make a lot of dishes dirty so I can check it out!
To the left is the chalkboard paint on Sean's computer wall, as promised. And there's Sean on the left saying Hi.
"Eeeradicator" is Sean's nickname and it's from a skit by Kids in the Hall. If you don't know Kids in the Hall, they're like Saturday Night Live, but the same five guys, and very Canadian.
The chalkboard paint is a bit weird. I guess it would be better if the wall was smooth, but the drywall is bumpy, therefore the "chalkboard" is bumpy. It still works, though. And special thanks to Dawn who helped me paint it!
Lastly, cousin Jamey was in the Chicago Tribune last Sunday, and I don't like the online version of the article (too many ads, no pictures), so I scanned it for y'all. It's about his furniture design.
Here are the scans - give it a minute to load.

Remember that jive about not having to do too much this weekend?
The wedding was at four, and around one I went to Target for Glen & Lara's wedding gift, wrapping paper, a card, and maybe a dress if I could find a cheap one.
They had no dresses. At all.
I even asked the girl where the dresses were, and she said "We don't get those until spring." Because, really, why would anyone need a dress between July and March?
It took Target 15 minutes to locate the Pyrex set on Glen & Lara's wedding registry, and forever to get out of there.
There's a Ross downstairs, so I took a chance. They had junk, junk, and more junk.
Before I know it, it's 2:30 and I need to get home, find something to wear, get ready, get Sean ready, eat something (I'd had a hunger headache for a couple hours by then), wrap the gift, and get on the road by 3:10. Not gonna happen.
Sean reheated some of last night's leftovers for me and I was so hurried I was sweating. We left at 3:30. The wedding was in Burien, which is near the airport, which is Very Far from our house.
Even with the Seattle Saturday traffic, we miraculously made it at exactly 4 pm. Thankfully, Glen and Lara were a bit delayed in taking pictures before the ceremony, so we had plenty of time.
It was quite the Applebee's reunion. You can see it here.



The Christmas Tree is up!
(Yes, the Christmas Tree is black)
We had Kolja and Alexandra (the Germans) over for fish tacos and The Raising of The Tree. They did some impressive work. If you need help putting up your Christmas tree, call them.
The soundtrack was Missy Elliot and Outkast. I am in sore need of Christmas music.
Sean and I are looking forward to this weekend. No furniture to build this time, only a light. It will take about fifteen minutes. And we can sleep in.
Tomorrow is Glen's wedding but otherwise we don't really have any plans. And we're okay with that.

This picture is from 2001 - taken from outside. It's the best picture I had to show the old shelving that we had in the window. Joe built it for us in 1997 with that pre-painted particle board stuff. It's amazing it lasted this long.
Today Dawn came over to help me with the final painting, including the chalkboard wall by Sean's desk. The chalkboard paint takes a few days to become chalkboardable, so I'll wait until then for the picture.
The new stuff looks pretty bad - we just didn't paint the black correctly, so there's blobs here and stripes there. We figure the living room is usually pretty dark so maybe that'll help mask it.
We'll see....
This is the new stuff in place. Now we have more seating and some shelves on the side and it doesn't look *quite* so cheap. Just don't look too close. But it's nice to have a sturdy bench for the living room. More seating! We need it!
Yes, I know my peace lily is in terrible shape. I cut more than half of it away and it's still struggling. I refuse to give up on it.
Last night I hit Sean's car. We were going out to eat because we had this coupon for Azteca, and I backed into his car. There was no damage but I felt soooo stupid. He went "Baby! BABY!!" and then I realized that Sean's car was parked behind me, since the dang furniture has been in the garage.
The dinner was lovely, and I got a chocolate dipped cone at Dairy Queen afterwards. Apparently it's a very difficult science getting those chocolate dipped cones right. Sean laughs that I keep trying, hoping I'll get a successful one someday. It just doesn't happen. The ice cream was in the cone practically lopsided, the chocolate wasn't dipped all the way down to the cone, and there were blank spots where there was paper thin coating. If Dairy Queen ever has a Dip Your Own! promotion, I'll be there every day. That sucker was dripping ice cream down the cone by the time the snot-nosed brat handed it to me. And there's Sean doing his heh haa dance behind me. The shame. Another failed chocolate dipped cone attempt. And then we laughed all through the mall making fun of people.
Once in 92 or 93 or something, Sean and I were goofing off in the Fatburger parking lot on Sahara and Decatur, and I had a drink in my hand, and I was wearing boxer shorts and a white men's crew-neck t-shirt (because that's what I wore every day for my last five years in Vegas) and people were packed in that Fatburger. So we left and we're being dorks and trying to trip each other and I go to whack him and he blocks me just right and my hand goes flying up and the straw in my drink scraped directly up into my nose and my nose starts spouting blood immediately. We had to go back in the restaurant for a handful of napkins and we're just laughing our heads off and people were horrified and I'm covered in blood.
Another time in 94 I took Joe to court because he had no car (part of why we were going to court) and we had to wait in this long line at some city building with all these other criminals going to court (I think it was the line to find out your court date or change your court date or something like that). That was the very first time I had sinusitis and I was getting nosebleeds multiple times a day. It was stress, I tell ya. The boys were leaving for London that week and I had just started my last phat semester at UNLV. So here we are in this line with the scary people and I'm wearing a white t-shirt with blood all over it and all over my hand and arm and face and I remember I had this thought. I'm one of the scary people! I could just be the scariest one in line right now! I'm that person people are horrified to look at and they don't want to stand next to! And oooh you should have seen the looks Joe got. My eyes were puffy and I'm breathing out of my mouth and I had the word victim floating over my head.
I have no idea why I told either of those stories tonight. I haven't had a bloody nose in a long time.

Chris Martin of Coldplay and Gwyneth Paltrow are going to have a baby! Oh the paleness!
Last night was the Queer Eye Potluck, where we had an italian feast for twelve, even though there were only five of us. Not that anyone was complaining. I left early, but not before stuffing myself.
I added Banana Cake with Bourbon Frosting to the recipes page.
I have to paint the clear coat tonight and I am avoiding it. The great plan was to call Mom, since today is her BIRTHDAY and all, and she's watching West Wing, so forget it.
Totally cool - Bonnie and her family sent me a Christmas card and it includes a picture of their whole family, and a poem! About me! It's the cutest!
Sean got a voice mail from Callison - regarding that job he applied for two weeks ago. Hopefully it's an interview....

Meredith, your hair is ratty!

Who's stupid idea was this? oh.

The furniture is assembled and painted now. It needs two coats of the water-resistant coating, which you have to sand in-between, but then it can dry all evening and be placed in the living room tomorrow. I can't tell you how happy I am that this is almost over. Sean confessed that he had fun. I confessed I did not.
After these coats of paint, I'll be making spinach feta pasta for the Queer Eye Potluck tonight. I get to visit the rats and cats!
The pasta is easy and it's very good:
Boil ziti or similar, drain. Heat up and dry frozen spinach, or use fresh and just clean it. Saute onion and garlic, add spinach to heat. Put in a 9x13 baking pan: pasta, onion, garlic, spinach, a can of chopped tomatoes, enough cream to make it saucy and a bunch of broken up feta cheese. Bake with parmesan on top for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I told a lot of people this in person, but in case I haven't reached you yet.... Central Market is now selling Culver Duck - from my family's farm in Indiana! It's so cool to go to my favorite store and see Culver Duck there. They are demo-ing it this weekend so stop by and get some duck samples!
And if you want to know the best way to cook it: Get a package of our boneless skinless duck breasts, fry in a large skillet, skin down, for about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to the same pan - asparagus, spinach, onions or green onions, mushrooms, green beans, anything (do a lot of veggies because they shrink down). They will cook in the duck oil and you've never tasted anything like it. Flip over duck to cook the other side for about 5 minutes. It's very healthy and easy. Once the duck skin is cooked crispy it's very easy to peel off if you don't want it. But it's crucial to cook with it on there.
You're dismissed.
I added some recipes to the recipes page - Tacos, and Matzoh Ball Soup - which people must eat when they get sick and they will be cured. Trust me - I made this for Steve when he had the flu and he was a new man; and I made it for Lee, DJ, and Ken when they got carbon monoxide poisoning.

Changes are afoot at daymented.com. Check out the new home page and "news" page!

Putty to fill in the broken parts

Partially painted
This month begins with sawing, sanding, and painting. It's the Thanksgiving project that doesn't want to quit. Tonight we need to sand and paint some more, and put the shelves into the bookcases. Then paint yet some more. I hope it will all be done by Wednesday.
The table is a bit of a mishap - we sanded it so we could repaint it, because we were in a hurry to use it the last time we built it (as I recall, we had a sudden dinner party of 9 or 10 and said "go get the table out of the garage!" and it wasn't really dry yet - people's plates were sticking to it. Ugh). The sanding part went fine, but the roller was too deep of a nap and created a bumpy surface. Sand and paint again with a new roller. This roller was too thin, creating a plaid design of exact roller paths. Roll again with nappy roller.
It has about 8 coats of paint on it now.
And it isn't exactly a clean, even surface. Kinda low plaid here and stucco/shag there. But I told Sean this is good - you can't have a table surface too smooth or playing cards will just whiz by someone's arm - and we can't have that. It's a safety precaution, this table.
The weather cooperated, thankfully, but today it started raining. We have everything in the garage so it'll be fine. I also trimmed and re-potted some plants, and Hobbes tried to assist me. Somewhere in there I made cookies and we also attempted to watch Anger Management - it was so awful we just shut it off after about twenty minutes. We couldn't handle it. I should have just rented Punch Drunk Love again - man I love that movie.