Friday, April 30, 2004

My first non-human van passenger

Late this morning, we had a large meeting at IBM's recreation center. They actually handed out "buzzword bingo" sheets so we could play during the presentation. I'd always heard of that as something to play if you're bored in a meeting, so it was pretty funny to have it as a prescribed activity. Basically, the grid was filled with words and phrases like "value-add", "partner", and "leverage". As we heard them in the presentation or read them in the slides, we circled the words. The first four people who matched the various patterns won a free cafeteria lunch. I think it definitely helped me stay awake, but it's easy to concentrate on listening for the words and not actually focus on what the presenter is talking about. After the presentation was over, we played a game that our organization played a couple of years ago. Basically, everyone sits around in a circle and one standing person asks a question, such as, "How many of you are older than 35? Butts up!" Then everyone is supposed to run to different seats. Since there are more people than chairs, one person is left standing. He or she is supposed to ask another question, and so on. It's a lot of fun, but it's potentially dangerous. At the very least, it looks as if it would be easy to twist an ankle.

Finally, we had a potluck lunch. The funny thing was that no one brought any plasticware. I guessed no one noticed that something was missing on the sign-up sheet. It was a great excuse to eat more chips than usual. Potato chips are actually excellent with good coleslaw on top of them.

EB's dog, Sable, has been sick. She took her to the vet school and found out that she had a ruptured spleen. They operated Wednesday and she was supposed to come home today. We thought she might be able to use the lift on my van, since she probably wouldn't be able to jump into EB's truck. Late this afternoon, we drove over there and picked her up. I raised up the lift with EB and Sable on it, but it freaked her out and she just walked up the step into the van. Everything seemed good and we drove to their house. Well, EB always lets her out of the back of her truck. So, as soon as we got to her house, Sable decided to leave by going out the back of my van! Unfortunately, she decided the only way to do this was go between the backseat (the "couch") and the side of the van. I forgot to mention that Sable is an Akita. She's very large and simply can't do that. She got stuck. EB opened the back doors and she was able to get out, but that can't be a good thing to do after having surgery. So, the whole idea of transporting S from the vet school to her house in the least traumatic way possible failed miserably. Maybe it was still better than her attempting to jump. Maybe.

I went back to work afterwards and was there until around 9. At least I had Neomonde food waiting for me at home.

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Yesterday, after work, we went to ACME Food & Beverage Company, to celebrate my mom's birthday. Before that, I met my parents at the new house, so I could see the latest progress. The windows were all clean, the counter tops were on, and several lights and ceiling fans had been installed. It's just looks amazing. It's also nice to be able to go there as it's getting dark and still see inside.

We had another delightful dinner at ACME. I had a small plate of fried calamari and fried green tomatoes. It was a nice combination, served with a basil and chipotle dipping sauces. For dessert, I had another strawberry and rhubarb cobbler. It was a late meal, because I didn't even leave work until 7:30.

The final activity of the day was giving my mom her birthday presents. My brother and I got her some Nikon Eagleview 8-24x25 Zoom II binoculars. I have a pair of Nikon 9x25 binoculars that my parents gave me about twenty years ago, but I'll be taking those with me when I move. I wanted to get something a little different, so I thought she might want to try the zoom. I've only looked through them in the house at night, but I was very impressed. I'm looking forward to looking at some turtles across the pond this weekend. My dad got her
a Night Owl Cyclops Compact Night Vision Scope. As far as I know, none of us have tried it out yet, but it looks very cool.

Today I went to Fowler's for lunch with JJ. It wasn't easy making up my mind as to whether I should go. It was such a beautiful day for a patio lunch, but I had way too much to do. I'm glad I made the right decision, because I had a great time, as always, and they had wonderful gazpacho today.

