June 29, 2005

 the tribe

i subscribe to rob brezny's free will astrology newsletters, and unlike other newslettery email i receive (much of which ends up directly in the trash), i read these horoscopes every week.

the latest really resonates with me, for reasons i haven't fully figured out yet:

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your meditation for the week comes from Friedrich Nietzsche. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," he wrote. "If you try it, you will often be lonely, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." This is an ideal time for you to put this prescription into action, Pisces, because during the current grace period you have the power to own more of yourself than ever before--and without getting lonely or scared.

i've never read nietzsche. if anyone cares to give me a brief primer in the comments section, feel free.

Posted by xta at 10:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

 i'm busy

friday night:
after a brief (and unfruitful) stop at the durham library's book sale, i partook (is that a word?) of several glasses of fowler's $2.50 wine. (every friday they open a a few bottles and sell individual glasses for $2.50. rockin'!) unfortunately, i am amassing some evidence that wine now gives me migraines. i don't know when my body started rejecting the grape, but it SUCKS!

we completed season 5 of the sopranos on DVD, which was incredibly cathartic. then, in the afternoon, i got a wild hair to do some yard work. i decided to just run outside and start pulling weeds without changing clothes or anything. (i knew that if i thought too much about it i would talk myself out of yard work altogether.) i started to get the side bed under control, then realized i was working near a patch of poison ivy and was wearing flip-flops. i went back inside.

that evening charo & i saw les primitifs du futur at the museum and had a great time. there were a couple of adorable children dancing right in front of the stage whose adorableness distracted everyone from the music for a while, but no harm done... the musicians also enjoyed them.

i thought i was being efficient in hopping right out of bed and going straight to the raleigh farmer's market, but when i pulled into the parking lot i realized i was too early! i couldn't believe it. it was only 9:30, and less than half the vendors were open. still, i managed to get some corn on the cob (from little old mr. farmer, who offers 4 ears for free if you promise to do a good deed for a neighbor) and a bunch of liriope.

when i got home it was still cool enough to plant the liriope and finally complete the brick-uncovering project on the back bed. that bed is really pretty now. but i still hate yard work.

ray and i saw the wild parrots of telegraph hill sunday afternoon, and i surprised myself by crying my eyes out. which naturally means i loved the film.

then we had a nice last-minute invitation to have cocktails on a screened porch, which we did. we all sang songs while kurt played his ukelele (i wish people gathered to sing more often; it's heartwarming) and i got sloshed on cosmopolitans. (which were made from this surprisingly delicious mix.) apparently liquor doesn't give me migraines like wine does. i didn't even have a hangover this morning.

finally, and i'm a little embarrassed to admit this, i've had loco-pops on 3 of the last 4 days. i have a serious problem. i'm afraid i'm going to have to check myself into some sort of rehab clinic soon. anyway, among the new flavors: rice pudding (which is AMAZING), mexican chocolate (ditto), mojito, peach, and cinnamon-watermelon (sugar-free).

the week upcoming:
tonight i'm going to an ADF performance.
tomorrow i'll finally see "music from the inside out".
then, on wednesday, my brother and his family (roxi & lulu) are coming to visit!!

somehow, between now and wednesday (juggling a pretty full schedule) i need to get ready for their visit by removing mold from the bathtub grout as well as a year's-worth of grime from the carpeting in the den. (i know lulu would tell me to chill and not bother, but i want the house to be in tip-top shape for the most beautiful little girl on earth.)

so for the next week or so expect sporadic blogging at best. if anything, it'll probably just be photos of the most beautiful family on earth.

Posted by xta at 2:20 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

 music from the inside out

mftio_logo.gifi'm so excited about this new documentary i don't even know where to begin.

starting with the details is always good, i suppose:

* * *

"Music From The Inside Out"
Galaxy Cinema in Cary
Starts June 24 (today!) and will run for at least a week

"Music from the Inside Out" features members of the Philadelphia Orchestra sharing their very personal stories of the interconnection between their music and their lives outside the concert hall. "Music from the Inside Out" explores the mystery and magic of the musical experience; the main character in this film is music itself.

