February 28, 2006

 sensational, inspirational, celebrational


i don't know how she does it, but lulu always manages to send me adorable roxi videos on the days i need them most.

this had me in stitches (11.3 MB .mpg) and pulled me out of my funk.

Posted by xta at 4:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 27, 2006

 the salad days

a list of things which have made my daily lunchtime salad more interesting:

turkey pepperoni
ripple-cut carrots (funny how the shape totally affects my enthusiasm)
sauteed mushrooms
mini seedless cucumbers (so cute!)
red onion (but not too much! remember your coworkers!)
a few slices of turkey lunchmeat
sunflower seeds

note that adding all of these things simultaneously would be bad. i find that meting out these special ingredients --one or two each day-- gives me enough to look forward to for the following day's salad and keeps me from shooting my wad all at once.

i also enjoy considering the compatibility of the ingredients... adding sauteed mushrooms alongside the turkey lunchmeat (as i did today) makes for a really hearty, almost sandwich-like salad. the pepperoni with mushrooms feels sort of pizza-like.

oh, and hey... i've got some leftover cilantro and parsley in my crisper drawer at home... i wonder if they would be good additions? and some chili-lime almonds. ooh!

i've been eating a traditional, plain salad every day for months. the littlest variations really help the boredom.

Posted by xta at 12:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

 happy birthday, kissta


this was one of the best presents i got all day. (6.2 MB .mpg) that, and mary stuck pretzels in her ears. i honestly don't know which is better.

also amazing was divaville with my bestest girlfriends (i think you'll find evidence of a few bottles of wine in that slidehow) and drinks and dinner at the federal afterwards. (the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce was out of this world!)

did i mention that i also got a zappos gift certificate? and jewelry from my boyfriend?

it was a near-perfect birthday.

Posted by xta at 4:56 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

 martinis and hot gods


because of my thing for church signs, several people have pointed me towards the church sign generator. but only joe was clever enough to tell me about it AND promote divaville for me at the same time. thanks, joe.

that said, if you're going to choose one night to tune in to divaville, let it be tonight. it's my birthday, and i'm going to play whatever the hell i please.

plus, i think i'll have a few cocktails during the show. that'll be fun.

Posted by xta at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

 holy mother of god...


this is SO GOOD, in every conceivable way.

i have spent FAR too much time on youtube.com today. (and before you ask... yes i have seen the japanese coffee commercial with david byrne.)

and don't even get me started on this bobby darin performance. unbelievable stuff. i need to go change my panties now.

Posted by xta at 2:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 21, 2006

 two ways to survive

les_stroud.jpgi am a huge fan of "survivor." you probably already know that.

what you don't know is that i have become addicted to a show on the discovery channel called "survivorman." though they're similar in title, they are worlds apart in content.

sure, both shows feature people stranded in a desolate location, but that's where the similarites end. on "survivor", 16 so-called castaways are marooned in a bikini-friendly area of the world and though they have to scrounge for food and shelter the survival element of the show really only comes into play when they deal with their fellow tribemates. it's a mental game of survival more than physical survival. that's why i love the show so much... these people are certainly struggling physically, but their survival in the game comes down to mental strategy, and their ability to think clearly is compromised by their lack of food and protein. they make dumb interpersonal decisions. "survivor" is also heavily edited and feels almost scripted in its silliness. it's actually kind of predictable. lovingly so.

"survivorman," though, is something altogether different. one man, les stroud, has a crew purposefully abandon him in the wilderness, putting him in life-threatening situations: in the open ocean on a life raft, in the costa rican jungle, in the sonoran desert. he then sets about filming his own surviva, alonel. no crew. no food. nothing besides the clothes on his back, a couple of video cameras, and whatever he can find in the wilderness. it's utterly fascinating.

he likes to set up each episode with a believable scenario... some situation you could possibly encounter. one episode, for example, was built upon his survival after a theoretical small plane crash. he showed how to use the carcass of the plane to start a fire (using gas, fabric from the wing & a the plane battery) and to build shelter. he also showed how to use elements of the aircraft to build a rabbit trap. the episode in the sonoran desert was fascinating, too. some of the things he found to eat would have never occurred to me (duh), and he showed an amazing way to get a needle & thread from an agave plant.

the man is incredible. (he's also kind of a hottie, with that canadian accent.) i am continually amazed by him, and ray is forever worried about his actual survival. (though les knows the crew will pick him up 7 days after being stranded, there is no guarantee he will actually survive that week.) i downloaded a discovery channel podcast --an interview with les stroud himself-- just to hear him give some behind-the-scenes information about his show.

i am totally and utterly hooked.

Posted by xta at 5:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

 not seeing red

our latest gas bill is $70 less than last month's. is it possible the new windows are already saving us that much money? maybe it was simply a little warmer last month.

my clock radio developed a major flaw yesterday: the little dot which indicates AM or PM burned out. no longer could i tell whether i was setting the alarm correctly, or if it was 12 hours off. consequently i overslept this morning (because i guessed wrong). i made a point of going alarm-clock shopping this evening, and popped into target 5 minutes before they closed.

it's been years since i've been confronted with the wide array of clock radios. in fact, i think got this now-useless model in college, probably --good lord!!-- 18 or 19 years ago. jeez.

anyway, the selection is overwhelming. with 5 minutes to make my decision tonight, i weighed which features i really needed. one alarm, or two? CD player? ipod dock? phone?

i finally walked away with a GE clock/radio/phone combination for about $25. it enabled me to get rid of the phone on my nightstand, so now i have a little more free space over there for trashy magazines.

Posted by xta at 12:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2006

 the party

there were more weenies (and puns) than you can shake a toothpick at.

there was a 60-year-old gay man who was in love with my ass.

there was a roaring outdoor fire.

there was a roaring indoor fire, once the damper was opened.

there was a rumor going around that it was my birthday.

there was cake.

there were presents.

there were denials on my part, and rightly so, about the birthday.

there was at least one violent cat allergy.

there may have been actual hugging of the teddy grahams.

there were several 6-degrees-of-separation occurences that blew my mind.

there were two doctors. one was homeopathic.

there were two dozen bottles of wine.

there were donated meatballs in a brand new crockpot.

there was the odor of melting plastic eminating from the brand new crockpot.

there were secrets revealed.

there was 80 people in my house.

and there is no photographic evidence that any of this occurred.

Posted by xta at 10:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

 not that you've forgotten

but here's your party reminder:

it's saturday, february 18

it begins, oh, let's say between 8-9pm and will likely go quite late, depending on how long the booze holds out.

if i've somehow left you off the email invite list and would like to come, please let me know.

Posted by xta at 2:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

 red, red wine / you make me feel so fine

neil_diamond_parking_lot.jpgwhen you've got the head of a local record label sitting at your dinner table, you choose your background music carefully.

after several glasses of wine, though, all caution is thrown to the wind. "i'm almost ashamed to admit this," i slurred, "but i am totally in love with neil diamond's new album."

much to my shock and surprise, she and her husband said they owned "12 songs", too, and not only do they like it, they even knew someone who played on the record.


so yes, now i freely admit it: i have a special place in my heart for neil diamond -- those old songs are so amazing, and when i was young my mom instilled in me a healthy appreciation for his live shows. it was easy for me to become a rabid neil diamond fan. and i was, for years. a couple of decades passed, though, without me paying much attention to his career (i guess my fandom began to wane in high school when i acquired the jaded attitude that sting was better than neil), but i was glad to hear that this new record was getting good reviews. it is really great. my love has been rejuvenated.

apparently i shared my fondness for neil so enthusiastically last night (likely the result of that 4th glass of wine) that the husband asked, "have you seen neil diamond parking lot?"

"whoa! no! is that like heavy metal parking lot??"

"yes. the same filmmakers. they re-visited the heavy metal parking lot 10 years later... for a neil diamond concert."

well, thank god this morning's hangover didn't obliterate all trace of that conversation, because i just googled and found the film online. (while you're there, be sure to check out the original heavy metal parking lot as well as harry potter parking lot.)

Posted by xta at 1:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

 just another tuesday


the traffic circle vandals have struck again, filling me with a strong sense of love. for them.

for the past two years ray and i have honored the spirit of february 14 by cooking a meal together. a meal we've never cooked before. togetherness in the kitchen. something quite out of the ordinary for us.

but it won't be happening this year; i have rehearsal tuesday night from 6:30ish - 10:30ish. no time to cook. and since we both don't like to participate in the hallmark-ification of the holiday (no cards, no flowers, no restaurants), it looks like we probably won't be doing anything for valentine's day this year.

maybe we can just go smooch in the center of the traffic circle.

