Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's a New Day

I'm a little exhausted by all the end-of-year wrap-ups that surround me. Magazines, TV shows, blogs, twitter, everyone resolving and reflecting and I just can't seem to catch a quiet moment to think about this stuff for myself. I love Linda's questionnaire and it's sort of been hanging over my head all week, and I've just realized that I'm not going to get it done. Why can't I find time to reflect on 2008?

Maybe because this year has been a less-than-great one for so many of my friends and acquaintances - lost jobs and difficult relationships and even the little stuff like bad weather over the holiday season that put a damper on Christmas this year. And I want so much for 2009 to be better for all of us. I want to feel calmer and in better control of just about everything in my life. But as much as I'd like to put 2008 behind me, I don't feel ready for this bright new year of possibilities. My house isn't clean, we haven't even opened half of our Christmas gifts yet, and even my to-do list is unfinished. But the calendar page is going to turn whether I like it or not. Whether I'm ready or not. So here I come.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let it Schnee

Last week Theo and I barely left the house, mainly just to walk across the street and check the empty mailbox. It started out feeling cozy and ended up feeling a bit like we had been stranded in a snow cave somewhere -- well, a snow cave with a furnace and a lot of Christmas cookies. We left Portland Friday morning and after almost being stranded in Seattle and then getting on a plane we were told would probably have to divert to Spokane, we eventually landed in Montana. The temperature here is in the single digits but it feels so much less claustrophobic, with people zipping along the streets, many of them without so much as a set of snow tires, and grocery shopping and fa la la la la.

Apparently we made it out just in time, as our street was featured as one of the most treacherous in the city and everyone we know is huddled near a fireplace as ARCTIC BLAST 2008 dumps more snow everywhere. Even the mall is closed, which is a pretty big deal on the weekend before Christmas.

I still haven't unlocked the precise reason a snowstorm in the Pacific NW is so different than one in Montana. I know it's got a lot to do with frequency (duh) and snowplows-per-square-mile, and wet snow versus dry snow and all that. But there's got to be a psychological component too. All the psychic energy of those schoolkids, willing another day of sledding instead of another day of school, can't all be for naught.

I'll be away from the blog for a few days. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great start to 2009. Thanks so much for reading.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Current Playlist

I'm not sure what's up with my musical taste right now, but I'm all about the ladies.

Straight To...Number One by Touch and Go.
Video of Lance and Lacey's DWTS mambo, because that's what turned me on to the song.

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) by Beyonce
You might be sick of it, but I'm not. And this choreographer deserves an award.

Keeps Gettin' Better by Christina Aguilera
I still maintain that this is really a Britney song, but who cares.

Untouched by The Veronicas
The day I downloaded this I put it on repeat and drove around listening to it for half an hour until I could sing along exactly to the chorus.

So What by P!nk
When this comes on the radio, Theo yells ROCKSTAR! ROCK MOVES! from the back seat.

That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings
I have no idea where I came up with this one. But still. Love it.

Cobrastyle by Robyn
I think I've linked to this before. I'm still listening to it.

Fidelity by Regina Spektor
This video looks like Tori Amos landed in the middle of that weird Tom Petty/Alice in Wonderland video that I love so much.

When Will I Be Loved? by Linda Ronstadt
Everyone needs a little Linda in her life.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Patrol

We had a bunch of plans for today, but instead we did this:




It's been snowing for more than twelve hours and it looks like the drifts will be here for a while. My Montanan friends are not impressed, but I think I've officially become a wintertime wimp. And I live in a place where I've never actually seen a snowplow in real life, and where we make any possible excuse to stay inside and eat chocolate cake. It works for us. We also live on a big hill, so the cars are staying parked for now. We'd planned a big family birthday party for Jeff this afternoon but no one wanted to risk life and limb to get here, so we were forced to eat his raspberry fudge birthday cake ourselves. There are lots of leftovers, so I have the feeling the cake going to be the center of our culinary plan for the next few days. I know you feel sorry for us.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here you go.

-I threw a little holiday shindig last night, mostly just as an excuse to make The Pioneer Woman's Holiday Bacon Appetizers. It's the recipe you've been waiting for. I also whipped up some Guac with Pears and Pomegranate Seeds (via MightyGirl). Food for meat-eaters and veggies alike, that's my party mantra.

-We've got a bunch of plans for the weekend, all of which involve being out and about, so if this storm the forecasters are promising actually arrives, I won't be impressed. But I recall from the last winter I spent here that the weather drama is normally confined to local newsrooms and one or two poor newscasters shivering in the rain on freeway overpasses, waiting for snowflakes.

-I hadn't entered a Nordstrom store in ages, so yesterday when I finally got there I didn't want to go home. They have nice bathrooms, clothing and shoes, and a nearby cafe. Why should I ever leave?

-The best thing about owning a DVR is that I can watch the Charlie Brown Christmas specials anytime I want.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How Flossing Changed My Life

I strive to be truthful. But I used to lie to my dental hygienist twice a year, without fail, when she would ask me if I flossed. "MmmHmm," I nodded as I tried to make sure and answer while her fingers were in my mouth, hopefully obscuring my guilty face. And then she would remark on my bleeding gums and I would say, "Well, not every day," which meant, "Well, only once in a while when I get a popcorn kernel stuck in my molar." And she would smile politely and then get serious and tell me I really should be flossing blah blah blah.

I finally realized that this little untruth, though practically a national pastime, was the worst part of my dental appointments. It pained me even more than the dragging of those pointy spiral instruments past my aching gums. So I finally just decided to tell her the truth, that I did not floss. I thought maybe that would garner some sympathy, that I'd get points for being the one and only person in the chair that day who admitted her shortcomings. But instead I didn't even get a sympathetic smile this time, just a stern talking-to about gum disease.

And then I moved to Germany and met the kindest, friendliest hygienist I've ever known, who cheerfully gave me two teeth-cleanings straight from a Stephen King novel. I swear I saw my own blood spattered on the ceiling as I rose from the chair. And I went home and broke out the dental floss.

I have too many teeth that are too big for my mouth. This meant braces and appliances and rubber bands and elementary school photos wherein I look like a K-9 or a descendant of Nosferatu. Now that the cosmetics are straightened out, my teeth are crammed so tightly together that anything I try to slide between them becomes caught. Floss shreds. Toothpicks splinter. And I have a permanently-installed retainer that traps food particles like a Venus Flytrap grabs insects (yum). So that's always been my excuse for poor dental hygiene. But I was determined to avoid needing cauterization the next time I hit the dentist's chair.

And so, for the past twelve months, I've been a flossing machine. I floss every single night before bed, even when I'm tired, even when I'm on vacation, and even when I found out we were moving back to the USA and I knew I'd never see that friendly, devilish hygienist again. In fact, if you can believe this, I made a dentist appointment for the week before we moved just so I could display my sparkling gums to her. Of course in fine German style, when I announced I'd been flossing she said, "Oh this is fine, but your retainer is still a difficulty." Whatever.

Now the point to this story wasn't to give you a far-too-detailed account of what's inside my mouth (but aren't you lucky? you got one anyway). It's to tell you that old dogs can learn new tricks! Really we can! Because I am still flossing, and I realized last week that I've started LOOKING FORWARD to how my teeth feel after I've flossed, in the same way I used to look forward to brushing them. Now, that minty freshness just isn't complete until I've yanked a piece of Teflon-coated string between my teeth. Just think of what this means. I might one day learn to make my bed every morning! I could start washing the car once a week! I could get up an hour earlier and do yoga!

But since none of that is likely to happen, I'm just looking forward to my next dentist appointment where there will be no lies or evasion or, if I'm lucky, blood on the ceiling.