The critically-acclaimed film is still playing in Philadelphia after more than two months... this run at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary is the first time "Music from the Inside Out" has been shown outside of Pennsylvania.

* * *

so, the basic stuff sounds interesting enough. i'm a big fan of music, and certainly classical music. so when i learned about the film i knew it was something i'd like to see. i went searching for more information and i found a few reviews online. before i'd finished the first one my jaw hit the floor:

oh my god... they're mentioning my friend, adam, in this review...

one of my best friends from college is in this movie!!

if my life were a cartoon, you would have heard that squeaky wubba-wubba-wubba sound as i rubbed my eyes in disbelief.

now, i have to tell you, my college experience was largely forgettable, and even downright stinky at times... but to this day when i think of adam i get the giggles. he was silly and fun, and one of the few bright spots in my whole college career. we lived in the same house for a while; he dated my best friend. we goofed around and tried not to take music school too seriously. he was my rock. i leaned on him. a lot. i don't think i could have gotten through college without adam. it's been almost 15 years since we graduated, though, and we've sadly fallen out of touch with each other.

i didn't even know he played in the philadelphia orchestra... one of the most prestigous ensembles in classical music. i sat there in stunned silence for a few minutes digesting it all: adam.... playing in philadelphia.... has a big role in a movie...


that's him, over on the right... my friend, adam! the image is yoinked from the trailer [watch it (16MB .mov)]... adam is actually the very first thing you see in the preview, and the he appears 3 or 4 more times in it. let me tell you, i totally flipped out when i saw him on my computer screen. i am going to completely wet myself when he's 10 feet tall on a movie screen.

that first review (which i finally got through, after i finished slobbering on myself) indicated that adam was chosen as one of the featured musicians in the film because of his other, non-orchestral passions. he's a marathon runner. his dream is to make a living as a jazz french horn player (something that's, uh, not really in high demand). his first jazz CD, as a matter of fact, is coming out soon.

this is all so much to digest.

anwyway... flabbergasted, i did more googling to see if i could figure out how to get in contact with him. thank goodness he wasn't too hard to find. within a few hours of discovering that he was in this movie, i had a reply from him in my inbox. emails flew between us for a couple of days.

and as i chattered excitedly to a co-worker about the coincidence of all of this, she suggested that maybe i could interview adam about the film and we could put it on-air as part of our promotion of the movie.

get paid to talk to my old college buddy on the phone? hell, yeah.

so this morning we talked. and talked and talked and talked. we caught up, and gossiped and laughed, we reminisched. and then we recorded a small segment, trying to sound professional, to air on sunday night. it was wonderful.

i cannot tell you how cloud nine these past few days have been. i cannot wait to see this movie, and see how professional musicians supplement their day jobs with other activities that enhance their creativity. i cannot wait to see adam.

i hope you will see the movie, too. it's about more than classical music... it's about life and art and creativity. and it features all kinds of music: classical, jazz, bluegrass, latin...

i'm planning on seeing "music from the inside out" tuesday night, if you'd like to join me.

Posted by xta at 11:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

 the future primitives


saturday night at the nc art museum: les primitifs du futur

this summary of their music was written by dave, who hosts WXDU's bull city cosmic hoedown:

"This band plays in France with famed underground cartoonist Robert Crumb (Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, etc). Crumb will not be playing with the band on tour, but that matters little: Les Primitifs du Futur play a fun mix of Frenchy and American roots music: bottleneck blues, Django Rhinehard/Stephane Grappelli style swing tunes, French Musettes (accordian dance tunes), oldtime string band tunes, etc. Some of the tunes are traditional, some are original songs telling bizzare stories. In short, they're some warped individuals and play some off-the-wall acoustic music. Les Primitifs du Futur are only playing a few gigs in the USA, so you'll definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity right in our own backyard."

i will be giving away a pair of tickets to this show tonight on divaville, so tune in to WXDU tonight between 6-8pm for a chance to win.

