January 31, 2010

Shout-out: Can I be Jamie when I grow up?

I know, silly thing to say, when she's way younger than me! 

Today I want to send my love and gratitude to Ms. Jamie, over at I Love My Life. Why, you ask? Well generally, just for being awesome. But specifically, for making me this sweet hat!

My dome's stayin totally warm.

My girl knits, scraps, cooks, gardens, takes gorgeous pictures, and rescues kitties from evil trolls. Okay I made that last one up, but I bet she would! Jamie helped me figure out the perfect size and style, and then? Hooked. Me. Up.

My ears? Also totally warm.

With all my heart I recommend jamiesierraknits on Etsy.

January 30, 2010

Delighting in details

Not gonna lie, it's been a rough few days. How do you honor someone's memory, when you're miles away from anyone who even knew him? I sincerely don't know. So, I'm choosing what I hope my friends and fam will do when it's my turn. Looking for joy wherever I can find it, and connecting with people however I can manage it. Thankfully, in this age of blogs/facebook/twitter/cellphone/text, that second part is easier than ever. As for the first one...

So far I've resisted the urge to gripe a lot about the new crib. I can look anywhere and see an upgrade over what I moved out of. But it's a rental, so, you know it's not going to be perfect.

This crap right here?

Notice the paint smeared on the switch plate?

Drives me batty. Sloppy, careless bullshit, afflicting every switch plate in the house. And yes I most certainly sound like my grandpa right now. But I can live with this. A minor, purely aesthetic offense after all.

What I couldn't live with was the shower situation. Now, I like a fast-running, soaking shower as much as the next girl, but not at the expense of having enough hot water to rinse my hair. If I may offer a totally gross admission, I haven't shaved my damn legs since we've been here! Definitely not trying that in cold water.

Now I think we've solved this problem. Today we went over to Lowe's and picked up this little gem:

Cue choirs of angels

Waterpik's "Ecoflow" high-efficiency shower head will drop us down from 5 gallons per minute to 1.5 --  it even has one of those neato pause buttons. With any luck, tomorrow I can have a long, hot, proper shower. And smooth legs. See? Delighting in details.

If you knew him (or hell even if you didn't, I'm sure he'd still appreciate it), drink a toast to Curt Byars this weekend. If it's a Keystone Light that's even better. Look for something simple and let it give you joy. Connect with someone you haven't seen in a while. And if you love anybody you think might not know it? Tell them.

January 28, 2010

Rest well, friend

The world has lost a one-of-a-kind.

Curt "Crut" Byars
11/18/83 - 1/27/10

Too soon my man. You'll be missed.

January 29, edited to add: I forgot the photo attribution, to Patrick O'Shaughnessy (my apologies). Also, the date of birth may be wrong. I'm just going by what the paper said, but I seem to remember Curt being an SFI trainee in 2003, which logically would put him being born in 85.

Last, this appeared all over Facebook during the night. Pretty well sums up the character we've lost.

Now it's a home!

I finally went to the neighborhood grocery yesterday. After a week of eating fast food and frozen pizza, I totally snapped. Even though the kitchen is still in chaos, and the thought of cooking in there is giving me angst, I couldn't take it another day. I needed some vegetables, y'all!

And fruit. Gas station raisins couldn't cut it anymore.

Aside: I take crappy pictures. What the hell is white balance? Did I leave enough background? To flash or not to flash?

Same photo, with flash. Washed out, no? I don't know...

The thing is, my photo-impairedness has never been an issue before. Doug takes fantastic pictures, so for important events we put the camera in his hand. But even I'm not so pushy and narcissistic that I'd make him do the images for my blog. So I'm muddling through. Practice makes perfect and all that, right? That said, if anyone can recommend a book, you'll have my gratitude.

Also, just in case you thought I was exaggerating about that total chaos thing, here's another area of countertop.

And this is the "tidy" section!

There's an island of garbage right out in the middle of the floor. About four boxes crammed full of crumpled newspapers. I can't bear to make it public. We're searching for a baker's rack to supplement our storage. Once that's in place, maybe I'll relax a little.

It's astonishing, really. Somehow, I made all this crap fit in my last kitchen. Maybe I was unconsciously bending space-time? And if so, how come I've suddenly lost that ability?

Oh, and that veggie photo looks totally staged, because it kind of is. Since I'm gearing up for a proper dinner, I took the time to place and organize all my spice bottles. The fruit and veggies are pretty much right where they landed out of their grocery bags, and they looked so pretty I just had to get them on film -- er, memory card.

