Saturday, October 30, 2010


JC doesn't quite grasp the concept of a cat bed...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Martha's Top Ten: John Cusack Edition

10) Say Anything (1989)

Classic 80s movie or what? Beautiful girl - geeky guy. And Peter Gabriel.

9) Martian Child (2007)

A beautiful film about acceptance and how genes don't make a family a family.

8) The Sure Thing (1985)

Another 80s classic. Cross-country trek for sex when what you're really after is right beside you the whole way. Daphne Zuniga is great in this too.

7) Money for Nothing (1993)

What else are you going to do with a million dollars that you find laying in the street? I mean, come on!

6) The Ice Harvest (1995)

Creepy in a Bad Santa kind of way - I think it's a Billy Bob Thornton thing. Kind of over-the-top violent (see also: Grosse Pointe Blank), but not bad. Good ending.

5) Serendipity (2001)

Sappy, "it must be fate" plot, but it totally draws you in.

4) Must Love Dogs (2005)

Another sappy movie, but full of fun moments and a great supporting cast. Also, wins "best, most hilarious race for protection", hands down.

3) Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Wonderfully violent plot, great soundtrack, also love Minnie Driver and Dan Aykroyd.

2) High Fidelity (2000)

Another great soundtrack (see what I mean about John Cusack choosing his films for their music?), Jack Black, some great meltdowns. Kind of like Broken Flowers, but, you know, a good movie.

1) Better Off Dead (1985)

Totally stuntperson performed skiing sequences aside, this movie is my most favorite John Cusack film for so many reasons. Classic 80s music (and a Claymation Van Halen video? yes please!):

Hilarious "suicide" attempts, bad French accents, crazy parental antics, and the best little brother character EVER. Oh, and I want my two dollars!!!

Seriously people - go watch this movie. It's wonderful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Photographic Memory: Three's a Crowd

Ghosts of pets past...

Duey, Howie, and Pigster.

We watched Marley and Me the other day and I'm still kind of weepy...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week in Review

By commenting on how Nancy seemed to be in such a good mood lately at dinner on Sunday night I must have jinxed things. She was, well, crabby. Little patience, picked on certain people. It was a rough practice, especially after two people mentioned they'd miss practice next week. Oy!

Second IMA meeting of the year. First attempt at an electronic registration system and I must say it was great. I didn't have to respond to every single RSVP. I could export and print the check-in sheet. It was so much easier. People seemed ok with it so I'm going to keep on with it going forward. We had a pretty good crowd and aside from some issues with the venue (I think they were being a little passive-agressive, but I could be wrong) things went well. A loooooooooooong board meeting full of "discussions" (read: arguments) ended the night on a kind of sour note though.

First week in a long time that Adam didn't golf. Probably a good thing since it was cold and rainy outside. We went to Solea for dinner for the first time in quite a while and drank a pitcher of margaritas. What can I say, it was a long day. We've got auditors again, we had a two-hour long meeting in the afternoon that went terribly, and I seemed to accomplish nothing all day.

More questions from the auditors. Actually, I have to admit it hasn't been so bad this time around (yet - they're here next week too.) They haven't bothered me a lot. Spent some time out in the plant again with the inventory control ladies. I got steel toe shoes on Tuesday that I'll be trying out this coming week. Sketchers - who knew they made safety shoes?

I had vacation, but you'd never know seeing how exhausted I was by the end of the day. I had a car appointment to have some computer thing swapped since my car fell under some Toyota recall. After that I went down to Oshkosh to get my tetanus shot. I'd been putting it off for, uh, way more than ten years, so I figured I should just bite the bullet and git 'er done. It wasn't bad. Didn't really even feel it. Until I tried to sleep on that side. It's much more uncomfortable now - a few days post-injection. My arm is sore, and the site is kind of lumpy and bruised. Hopefully it will go away. After my shot I went back home, had some lunch, and then headed back out. I went to Walgreens, picked up some Tupperware packets for Monday from one of my fellow IMA members (some of the ladies in the bell group want to get our member who lost everything in the fire some new stuff) and also went to Sam's Club. I got home right about the time Adam finished up at work for the day so we headed out to do our regular shopping. Kind of. We went to Menards and Fleet Farm, grocery shopping. Then, since I'd planned a recipe that had more prep than others thinking since I'd be on vacation I'd have time to make it, we went out for dinner. After all of that I was in bed by about 8:30.

Adam had to work the morning since it's quarter-end for him so I did our Walmart shopping by myself. I also stopped by Copps to pick up some shrimp for dinner since I didn't want to mess with the shrimp truck in the rain and construction. After Adam was done for the day we did some more shopping - looking for chair glides for the dining room chairs. We picked a day for our Christmas party. Watched Marley and Me.

I slept in today. Until 8. By accident. Then I got up, made breakfast, drank too much coffee, watched SNL. Broke the vacuum cleaner (ripped the cord right out of the base.) So we went shopping. Again. Fleet Farm, Walmart, JC Penney, Bed, Bath, & Beyond (where we ran into Rich & Julia), Target. We ended up getting a Bissel from Target. Adam likes it so far. Right now Adam's watching football and I'm catching up on my blogs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cat-urday Photo

Peek-a-boo, Connor, I see you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Martha's Top Ten: TV Chef Edition

10)Bobby Flay

Iron Chef, Throwdown! champ, but still airs episodes of Boy Meets Grill from back in 2002 in which he's not so perfect. He's got a great sense of humor, is very successful, and just happens to be married to my favorite L&O ADA, Stephanie March.

And they're so cute together!

9) Guy Fieri

Half creative genius, half insane nutsoid. His energy is contagious, his hair is blinding, and he's got the most adorable family.

8) Giada De Laurentiis

One look at her and you're convinced she's a stuck-up food snob who can't possibly eat the stuff she makes. Watch just one episode of any of her shows and you'll know you're so wrong. She's fun to watch, makes really good stuff, and has helped the image of chefs 'round the world. Can't hurt that her wardrobe department is partial to really low-cut tops...

7) Ellie Krieger

Eating well can suck, but Ellie tries to make it as painless as possible. As a chef/nutritionist, she gives tips for logical swaps to make traditionally taboo favorites ok for those of us who are looking to lighten things up. It's a lot easier to cook healthfully when you see someone doing it and liking it so much.

6) Nigella Lawson

On the other end of the spectrum... Nigella likes her fats, her naughty foods, and isn't ashamed to flaunt it. Not so much a butter fiend as Paula Deen, Nigella still cooks real food, unapologetically. And every single episode of Nigella Feasts ends with her sneaking into the fridge for a midnight snack. My kind of gal!

5) Jamie Oliver

His first US cooking show was The Naked Chef. Who wouldn't watch that? Of course he wasn't naked (stupid false advertising) but he was still adorable. Now he's gone on a crusade to make school lunches healthier.

4) Sandra Lee

She's kind of a whack job when it comes to the color-coordinated kitchen stuff and tablescapes, but her recipes aren't bad. She came under a lot of attack because she uses so much pre-packaged food that people say are full of sodium and preservatives. Dude - her show is called SEMI HOMEMADE. It's going to use prefab stuff. You want totally home-cooked, organic stuff? Watch something else. This is the niche she's chosen to inhabit and she does a great job.

3) Rachael Ray

Another chef who has taken quite a beating from her critics. But I still have many of her cookbooks on my shelves and I use them all the time. She's not a culinary genius, but she took advantage of her ability to know what people are looking for - time-saving tips, easy recipes. She's ridiculously successful and it can't be too tough to be one of Oprah's BFFs.

2) Ina Garten

While Ina strikes me somewhat as a food snob, she creates such wonderful recipes it's easy to forgive the pretentious vibes she gives off. I love that she films in her own home, involves so many of her friends, and has her husband pop up all the time. They've been married for a long time and it's obvious he adores her. It's so cute.

1) Alton Brown

I *heart* Alton Brown. He's a dork. He's got a great sense of humor. He's a food nerd and knows all kinds of random food facts. His Spinach Artichoke dip is a staple at our parties. Good Eats is one of the best food shows on television and his commentary on Iron Chef America is witty and entertaining.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photographic Memory: Double Digits

This photo is from my 10th birthday party

Which would make it 1992, for those of you keeping score at home.

A couple questions come to mind:

Why am I wearing pink? Redheads never look good in pink.

How is it that I don't look the stupidest? I ALWAYS look the stupidest in pictures. Thanks Amanda and Renee! :^)

Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 Final Oscar Recap

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth in "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman in "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker"

My comments: I wasn't crazy (no pun intended) about any of these guys. I don't really know who else I would have like to have seen nominated, but I guess Jeff Bridges was a good winner considering his competition.

Best Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon in "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer in "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci in "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"

My comments: I had never seen a Quentin Tarantino film before Inglorious Basterds and I have to admit it was kind of cool. I don't think Christoph Waltz had any real competition in the other guys.

Best Actress:
Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren in "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan in "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia"

My comments: How did Gabourey or Meryl even get nominated as Best Actress? The other three I can see. I would have been rooting for Carey Mulligan if it hadn't been completely obvious that this was to be Sandra's award.

Best Supporting Actress:
Penélope Cruz in "Nine"
Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

My comments: I can't stand Penelope Cruz or Maggie Gyllenhaal in anything so I'm glad neither of them won. Monique was the right choice here.

Best animated Film:
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"
"The Secret of Kells"

My comments: I still have no idea what The Secret of Kells is supposed to be about. I might have to Wikipedia it... I hated Fantasic Mr. Fox and thought The Princess and the Frog was kind of stupid. Up was my winner easily and by a wide margin.

Costume design:
"Bright Star"
"Coco before Chanel"
"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"
"The Young Victoria"

My comments: Period pieces always win the costume category. The winner even said as much in her acceptance speech. That said, I think it must have been fun to work on the costumes in Coco Before Chanel and Nine.

Original Score:
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Sherlock Holmes"

My Comments: The music in both Sherlock Holmes and Fantastic Mr Fox was annoying. I don't even remember the music in The Hurt Locker. Up had a definite musical theme.

Original Song:
"Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog"
"Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog"
"Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36"
"Take It All" from "Nine"
"The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart"

My Comments: Once again, the Disney songs were really disappointing. I've compared Crazy Heart to Walk the Line more than once, and this song made the comparison that much easier.

Visual Effects:
"District 9"
"Star Trek"
My Comments: Kind of unfair, seeing as how James Cameron had, what, 10 years to do Avatar? I was more impressed with District 9 because it wasn't so obviously CGI.

Adapted Screenplay:
"District 9"
"An Education"
"In the Loop"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"Up in the Air"

My Comments: I haven't read any of the originals so I can't speak to the movie vs source material thing. Overall, An Education was my favorite of these five though.

Original screenplay:
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"The Messenger"
"A Serious Man"

My Comments: I was bored during The Hurt Locker, but I'm sure if you're into the whole war thing it was right up your alley. Overall, Up was my favorite of these five.

Best Picture:
"The Blind Side"

"District 9"
"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"A Serious Man"
"Up in the Air"

My Comments: It was hard, adding five additional titles this year. This is how I rank them:

10. A Serious Man
9. Up in the Air
8. The Hurt Locker
7. District 9
6. Avatar
5. Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
4. The Blind Side
3. Inglourious Basterds
2. An Education
1. Up

But unfortunately(?) I'm not a member of the Academy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week in Review

This week was so boring it doesn't really merit a whole organized entry. Nothing out of the ordinary really happened. Work, bells, another dinner with Karen, shopping. The end. Tonight Adam made ribs in the roaster and invited his grandma and parents over for dinner. That was fun.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's "Cat"urday

Yes, that's Carly.

Yes, she's on the cat tree.

It's a miracle!

Want to guess how long she stayed up there after we let the other cats out after dinner?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Martha's Top Ten: U2 Version

I love U2. (Although, what the hell was Discotheque?) It was really hard to choose my ten favorite songs. So hard in fact that I've listed some "just missed it"s at the end.

10) New Year's Day

Political, yes, but not obnoxiously so. And Bono's hair in the video? Classic.

9) Stuck in a Moment That You Can't Get Out Of

Great lyrics.

8) Pride

Great lyrics with a timeless message. Good guitar playing too! (And Bono's hair is just out of control in this video!)

7) When Love Comes to Town

This song is so catchy and sing-a-long-able. Not your typical U2 sound, but it totally works.

6) Dancing Barefoot

Aah, how I love the movie Threesome. (Although you may notice it was not on my top ten last week - just barely got beaten out on that list.) This song was in that movie and I instantly loved it.

5) Elevation

Classic U2 sound with some oddly catchy rhyming.

4) Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Aside from the awesome music video and the fact that this was the last decent Batman movie until the whole franchise was revamped by Christopher Nolan... I just love this song. Great chorus, great overall sound. I had this song on a cassette single that I'm pretty sure was my first U2 purchase!

3) Mysterious Ways

This song sounded totally awesome in the Celica with the big bass speakers in the back. Video's kind of trippy, but the song itself is pretty good.

2) With or Without You

The Joshua Tree has been my favorite album for a long time. This song epitomizes the U2 sound.

1) Electrical Storm

The original, not the remix which is what all the videos seem to be. Love the beginning, love the bridge and all the key changes. All around my favorite U2 song. To date. :-)

And now, the "Missed it by a nose" entries:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photographic Memory: Class Picture 1988

This is my first grade class picture. See me there, second from the right in the top row?

Guess how many of these people I have kept in touch with.

Big Fat Zero.

Although I'm Facebook friends once removed with two of them. Does that count?

Ah, memories.

Monday, October 11, 2010

An October Trip to Door County

Since the weather was supposed to be gorgeous and we hadn't managed to make it up at all this summer, we decided to take a day trip up to Door County yesterday. Apparently we weren't the only ones with this idea - it was packed!

Anyway, after our breakfast we hit the highway and made pretty good time. We stopped at our friendly Sturgeon Bay neighborhood Walgreens for a pit stop as we usually do. We picked up the cutest cat bed while we were there:

Carly hates it (as in she hisses at it when we show it to her. We guess she thinks it's another cat...) but the other guys have shown decent interest (after they figured out how to lay in it - they all had issues getting their whole body inside of it...):

Our next stop was the Hands On Art Studio in Fish Creek where they were having a fund raiser for the DC Humane Society.

We met Hazel, the cutest pot-bellied pig ever. She seriously made me consider replacing all the cats with pigs. Hey, pigs don't shed!

We fed her some cheerios and she snorted with glee. So adorable!

They had a petting/feeding zoo area that was by far my favorite part.

This alpaca had a serious attitude problem. It wouldn't come by the fence even when you had food in your hand.

The llama was a little friendlier.

And the goats, of course, were all over this feeding thing.

There were quite a few roosters, crowing and generally making a cacophony

I got slobbered on by a horse

And a goat

And Adam spooked the alpaca

Hmm, maybe this is why it avoided us...

Anyway, after checking the place out we decided we'd definitely try to come back next year sometime. There are all kind of neat projects but most of them required overnight processing and we weren't going to be coming back.

We made stops at the Door County Confectionery and Charlie's Smokehouse - two staples of any trip to Door County. We did not go to Washington Island this time and we avoided Egg Harbor altogether since both towns were having festivals of some kind that we wanted to stay clear of. We had lunch at the DC deli (very good!), stopped by Lautenbach's for some wine sampling and purchasing, got some apples and very cute gourds at a country farm market. Other than that we just spent some time enjoying the beautiful day and fall colors:

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Chocolate Chip Tiramisu Cheesecake

Made with Neufchatel cheese so I'd feel slightly less guilty about it.

Week in Review

This week started off much better than last week did. No barfing!

Month-end at work was going well. I still can't even tell you how much easier it is for me!

We were back at it with bell practice. We learned that one of the ladies had her house burn down over the weekend. Horrible. She was there, but in bad shape. Luckily she has insurance and seems to be surviving. It was decided that we'd cancel the ringing for the weekend because so many people were iffy on their availability.

More month-end. Seems we got behind at some point so I was on a holding pattern. This did free me up to start on quarterly reports and some corporate stuff. And close New London in three days. Awesome.

I seem to recall we did something on Tuesday night, but I can't remember what it was. Huh. I do know we watched Glee...

Wednesday was a day full of technologically-induced frustration. The system was running really slowly and since the allocation cycles and other calculations I'm responsible are massive in the first place this meant it took even longer than it should. Finally around 4:30 Tina told me to stop my current transaction, take my computer home and run it there since the ETA for report completion was three hours. So that's what I did. The report actually completed in a little over two hours in which time I had made dinner, done laundry, collected garbage, and watched two DVR shows. Go me.

Finished up MON's month-end checklist and got pulled into a Lancaster meeting. Sometimes I think they forget that I'm a MON employee. Eh. Apparently their plans are to make me the expert on all things inventory so I'm spending most of this month with Dana, our resident (kind of literally - she's been here almost non-stop since the end of July) Focus CO person, in the hopes that I'll absorb all of her knowledge. Fun stuff. First stop - cycle counting! I haven't done enough of that you know... But I guess anything to get management comfortable with our numbers.

I had a dinner "date" with three of the ladies from bells - the one I mentioned earlier whose house burned down and the other two who share the same table at practice. We thought it would be a good idea to get her out and away from the disaster her life had potentially become. We met at Perkins and had a good time. Adam can't believe it took two + hours to have dinner, but you know how ladies are - we talk, talk, talk. It was fun and we all agreed we needed to bring some more social aspects into our bell choir. And some more challenging pieces.

Some more Lancaster analysis. Meetings on cycle counting. Boss left at 1 - but I still somehow ended up there until after 3:30. Stupid dedication to my job...

We did our weekly shopping since we planned to head to Door County on Saturday.

We stopped for breakfast at the 41 Diner. I had the most enormous omelet ever and ended up taking over half of it with us since we had a cooler along. We headed up to Door County and spent the better part of the day enjoying the beautiful weather and lovely colors. Separate post on that to come.

We got back home pretty close to kitty feeding time. Then Adam roped me into leaf collection before dinner.

This morning I made a chocolate chip tiramisu cheesecake. I'll let you know how it is when I try it - it has to chill for a few hours before I can finish it up.

We made a trip to Lowe's for a wine fridge - we figured it was worth it since we kept accumulating all different kinds of wine and our refrigerator wasn't getting any bigger. It looks pretty slick next to the bar.

Now Adam's watching the game, I'm in here with a huge backlog of posting to catch up on. Not much else on the to-do list. I've got The Secret of Kells on the end table to watch and then I can do my end of list Oscar recap.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Martha's Top Ten: Movie Edition

It's hard to narrow the massive field of film down to ten and these choices change constantly, but this is what I'm feeling like today...

10) A Simple Twist of Fate
Year: 1994
Starring: Steve Martin, Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Stephen Baldwin
Why I Love It: This is one of the few movies featuring Steve Martin that I can stand him in. He's a lot like Adam Sandler. Most of the time I find both of these men completely obnoxious. But every once in a while they make a film that's wonderful. This movie is one of them for Steve Martin. Great plot, right balance of humor and heartbreak. Good music too.

9) William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
Year: 1996
Starring: Clare Danes, Leonardo DiCaprio
Why I Love It: Unlike his most recent release, this is one of Baz Luhrman's movies I like. (Australia, *shudder*...) Great semi-modernization of the classic story with some interesting music choices and camera work.

8) Benny & Joon
Year: 1993
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aiden Quinn
Why I Love It: Well, aside from the obvious Johnny Depp thing... His character in this movie is such a great one. From the Charlie Chaplin moves to his interaction with both Joon and Benny. Great music again. Seems to be a theme...

7) How to Make an American Quilt and The Joy Luck Club
Year: 1995/1993
Starring: Winona Ryder/Ming-Na
Why I Love It: I'm counting these two films as one choice here because the similarity between them is so strong. They're both about young women facing an important choice and how women from the older generation impart the knowledge they've gained through their life experiences to help them with their decision. Both are wonderfully made, and while I don't really like Winona Ryder much, the other actresses in her film are so strong (it's really an impressive cast) it makes up for her inability to be anyone other than herself.

6) Clueless
Year: 1995
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd
Why I Love It: This is a movie I could watch over and over again and never get tired of it. It's a silly movie, full of cliches and catch phrases (as if!) but it makes me smile.

5) To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
Year: 1995
Starring: Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes
Why I Love It: Three very masculine guys in drag - what's not to like? They're all very convincing as ladies and the underlying message of acceptance is uplifting. Bit parts for Robin Williams and RuPaul are great too.

4) A Beautiful Mind
Year: 2001
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly
Why I Love It: It took me awhile to watch this movie, but once I did I loved it. Interesting plot, good acting, great score. And while it's not exactly true to life (as in, lots of creative liberties were taken in the character of John Nash since the real man is apparently quite a piece of work) it's still one of my favorites.

3) Thelma & Louise
Year: 1991
Starring: Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon
Why I Love It: Girl Power! I always identified with Geena Davis' character. It would have been fun to have a best friend to run away and drive off a cliff with. Of course, this is a movie, so real life isn't that...glamorous? In any case, a wonderful journey through a friendship with some hot, young, Brad Pitt thrown in for fun.

2) Sliding Doors
Year: 1998
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah
Why I Love It: Bad English accents aside, this is an all-around winner. What a great plot - who wouldn't want to be able to see what might have happened if one thing in your life had changed? And I do love John Hannah and his cute (and REAL, ahem) accent.

1) When Harry Met Sally...
Year: 1989
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan
Why I Love It: This movie has consistently been at the top of my list for years now. There's nothing I can find to not like. The actors are great, it's fun, it's serious, it's so true. It's a perfectly made romantic comedy with great supporting cast members and many quotable lines. My favorite?
"Had my dream again where I'm making love, and the Olympic judges are watching. I'd nailed the compulsories, so this is it, the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadians, a perfect 10 from the Americans, and my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must have been the dismount. "

Monday, October 04, 2010

Photographic Memory: MarineLand Animals

Back in September of 2005 we made our first road trip together out to New York to visit my mom. Along the way we ended up in Canada and saw MarineLand. We stopped and spent a good portion of the day there. We tried to go back on our next trip in 2009, but it didn't happen - they were way too busy to even attempt it. We'll go back some day though!

(all photos taken by Adam - he has a knack for capturing great animal moments...)