Posted by xta at 12:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

 PLEASE take a kitten...


from charlotte:

all the kittens have now been caught and are going to the pound. it makes me hurt.

the pound yesterday said that the chances of them just getting directly euthanized is high. it's "cat season" right now and they are overcrowded with over 100 cats. their time depends on whether they are healthy and nice kittens. but since they are so overcrowded, they probably will not be kept.

please please please take a kitten today... you can reach charlotte at misscharo@gmail.com or call 493-3921. THEY ARE GOING TO BE TAKEN TO THE POUND THIS AFTERNOON!

Posted by xta at 11:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

 gooing, gooing, gone

thanks to charo for this. we both have popsicles on the brain lately.

Largest ice pop has its moment

Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, a giant Snapple kiwi-strawberry pop couldn't take the heat.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The world's largest ice pop had a brief moment in the sun Tuesday.

But the dream of beverage company Snapple and its partners quickly melted away when the enormous frozen pop turned into slush and spilled onto the streets of New York City.

Snapple was trying to beat the 10-ton mark for world's largest ice pop, set in 1997 in the Netherlands, said Lauren Radcliffe, a spokeswoman for the company.

The area was closed off because the substance was sticky, Radcliffe said, and the Fire Department had to hose down the street after the incident.

The kiwi-strawberry bar was about 35,000 pounds, well above the roughly 20,000 pounds of the existing record-holder, Radcliffe said.

But a representative of Guinness World Records said the sculpture needed to be free-standing in order to qualify. " We couldn't deem it worthy, as it were," said Stuart Claxton, the Guinness representative.

"Maybe we should have done it on New Year's Eve," Radcliffe said.

and as luck would have it, CNN has video of the disaster.

Posted by xta at 4:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

 cheesy squash thing

* lightly steam one small yellow squash (thickly sliced) and one small zucchini (ditto).

* drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish.

* place squash & zucchini slices flat in the bottom of the dish.

* sprinkle with marjoram, so that each slice has a light dusting.

* plop a few small dabs of pesto here and there.

* shake on tons of parmesean cheese.

* coat with a dusting of bread crumbs.

* shake on more paremesean cheese.

* bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cheesy topping is crisp.

serves 2. very yummy!

next time, actually, i think i might omit the steaming... the squash came out a little too soggy for my taste. maybe i just steamed it too much. i dunno. i may also consider making more of a sauce out of the pesto (adding cream, maybe) so that the flavor more easily spreads over the whole dish.

Posted by xta at 9:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

 chunky move

tense_dave2.jpgit figures... the dance company with the oogiest name ("chunky move") gives the most inventive performance of this summer's ADF.

well, actually, we're not even halfway through the 6-week season, but i'm placing bets that there's little chance anything could top what i experienced tonight in reynolds theatre.

From the Herald-Sun:

Just when people think they've seen it all at the American Dance Festival, including dancers gliding across an ice-covered stage, sliding across a water-slicked tarp and even flying above the stage, here comes Chunky Move with its revolving stage.

The Australian modern dance company performs the hourlong "Tense Dave" on the revolving stage today through Wednesday at the ADF.

The 1-foot-high stage weighs a ton and measures 18 feet in diameter. On it, the company spins a surreal tale of Tense Dave and the strange people he meets as his world spirals out of control. Dancers face challenges as well as they perform on a stage that's continually moving and goes as fast as eight revolutions a minute.

From the ADF website:

Making its ADF debut, the Australian-based Chunky Move brings its blend of dance and theater to the ADF stage with Tense Dave, "one of the most arresting works of physical theatre."

tense_dave.jpgSet to an original score from Australian composer, Franc Tetaz, Tense Dave occurs on a continually revolving platform, "bisected by movable walls that expand, contract, disappear and reappear, giving the sense of an unstable, nightmarish world."

there are two remaining performances: tuesday night and wednesday night. even if you think you don't like modern dance, you should go see this. this show is not very "dancey". it's more dramatic than athletic... but that's not even an accurate assessment of what it is. it's continual rotation, pure creativity, and raw emotion. i enjoyed this show immensely.

call 684-4444 for tickets.

and for even more information, here is the official "tense dave" website, which contains quite a few video clips of the show.


Posted by xta at 11:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

 it's my birthday, too, yeah...

so drunk he lost control of his tongue

no, seriously... we had some beers, some cocktails, but nothing crazy. overall it was a peaceful, relaxing, meandering day.

i made french toast for breakfast (note to self: the thing that made it so good this time was the addition of a splash of vanilla and maple syrup to the eggs & milk... that, and good hearty italian bread). after that we rather aimlessly left the house. we found ourselves at the outdoor bird company where we looked at many, many feeders (including one that has a battery-powered motor that spins the perch in order to hurl squirrels away), but left with nothing in-hand.

then ray decided he wanted to have a steak and beer for dinner (see photo above) and we ended up at firebirds at southpoint. a good choice.. both his steak and my burger were pretty darn good.

ray wanted to buy some clothes, so into the mall we went. he found everything on his list including a beautifully-fitting pair of running shoes), which he purchased as i tested out the store's foot-scanner. (intended, i think, to determine the shape of your arch, as well as where the most pressure rests on your feet... the results are supposed to help you purchase the best insoles for your shoes.)

after a quick stop in nordstrom we were both ready to call it a day, deciding finally to skip an earlier idea of maybe seeing a movie.

when we got home we watched another episode of the sopranos and then took a trip out to francesca's.

this was ray's birthday, but i think i enjoyed it every bit as much as he did. (shopping and eating... two of my most favorite things!)

Posted by xta at 11:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

 popsicle of love


between four of us, we sampled a huge array of the popsicles tonight. we're loco for loco-pops!

1) i tried the banana pecan and thought it was pretty good. the creamy popsicles are harder to bite into than the, uh, watery ones.

actually, here's a photo of the menu:


it's divided into "paletas de crema" and "paletas de agua".

2) i also tried the hibiscus, which friggin' blew me away. the flavor was so incredibly intense i think i yelped when i first tasted it. it was very much like cranberry, and very very very good.

3) david had the tamarind which was promised to taste like lemon iced tea. i think it was a little more subtle than that.

4) david also had the sugar-free pineapple mint, which may have been my favorite of the evening. it was the perfect balance of the two flavors. david and i agreed that all it needed was a shot of vodka and it would be perfect.

5) elizabeth had the chocolate with chiles and felt the burn.

6) she also had the ginger cantaloupe, which come to think of it were the two i had the night before. copy cat!

7) charo started off with the pomegranate tangerine,

8) moved on to the creamy lime,

9) then finished with the chocolate with chiles.

she spied a few people using a punch-card "frequent flier" thing, and with three popsicles under her belt in one night i think she should have investigated that program further.

the best news of the evening is that the owner is going to expand her hours of operation! currently they close at 7pm, which is ridiculously early, especially for the summertime. so she's looking for a little cheap staffing to help keep the place open later into the evening.

i swear these things are addictive. maybe i'll stop back in this weekend and try some of the more interesting-looking flavors like cucumber chile or mango chile.

Posted by xta at 10:50 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

 is it bad luck to break a mirror the day before you turn 40?

ray thinks so:


this was an old, full-length real glass mirror that weighed a ton. the previous owners of the house had attached it to the back of a hallway door without glue... only those little screwed-in flanges held it in place. i guess the weight finally became too much to bear because this morning the flanges suddenly gave up. the mirror shattered when it hit the floor (after first scarring the wall behind the door, and taking the faceplate off the thermostat)... i woke to the sound of a crash, then ray shouting "i'm ok!"

it took us probably 15 minutes to get all the little shards and glass dust cleaned up.

happy birthday, ray! i bet you're excited to see what the house gives you tomorrow!

Posted by xta at 10:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

 something sweet and sticky running down my hand

"Woman's frozen fruit bars give taste of Mexico"

i tasted my first loco-pops tonight:

1) chocolate with three chiles:
holy crap! very smooth chocolate, but overall just a bit too spicy for me. my mouth burned after each bite. definitely a wicked-cool sensation, though... icy chocolate plus caynenne, ancho & chipotle.

2) watermelon with choclate chips:
i wasn't crazy about this one. plain watermelon would have been good. the chocolate chips confused me.

3) ginger cantaloupe:
i died and went to heaven. bright and summery, and the ginger taste was very mild... it just added a little kick to the fruit.

i am going back tomorrow for more!!!!! charo and i discussed bringing a cooler and LOADING UP! at only a buck apiece, why the heck not??!

Posted by xta at 10:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 15, 2005

 consider a crisp bun

in a belated fit of spring-cleaning, i discovered this document on my hard drive:

"How You Can Look Fantastic If You Are In The Public Eye" (165k PDF)

it's a 13-page pamphlet on diet, hair care, skin care and clothing, created --i suppose-- for people just like me. there's even a section entitled "For television appearances", which includes this helpful bit of advice:

  • Tip the bows of your eyeglasses up slightly off your ears. This angles the lenses down to reduce glare from lights.
let me tell you, this is not a good idea. one year, in middle school, the yearbook photographer had me tilt my glasses up off my ears and my picture came out looking ridiculous. i'm going to try to dig up that photo as proof of the absurdity of this suggestion.

anyway, the document on the whole is kind of interesting. kind of ridiculous, too. what most fascinated me is the email address of the woman who authored it: bea at nonmanipulativeseduction.com. unfortunately, that domain doesn't seem to be working anymore. i sure would like to see what else she's got to say.

Posted by xta at 3:06 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 14, 2005

 stop this car i'm getting out

dear jonathan-

i love you. you know that. for years i have admired your clever songs and --let's face it-- your weird geekiness. i will probably listen to your records until i die. i'm a fan.

but where's the reciprocation? i felt very unloved last night and i don't know if i can see you again.

don't get me wrong... the songs were great. i smiled, i laughed, i clapped and hollered. but it quickly became evident that something was amiss. the temperature in the club began to rise, sweat started pouring from pores, and i looked up at the motionless ceiling fan and willed it to come on.

within 30 minutes of your arrival on stage i began to think more about my sweat than your music. it became the central focus of my brain. "i am sweating," my brain would think. "a lot. too much." it was ridiculous. as rivers of perspiration ran down my back all sense of fun slid off of me.

and the thing is, i normally wouldn't hold this against any artist. but i learned that you, in your contract, specficially demand that the fans and the A/C remain off during your show.

what the...?!?

jonathan, i've seen you in concert several times, but i never remember sweating this much before. is this new?? do you really want people to get woozy at your shows?

i had to leave early last night. i felt gross. i stumbled out of the club, got in my air conditioned car and drove to the nearest ice cream store.

(where, incidentally, i was accosted by a homeless person so canny that i found myself giving him $5 before i realized what i was doing.)

so jonathan, love, please reconsider. turn the A/C on next time you come back to town and i'll be there.


Posted by xta at 11:42 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

 bada bing

it was a pretty eventful weekend. i saw what amounted to two operas, and i was in a 5k race.

the weekend finally wound down last night with two episodes from our newly-purchased season 5 sopranos on DVD.

i am tired. mentally and physically.

oh, and i also finally planted the liriope that i bought a week ago, and uncovered more of the brick border around that rear bed. a neighbor posted to the neighborhood mailing list that she wanted to get rid of all of the liriope in her yard... since i still need more i may go dig some up after work today. or tomorrow. or whenver i'm feeling energetic again.

i'm not quite sure how i'm going to manage the jonathan richman show tonight. i'm currently doubting that i can keep my eyes open that late.

finally, here's your daily dose of stray kittens. get 'em while they're hot:


Posted by xta at 12:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

 please adopt me!


A stray cat that lives in Charlotte's neighborhood has just had four kittens... the kittens need a home:

The kittens are probably less than a month old.

They are living underneath my deck with their mom --a stray-- who I've named Pam Junior.

They are extremely cute and playful. [video 315k .mov] [video 1.15MB .mov]

They are a little skiddish about people (the photos and video were all taken through the window), but they are getting more and more used to us every day and are still young enough to become wonderful, loving pets.

I hate the idea of taking these kittens to a shelter... can you adopt one? I am trying to get Pam Junior to eat out of a crate so that I can eventually trap her and take her in to get "fixed." Once I do, I will release her back into the wild.

I can be reached at misscharo@gmail.com or call 493-3921 if you are interested in adopting any of these kittens.


I plan on bombarding this blog with cute kitten photos until they have all been adopted. So contact Charo now!

Posted by xta at 1:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 9, 2005

 self-appointed public avenger

after too many fashion-coordinated fruity cocktails last night, it was difficult to force myself out of bed this morning when the clock radio tried to wake me up at 8am with "morning edition".

i laid there for quite a long time, groggily listening to stories of israeli settlements, MTV videos, and boxing, finding myself combining the details of everything i heard into bizarre half-lucid dreams.

when a piece on juries began, though, i perked up and finally paid full attention. i have wanted to serve on a jury for years.

that's right: i want to be on a jury.

i can probably blame my desire squarely on henry fonda... "12 angry men" made a big impression on me. not to the degree that i'm an obsessive court-watcher or anything -- i've only seen one or two trials in person, and i'm no courtTV addict. but fonda's enthusiasm for doing the right thing is captivating, and the film illustrates the power of conviction. (not "conviction" in the we find you guilty way, but rather the i believe this strongly way.)

i'm aware that getting called for jury duty does not guarantee impassioned jury-room arguments and speech-making. i realize that a lot of it is sitting around on your ass, reading 2-year-old magazines, then gettting dismissed for unexplained reasons. but it's still something i'd like to get the chance to participate in.

yet i have never been called for jury duty. not in my 13 years living in north carolina (and in durham county for about 8). i vote regularly, i have a drivers license. I AM IN THE DATABASE. still, i've never been called.

a year or so ago i got so perturbed that i called the court clerk and asked why. she was clearly unaccustomed to dealing with someone like me (possessing enthusiasm, i suppose) and simply said, "oh, we'll get around to you... don't worry."

she didn't even ask my name.

when ray's copy of the FIJA newsletter arrives in the mail i sigh wistfully. when i hear that the michael jackson jury is deliberating, i try to imagine what's going on behind those doors.

i guess more than anything, i just want to experience it myself.

Posted by xta at 12:38 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 8, 2005

 longing for the days of house-calls

drive to chapel hill:				25 minutes
circle parking deck, looking for a space:	 5 minutes
walk from deck to medical building:		 6 minutes
wait in line for iced latte:			 5 minutes
check in with receptionist:			 2 minutes
time spent "in chairs":				 3 minutes
wait for doctor to enter exam room:		 3 minutes
exam:						 2 minutes, not counting initial small-talk
wait to check-out:				 8 painful minutes
walk from building to parking deck, 
  sipping still-cold latte:			 6 minutes
drive to work:					55 minutes
Posted by xta at 1:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 7, 2005

 more bricks


i feel like this is turning into a photo blog. jeez.

oh, by the way, the N&O blogwatch picked up my snake video from yesterday. i feel famous... in a triangle-wide kind of way.

so, yes. last night i bought, cut, and put down black plastic on the messy, overgrown bed at the back of the yard. the most difficult part of the process was finding enough heavy things to weight it down. i have a feeling those flower pots are not going to be ideal.

the liriope that i bought last weekend at the farmer's market will go along the right side of this semi-circle. the bed used to be totally lined with this grass, but half of it died off. i intended to start planting it last night, but...