My mom has had an interesting week. Her driver's license expired on her birthday and she went to the DMV to get a new one. When she got her first driver's license after getting married, they shortened her name on the license, because it didn't fix in the space allotted. February 2nd, they tied their database into the social security system and they now require the names to match. They would not give her a new license unless she brought something from the Social Security office that said she was really the person with that particular number. That meant that on her birthday, she had to spend time at the Social Security office trying to get her name changed and then today my dad had to drive her back to the DMV to get a license. Obviously, this is going to be a problem for any woman who has changed her name in any way. One would think that they would be able to warn people when they mail out reminders that the license has to be renewed. I'm very thankful that my full name is only ten characters long!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Let's try this again.

I actually posted last night, but I must have closed the preview window, instead of publishing it. My cleverness never ceases to amaze me.

My post wasn't that sensational anyway. I mainly reported that the Republican National Committee seems to think I'm a Republican. I think this is a good thing, because they are wasting their money sending me propaganda. I also have the opportunity to mail heavy things in their postage-paid return envelopes. Perhaps I should endeavor to get on more conservative mailing lists.

I also complained that I have not yet received my free Kerry bumperstickers.

Today was nice because a few of us ate lunch on the patio at work. I came close, once again, to getting a sunburn. My skin just feels a little sensitive, but it doesn't look that pink or feel that hot. It was nice, warm and breezy and we just didn't feel like going back inside. Having a lot of work to do may have had just a little to do with that as well. We also saw a small black snake slithering over the concrete and into the grass.

I got home late and missed about half of American Idol. I'm sure I'll be damaged permanently. I'm just not sure whether the damage will come from missing it or from having watched it all season.

I got the Skovby catalog that I ordered! Now I can drool over pictures of my dining room table and chairs. They're a lot cheaper if I just look at them in the catalog instead of actually buying them.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Attack of the Lardons!

I apologize for depriving my faithful readers of new posts for the past few days. Friday was fairly boring, as I worked until 8, ate lunch by myself (outside) and then goofed off in a non-descript manner when I got home.

Saturday night, I got home too late to blog. I went with SH to JG and BK's wedding. In the afternoon, my dad and I drove to the Governor's Club, which is south of Chapel Hill, in Chatham County. Given my propensity for getting lost my mom argued that this was a good idea. Eventually, I relented. It was a good idea. While the directions weren't that complicated, there is a funny little jog that you have to do around the Carolina Inn and one of the roads is poorly marked. Plus, it was nice to drive through the Governor's Club "gated community" when I wasn't in a hurry. It's an incredibly ritzy neighborhood with several million dollar houses. You can interpret that sentence either way and it's accurate. One of the houses, in particular, is at the top of the highest hill and must have a spectacular view. I later learned at the reception that it cost 4 million and the buyers paid in cash. All the yards are perfectly neat and landscaped with lots of blooming azaleas. The one thing that seemed inconsistent was that the main road was poorly maintained concrete that was falling apart. It was 2 miles from the entrance to the clubhouse, so this whole place was enormous and like nothing I'd ever seen before.

Later, that evening, I met SH in the parking lot for the club house. We went inside and had plenty of time to find the appropriate ballroom. The back wall of the room was all glass, so BK and JG were married in front of a lovely view of the golf course. Afterwards, we enjoyed hors d'oeuvres. We talked to random people and one of SH's friends and her boyfriend. I also got to talk to DS, which was great, since I'd only seen him on Orkut since graduation. Afterwards, we went to a different ballroom for a sit-down dinner. We all had an absolutely delicious crab bisque. I had tuna and it was excellent. It was served with a nice selection of vegetables. It was fun being able to chat with JG and briefly talk to BK. They used to both hang out and work in the computer science labs that I lived in. I once ran into JG on the main campus and he said he practically didn't recognize me outside the Majors' Lab. It was true that I considered it to be almost like my office. SH and I sat with a lot of other people who work for IBM, one of whom I already knew, from recruiting and working as a "campus ambassador" for IBM. I really enjoyed talking to the people at our table and hope I run into them again someday.

The bouquet toss was the most violent one that I'd ever seen. It looked as if several people were knocked over and I'm hoping that none of the flower girls were injured. I was very glad that I had decided not to participate in the custom. The "winner" was the friend of SH's that I met before the meal. She was "somewhat" inebriated and very proud of her victory. Fortunately, her boyfriend seemed pleased, which is a good sign.

This morning I had brunch with JJ and JA at Fowler's. It was a beautiful day to sit on the patio and we actually remembered to sit outside this time. I had a wonderful zucchini and roasted tomato omelet with home fries and fresh fruit. The tomatoes were regular tomatoes, rather than sundried tomatoes, so I liked it quite a bit.

Not too long after I got back, my dad and I went over to the new house again. My builder had finished installing the motor for the adjustable sink, so I wanted to see it. It's very impressive and the hardware looks like good heavy duty stuff. My builder has it covered up with a sign saying "Do not touch", because he is afraid that everyone will spend lots of time playing with it before I even get a chance to move in. The paint is also looking very good. It looks as if they have just a little left to do. The dark green trim in the great room looks really nice and provides just the effect that I wanted. The tile is finished in the master bathroom and that looks perfect, too.

For dinner, my parents I went to Vin Rouge. It was only the second time I'd been there for dinner, but I've been there for brunch several times. I ordered a salad with mixed greens, poached pears, bleu cheese and walnuts. It also had lardons, which are cubes of bacon. I asked for them to leave those off, but I guess they had forgotten. So, being the second-rate vegetarian that I am, I just ate them. I also had a side order of pommes frites. Those were some of the best fries I've had lately. They were uniformly crisp and flavorful. For dessert, I had chocolate mousse, which was very chocolatey, a good choice.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Take your Kid to Work

I was just looking at the Blogger community on Orkut and someone posted a link to Evan William's blog, which had a link to Tim O'Reilly's article on Gmail. If that isn't a little indirect, I don't know what it is, but I thought it was a good article. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for my Duke alumni e-mail reflector to switch from hotmail to Gmail. It should happen late Friday night, I think.

The raccoons are making loud noises outside.

Today was Take Your Kid to Work day and there were lot of kids running around, particularly after the scheduled activities were over. I keep my office filled with toys and candy, so it's a popular destination. The day always seems a bit odd to me because IBM has lots of special programs, so the kids don't see what status meetings, conference calls and work are really like. It's probably designed to keep children from away from all the swearing programmers. GA and her daughter stopped by and gave me a beautiful yellow rose sculpture that they got at Busch Gardens. It's really gorgeous with very thin hand-painted petals.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Table the Table at the Table

I didn't want to get up this morning. With the window next to my bed open, the temperature was perfect when my alarm went off. I debated whether I should reset my alarm for an hour later. In fact, I did. ..but then a few minutes later, I thought better of it and got on up. It wasn't a particularly good decision.

At lunch, I got a cell phone call from my mom, who was at Thrifty Office Furniture looking for the Hon tables I wanted. She said they had a larger wood laminate circular table and wondered if I wanted it. I was eating with MS and TH and they were laughing at me. I thought my mom would make a good decision, so I told her to go ahead and get it. I didn't know where I would put or use a larger table, since I mainly wanted them for moving stuff, like baking sheets full of cookies, around the kitchen and great room. I also wasn't excited about buying three tables, since I've been trying to avoid spending too much money, so I can spend too much money in the future instead. In any case, MS and TH said they didn't think I wanted the table, based on the expression on my face. My mom said it would be a gift, if I liked it. It's a very nice table. I'm using this laptop on it right now. Fortunately, my dad claimed it before I got home from work.

I just got an invitation for Gmail, because I use blogspot for this blog. That's pretty exciting. I'd love to quit using hotmail, if I possibly can. If nothing else, I don't like the ads with the pictures of scantily clad women. They could at least give me ads with pictures of men instead. Hotmail knows I'm female, so that's particularly annoying. Gmail only has text ads. We'll see if I like it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Paint and Tile

I left work at a reasonable time today, to make up for last night, and went by the new house. The painting is really coming along. They seem to have green primer on the windows and trim in the great room. I don't think it's the actual color, "Country Squire", though. It might be that color just mixed with the primer. I'm hoping it's darker. Since I was worried that the color would seem too dark, this is definitely a good thing. It looks as if the wall color and ceilings in my bedroom and the guest bedroom are finished now. In the master bath, the tiles are all in the shower, except for the grout. I really like how it's looking.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Food and Furniture

Yesterday was an excellent day. First, I went over to CL and JL's house for brunch. They have a really cool new house and it was great to see it for the first time. JJ, JA and KC also came over. C and JL cooked some tasty bacon, pancakes and eggs. With a large bowl of fruit, it was a splendid breakfast. Yes, after watching JL fry the bacon, it was not possible to just skip it. Bacon is one of my favorite foods. Ok, maybe it was possible, but... I seem to be eating not swimming meat about once a month.

After brunch, CL, JL and I went to Nowell's to look at furniture. I've been wanting to pick out a dining room table and chairs. It all started because I picked out a nifty chandelier and I wanted some nice furniture to go with it. I found some beautiful cherry dining furniture made by Skovby. I'm going to wait until I move in to order, so I can figure out the best sized table to get once the rest of my furniture is in place. Nowell's is a wonderful furniture store. We've been buying Scandinavian furniture from them for as long as I can remember. It was fun looking at all their furniture with CL while JL tested the recliners.

After I got back home, my parents and I went to the Nantucket Cafe & Grill. This time, I chose my meal wisely and had my favorite crabcakes with asparagus, mashed potatoes and lemon sauce. Afterwards, I finally picked out cabinent knobs and drawer pulls! For some strange and unknown reason, that one was one of the most difficult decisions I've made so far.

Today it was nice and sunny out, so we ate outside for lunch. This time I avoided sunburn by getting out my sun umbrella before I started to get too pink.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


This afternoon, I went over to the new house to see how the painting was coming along. All the cabinets have at least one coat of paint on them. That includes the upper cabinets, which are up now, as well. They have primer on all the trim now and even painted a foot or two of the green trim in the great room. I think it's going to turn out nicely.

After holding up various paint chips against the brick, I decided for certain that "Awesome Violet" would be an excellent color for the front door. I spent more time agonizing over the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. I think I'm closer to making a decision. Maybe.

My dad and I went to see the final concert of the season in the Duke Artists' Series. We saw Ballet Hispanico perform "Nightclub". It was entertaining and the dancers were very skilled, but I've enjoyed other ballets more. For example, the Parson's Dance Company's performance of "Caught" was truly amazing, where the use of a strobe light and perfect timing made a dancer appear to levitate at different places on the stage. Several years ago, the Houston Ballet Company did an entire performance to Rolling Stones hits that was beautifully executed. A really long ago, I saw a fantastic rendition of Carmina Burana, but I can't remember who performed it. The coolest thing about that was they used lights and a huge piece of fabric to produce a very realistic looking wall of fire as their backdrop.

Tonight's "Nightclub" had three different scenes, a 20's nightclub, a 50's bar scene and a club set in 2003. All were danced to latin music, which was enjoyable, but they didn't have strong plots. Actually, the most impressive thing about it was that they were basically dancing continuously for 80 minutes without an intermission and there was one guy who was the lead in all three scenes.

Another Nice Salad

Yesterday, JJ and I decided to go out to lunch at Fowler's and enjoy the beautiful weather on their patio. The problem was, after we finished eating, we'd realized that we'd forgotten to eat outside! At least we got to enjoy the sunshine while going to and from the car. I did have a delicious lunch. I ate potato samosas and a salad with tomato wedges, thick-peeled slices of cucumber and whole mint leaves. It was well spiced and very refreshing. That's definitely my idea of a salad. Lettuce should be avoided, if possible. They forgot to make JJ's steak and cheese sandwich, but once it was pointed out, they made it for free. We were in no hurry, so that was fine and dandy. I tried a new brand of root beer, Boylan's. It was ok, but very sweet. I still think Saranac and IBC are the best I've tried.

After a long day at work, even despite the pleasant intermission, I was more in the mood for sleeping than blogging last night.

Thursday, April 15, 2004


This morning, I went over to the new house before work to see the first coat of paint on the walls. Wow! The yellow in my bedroom is extremely bright, much brighter than I expected. I actually wanted something a little brighter than the pale yellow paint chip, so that's good. Yellow has been my favorite color as long as I can remember, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it. When you first go in the room, it's shocking and then your eyes adjust. If you hold up the paint chip, it matches pretty well, so it's really interesting. The first coat was sprayed, so it will be interesting once the second coat is rolled on, the white trim is painted and the gray carpet is in the room. I've never picked out paint colors before and I probably should have taken advice to paint some blocks of wood, but I'm quite pleased.

The "Awesome Violet" in the guest room and the "Wisteria" in the guest bathroom are absolutely gorgeous. All the lower cabinets are in the kitchen now and they are awesome, too.

Feeling anxious? My mom just sent me some simulated bubblewrap.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Tangential Evil

It turned out that the problem we were having with Turbo Tax Deluxe was that Wild Tangent, which had been installed by the new version of AIM, was keeping it from starting. My dad noticed that whenever he gave up and shutdown the laptop, Turbo Tax would finally start. Well, that's because it killed the wild tangent process. If you kill wtinstaller.exe in the task manager, then Turbo Tax starts like a charm. It seems as if something in Turbo Tax's update conflicts with Wild Tangent in some way. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to get rid of it. I'm going to have to invest in some free anti-spyware software.

I just reported it as a "bug" on the Turbo Tax support page. One thing that annoys me about that site is that none of their drop down fields/combo boxes have "none of the above" as an option.

It was very cold today, at least if one were stupid enough not wear a coat. Fortunately, the mad dashes to and from the van weren't too bad. We've just been spoiled by beautiful weather in the past few weeks and I was in denial. In other seasonal news, the wisteria is going nuts this year along 147. The dogwoods are in full bloom now and the redbuds are starting to fade.

I got my key to my house today! That's yet another exciting step. I still haven't decided on drawer pulls for the master bathroom.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Awesome Salad

On Sunday, probably the most entertaining thing was watching a squirrel try sneak by my cat in order to get to the bird seed on the deck railing. It was hilarious every time he leaned over to look to see whether Shadow was really asleep or not. He'd sneak over an inch or two and then spin around indecisively. For about ten minutes, he made progress toward the seeds with anxious steps, leaning further over each time, just to get a closer look. Once he finally got to the seeds, directly above Shadow, it was remarkable that he didn't wake him up by spilling seeds on top of him. Finally, Shadow woke up, completely oblivious, and walked away from the railing. The squirrel exited quickly at warp speed.

Sunday night was a time to battle with Turbo Tax. I had already finished my taxes and my dad had even finished his, but he just needed to print them out. Well, he was have trouble printing, so he tried doing the update. Apparently, that update corrupted the installation such that it was impossible to start the application again. I chatted with Turbo Tax support and they told me that I needed to reinstall. Great. Of course, that meant that I had to deal with the "Adding necessary font files" hanging problem again. Lovely. I was excited to see that they had a new "Support Action" to fix the problem. It didn't work. It was getting harder and harder to get a straight answer out of support. Finally, they said I should reinstall in safe mode. That worked. When my dad tried again, it needed to be updated. It corrupted it again! I finally reinstalled in safe mode again and he's going to try manual update instructions. We'll see if that works. If not, it sounds as if he'll go back to using a spread sheet to redo everything. It's just such a shame. I've never had a problem with Turbo Tax before this year. I'm going to have to investigate this. Did they lay off employees this year? Have they been outsourcing? Did they change cafeteria vendors? It has to be something.

Tonight I went to the James Joyce Pub again. It started out as dinner with JJ, but then WH and BZ joined us. Finally, JA joined us, after he finished exercising. It was fun and the food was great. I ordered a Caesar salad with smoked salmon. It had a huge amount of cheese, which was so unbelievably good. My mom wanted me to pick up some fish and chips, because she had enjoyed my leftovers last time. JA arrived just before it was ready, so he took that and I ordered another batch. They give you three large pieces of fish, which is enough for two meals or two people. By far, the most exciting thing about the get together was learning that WH and BZ got engaged last week!