Now, they've got to go because I'll be needing that workspace. I think Doug's recliner is unoccupied...

January 27, 2010

Crazy lady confesses...

I've been promising pictures and stories. So here goes. My confession? I have utter meltdowns over utterly stupid things. Here's an example.

I hate Walmart. It reminds me of that "Who Needs the Quick-E Mart" Simpsons, where they go to a megastore with the tag line "shopping is a baffling ordeal." I avoid it whenever possible. But when you move to a new place, and you're on a budget, you kinda have to suck it up.

We managed to fix up our bathroom for under $100, which is nice.

I love the colors in this shower curtain!

Another bit of background: Cute as our little cottage may be (and it's getting there), it has some, er, issues. Like, there's no light fixture in the living room. Unsurprisingly, Walmart totally failed us there. Unless you need dorm room lamps, just stay away.

Home Depot, however, came through with this:

Yes, that's surround sound hooked up back there. Priorities, people.

So all over the box are warnings: 40-watt light bulbs maximum. No problem. Back we go to Walmart (and this was like, our 4th trip in 2 days, it was ugly). We get the light bulbs and head home, giddy that we can finally sit in our living room at night.

What the lousy box didn't tell us was, the lamp requires 40-watt chandelier bulbs. You know, the narrow ones with the tiny bottom? Yes, a setback, but in the scheme of an interstate move, no bigs.

Nonetheless... Lost. My. Shit.

Tears, swears, the whole nine. I might have thrown some stuff but nothing was handy. Poor Doug, bless him, just kind of stood back and offered to do the 5th [cussword] Walmart trip solo. But I pulled myself together and went along. We got the stupid bulbs, my meltdown safely behind us. Horse's ass...

I'll leave you with a couple more bathroom photos, since that's the only room really fit to photograph. Everything else is still in cardboard hell.

My signature style: decorations that function

I know, this mirror needs serious cleaning. 

The round bit is an old sticker and I think the black shit is paint. We'll get to it (cough). It's totally on the list!

January 26, 2010

.500 rocks in any league

Yesterday I took a crack at a new job. I thought I knew what I was in for: canvassing neighborhoods, collecting donations for a here-unnamed organization. The short, short version of how it went?
THEM: You'll be working with a partner for a few hours, then we'll send you off on your own.

ME: Wait, you mean you ask people to walk the streets, after dark, carrying cash, alone? That's nuts!

THEM: Maybe this job isn't a good fit for you...
No shit.

Granted, this may serve as another example of how I need to learn to keep my big gob shut. Then again, I'm not really about getting mugged. So, unemployed I remain. Sigh...

This guy, however?

(Thanks to a long-ago girlfriend for resurrecting this on Facebook.) 

My husband had an awesome first day: small-but-growing company, relaxed corporate culture, proper hours, decent pay. He even has a work-issued laptop. Hoo-freakin-ray!!!!!

I can't even tell you how proud I am right now. I've spent the last few years watching him bust his ass, work at the mall, go to school, and take care of me. That's at least three full-time jobs if anyone's counting.

He looked so happy last night, it took me all of five minutes to forget my spectacular flame-out. We're one for two on the day, so I can't complain.

Congratulations my love. You have SO earned this!

January 25, 2010

So here we are

Welcome to Popcorn on a Skillet, Georgia-style!

Just got my internet hooked up yesterday. This morning, I got all settled in for a marathon blogging session when...

Tra-la-la, my phone (pressed into service as alarm clock for the past week) tells me it's time to shower and get ready for my interview this afternoon. Crap.

I had such good intentions for today. Got Doug off to his new job about 6:15 this morning. Thought "I have hours to unpack some more crap, go through my blogroll, and get a good post together for Popcorn." Then I laid down on the couch to ice my back and... Zzzzzz...

Good thing I had to be up at 10 a.m. yesterday too, huh?

Stay tuned! I'll have stories and photos soon, I swear!

January 19, 2010

Our last night in the Green

I post this as we get ready to crash for the last time in our apartment. The overwhelming majority of our worldly goods are here...

I'm excited, sure, but I'm kind of freaking out. I always thought of myself as a country girl. Now here I go to Atlanta. I'm in a sentimental mood.

I'll miss a few things about this place. Dinners at El Mazatlan and my friends in the Women's Studies house come immediately to mind.

I won't miss a lot of other things. My one square foot of kitchen counter space, endlessly partying (without me) college kids, and eating/sleeping/working/chilling all in one room to name a few.

It's been more than 6 years since we last pulled a U-Haul up to the back door. What was life like back then?
  • No one outside Chicago and Springfield had ever heard of Barack Obama
  • Facebook didn't exist
  • We thought Mars had no water
  • Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were heroes
  • Same-sex couples couldn't marry anywhere in America
  • Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather had jobs
  • Martha Stewart wasn't an ex-con
  • We were "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq -- wait...
Add your own!

It may be a few days before I can post again. Depends how fast they are at hooking up internet in Georgia. But when I return I'll have photos of our new place. Wish us luck everyone.

January 17, 2010

Monitor misses the point, foodie friends

I used this title even though "foodie" makes me bristle. Yeah, I try to eat as fresh and local as possible. But for me, it's a matter of cost and taste. I reject the political (canvas) baggage.

Christian Science Monitor: No more dinner parties?
Remember the good old days, when you threw a dinner party and all you had to worry about was finding a topic everyone could talk about? Now, you have a much harder task: to find a dish everyone can eat.

Two culprits bear the blame: the rise of food allergies in America, and food writer Michael Pollan.
First, I also hate Michael Pollan. Yes, his content has merit; it's his style I can't stomach. His smug-sanctimonious attitude just sparks rebellion among normal people. When fresh-and-local sounds all douchey and inaccessible, we cut folks off from those cost and taste benefits I enjoy. Environmental and economic factors are just gravy. (Mmmm... Gravy...)

Otherwise, though, I disagree. Differences in how people eat give me pure inspiration!

A kosher-keeping house guest first tested my boundaries in college. If I'd had any idea how tasty that vegetarian pasta sauce was going to turn out, I'd sure as hell have saved the recipe.

A gluten- and lactose-intolerant family member partly drove me to start this blog. Lots of my regular dishes already meet those requirements, or could do so with minor alteration. For example...
Simple, right?

(Although... it may likewise be smug and sanctimonious to link to one's own blog. Also, to call oneself "one.")

All's I'm sayin' is, when we cook, we have a choice. We can be food-grumps, or we can be daring.

What inspires y'all to try new dishes?

January 15, 2010

A matter of faith

I have to confess: I've mostly avoided news coverage of the Haitian earthquake. Human suffering on that scale wrenches my guts, especially since there is not one damn thing I can do for those people. I mean, yeah, I did my ten-dollar-text thing, and I hope y'all are doing the same.
Mobile donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross.
Nonetheless, that gift feels like a futile gesture. What's $10 when a city is in ruins? Then, last night, from the back of my head...

Pray for them.

Not quite my grandma's voice but it might has well have been. I'm not much of a pray-er myself. (Speaking of futile gestures!) But it drives the point home why, despite my religious skepticism, I don't begrudge the faithful.

Faith offers comfort in the face of insurmountable sorrow. I get it. Sometimes I'm even vaguely jealous. So if you're into that sort of thing, do your thing.

Lots of religions (from all over the world) concur: prayers, spells, or rituals only work if those involved believe. And I keep hearing that the people of Haiti are asking for our prayers. So I say pray, chant, meditate -- like the angel Earl says in Saving Grace: "climb up a tree if it gets you closer to God." If enough people believe those actions have a positive impact, maybe they will.

Shout-out break -- I'm real glad this girl is praying.

But then, this crap:
Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson says Haiti has been "cursed" because of what he called a "pact with the devil" in its history. His spokesman said the Wednesday comments were based on Voodoo rituals carried out before a slave rebellion against French colonists in 1791.
I grew up with this joker. In those days it was, "pray that Reagan will get to appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court," and, "AIDS is God's curse on the homos and druggies." Then I learned that justices receive lifetime appointments, and suddenly realized he was praying for someone to die! I likewise couldn't believe his lack of compassion for sick people.

Oh, Brother Pat: just one of the extremist voices that drove me out of the flock. Don't even get me started on the subjugation of women, threats of damnation, or the Rapture.

Still, if I don't do faith, but respect those who do, is it too much to ask for the same from the faithful?

Hope I didn't get too deep today...

January 14, 2010

The accidental 5-alarm

Frantic to waste as little food as possible before we depart, I decided on a big batch of chili!

Preface: For me, chili is one of those dishes I make when I need to use up some ingredients. What follows isn't so much a recipe, as a recap.

I started by dicing:
  • One medium sweet yellow onion
  • Half a bulb of garlic
  • 2 or 3 chili peppers we bought this summer and dried
 Notice I got rid of that sepia. Getting more camera-savvy all the time!

WARNING: This is too much dried chili!! The pile looked about right, based on my usual amount of fresh hot peppers. But, hello! Dried spices have a more concentrated flavor. I should know this. Sometimes I am such a dimwit.

Once the chopping was done, I browned a pound of ground beef with a bit of salt and pepper in my chili pot. Doug helpfully drained off most of the grease (as always -- I'm so spoiled), and then I put the beef aside in a shallow, paper-towel lined dish.

Next, I dumped in the onion and garlic, with a touch of salt and pepper, of course. The small amount of oil left is perfect for sweating. Stir occasionally until the onion starts to turn transparent.

Notice I've apparently NOT mastered holding the camera still. Dammit.

At this point I dumped the ground beef back into the pot. Here's the grease stain it left behind. Eww...

Glad that's not in my chili!

(Note: That gross-looking black shit on the right is where the paint is chipped off my stove. I'm a sanitary cook, I swear.)

In the summertime, this is where I would add about 6-10 diced tomatoes (depending on size) with their juice. Unfortunately, winter tomatoes are both expensive and flavor-impaired. Instead I added a big can of whole cooked tomatoes, also with their juice, and cut into quarters.

This is where I added the beans too. Sometimes I use beans from a can, but last night I got ambitious and used dry ones. Granted, these had to soak overnight and then cook for like an hour and a half before I even started the chili. But I like their flavor and texture better. Canned or dried, I dump them in liquid and all.

Now begins the seasoning, all to taste.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin (be generous with this; it's what makes chili taste like chili)
  • Chili powder or finely chopped chili peppers (remember, dried peppers are hotter!)
  • Parsley
Most times I also add some green Tabasco, but not tonight. Mercifully I tasted the chili and it nearly lit me on fire. Oops... Good thing we like it spicy 'round here. I put in a spoonful of honey to try and cut down the heat. Which, if I'm honest, didn't really help much.

Add a little water if the chili looks too dry. Then turn the heat way down, stick a lid on the pot, and walk away for at least a half-hour. The longer it simmers the better it tastes. Also important, the longer you plan to simmer the more liquid you need to add. I tend to barely cover the ingredients with water and let the whole mess go for at least two or three hours, stirring occasionally.

This batch is so hot, Satan is sweatin'.

Simmer and stir, simmer and stir, until the liquid is reduced and it's as thick as you like it. Some folks swear by a roux for thickening, but I tend to screw those up something awful. Patience and time will get you the thickness, without the flour (which I swear hurts the taste).

Taste the chili periodically to adjust the seasoning. After about 2 hours I tasted my accidental 5-alarm and found it needed more salt and parsley. Also, I couldn't resist adding the green Tobasco anyway. Since all I had put in were chili peppers, the spiciness was only hitting the back of my throat. Green Tobasco stimulates the tip of the tongue, and I missed that sensation. It really didn't add that much heat, considering.

There's a secret step at the end that I ain't posting on the interwebs. But if you ask me real nice I might share it privately!

For full-on "Misty" style, put some fresh cornbread in a bowl, add a ladle of chili, and top with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Taking this picture before digging in = impressive restraint

(Also delicious with crackers, tortilla chips, hot dogs, pasta, etc.)

NOTE: Those dairy items actually go a long way toward toning down a too-hot chili. Mine was damn-near con queso, but it was gooooood...

Yeah, I'll say it...

For all the good memories in that craphole house on Bourland Avenue...

For all the theft-worthy jokes...

For Triumph the Insult Comic Dog...

For Pimpbot...

For In the Year Two Thousaaannnd (seems so quaint now, doesn't it?)...

For the "Walker Texas Ranger" machine...

For If They Mated...

For gingers...

For my own bitterness at being screwed by employers...

That I've only cited hopelessly outdated Conan jokes tells me I'm part of the problem. But we had to give up watching late-night talk shows. For a good while there we got in the habit of watching Stewart and Colbert (also part of the problem) right before bed. When I realized we'd turned into my grandparents, I had to make it STOP.

From the New York Times: In NBC Leno vs. O'Brien Drama, Fans Show Allegiance Online
Simon Dumenco, the media columnist for Advertising Age, suggested in a column on Wednesday that people have rallied around Mr. O’Brien not because they adore his “Tonight Show” but “because he’s suddenly become an unlikely (Harvard-educated, multimillionaire) Everyman: the freckled face of American job insecurity, a well-meaning hard worker who spent years paying his dues but has now been declared redundant by the halfwit overlords driving his company into the ground.”
 Consider this post my penance. I shoulda given Conan's Tonight Show a shot.

January 13, 2010

Breaking News

Our approval on the cottage came through! (Not 2 hours after I made my last, whiny post.) We hit the road early next week, and Bowling Green will at last see the back of me.

I told me it would all work out.


A couple of weeks ago, when we first began to ponder our big-city adventure, we planned to load up our U-Haul today. In this moment of uncharacteristic positive attitude, I find myself glad I avoided actually reserving a truck. U-Haul insisted we provide a destination ZIP code, and since Atlanta has dozens...

For you see, we still don't have anyplace to move into. Argh.

We've found plenty of prospects, weighed pros and cons, and applied for a few. But damn these people are slow! I understand the need to run credit checks and talk to references. I do. I don't understand why these processes are taking for freaking ever.

Top picks?

1. Cute 2-bedroom cottage in Cobb County. Pros: extra bedroom, actual yard, off-street parking for two. Cons: potentially hellish and expensive commute to work, no nearby public transport.

2. 1950's condo in northern Atlanta. Pros: cool neighborhood, convenient public transport, totally new experience for us. Cons: off-street parking for only one, no extra bedroom, totally new experience for us.

At this point I feel like the decision will be made based upon which landlord approves us (first). We both have to be in town by January 25 -- Doug to start work and me for a second interview. Seriously, we need to get a move on!

I'm so on the verge of a panic attack. Then again, when we signed our lease in Bowling Green it was pretty much here or the Motel 6. I keep telling myself this will all work out.

This will all work out.

January 10, 2010

Six Word Memoirs: I dare you!

Go here and read this:
The beauty of the six-word memoir / The Christian Science Monitor -
Some find them ridiculous but I call them beautiful. They are six-word memoirs. Six-word memoirs? Yes – pithy little verbal packages that convey more than you might imagine.

It all started with Ernest Hemingway who proved to a friend that he could write a "novel" in six words: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." 
Here's mine, off the top of my head. Find closed doors; kick them down.

I was gonna get all smooth and invite y'all to create your own using Mr. Linky. But it appears I would have to pay money (which I'm a little short on) to make that work. So... please use the comment section to play. If you're a fellow blogger, feel free to link to your own Six Word Memoir post.

Tag, you're it!

January 09, 2010

Oh Metropolis (Also, are you kidding me?)

On Tuesday I dragged out all my winter clothes (read: the clothes I usually only get out when I visit Peoria in the winter), loaded up my car, and headed home to Metropolis (Illinois) to see the family. The schedule was jam-packed. Which, when combined with my relatives' general Internet-impairedness, explains my absence from this blog for six days. I don't wish to make a habit of this... Stay tuned...

My sister got this brilliant idea that, since I would be in town, we should take advantage of my brother's employee discount and get some pictures made at Sears. Just us kids, like when we were little. Except they didn't have to squeak the ducky to get us to smile. In fact, I'm really excited to see the final product. All we did was crack each other up the whole time. So that -- when you include all the beauty-fying I had to do -- took up most of Wednesday.

The past three days I hung out with various familial factions. But most of all I burned up the Wii at my mom's house. Fat ladies and Wii fit? I'll be working that into a standup set. Not that I do standup, but I write sets all the time. Weirdo...

Best night? Thursday. Cooked chicken fajitas at mom's house, which, even my picky 4-year-old nephew didn't spit out. Success! Here's the breakdown...

Cut the following ingredients into strips:
  • One big green pepper
  • One big sweet yellow onion
  • Two or three Roma tomatoes
  • Three butterfly-cut chicken breasts
NOTE: This is the extra-meaty recipe. Perfect for Southern folk. :)

Also, I used about a half a bulb of garlic. You can use a garlic press, but I prefer just to mash each clove on the cutting board using the flat side of a chef's knife. I cut these into fairly large pieces and remove any green shoots. Not everybody likes this much garlic, so let your palate be your guide. Also, if you don't want to get spicy bites of garlic, you can chop it really small.

(Here's where I would have put in the picture my mom took while I was cooking. Would have, if I had remembered to get it out of her camera before I skipped town. Dumbass...)

Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive (or your favorite cooking) oil to a hot skillet. I actually used two skillets, totally necessary when cooking for a big family!

Toss in the garlic and onion, and stir. Cook until the onion starts to turn transparent. Try not to scorch them. I say try, because I almost always scorch some of them.

Add the chicken and green pepper. Also add salt and pepper according to your taste. You need to add at least some salt, as this helps the juices come out of the meat and veggies to make the sauce.

Keep stirring occasionally. Once the outside of the chicken strips aren't pink anymore, I add the tomatoes. Put them in too early and they'll totally melt. Which is fine, you just end up with fajitas in tomato sauce. Still yummy.

About now is when you'll want to put your tortillas in the microwave. Wrap them in a damp paper towel to get a steamed effect.

I usually search out the biggest chunks of chicken, and cut them in half with my stirring spoon. Once they're good and done all the way through, serve the fajitas! I like them with just a little sour cream and cheddar cheese. However, if you skip these last two ingredients, this is an extremely low-fat, high-veggie, all around healthy meal!

RE: Are you kidding me?

I got home this afternoon to find a summons for jury duty. For February 2. There's no box you can check that says, "Hey, I'll be living in another state that day!" So I guess I better go down there. Like I didn't have enough to do this week.

Eye roll...

January 04, 2010

How packing exposes your soul

 Three boxes marked "bar." Six boxes of books. Self-knowledge is a terrifying thing.

Oh yes, the packing has begun in earnest. We've cleared out the bar and the library (obviously). Winter clothes, CD's and DVD's, all our spare linens, and most of the tchotchke from the living room. All told it's probably 1% of everything that needs packing. Yuk.

It's good though, to be forced to touch everything we own, with the knowledge we have to carry it out and then touch it again to unpack. It's helping us streamline, which, after 6 years in one place, we badly needed to do!

We've carried three bags to the Salvation Army so far, with another set to go. I'm also giving some quality items to WKU's Women & Kids Learning Together summer camp. This is an amazing program that helps local women improve their lives. It concludes with a Clothes Bank, in which participants get to pick out professional, job-interview appropriate outfits. Don't know what I'm going to do when my gifts involve more than hiking up the hill. I guess I ought to start searching for similar worthy programs in Atlanta!

Next up: video games, framed photos, and kitchen decor.

January 02, 2010

End-of-Year Review, 2009

In honor of August over at NoteThis, who has suspended his blogging indefinitely. I miss you, man! So much that I'm stealing your shit.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Cooked some meals involving only farm-fresh ingredients. Best? Chicken gumbo. Worst: eggplant Parmesan.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make resolutions last year. Here is my list for 2010.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, it was a slow year for the breeders, although 2010 is shaping up to be fertile.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Mercifully, no

5. What countries did you visit?
Does Evanston count? No wait. That's a freaking 'nother planet.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A Wii -- is that shallow?

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 15th: It was a life-changer, but I'd rather forget the why.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I didn't smack someone who really deserved it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
See #8.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only my ego. Screw you swine flu!

11.What was the best thing you bought?
A Toyota Solara, which I've been wanting for years.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My darling Douglas, who somehow still loves me after all this time.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Probably better not to say. See #8.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Hmm, probably debt repayment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My darling Douglas got a job offer! Still excited for our impending move to Hot-lanta.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Marshall Tucker Band's "Searching for a Rainbow"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?: happier
ii. thinner or fatter?: probably a shade thinner
iii. richer or poorer? poorer (for now, see #15)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Fretting about the future

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Oops, guess I put this off too long. It was a quiet dinner with my darling Douglas. (Is that getting gross yet?)

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Every day, with my darling Douglas. (Yeah okay even I'm getting grossed out now.)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
"Being Human"

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Surprisingly, no

26. What was the best book you read?
Complete works of H.P. Lovecraft

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Tim Minchin

28. What did you want and get?
See #11.

29. What did you want and not get?
An assistantship for a doctoral program

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We probably went out to dinner, but I wouldn't swear to it. 33.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A little more life direction. Then again, maybe direction is overrated.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Substance over style... oh, and stretch (both budgets and waistbands)

34. What kept you sane?
See #22. Also learning to cook those pretentious (but delicious, dammit) farm-fresh meals.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
John Barrowman (swoon) for a third year running!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Unemployment I guess, but for entirely personal reasons. I've mostly been on political sabbatical.

37. Who did you miss?
My Bradley babies

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hard to say. My gut says Coby.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Any species that isn't on the verge of extinction isn't really living.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
maybe faking it will get me in
but faking it has always been a sin

"God" -Tim Minchin
Hope at least some of y'all have been enjoying the Doctor Who marathon that's been running since yesterday. Damn I need a DVR.