after i got the plastic down, i weeded the area in preparation of planting the grass and --lo and behold-- found more brick border!

these discoveries are exciting, but jezus they're a lot of work. uncovering that brick from years and years of overgrowth is difficult. a 2 foot area took long enough that i didn't have time to plant the grass.

it's been so humid lately, too, that i feel like i'm just slogging through the work. it's painful. the sweat, the heat... ugh.

also, another reason i hate yard work so much is the mosquitoes. working in the yard after i come home from work is ridiculous. i detest wearing bug spray, so i'm really causing myself more hassle than i need to... but those lotions and sprays are SO GROSS. i feel like a disgusting slimeball just 2 minutes after applying it. ick.

i do have one less thing to do in the yard now, though... TROSA came and mowed the yard this morning. yay!

Posted by xta at 10:44 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 6, 2005

 snake!!!, part two


it's been over a year since we last noticed a snake in our yard.

saturday night he (she?) returned.

while mary and i squealed indoors, ray ran out and filmed it. (7.5 MB .mov)

Posted by xta at 2:37 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 4, 2005

 starlite almost open!

"...Bob Groves said seven to 10 days' dry weather and a couple of days' construction are all that stands between him and re-opening his Starlite Drive-In."

click for more

Posted by xta at 7:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



mom visited the tusselwuppers last weekend and just sent me some photos and videos of her trip. i haven't blogged any photos of roxi in quite a while, so i hope you'll indulge me today.

this picture, to me, is pure joy. and it makes me miss my family a lot.

Posted by xta at 12:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 3, 2005

 race for the cure

i have just registered to race for the cure on saturday, june 11.

my grandmother died of breast cancer, and feel like i should finally get off my ass and support the cause in some small way.

i have intended to participate for years, but scheduling snafus have always frustratingly gotten in the way.

but this year i'm doing it, dammit --the women's 5k-- and hope you'll consider joining me.

please note that i'm in no shape to actually run 5k, so instead i'll be leisurely walking the course with my friend mary.

you can register online through june 4, or in person at various triangle locations next week.

c'mon... it'll be fun!


Posted by xta at 2:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 1, 2005


i walked into home depot a few weeks ago and noticed a give-away for a gas grill. as i filled out the entry form it became clear that by handing over my name and address i was also apparently indicating interest in home depot's "at home services"... i was asked to check a box next to "decks", "siding" or "replacement windows" and a representative would come give a me quote on whichever service i selected.

i checked "replacement windows".

and i didn't win the grill.

but a man in an orange apron came to my house this morning and measured all my windows, discussed terms like "double-hung" and "vent latches", and left me with a quote that fucking shocked the hell out of me:


since the day i bought the house i have wanted to replace the windows. they're metal casement windows, with hand-cranks that lift the glass up and out like louvres. i hate them. they're ridiculously energy-inefficient (so much so that we have to keep the storm glass on all year long) and very, very ugly.

now, one thing i do love about my house is that the windows (ugly as they are) are HUGE. the two biggest are 128" (!!) wide, and 50" high. these windows will cost close to $1,500 to replace. each.

so, here i am with a brand new home equity line of credit, thinking "geez, it sure would be nice to have new windows." but i don't know if there's any way i can convince myself to spend that much money.

i need to research a couple of other companies and get a few more quotes. maybe i can find something more reasonably-priced. the obnoxious size of some of the windows, though, makes me think it's going to be expensive no matter who i get to do the job.

first, though, i just i want to live with the sticker shock for a while. the more i force myself to think about it, the more i'm going to realize that this is something that i should do sooner rather than later. i spent all that money on a new gas pack last year, and these crappy windows i currently have are letting all of that fresh, new A/C and heat seep out.

utlimately, i bet the idea of living in an energy-efficient home is going to end up being so appealing that i'll forget the fact i'm going to be in more debt than i have ever been.

yeah, right.

Posted by xta at 3:09 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack