Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Constant

Lost was just incredible tonight.

And now, after letting the episode digest and watching that touching phone call scene with Desmond and Penny again, I think I'm ready to talk about it.

We got an episode full of Desmond and Sayid last night, two of the best characters on the show. We also got a bit more from Daniel Faraday, whom I just adore. Not only do I feel the need to care for him like a wounded animal, but he's also all geeky/eccentric/scientist-y, which is way cool.

You know the surprised cartoon character look that involves bulging eyes and a gaping mouth? That's what I looked like for a good part of the episode. Well, maybe not that bad, but I know my mouth was hanging open and I was on the edge of my seat. I loved the way Desmond went back and forth, and Henry Ian Cusick's acting was fabulous (even if he does remind me of John Black from Days of Our Lives when he has short hair). It never got repetitive or old for me - it only grew more suspenseful. Especially when we saw what happened to Eloise and Minkowski.

TPTB with Lost have said that the Desmond+Penelope relationship is an important part of the Big Picture on Lost, and I think this episode really reinforces that. That devious ol' Charles Widmore keeps popping up (and may pop up again soon) in unexpected ways. Minkowski said he was instructed NOT to answer any phone calls from Penny. Penny becomes Desmond's "Constant" and enables him to become "stuck" in time again, something that appears to be an important clue in learning about the Island's mysterious properties. Remember the polar bear remains in Tunisia?

However, because I'm emotional and sappy, my favorite part of the episode was the oh-so-satisfying phone call between Desmond and Penelope. I don't care if it isn't Christmas Eve right now, I certainly felt like it was for that brief moment! Making that contact inspired all the pure hope, joy, and excitement of Christmas Eve. The quick exchange of I love yous and promises to find each other and never give up was the best television I've seen in a long time. The intense close-ups on their faces and quick editing sucked you right in. It was infintely better than that high school romance between Jack/Kate/Sawyer(/Juliet?). You feel hope that perhaps there WILL be a happy ending and maybe everyone WON'T end up miserable and broken. I suppose we have two and a half seasons to change that though. :/

Here's to Desmond and Penelope. Pesmond will be my Constant.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's OK to Be Happy

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Right now I'm in the Eat/Pleasure/Italy section of the book, and the following paragraph in Chapter 21 really struck me, for multiple reasons:

"I walked home to my apartment and soft-boiled a pair of fresh brown eggs for my lunch. I peeled the eggs and arranged them on a plate beside the seven stalks of the asparagus (which were so slim and snappy they didn't need to be cooked at all). I put some olives on the plate, too, and the four knobs of goat cheese I'd picked up yesterday from the formaggeria down the street, and two slices of pink, oily salmon. For dessert - a lovely peach, which the woman at the market had given to me for free and which was still warm from the Roman sunlight. For the longest time I couldn't even touch this food because it was such a masterpiece of lunch, a true expression of the art of making something out of nothing. Finally, when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my wooden floor and ate every bite of it, with my fingers, while reading my daily newspaper in Italian. Happiness inhabited my every molecule."

This paragraph was part of a discussion of how to experience pleasure without feeling guilt. Gilbert talks about how much Americans seem to struggle with enjoying simple pleasures and how hard we work (and seem to enjoy working). Once she's in Italy, however, they think it's perfectly acceptable (and good!) to take time in your life to do nothing but experience pleasure! She still has to fight her ingrained guilt about being self-indulgent, but Italians certainly help with that fight. She discovered a market near where she was staying in Rome, bought some asparagus from a woman and her son, and the above paragraph followed.

I, and I'm sure many of you, can sympathize with the concept of feeling guilt over being too self-indulgent. But once you are able to figure out that seeking pleasure and being a productive member of society are not mutually exclusive, you can do some of those self-indulgent things that make you happy AND productive in your life. At least, that's what I try to tell myself.

I love the idea of "making something out of nothing." The lunch sounds like such a simple assortment of things you might have sitting in your cupboards, but the sum is greater than its parts. What a great way to go through life - taking the ingredients, parts, qualities you have access to and turning them into something more!

This paragraph also paralleled an incident early in my first year of college. I was feeling that strong sense of "existing in a bubble" that comes with living in a dorm on campus. One Sunday, my roommates were both gone, so I took the opportunity to get out of the bubble and do something on my own. It was a very small thing, and it will probably sound very silly, but to someone in my position, what I did made a big difference. I walked to the nearest Subway to get myself a sandwich, bought a Sunday newspaper at one of those little stands on the street, took it all back to my dorm room, and dug in. Sprawled across the floor, I think I read every word in that newspaper because I was so starved for information outside of campus (this was before I had internet access - my computer ran Windows 3.x). I enjoyed that sandwich that I bought BY MYSELF (remember - this was at a time when none of us did anything by ourselves - you had to do everything with SOMEbody to BE somebody). It was quite liberating - being OK with the idea of doing something without my roommates.

So if you've been kind enough to read this whole thing, you can see why that paragraph struck me. Eat, Pray, Love has been excellent so far. I don't identify with Gilbert in many ways, but I identify with many of her questions and desires. I'm not the adventurous, gregarious person that she is (I'm much more like her sister), so I will happily experience the journey through her eyes.

Fabulously Broke In The City's Fabulous Sale

The blogger Fabulously Broke In The City has decided to clean out her closet, and in her quest to get out of debt, she's selling the items on a new blog. While there are only a few items up right now, I'd suggest keeping an eye on this blog as the SATC fan adds more items. I don't know what she has, but I know she loves fashion, so I'm sure there will be good stuff.

Read a post from her usual blog about the sale here.

See the actual sale blog here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gardening Progress

This post is pretty much just a pat on the back to myself. ;) With a lot of help from my hubby and mom, I got around 20 roses planted and transplanted. I've pruned and pulled out plants till my fingers were raw and my back ached. I've enjoyed watching the birds swarm in and eat up all the bugs and seeds I've uncovered. I've planted seeds from little packets I've gotten in the mail (Red Poppy, Baby's Breath, and some 'Bouquet Garden' - a fancy name for generic flowers). I've taken out plants to make room for a small extension of the patio (pavers of some kind). I think next we'll be working on that patio extension, borders for the beds, a small pathway through one of my beds that my mom created and one of the puppers just LOVES, and laying new bark down. I will also be planting berry vines and prepping my garden area for some veggies. Doh! Gotta remember to get Sweet Peas going!

Can I just say that I am SO excited to see this place come to life! I have so many bulbs coming up and buds forming on different flowering plants - can't wait to see everything bloom.

live each season

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
-Henry David Thoreau

This quote reminds me of the old money-saving advice of buying produce that's in season because it'll be cheaper and fresher. But it also just seems to be better when you indulge in the season. For those of you who experience changing seasons, you know what it's like to crave peppermint hot chocolate or a warm spicy citrus drink in the Winter, and iced tea or lemonade in the Summer. There's just something about enjoying the specialties of the season - the season puts you in the mood for the goodies, and the goodies put you in the mood for the season.

You can also take it further by just generally enjoying the moment. Live in the here and now, rather than waiting for the future or regretting or pining after the past. (Easier said than done sometimes!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Miss Marple Does It Again

I recently recorded Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage in two parts on PBS' Mystery series. I love Agatha Christie mysteries and always find Miss Marple charming. I've seen other Miss Marple movies: At Bertram's Hotel with the adorable Martine McCutcheon (Love Actually), and Ordeal By Innocence with Jane Seymour and Burn Gorman (Torchwood). There are other good actors in these films, but those people were particularly interesting to me. Oddly enough, we just saw Martine McCutcheon on an episode of Gordon Ramsay's The F Word. But anyway....

Geraldine McEwan is the only person I've seen portray Miss Marple*, and I think she's pretty spot on with how I always pictured the character. The mix of "little old lady" and "clever homicide detective" is hilarious to me. The Murder at the Vicarage is probably my favorite film of what I've seen so far (although I have not read this book yet). The actors were great, including Tim McInnerny and Christina Cole (Doctor Who!), but it was the setting and costumes that I really loved. Everyone in St. Mary Mead seems to live along the same street, in quaint English cottages with lush English gardens drenched in sunlight. (Sunshine in England? Really?) Set in the 50s, the women are dressed in full skirts and dresses, even when gardening, and wear matching hats and wrist length gloves. The characters were often having a proper tea together or helping each other out around the house. The idyllic life of St. Mary Mead was a nice little escape, even if someone died!

I read Elephants Can Remember not too long ago, and I found it so interesting how much detail went into describing Ariadne Oliver's clothing choices and different styles of hats. As much as I love those classic fashions, however, I'm glad us modern ladies can forgo the hats and freely wear pants when we want to. ;)

*I take that back - I saw Helen Hayes as Miss Marple in A Caribbean Mystery, but I often forget that it's a Miss Marple mystery since it was changed to take place in the 80s....'nuff said.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

7 Things You Love About Me (Tagged again!)

I've been tagged by my good friend Kate to do the ol' 7 things meme. This will take some thought....


  • List 7 random things about yourself that people may not know.

  • Link the person who sent this to you, and leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.

  • Post the rules on your blog.

  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

All About Me:

1. I've taken (and loved) ballroom dancing lessons.

2. I started wearing glasses when I was 8.

3. I have girl crushes on Ashley Judd and Angelina Jolie.

4. I have an irrational fear of throwing up.

5. I've never broken a bone.

6. Growing up, I wanted to be a herpetologist, anthropologist, and artist.

7. I'm lazy about getting rid of things (e.g. I still have VHS tapes even though we haven't had a VCR in AGES).

I don't know who has done this before, so I'm sorry if I tag you again! But I'd love to see responses from My Inner French Girl, Raging Rouge, NY $pender, Wardrobe Oxygen, The Well-Heeled Society, Fabulously Broke in the City, and shopalicious!

Here's a Thought....

Make sure your telescope is in proper working order and that you have all the pieces BEFORE the eclipse happens, rather than DURING the eclipse. :/ I didn't get the chance to look at Saturn and Regulus through my telescope because I couldn't find the viewpiece and the battery pack had broken, but I did pull out the tripod and get some photos of the eclipse. I'll post some if any of them turned out ok.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on the Total Lunar Eclipse (happening soon!)

For the U.S.:

"The moon will enter Earth's umbral shadow (the full shadow) at 8:43 p.m. ET (that's 7:43 p.m. Central, 6:43 p.m. Mountain and 5:43 p.m. Pacific) on Wednesday, Feb. 20. It will appear as though an ever-larger bite is being taken out of the moon.

Some 78 minutes later, the moon will slip into full eclipse. About 51 minutes later, a bright scallop will appear as the moon starts emerging. It will be completely out of the umbral shadow at 9:09 p.m. Pacific time, which is 12:09 a.m. ET on Thursday morning."

That was taken from this article at

Also!!! Regulus and Saturn will be visible at the same time - see this page at

Time to go get my camera ready!

Look to the Skies

Don't forget about the Total Lunar Eclipse today! Find out about your viewing options and get more information here.

We also still have a chance to see the spy satellite before it's taken out. MSNBC has an article about it, including a link to potential viewing times and locations.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gardening Season has Started for Me

Armed with allergy medication and anti-inflammatories, I have been tending to my garden recently (as evidenced by my aching muscles and filled bins of yard debris hanging around the yard). I've done lots of pruning and clean-up; today I'll continue pruning (roses) and prepare for some serious transplanting. The blueberries can wait for pruning but I can transplant them at any time. My cape fuschia can wait on pruning too. I should probably get started with the sweet peas soon. I have a whole slew of roses to transplant and plant (new ones still in containers) as well. I hope I'm getting good exercise and not putting my body through the pain for nothing. ;) Anybody else doing any gardening-related activities?

Happy Planting!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

in awe of my body

I stand in awe of my body.
-Henry David Throeau

I like this quote for two reasons. On one side, it teaches us to accept and be happy with our bodies no matter what society tells us we should look like because our bodies are intrinsically good. On the other side, it can also inspire us to do all those things to care for our bodies by nourishing it properly - not because we need to fit into an acceptable clothing size, but because our bodies deserve to be taken care of and treated well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Mishaps, or Why I Hate

All in all, we had a very nice Valentine's Day. We spent the day just hanging out together. We had a nice lunch and ended up having a nice dinner. I say 'ended up' because we originally had reservations at a restaurant where we had a gift certificate, but that didn't quite happen. It wasn't the only thing that didn't quite happen.

The Restaurant
Our reservations were for a restaurant Downtown. We'd never been there so we thought it was a little weird when we walked up and thought it looked a bit empty. Upon reaching the front door, we realized all the lights were off and there was a sign that basically said 'Restaurant closed, sorry.' No explanation then, and they have not answered the calls we've attempted to make since.

We ended up going to a place just down the street and were lucky that they even had anything available. The meal turned out to be good (we got the Valentine's Day special where you share everything). The poached pear dessert could have been better, but the starter salad was fantastic. I also had a glass of champagne, something I probably wouldn't have ordered at the other place. All in all, it wasn't a complete loss, although we'll still be trying to get something in return for the gift certificate we purchased if they've gone out of business.

The Boots
This is the real problem, in my fashion opinion. I am so annoyed by what happened with this company and with the way they responded to my hubby calling to complain. I don't really know what else I can do about it besides warn others.

I ordered a pair of hard-to-find Steve Madden Latchh boots in camel from on Feburary 8 (it was my V day gift from my husband). By February 12, my order still said "In Process" so I emailed them asking for an expected ship date. They responded on Feburary 13:

"Yes, we recieved your order 2/8/08 starts processing next business day. PLEASE ALLOW 3-11 Business Days to receive your Order."

They went on to talk about shipping times and some orders taking longer than others. I took that to mean that my order had been started on February 9 and that it's just slow to get the boots from the warehouse to the shipping company and then to me.

Today, February 15, you can imagine how I felt to open up this email:

"We regret to inform you that your order number ****** has been canceled. The items your ordered were out of stock. The funds on hold in your account for this transaction have been released. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for shopping at
Customer Service Team

I'm sorry, what? A week later? When you had a chance 2 days ago to tell me this but instead led me to believe everything was still moving along? I don't think I'm being unreasonable here.

Hubby called to complain, and they basically said that the website isn't capable of showing if shoes are out of stock. It takes them 3-5 days to process orders and they tried looking at other stores for them (even though he hadn't given them our order number or info?). They said there was nothing they could do.

Anyway, I certainly won't be shopping with them anymore and would recommend that you don't either. I ordered from them in spite of seeing an unresolved issue with the BBB because I wanted those boots so bad. Next time maybe I'll decide against it. Ugh.

Update: I thought I should add that we got home last night in time to watch a great episode of Lost, so that was good at least!

My First Meme

I've been tagged! My Inner French Girl tagged me to do this meme, which is so exciting to me because I feel a little more 'in' with the blogging world now. ;)

The rules for this one are:

a) Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.

b) Find page 123.

c) Find the first 5 sentences and read them.

d) Post the next 3 sentences.

The nearest book I grabbed is Gordon Ramsay's Roasting In Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection. The hubby borrowed it from the library and thought it was great, so now it's waiting for me to read it quickly before we return it.

Page 123 is towards the end of Chapter 5, Oceans Apart. Here we go....

We were moving in because there was a big storm, but the tenders were still out. The Grundys were up on deck playing cards, and I was fishing off the prow, something they encouraged if we were off duty. Suddenly, I heard this terrific bang.

To be honest, I don't know what he's talking about! The section sounds more like a mystery novel than a biography about a chef. It's interesting though - I certainly wouldn't have expected a boating trip to be in his book. I had to keep reading to find out what the bang was, but I'll keep that little secret to myself. ;)

I shall now tag NY $pender, The Well-Heeled Society, and Wardrobe Oxygen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We've all heard the usual story about Valentine sending a letter to the girl he loved while he was in jail and signing it "from your Valentine." has an article about the history of Valentine's Day. I found the theory about the day being in the middle of February to sort "convert" a Pagan holiday into a Christian holiday to be interesting - it's certainly not the first time that is thought to happen. The festival, Lupercalia, started on Feburary 15, and it was considered the beginning of Spring, a time for cleansing, and a fertility festival dedicated to the god of agriculture. Old habits die hard I guess because that all sounds familiar to what the current season means to many of us - spring cleaning and preparation for the growing season.

Have a nice Valentine's Day, whether it's spent with someone else or a day of some much deserved self-pampering!

100 visits!

Yay! I hit 100 visits! :)

Thanks for reading my blog - I hope you all enjoy it! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

stand up to live

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
-Henry David Thoreau

I'm laughing at myself for posting this quote, but I still like it anyway.

The Animal Rescue Site needs your help

I've heard that The Animal Rescue Site is in need of more people clicking their button to help animals in shelters and rescue so I want to make sure I get the word out. It's one of those things where all you have to do is click the button for them to receive assistance from advertisers. You can also shop at the store where your purchase will help provide food for shelter animals.

I'm very happy to support this cause - I signed up for the email reminders years ago and have clicked on the site every day since. I've also bought several items from the store and am happy with my purchases. The store has everything from products with the site logo on them to handmade products that also benefit the groups making the items. You can find clothing, jewelry, household items, etc. You can also purchase "gifts" such as shoes or schooling for girls in other countries, feeding families in the U.S., and contributing to natural habitat funds. They also have a Daily Deal where one item has been chosen each day to have an even deeper discount than normal.

Please consider supporting this site with just a click each day! They are also partnered with and link to causes for Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, and Rainforests if you'd like to support them as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Name That Telescope AND a Lunar Eclipse!

Go here to suggest a name for Nasa's new Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST). I'm not creative enough to come up with anything good, but I think it's a fun idea!

Also, don't forget about the Total Lunar Eclipse on Feburary 20, 2008.


I think this season of Torchwood has been great so far. The acting seems more natural, the stories are more interesting, and the relationships between the characters are getting better (more in-depth, less cheesy). The "alien" stories seem to affect them more realistically (if that's possible), rather than the usual alien-crime-fighting, "craziness ensues" vibe. I know it's early, but I've just been so happy with what I've seen so far that I had to comment. I hope the rest of the season is as good!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Garden Plans

It's getting close to the time when I need to start getting things ready for Spring and Summer. I have lots of ideas for what I'd like to do - maybe if I write them down here, I'll hold myself to it. ;)

  • I need to put some sweet peas in. I'm thinking of putting these near my honeysuckle vine. A nice fragrant and showy combination, maybe? I still can't believe I have a honeysuckle vine! We moved in after it had stopped blooming, so I'm eager to put some work into making sure it does well.

  • I'm hoping I can transplate some blueberries to arrange my edible garden better. I'll be putting in some raspberries and blackberries, but the current layout of the blueberries doesn't allow me to put everything how I want. I think it would also be interesting to add some french or english lavender to attempt making jellies or cooking spices (lavender can be found in spice mixes with a Mediterranean flair), as well as the normal aromatic uses. I have a book on French cooking and the garden to match, so I may use that to help style my edible garden when putting in veggies.

  • I'll be doing a lot of rearranging of my roses. I inherited some fantastic roses with this house, brought some with me, and bought some new ones. With a little care, I'm expecting a spectacular show this summer. I'm hoping to arrange them a bit better to create more lawn space and bring the fragrant ones within smelling distance.

  • Of course, there is always clean up. I'm still waiting to see what this yard has in store for each season, but I already know of pruning (butterfly bushes, fuchsias, roses, russian sage, lavender) and clean up that can be done.

  • The Lawn. The lawn is in need of a lot of work: dethatching, aerating, moss, clover. I admit I kind of like the moss in some places; I think moss can be pretty. I don't know if it's a good idea to let it go, though. I really want to challenge myself to do the dethatching and aerating myself, but I'm probably being unrealistic. We'll see.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What I'm Reading...And More

Currently I'm reading eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know I'm a bit behind the bandwagon in reading this book, but from what little I've read, I'm thoroughly enjoying it and would recommend it. I'll write more about it when I've finished or almost finished - I haven't even made it to Italy yet!

Posting all these quotes from Thoreau is making me want to read Walden again. I read it in high school for a Junior Thesis and was fortunate enough to visit the pond while working on the project.

I was in Boston for a high school trip, and two friends and I decided to skip the usual tour of Harvard for a trek out to Walden Pond. We took a train from Boston to Concord, then walked the rest of the way to the pond. Did I mention this was in February? There was so much snow - it definitely added to the experience for me because not only did we walk past some beautiful old houses, but they were even more remarkable in the snow.

I was both excited and curious when we finally reached it. I walked around the pond area, thinking about what I had read so far and trying to memorize every moment for when I got back to my book. It certainly gave me a new perspective when finishing the book and writing the paper.

I visited the Thoreau Society Shop as well. I still have the items I purchased (a t-shirt, book, and picture) and remember picking them out with care.

I think Walden will be my next book after eat, pray, love. It will be interesting to read it again when I'm a bit older, a bit wiser, and perhaps a bit more in need of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"be chic with your rebate"

Allie over at Wardrobe Oxygen wrote a great post recently about the tax rebate that we've all been hearing about recently. She says to "be chic with your rebate." One of my favorite parts:

It’s awesome to have a new purse, a fabulous pair of shoes or a lipstick from the new Clarins line; however it is far more chic and sexy to own yourself. It’s amazing what reduced or no debt can do for a woman – her skin is radiant from a good night’s sleep, she has better posture, a beautiful engaging smile for all.

She also mentions some great suggestions from the Simple Living Network for what to do with your rebate. Allie's a champion for women of any shape or budget who want to look their best. I highly recommend her site for wardrobe suggestions for a variety of situations (staples, men's staples, holidays, etc).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

be good for something

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, February 4, 2008

Radiohead's Jigsaw Falling Into Place

I think Radiohead's video for "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" is fantastic. It's funny, cool, different...and it gives a straight on view of the band members - something you don't see too often with these guys. I love Radiohead.

Puppy Bowl IV

We all know the Super Bowl was last weekend, but did you also know about Puppy Bowl IV? Take a guess at what a "personal foul" or "player foul" is. I'll give you a hint: the "player foul" required a "Time Oust" (Oust was a sponser). It's so hilarious and adorable - how can you resist? There were a few miniature dachshund puppies that came in as "substitutions," but they didn't last long. I think they were too small even for the small puppy time. A big goofy malamute puppy towered over everyone but was ever-so-gentle and tried hard to play with the hyper little puppies.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Well-Heeled Society

The Well-Heeled Society is a blog I am constantly drawn to for personal inspiration as well as footwear inspiration. She effortlessly combines stylish and interesting shoe fashions with thoughtful observations of the good things in life, which makes her blogger name "styleandsubstance" so fitting. Written from the point of view of a single woman, the blog is still a valuable resource for any woman who wants to be her own person and be inspired to find her own style. The shoes are sometimes more than what I can afford or out of my "style comfort zone," but I enjoy the way the colors or styles make me want to be more creative in my own logic-driven life. And I highly recommend reading her "Happiness Is" posts!

She also has a gift registry for single women, which is a cool idea in itself. :)

buy bewilderment

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

This quote always makes me smile. As a society, we seem to value cleverness and feel rather pleased with ourselves when we are clever. Yet at the same time, how often are we annoyed by people who are (or try to be) more clever than we are? This quote also reminds me of something I heard Chris Rock quote his father as saying about not being the smartest guy in the room because you won't learn anything (and nobody will like you anyway).

Be inspired by what bewilders you!