Posted by xta at 12:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 8, 2006

 bra talk

for the last few months i've been mulling over the idea of having a gaggle of girlfriends traipse out to the pennyrich bra patch with me for a group fitting. since i've now lost 62 pounds, my old, trusty jeunique that i got in october 2004 no longer fits. i need to go to pennyrich anyway; i might as well make a party of it. the gals i've mentioned this to have been enthusiastic supporters (snicker) of the idea.

today i finally called the shop and talked to sally, the owner. while she was appreciative of the potential increase in business, she said the store was just too small to accomodate a large group when she'd also have to attend to other customers. i wondered whether she'd be willing to do something after-hours for us. her health is bad, apparently, and she said she'd have to clear those issues up first before she would feel comfortable about planning something special like that.

she did mention, however, that she's been thinking about having her staff do a series of "seminars"... a crash-course, if you will, in bra technology. that way the customers would have a certain basic level of knowledge which would help speed up the sales process. she thought maybe we could arrange a private seminar for my group once they get up (snicker) & running (ew).

but when i told her that i was going to need to come in anyway and get re-fit for another jeunique, regardless of whether this group event ever occurred, i could hear her interest pique. i think she's in love with the jeunique bra and wants to sell as many as possible. not to get rich, mind you (she told me that she makes very little profit on the jeunique), but just to help more women discover this amazing bra.

sally took my name & phone number, said she'd mull over the possibilities, and would call me if she had any amazing brainstorms.

so stay tuned, ladies.

Posted by xta at 2:04 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 7, 2006

 the princess and the pea


so, in my continuing desperate effort to get a good, painless, night of sleep, i ordered something called a "structure zone mattress pad." it arrived on friday.

it's a memory foam kind of thing, which i've never slept on before. an egg-crate mattress was the closest thing i had tried, so you can understand why i harbored a nice healthy skepticism. besides, the featherbed hadn't worked out... this probably wouldn't either. bah. grumble.

when i opened the box i was immediately confronted by its chemical-scented stink (which is still dissipating, 5 days later) as well as its odd, bubbly shape. i immediately put it on top of the bed and lay down on it. it was very nice. i think i probably groaned with pleasure. the cats came sniffing about. they seemed perplexed.

i then got up and took a little film of it's foaminess... for you, dear reader. you're welcome. (1.7 MB .mov)

and you'll be happy to know that i slept well that night. and the next. the structure zone (wherever that is) is quite nice.

i'll be honest... deep down i still wish for a squooshier bed. but until i can afford a whole new mattress (and after doing some cursory nosing about, i know it will be a long time before that dream comes to fruition) this will do nicely.

Posted by xta at 10:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 6, 2006

 please look only at the windows


well, the windows are done. at least they should be... when i left for work today, the crew said they had just a couple of more windows to trim out.

i'm happy. the noise-reduction is incredibly evident, and the windows are definitely doing a great job at keeping out the cold. i think i'm going to be able to stop using my space-heater at night (though our exterior walls are not insulated so there's always going to be some cold seeping in).

so, yay! hopefully i'll be able to keep these things in mind when i'm writing kingsford their Very Large Check tomorrow evening.

god, the landscaping looks like crap right now. i guess that's the next project. ugh. we cut everything way back last fall, and i guess i didn't realize how horrid it looked until just now. damned before-and-after photo...

Posted by xta at 2:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 5, 2006

 the most productive day of my life

hung new curtains in the dining room
finished installing the downspout extensions
watched a movie
washed and re-hung living room and kitchen curtains
sliced my finger open while cutting up a whole pineapple
stained a new telephone table
ordered floating shelves from lowes
turned coat hooks into curtain tie-backs
stepped on a piece of glass, barefoot
installed curtain rods in my bedroom
changed furnace filters
vacuumed living room
painted my white ikea sideboard red
sewed curtains for my bedroom out of scrap fabric
fixed mary's billy bragg bracelet
watched the last 5 minutes of the superbowl
took christmas cards down from the back of the front door

in addition, i had also hoped to:
watch another film (mad dash to watch the oscar-nominated flicks)
install a new outdoor light fixture at the back porch
pay bills

but instead, i think i shall collapse.

Posted by xta at 11:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 2, 2006



i got a call late yesterday afternoon from kingsford: my windows were in! they could come install them the next day.

so i'm home today, 'supervising' the installation. in truth, all i'm doing is trying to console the cats, who are freaked out beyond belief.

here's ryan (one of a three-man team) sweeping out debris after he took the first window out.

this is the absence of a window.

by noon they'd already had the two side windows installed.

even better, the wall construction has taken another large leap with the installation of the super-tall support posts. brick and mortar must be imminent. they must be.

good stuff!

Posted by xta at 1:16 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 1, 2006

 save the date

xta's annual Big Party will be saturday, february 18.

Posted by xta at 10:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack