Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
To whoever sent my name to the White House, or however else I managed to be identified in order to receive the official White House Christmas card from George and Laura addressed to me personally at work today?
The traffic and drive back to Baltimore were far less unpleasant than the abysmal showing by the Steelers today. All the way back from Western PA, while I was listening to the game, I kept looking for the Player's bus that surely broke down by the side of the road and held the entire Steeler offense from showing up in Baltimore.....
I inadvertently did a smart thing by heading back at the start of the game. I missed all the early morning traffic from people making the pilgrimage to Baltimore for the game, and likely missed the late afternoon folks who just had to watch the end of the slaughter before heading home later in the afternoon. Still - the stretch between Hagerstown and Frederick was bustling along at about 40 mph in good spots, 25 mph in others. All in all - not awful, considering.
Until I got home that is....
I walked into the house and it hit me like a WAVE. Garbage gone very, very, bad while I was away. I told my neighbors, who were watching the cats, that I would be home this afternoon, and that they didn't have to worry about taking care of them on Sunday, so I have to believe, the garbage went totally rogue at some point yesterday, or they would have done something about it.
Once I sequestered the offending bag out to the curb, I had to open the windows to get the stench out. That bad. It's starting to clear up now, but the poor cats....
Like many other single people who only deal with family and kids closely a half dozen times a year, it's like entering a Biohazard Level 5 Contamination Zone every time I go home (although I'm sure the trip to the zoo with 3,000 other kids didn't help either). Just like clockwork, I was driving to my brother's house yesterday, and swallowed, only to have the sudden sensation of a sharp knife in the back of my throat. It has quickly progressed, but so far, seems to be held at a Level 3 sore throat / cold with drugs and some interesting vitamins my sister plied me with.
I'm sure it's nothing that a little Florida sunshine can't cure on Tuesday.... hah!
So, we decided to take the kids to the Pittsburgh Zoo yesterday to see the new Polar Bear exhibit that opened this week. Apparently, so did the rest of the population of Western PA - it was PACKED with kids, strollers, parents, and grandparents. Granted, it was a beautiful, sunny, mid fifties day - nearly unheard of this time of year - so it was a great day to be out enjoying "wildlife".
We saw all the usual suspects: apes, rhinos, zeebras, tigers, a wonderful orangutan mother and her brand new bay, and this rather elegant looking lion.
As we moved through the park and towards the bear enclosures, we rounded the corner and found that grownups were pushing the strollers rather quickly past the next exhibit, while other adults were standing there giggling and taking photos. It was the Spectacled Bear, making a spectacle of himself by sitting in the sunshine, front and center of his compound and pleasuring himself with great dedication and intent. He was oblivious to everyone and everything else.
It's too bad I didn't have video of this, because his head movements were, how shall I say? "Purposeful".
We sped the kids past him and went to see the polar bears, which weren't nearly as entertaining.
I know you're all still recovering from Thanksgiving leftovers, but when you run out, and you want a simple and elegant meal - there's no better one than this.
Start with some simple ingredients:
Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Shallot and Thyme Crust
One, 8 chop rack of lamb - bones frenched and fat trimmed. Finely chop three large shallots and saute them in one TB olive oil until soft and slightly brown (about 6 minutes). Add 2 TB good Balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme and stir until moistened. Cool. Season lamb rack with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the lamb. Press shallot crust onto mustard and cover lamb. Bake at 400' for about 20 minutes or until temp reaches 140'. Let rack rest under foil for 15 minutes. Carve into chops and serve. Porcini Risotto with Gorgonzola
Chop a large yellow onion and sweat it in a TB of butter for about 4 minutes. Add 2 TB of olive oil and add 2 cups Risotto (arborio rice) Stir for 2 minutes to finely coat and saturate the rice with the oil. Make sure each grain is coated with oil. Add 1/2 cup red wine to the pan to deglaze. Add 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms., and 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves. Start adding 1/2 cup of mushroom broth at a time, slowly simmering the rice, and stirring constantly. As the rice starts to absorb the broth, add more until you've added a total of about 3 cups. This takes about 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sauteed portobello mushrooms before the last addition of broth. After the last addition of broth, crumble in 1/3 cup of good gorgonzola cheese and stir until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Mound the risotto on a plate and place the lamb chops on it. Serve with roasted asparagus and shaved parmesan.
Well, Snay survived helping me put together dinner at my place last night. Turns out the poor boy had never had lamb before, let alone a rack of lamb. This boggled my mind, but whatever.
So, we had rack of lamb with a caramelized shallot and thyme crust, and Snay faithfully stirred the risotto until we had a creamy porcini and gorgonzola risotto. Topped off with roasted asparagus and shave parmesan. I'll add pics later if I get a chance, but I am quickly running out of all available time left to me before I leave town for the Holiday, and have to work late tonight. Perhaps pics plus recipes later this week.
I suspect that the lamb was a little on the rare side for Snay's taste, but he was quite brave about it.
The movie was fascinating, and made all the better by Snay's contribution of Apple Brown Betty for desert. Thanks!!!
When I visit my parent's in Western Pennsyltucky, I have to go one exit on the infamous PA Turnpike from Breezewood to Bedford. For years, if you only go one exit - the toll is free.
Not so last time. It now costs $1.25!! Big Whoop.
Broadsheet didn't realize this, and was behind a big 'ol 18 wheeler, and accidentally zipped through the EZ Pass Lane where they promptly took a photo of my tag, and sent me a violation notice with a fine of $55.00. THAT's a Big Whoop!
I wrote back and explained that I only went one exit and included the toll ticket that I had miraculously left in my car console as proof.
I got a nice letter back saying - tough luck. The fare was now $1.25. Pay up or else, but since I had included the ticket, I only had to pay face value.
Today, my checking account shows Check #2695 cashed in the amount of $1.25.
Let's do the math.....
Cost of mailing me a fine = $.39 + paper and handling for a form letter = Let's say $1.00 Cost of me returning with a letter = $.39 + my time and paper = Let's say $10 for 10 minutes of my time. Cost of them responding again = $.39 + individualized letter = Let's say $4 (it's PennDOT - they don't make much) Cost of me mailing them a check for $1.25 = $1.25 with another $5 worth of time.
All that for a $1.25. And I wonder why PA roads are so bad?? I love bureaucracy.
My yard is the size of most people's first floor. It's only about 900 square feet with privacy fences on either side and a brick wall along the back. It also has a big ass Siberian Elm tree growing like a weed in the corner. It's by far the largest tree on the entire street.
Described by horticultural writer Dr Michael Dirr as "one of, if not the, world's worst trees...a poor ornamental that does not deserve to be planted anywhere".
Nice. It's also a dirty tree. It spews sap like rain this time of year and drops all of its leaves into the yard, which acts like a big basket. Raking it up only takes an hour or so due to the amount of real estate involved, but it's sticky and nasty, and the tree tends to drop its leaves over a period of mid-November to nearly New Year, so I have to clean it up nearly every weekend from now on.
So I succumbed to the lure of a leaf blower / vac for $60 at Lowe's over the weekend. Woooo---eeee! A half hour later, I had two bags of finely mulched leaves and twigs instead of 4-5 bags of sticky, wet, nasty leaves and twigs sticking out of the bags. Better yet, my back and legs don't hurt today. Good investment.
Snay is coming for dinner tomorrow night so we can watch "49 UP", the latest installment in what may be one of the most important cultural and sociological experiments ever undertaken in filmaking by Michael Apted. The ultimate look at whether the long held British class system predetermines a person's future. I was glad to be able to introduce Snay to the series and am looking forward to watching the next installment with him. It's the longest reality show in the world, and without a doubt, the most engrossing.
What he doesn't know...until now....is that I'm also going to give him a cooking lesson. We all know he can make a mean pizza, and perhaps a terrific apple desert, but every bachelor should have one, knock 'em dead, classic culinary ability in their repertoir to impress the ladies.
So, tomorrow night, with a modest, starving student budget of $20 for two people (not including wine), he is going to help me prepare a feast you would be pleased to have in any restaurant, and we should be able to pull it all together in a half hour.
Yesterday, I hit the hardware store to pick up new halogen bulbs for the torchiere lights in the living room, replace the ceiling fan unit in my kitchen, and get new air filters for the furnace since I think I might have to finally turn the heat on today.
Thinking it would only take a few minutes, I was certain I'd still be able to get to the Crossword Puzzle before the end of the show.....right....
First, I had to clean all the dead bugs out of the lamp basin. This required getting the protective glass cover off of the bulb, which in turn required a very small screw driver and much swearing at the IKEA gods. Getting the old bulb out, taking off the lamp basin from the base, washing the lamp basin, and reattaching them, took more effort than I imagined. Replacing the actual bulb took about 30 seconds. One of the lamps was uncooperative and it took me another 20 minutes to determine that a connection was loose, resulting in a spotty connection which caused the lamp to turn on and off at will. Once I got all that done, screwing the glass covers back ON was even harder than getting them off. Especially since the cat had batted the screws off the table and I had to hunt for them on the carpet under the dining room table.
Of course, then came putting the lamps back. They looked weird. I've never really liked their location, and thought that they would look MUCH better on either side of the bookcases, instead of their rather odd location across the room from each other. Of course, the electrical outlet that they would need to be plugged into is directly BEHIND said bookcases. So ensued offloading ALL the books in my living room onto the floor, coffee table and dining room table to lighten the teak shelves enough to move them. Well, of course there was 7 years of dust bunnies and other dirt behind the cases that needed to be cleaned up once I moved them away from the wall....
The lamps are now clean, with fresh bulbs and look much more balanced on either side of the bookshelves, but it took me three hours to essentially change two lightbulbs.
Then, I went down to the basement to toss in a load of laundry and put the new air filter in. To get to the air filter, I'm going to be spending my afternoon rearranging and cleaning the storage room.
If you are a college football fan, then it just doesn't get any better than tomorrow, when the Michigan Wolverines take on the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. Anyone reading this blog knows that I heart my Wisconsin Badgers, but doing my post graduate fellowship at Ohio State for two years, has left me with a pretty big soft spot for them as well.
It is true that in 1970, a local judge in Columbus dismissed a charge of obscenity against a defendant arrested for wearing a T-shirt that said, "F--- Michigan" because the message "accurately expressed" local feelings about the university and the state.
Michigan is going to want to win this game more than ever this year. Today's tragic passing of legendary coach Bo Schembechler, as he was being interviewed about tomorrow's game, is going to make the Wolverines, and their alums, want to win one for Bo. Can't say I blame them.
Regardless of tomorrow's outcome, one team will go to the National Championship, and the other with have the Rose Bowl berth. Pretty good football is you ask me!
...a group of scientists recently discovered that one of the most effective drinks to help athletes recover after exercise is the same thing moms across America have been giving their kids for years. A simple glass of chocolate milk.
This being Friday and all, we're having a Thanksgiving potluck in the office today. Besides the traditional roast turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, vegetable, and sweet potato offerings, we have an interesting array of offerings from some of our international staff who have not celebrated Thanksgiving before: Curried chicken, fried rice, a very spicy noodle dish, roasted plantains, pickled something or other, dal, and some somosa type of dumplings with mystery filling that is quite tasty indeed.
In other news, afternoon productivity should reach an all time low in ten, nine, eight......
Whooo doggie! It is REALLY storming outside! 3:30 in the afternoon and it's been pitch dark for nearly an hour. Little pools and rivers are flowing everywhere, and the rain is coming down so hard you can barely see to the other side of the parking lot from my office. Umbrellas are sheer futility.
With all the leaf fall we've had the past two weeks combined with this much rain, those storm drains are gonna clog up fast and flow over.
It looks like complete gridlock from a traffic perspective out there. Northern Parkway is solid tail lights.
Take it easy out there Sports Fans......
Tornado watch till 6:00 PM. Hope we don't become another North Carolina.
UPDATE 4:45: An now, exactly one hour later, there is an amazing rainbow arcing across the view from my office. Really brilliant colors! I can see both ends of it and the entire arc clearly. It's actually much brighter than it looks in the photo, but it was my cell phone and the lights in my office were bright.
UPDATE 5:45: It took me a half hour to get home. It usually takes me 10 minutes, but Coldspring Lane was closed due to flooding, and the detour through Druid Hill Park was backed up completely.
My brother pointed out this amazing video from Spain, that shows a chest deep pool of a cornstarch and water emulsion. It creates a non-newtonian fluid environment, whereby when stress is applied to the liquid it exhibits some properties of a solid.
Of course, my brother's first suggestion was to dress up as Jesus and do this as a Catholic School Science Project.
Has anyone out there switched to the new Beta version of Blogger yet? Feedback?
And speaking of sleeping on it, I'm trying to figure out exactly how I slept on my neck or arm last night that pinched a nerve and has left me with a fair amount of neuropathy in my left hand. It's all tingly and numb down the left side of my hand. I thought it would go away in an hour or two, but no such luck. It's bugging me, and it has a dull ache too.
UPDATE: Oh, the advantages of working with a bunch of surgeons... A quick exam in my office reveals that I smooshed (a very technical medical term) my ulnar nerve. The most likely culprit is the 16 pound pillow called "Pumpkin" who insists on using my arm as his own pillow every night. He's really quite insistent about it. He snuggles in and pushes my arm around until he's curled up inside it and lay his head and front legs across it. The doc says it's temporary, should get better in a day or two, and maybe the cat should sleep in a basket tonight.
Just booked my ticket!! Only four short days, but the place is right on the beach, and it's free! Courtesy of a last minute opportunity to use a friend's condo, and an impulse purchase of airline tickets. Two weeks from tomorrow! The last bit of warmth and sunshine before the long, dark, winter....
I just LOVE this guy!! Julian Voss-Andreae is a superbly talented artist and sculptor, who creates sculptural images of proteins, viruses, and DNA. He started out life as a scientist with a Master's degree in Physics.
Heart of Steel (Hemoglobin), 2005: images courtesy of the artist's website.
I have long been fascinated with the chemical structure and composition of proteins. Had it not been for the career detour from degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology to graduate work in business and healthcare administration, I was originally intent on getting a Ph.D. in Protein Chemistry. Julian's artwork is something I hadn't considered as a legitimate expression of that interest. I really, really, like his work. Check out his website.
So...apparently I survived the 48 hour trial by food and wine known as the National Wine Conference, hosted by the American Wine Society. I have not eaten that much good food, had more good wine, or been more inspired to do more of both better - ever. I wanted to shuck my day job and dive headlong into the food and wine industry.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this event certainly blew any expectations I had out of the water. It was amazing. The AWS is a pretty hard core, semi-professional group of wine educators and wine enthusiasts. They are wine geeks of the highest calling, and take it very seriously. I was a bit surprised that the average age of this group, about 750 strong at the conference, was in easily in their fifties. They are also pretty much complete nerds. Don't get me wrong, they were a lovely bunch of coconuts, and I met some terrific people, but let's just say that if you replaced their wine glasses with Star Trek uniforms - they would have fit right into a Trekkie reunion. If I ever see another bad tie with grape clusters, corks, and glasses, it will be too soon. Capice?
The days went something like this:
7:30 - 8:45 AM Breakfast buffet: 3 different kinds of champaigne to taste.
9:00 - 12:30 PM Two educational sessions. Each is 1.5 hours long. An example of a class that I took was "Wines and Cheese of the Empire State". Six NY wines and four cheeses at 9:00 AM in the morning.
12:45 - 2:00 PM Lunch. Lunch was a sit down affair both days. Five wine glasses at each setting, 10 people to a table, 5 wines to taste and score.
3:00 - 5:30 PM Repeat of the morning with more educational sessions.
Of course, in between classes, there were plenty of exhibitors to visit, and more wines to taste. Books on wine, wine making equipment, fine food and gourmet booths, travel agents hawking wine tour vacations in Tuscany and Spain....it was foodie HEAVEN.
Friday night everyone had dinner on their own, and then there was an open wine tasting featuring more than 160 wines in the Main Ballroom. From 10:30 - midnight, the party moved to the nightclub at the hotel, and all the opened bottles of wine from the tasting, as well as the opened bottles of wine from the judging competition were set up on the bars around the room to keep things going. Tasting the wines from the unmarked bottles from the amateur entries is not for the faint of heart.
A LARGE part of this meeting is the Judging of wines. Both amateur entries and commercial wines. A large part of the AWS is the training program they provide to become a certified wine judge. It takes three years, and from all accounts - is every bit as grueling as a graduate program. My friend D. sat for the first year wine judge exam. She passed with flying colors, but she was glad she studied as hard as she did. She also entered her own wine in the competition and walked away with a Silver Medal for her 2004 Sangiovese!!! That's a HUGE achievement at a national competition of this caliber.
I'm not sure what box I checked on the on-line registration form, but when I picked up my registration packet, I discovered that I was the Room Captain for one of the classes I signed up for. All I was had to do, said the packet, was show up 20 minutes early, introduce the speaker, coordinate the wine pourings and tell the 8 helpers assigned to the class what to do. Simple, no?
The class was titled "Food and Wine Dynamics" and was being taught by a hot shot celebrity chef from Walt Disney World Resort's professional Dream School. I arrived at the room after the five wine lunch of crabcakes, salad, and desert, and he wanted to serve Lamb Curry and Chicken Veronique with a blind tasting of five wines. There were 80 people in the course, so this meant that we had to set eight tables, of ten people with five wines glasses and a service set. That's FOUR HUNDRED wine glasses people! In 20 minutes! We also had to pour all five wines into eighty glasses times five.
It didn't help that Chef made the Soup Nazi look laid back. Barking orders, getting upset, keeping the class waiting 10 minutes while he got everything just right....I was drenched in sweat by the time I had to introduce him. He even had a slide in his Power Point presentation that said "Don't taste until instructed to do so". 100% Control Freak.
I survived, but just barely. My class that followed was "Experiencing the wines of Spain. Discover Murcia". It was a fascinating class and we tasted 14 wines from the Murcia region of Spain - all of which I had never had and all of which were fabulous in their own way. Too bad you can't purchase a single one of them here in Maryland...
That was one of the really great, but also frustrating things about this conference. I tasted some AMAZING wines. Rare wines, specialty wines, $$sive wines, etc. But just when you thought your head would explode from the best thing you've ever tasted, you find out it isn't available in the US or in Maryland, AND you couldn't purchase any of them either. It was a giant tease.
Just to demonstrate how Draconian MD Liquor Control Board laws are, the AWS had to get a National Family Beer and Wine Exhibition Permit for the 3 days of the conference.
This permit allows the AWS to receive tax free family-produced wine (Amateur Wine), tax paid commercially produced wine from Maryland license holders, and tax paid commercial wine from Non-Maryland suppliers and subject to the tax imposed. All wines may be exhibited, judged or tasted, but not sold, pursuant to Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
I'll post a list of some of the great wines we had that ARE available later, but rest assured, there are plenty of really good, high quality, affordable wines to be had.
It was a great place to rub shoulders with chefs, wine experts, wine makers, wine distributors, etc. At lunch on Saturday, I was seated next to Rafael. A thirty something fourth generation Portugese wine and port maker from the Douro region of Portugal, Rafael was representing his family's vineyard, Quinto de Ventuzelo, which was named 2005 winery of the year by Wine and Spirits Magazine. I have rarely met a more passionate human being so completely devoted to his family and a way of life that has been passed down through the generations. I learned a lot about the Douro region of Portugal, family, and Port. I truly envy him his love of his work, his country, and his family. It's a rare thing. He was the kind of person that if I ever get to that part of Portugal, and stop in - he'd ask you to stay and treat you like family, just from having lunch at a wine conference. I intend to visit him one day.
The conference ended with a semi-formal banquet last night where the awards were presented. There was barely room at the table for the food since every place setting had 8 wine glasses in front of them for the wines poured throughout dinner and desert.
Things moved back to the nightclub for dancing and more wine till one AM.
I am off to attend the National Wine Conference this weekend up in Hunt Valley with a few girlfriends who are in town from Rhode Island. One of them is a pretty damn good amateur wine maker and is one of the wine judges.
A weekend of good friends, good food and fine wine. I think I can handle that!
Actually, everyone BUT the New York Times is changing this week. In what seems to be a major upheaval of musical chairs at some of the nation's most visible media outlets, here's the scorecard for the week so far. Makes Rumsfeld's departure seem like an afterthought.
And over at the LA Times, the editor, Dean Baquet was ousted on election day after refusing to cut jobs. He is being replaced on Monday, by Jim O'Shea, the managing editor of The Chicago Tribune. Keeping up with this so far? Interestingly, Mr. Baquet's departure follows that of the paper's publisher, Jeffrey M. Johnson, who openly objected to cuts ordered by the Tribune Company in September and was fired last month. (Note to LA Times: The Trib is in charge - resistance is futile).
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Three billionaires are gearing up for a fight to control the Tribune and gain control of the LA Times. David Geffen, Democratic activist, multi-billionaire, and pretty much the most powerful man in Hollywood, just sold a ton of artwork, and has a war chest available to make a bid for the Times. Meanwhile, two rival billionaires, Eli Broad and Ron Burkle, joined forces Wednesday to make a bid for all of the Tribune Company, to get their hands on The Times. Who will win?
Many journalists have held out hope that local ownership might put an end to the heavy cost-cutting they have been forced to do lately. But if Philadelphia is any indication, that may not be the case. A group of local business executives recently acquired The Philadelphia Inquirer and, after just a few months, announced an accelerated decline in advertising and possibly significant job cuts.
They might get more than they bargained for. Stay tuned.
Oh yes he DID. During his press briefing to concede having his ass handed to him, President Bush said "I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made" in Iraq. Yeah, well DUH.
THEN he proceeded to say:"In my first act of bipartisan outreach since the election, I shared with her [Pelosi] the names of some Republican interior decorators who can help her pick out the the new drapes for her new offices."
I am SO not kidding. He really is that clueless. Hello? The first FEMALE Speaker of the House? The most politically powerful woman in government - EVER? And he goes for an interior design joke? How patronizing is that? How could he have his foot so far up his ass that it comes out his mouth? How?
Never mind. That was a rhetorical question. Sheesh.
I no longer have to screen my phone calls to avoid talking to automated versions of Martin O'Malley, Bill Clinton and Ben Cardin.
The annoying, hateful, venemous, stupid, election ads will go away. What do they think we are - like twelve or something? "I know I am, but so are you?", "Johnny is a crybaby..." It was deplorable in both parties for almost all the candidates.
And with school yard behavior like that, we wonder why more Americans don't vote?
Catch your fellow bloggers in the Examiner Article! It ran today, with photos of last Wednesday's Happy Hour!
To a blogger who goes by the name Broadsheet, a "40-something healthcare executive" who blogs at www.broad-sheet.blogspot.com, the whole idea of blogging has built a new community.
"Blogging breaks down a LOT of social and cultural barriers that might normally prevent people from getting to know one another in 'normal' circumstances," she wrote. Her blogging experience has taken her everywhere from "a 20-something's kegger birthday party" to London, where she met up with one of her blog readers.
I have friends arriving on Wednesday for the American Wine Society meeting taking place in Hunt Valley this weekend (11/8 - 12). A semi-professional gathering of wine producers, restaurant owners, and wine lovers, it promises to be another very long week/weekend....
Look, I might have been vehemently against the war in Iraq, and I'm most certainly against it now. I'm angry with our leaders who have lied and bungled the whole thing from the start. All that aside, I have never questioned the loyalty of, or denigrated, our troops. They only did what they were asked to do, and have given so much more than that thanks to the ineptitude of our government leadership.
Project Valour IT provides voice-controlled laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at home or in military hospitals. It not only provides them a means of communication, but in many cases, can provide them with the resources necessary to find job retraining and a new career. As of this month, 600 voice activated laptops have been purchased and distributed.
The idea for the program actually started with a soldier blogger, who was injured by an IED in 2005.
With only three shopping days left before the mid term elections, vote with your wallet, as well as your vote. We couldn't stop this war, but we can make ammends to the people that fought for us.
How is it that I wake up at 7:30 AM on a beautiful Saturday morning, am out of the house by 8:30 AM, and get coffee, hit the dry cleaner, post office, car wash, and hardware store (furnace filters and light bulbs), and I'm not only more than $150 poorer, but it's already past noon and half the day is gone??
I SO need a wife....
I still have to get some laundry done, clean the litterboxes, make the beds in advance of the next round of guests that arrive on Wednesday, and hit the grocery store. The laundry will get done in between plays during the Wisconsin / Penn State game - because I ain't leaving the house till that's over!
I turned the AC off sometime back in early September, and enjoyed some glorious late summer weather with the windows open. I still haven't turned on the heat. It's supposed to go into the twenties tonight with a hard freeze, so I was pretty resigned to the fact that fall is finally here, and that I would probably need to give in to turning on the heat tonight.
But you know what? It's still very comfortable in the house. I built a fire in the fireplace, tossed on a T-shirt and a piece of fleece, socks, and some sweatpants (yeah, I know, a glamorous Friday evening, but I need some down time, and I have to work at a medical conference my docs are hosting downtown tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM). With the down comforter on my bed, and the two portable heaters I sleep with known as cats, I think we'll be fine for a few more nights, and the temps are headed back to the 60's and 70's later next week.
In other news, I switched my electricity supplier on July 1 to Washington Gas and Electric. With BGE balanced billing, my monthly bill was about $120 before the rate hike. My bill after the rate hike and switching suppliers? $47. Total. FOR THREE MONTHS. I kid you not. July and August used the credit on my BGE account, but Sept. was a true bill. We'll see what happens after I turn the heat back on.
You know, all the obvious comments regarding hypocrisy aside, just how far into denial must you be to do something like this and think that no one would ever, ever, find out about it??? Worse yet, just how much self hatred and deep seated pain do you put up with to live a double life like this? Or perhaps it's worse - a pathological sense of mega ego that makes someone feel truly invincible and above it all? I have a sad feeling it's the latter, since now there are accusations of drug use, which on many levels, is a lot less easy to understand or appreciate than the pain and confusion of being in denial about your core sexuality.
And excuse me, but clearly, the Evangelicals do not have ANY sense of Gaydar at all. I mean, LOOK at the guy!!
With five days to go, the struggle for Senate and Congressional ledership is going to be a nail biter. The latest results on Pollster.com (which, if you haven't played with it yet - is highly addictive, and very informative!), show the races evenly split at 48 for the Dems and 48 for the GOP, with 4 listed as a toss up!
In better news, here in Maryland, both Cardin and O'Malley look to be comfortably ahead in the race for Senate and Governor, although Erlich has shown some growth in the past few days.
I'll be the first to report on the Baltimore blogger Happy Hour this evening - cause I was the first to leave. Sorry kids - Broadsheet's had a long couple of weeks of work and socializing and needs her sleep.
But let me just say - WOW! - I met more new bloggers than ever before - a big welcome to all of you that I am too tired and lazy to link to. It was great to meet you all, and if you've now come to more than one event - you are eligible to host the next one, so step right up and volunteer!
I'm sure our host will provide links to everyone that was there on my behalf. He hugged me so hard, he gave me a breast reduction. Easy there boy!
Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming article in the Baltimore Examiner on the Baltimore Blogger community. Representatives of the fourth estate were present this evening to take pictures and get the scoop on the people behind this phenomenon locally. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute of Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.