Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"I don't care what nobody says, we're gonna have a baby..."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My last, completely legitimate and totally exciting reason for a lack of writing in these past few months. In just 10 weeks, we're going to be meeting our baby BOY, an event that we have been longing for for years (and for me, longer than I can remember). We are so grateful and thankful to God for granting us this blessing, and our prayers daily include the safety and well-being of our son.

P.S. I am proudly wearing one of my Kings of Leon shirts. Somehow I feel they would be proud.

P.P.S. In case anyone is wondering, the blog post title is a song lyric. Conveniently, courtesy of KOL. Just wanted to clear that up.

another thing to blame for the lack of my blogging presence

A house remodel. The cause of stress, anxiety, and much pulling-of-hair. Yes, we decided to take it on, seeing as how I was living like a pioneer woman with no dishwasher, and the general layout of our bathroom was something cavern-like as opposed to being light and accommodating. We felt if we didn't do it now, we might never, so after meeting with four contractors and getting all sorts of advice, we embarked on the project with the help of a lovely designer, whom I'll just refer to as CP. It is almost done, and I cannot WAIT to store my Fiestaware in those lovely glass-fronted cabinets.

An early view of my beautiful sage-y green, subway tile backsplash. I had my heart set on a green and white kitchen, something that would look natural and beautiful, making a nice segue into our backyard. Let me tell you, finding a nice green tile that will not break the bank is no walk in the park. There was lots of green glass, and plenty of minty and forest green, but nothing that fit my bill. Until I encountered "Sequoia," the perfect shade. As I soon came to expect along this journey of renovation, there was a huge obstacle to my happiness once I chose my tile. It cost millions of dollars. Well, not millions. Not even hundreds. I am exaggerating because of my initial despair. I decided to persist in my search, and finally found a store that stocked "Sequoia" at half the price. Another lesson learned about remodeling: if you have all the time in the world, you will be able to eventually get what you need, at the proper price point. Of course, I do NOT have all the time in the world, but just happened upon an incredible piece of luck, not just with the kitchen tile, but also with my granite. A big part of me wanted to have tile on the counters as well, but my propensity to spill anything and everything caused my SH to immediately veto the idea. So, granite it was, and again, I was on a quest to find something that might have a hint of green. Enter "Costa Esmeralda," the absolutely PERFECT choice for our kitchen. Not too light, not too dark, with flecks of green (and brown, my favorite), it was just right. Yet again, I was stymied when it came to finding what I needed-my Costa was very popular and simply not available when we needed it. I have a terrible tendency to like the most popular things. Fortunately, CP kept calling the granite/marble shop, and when some poor soul failed to pick up their granite after an extremely long grace period of a week, we managed to snag it for ourselves.

The almost-finished bathroom, so light and beautiful and blue! I am in love with the floor, and thankfully, was not presented with so many difficulties in selecting and ordering the tile. My SH is quite hirsute, so not only is the color of my floor gorgeous, its deep blue shade serves as a disguise of sorts.

The pièce de résistance! My made-in-England, weighs-as-much-as-a-person farmhouse sink! CP tried to keep me in line with our budget, warning me that this sink would cost a king's ransom (not really, but a good deal more than an average old sink), but it was the one thing that I just HAD to have. Despite the fact that we had to reconfigure the cabinets to make it work, I know it is going to be worth. every. penny.

Mere days remain before I'll be cooking away again in my new kitchen. It has been arduous and difficult at times, but I am full of excitement at the improvements now present in our little house.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

food revolution

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I HEARTILY admonish you to check out the second season of Jamie's Food Revolution. The first season was probably the best thing I saw last year. I adore Jamie for obvious reasons: fresh and easy recipes, the ability to make a novice cook feel like they can make something delicious, propensity to name children after flowers, adorable lisp, and of course, his Britishness; but what he is attempting with his food revolution is very significant and necessary. We should be paying attention.

top chef fail

Yes, I dropped the ball on my recapping. I was confident that I would be able to get my proverbial act together and plow through the five or six episodes I had missed, but as the season progressed, I gradually lost my TC enthusiasm. Chefs I admired fell by the wayside, one after the other, and I began to worry that the finale would be bereft of any of my favorites. As it turned out, Antonia was the only one left standing that I really admired, and the eventual showdown was between Mike Isabella and Richard Blais. Though I made an early prediction that Richard would go far, I had no idea at the time how much I would grow to dislike him, and the the judge's decision at the finale was a real disappointment to me. Granted, I appreciate their consistency when it comes to grading the best dishes on a challenge-by-challenge basis, and Richard clearly had the best tasting food (despite the horrid and repulsive-looking foie gras ice cream). I simply could not tolerate Richard's self-pitying, inexplicably insecure behavior, which was only made worse by the occasional burst of arrogance. He repeatedly stated that the only reason anyone remembers his season is because he didn't win. Ironically, the winner of his season (and the only female winner of Top Chef), Stephanie Izard, has been one of the most successful in the show's history. She scrupulously planned and developed a concept for her own restaurant (The Girl and the Goat) during the time since her win, and it has opened to rave reviews and great success. Richard, on the other hand, has struggled in the restaurant business. It's a highly competitive, risky industry, with huge failure rates, I'm sure, but a bit of humility would be much appreciated. Richard's strange tendency to doubt his food and propensity to say he "hates everything" he has done after the fact is hugely annoying, and disrespectful to his fellow chefs and competitors. Needless to say, his final victory, however deserved, left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn't even include a picture of him on this post in good conscience! Let's just say I'm looking forward to a new season with fresh faces.

finally spring playlist

Hark! It is the second month of spring, and I am finally emerging from my veritable cocoon of busy-ness to write about my musical frivolities once more. Because of my various distractions, I really didn't invest a lot of energy into what I was listening to in the past few months. I'm not one that is capable of writing papers while listening to music, unfortunately. Now that I'm getting back to a more normal routine however, I am all over finding new musical sources of inspiration and calm. There are some "repeat offenders" on my list, but that probably won't surprise you.

england-the national. Yes, I'm still completely addicted to these guys. It doesn't hurt that this song is conveniently titled "England" and contains lyrics like "You must be somewhere in London, you must be loving your life in the rain...." Be still my heart!

down by the water-the decemberists. I haven't listened to much more of their latest album, but I became completely enamored of this song after hearing about from Rose. No big surprise there. "Down by the Water" is a bit more folksy-sounding than "The Crane Wife 3" and "O Valencia!" but change can be good!

sort of revolution-fink. Herein lies another case of me being caught up and emotionally manipulated by the music used in television. My beloved Friday Night Lights is the show in question, and I'm confident the song accompanied a scene both gut-wrenching and powerful. Would I have loved the song so much had I innocently come across it whilst perusing the Itunes store? Probably, but a father-son moment between Coach Taylor and Vince or the sight of a guilty Billy Riggins most likely sealed the deal.

the cave-mumford & sons. I am very, very late to the Mumford & Sons party. Thank goodness for my sister's newfound adoration and persistent dropped hints. I am dangerously close to obsession with the latest album, "Sigh No More"-despite the fact that it may be the first I've bought which contains a parental advisory (for one errant word!)! I am also further convinced that pretty much everything musically great must originate in England.

pickup truck-kings of leon. I love the sound of this song. It's drifty and slow in the beginning, with a refreshingly strong and surprising chorus. I tend to not focus a whole lot on the lyrics when it comes to the Kings, and I advise you to do the same. Just get caught up in Caleb's soulful whine and enjoy the fine, fine music.

rolling in the deep-adele. Adele is hugely popular, so this particular selection isn't especially original, but I'm allowed! She is the pure, clean, and untroubled version of Amy Winehouse, and only 21! Unbelievable.

maps-yeah yeah yeahs. A bit of an older tune, but great to revisit. I thought it added a nice sound to my spring list, which is relatively somber.

vagabond-wolfmother. Two summers ago, I listened to the soundtrack to 500 Days of Summer like it was the last CD on earth. I put it on repeat while I was working in the classroom, and shuffle while I puttered around in the garden. This particular song was the one I loved to hear with the windows rolled down on a golden California day. It's taken quite a while for us to finally get to that weather this year, but I was ready when the sun finally arrived, with this song.

bigger than us-white lies. My very first posted playlist contained a song by the White Lies which I still LOVE, so you can imagine my happiness when I discovered the release of their newest album. They're British. Of course.

i want a house-twin sister. I overheard this song on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and I'll be the first to admit it's a bit strange. After a few listens, though, the quirkiness is irresistible. Like "vagabond," it's a great song for an afternoon drive with the windows rolled down. A slow drive, that is.

laughing with-regina spektor. This song is certainly not light-hearted, but I appreciate the lyrics. No one is quite as good with the piano and high notes as Regina Spektor.

comfortably numb-roger waters featuring van morrison & the band. I've taken to watching The Departed a lot lately. There is nothing more to say.

the immortals-kings of leon. This particular tune was selected for use in promotions for March Madness, so I suppose my newfound appreciation for it also falls under the television manipulation category. It helped that my Duke Blue Devils were prominently featured in the music video.

winter winds-mumford & sons. Though I pretty much can't get the ENTIRE ALBUM out of my mind, I figured it was best that I start with just two or three on my spring playlist. This one is especially pleasing.

helplessness blues-fleet foxes. My darling sister has become completely immersed in the folksy/indie/alternative genre, and she can't stop talking about Fleet Foxes. They're like her Coldplay. She particularly loves this song, and when I saw it available as a free download, I decided to check it out. So good.

blue mind-alexi murdoch. This is by no means a new tune in my library. In fact, I have an extremely powerful memory of listening to it on my Discman (!) the summer I moved to New York. I lived with my aunt in Fairfield, CT, for a few months, and I had to take a commuter train every day to the city which left at the ungodly hour of 5:50 am. I can remember hearing this song as the sun started to break, hurting my tired eyes a little. Even though I was exhausted, it helped relax me and give me a sense of calm and purpose for the long day to follow. Still works today.

come thou fount of every blessing-sufjan stevens (friday night lights soundtrack, volume ii). This is my favorite old hymn, and I love this barebones, banjo-accompanied version.

devil town-tony lucca (friday night lights soundtrack, volume i). Friday Night Lights ended its five-season run just over a month ago, and I felt I must honor its passing with the iconic "devil town." The song played in a pivotal, mood-encapsulating scene in the first season's penultimate episode, and the producers/music supervisors/powers that be decided to recreate the feeling by replaying it in the same episode of the fifth season. I don't exactly know how to explain it, but the song perfectly conveys the sentiment of the show, the whole small town, football is everything feel that is what makes it so near and dear to my heart.

There you have it! It is GOOD to be back!