On the way home, one of my contacts turned inside out, lodged under my upper eyelid and started stinging like crazy. It's a good thing we have two of those. My other eye certainly came in handy.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

A Visit

Today C & JL came over to see the house. CL had seen bunches of pictures that I'd taken since the lot was first cleared, but I don't think she'd seen pictures of the sheetrock, so there was quite a bit of progress to show off. I had a lot of fun showing them around and telling them about work that was yet to be done.

Afterwards, we drove over to my parents' house so they could see FIFO, who was very excited to meet them. He loves all visitors. In fact, he gets a little too excited about them. Whenever he gets too emotional about something, he seems to be a little incontinent, but today he just dribbled a little. When he was a puppy and met JAW for the first time, he peed on his shoe quite a bit! Either way, it's embarrassing, but he means well.

Then, we ventured off into downtown Hillsborough, to go to Casa Ibarra, a Mexican restaurant. According to the menu, it's part of the El Rodeo chain, but it's quite good. I like their shrimp fajitas and a few other dishes. That's what I had tonight.

I am annoyed with Citysearch. It will never let me log in. If I say I've forgotten my password and they send me a new one, but it still says it's invalid. I wrote and complained to them and they admitted there was a problem and they were trying to fix it. Well, it's been several months now and it's still not working.

Friday, April 09, 2004

An Early Weekend

This afternoon, my boss's boss came by the office and told me I could take the rest of the day off. I'm not sure if she did this because I've been working really hard or it's a holiday. I finally ended up leaving an hour later, at 4pm and noticed that there was actually only one other person there. A lot of people worked from home today anyway.

I realized no one was home at my parents' house, so I went over to the new house. It was great wandering around by myself, taking pictures and appreciating all the recent improvements. The weather was perfect, too.

Once my parents got home, we drove to the Nantucket Cafe & Grill. The host pointed out that my parents had been there three times without me and wondered if I spent all my time out with friends. I said that sometimes I'd been working and he didn't seem too convinced, but he was probably just giving me a hard time given that he has daughters of his own who also abandon him. Their menu had changed even since my parents' last visit and it was a lot more complicated. I usually have a hard enough time making up my mind what I want to order without new entrees and combinations. I ended up ordering calimari and New England clam chowder. That was a mistake, because I needed something lighter with one or the other of those. The chowder is so rich and I'm just not used to having that much heavy cream. One thing that's very nice is that they will let you get fresh fruit with a sandwich instead of fries. I ended up eating most of my mom's fruit that came with her lobster roll.

One of the things I have to do this weekend is pick out drawer pulls and cabinet knobs. I have a catalog, but I suspect I'm going to have a hard time making a decision. Technically, I don't even need hardware, because the fronts are shaped such that you can put your fingers around the back edge. I think pulls would help greatly, however, on some of the larger drawers, especially once they are filled.

I looked at Orkut before writing this and I noticed a few links seemed useful and interesting. For those of you who are from North Carolina and have wondered about various road construction projects, you can search and see how things are going with the NC DOT Progress Report. If you've been wanting to listen to Air America Radio, but didn't want to download the proprietary Real Audio, you can download Real Alternative and be listening to Al Franken in no time.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Cabinets and Spring Beauty

Is tomorrow Friday? Thank goodness. Last night I worked until 9pm, which is a little late. I was just trying to get something working.

Yesterday morning was great, though. I went over to the new house to see my kitchen cabinets. They look fantastic! There's still some work to be done, because one of the countertops has to be lowered, which will require replacing one of the cabinets. As I mentioned in my previous post, the cabinets closest to the foyer still need to be built at their new height of 46". I'm just so pleased with everything, though. The sink cabinet in the guest bathroom has a lovely curve to the bottom. I'm going to have huge drawers in my master bath, which I can fill with tons of stuff. A few months ago, I believe I wrote about how the rooms and the house look smaller and larger depending on what stage they're in. Well, surprisingly, I think adding the kitchen cabinets actually made the great room look bigger, because there are more reference points. It's really going to be beautiful.

I stayed longer than I'd planned, talking to my builder about various things. I didn't get to work until 10:30, which means that my late night at work wasn't quite as excessive as it could have been. That didn't keep me from being really hungry when I got home either.

Today was better in that I left while it was still daylight. This time of year, I certainly prefer to commute during daylight as much as possible. This has to be the most beautiful time of the year in central North Carolina. As I'm driving to work in the morning, I can see an almost mist of green covering the hills from the leaves just beginning to come out on trees. One can see such a variety of vibrant greens this time of year. The redbud trees have been blooming with their bright orchid purple covered branches for a while, but now the dogwoods are starting to come out as well. Every year, there are few days when they both look spectacular together and that is a treat not to be missed. Both sides of the road along 70 are just covered with both trees and it's wonderful.

As I drive through Durham and on to RTP, the greens become brighter from larger leaves. Hillsborough is approximately 9 miles north-west of the Durham city limits and about 300 feet higher in altitude. That's enough for the foliage and blooms in Hillsborough to be way behind those in Durham. That also means that I can enjoy some of these things much longer than if I lived closer to work. My 20 mile drive feels just about perfect. This morning, as I was driving along 147, I even noticed a huge purple wisteria vine in full bloom! Pretty soon, that will light up my 70 route, too. Now, hopefully you can understand why it's so nice to leave work before dark.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


The good news of today was that they were working on installing my kitchen cabinets. I'll get to see them in the morning. My builder and the cabinet maker recommended that I make my "wall of cabinets" between the foyer and the kitchen a little lower, to provide a better view of my windows. I think it's a good idea, but now I'm trying to decide what height makes the most sense. It's a compromise between losing storage space and adding a view. plus a high counter top at somewhere between 42" and 48". I think the high side of that range will be the best, but I need to stare at a yard stick a little while longer.

In case you are worrying, due to my opening sentence, there was no bad news today, as long as you aren't considering international news. I even left work when it was daylight, although now that we're on daylight savings time, the sun is still up at 7pm.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Blue Corn

This morning, I slept an hour late, because I woke up at 7am and discovered that I hadn't set my alarm clock. Since my dad gets up at 7:15, it doesn't make sense to get up until 7:30, so I "re"set it. Since I had forgotten that I couldn't get through my shortcut that late in the morning and had to turn around, I didn't get in the building until almost 10. MS saw me in the lobby and told me that we had a demo at 10. I didn't even have time to take off my coat before heading to the lab. That's not the best way to start a Monday, but it didn't seem to have lasting consequences.

After work today, I met JJ and we went over to pick up some lumber at Home Depot. One of the boards was 16 feet long, so my van came in handy. The board stuck out about three feet, so he tied one of the doors shut. It worked out rather well and it was a short drive back to their new old house.

Afterwards, we went to the Blue Corn Cafe on 9th street and JA joined us. I'd never been before, so that was a treat. I had plaintain crusted mahi mahi, with pureed black beans and rice. It was rather good. The black beans were particularly good, very smooth and flavorful. I wanted to try dessert, because everything sounded good, but it just wouldn't fit.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Table, Dinner and Fame

Today was quiet and restful. My main accomplishment was finding an adjustable height table similar to the one I already have. Hon seems to have discontinued my model, but they have a line called Provisions that should do the trick. I think they will be particularly helpful in the kitchen, but I'll have to be careful to use trivets, since their laminate tops aren't very resistant to heat.

This evening, my parents and I went to ACME Food & Beverage Company again. They have crab cakes with sweet potato mashed potatoes and snow peas, so I ordered the crab cakes with French fries and grilled asparagus. They don't seem to mind when I'm difficult. If anything, I think the waiters find it amusing. I hope so. The French fries were especially crisp and the crab cakes had a delicious lemon pepper flavor. For dessert, we shared a strawberry rhubarb cobbler topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Of course, this was all accompanied by fresh rolls, of which I ate four. I seem to eat more of them each time I go, which is probably not a good thing.

Finally, not long after we got home, my mom was extremely excited to have been mentioned in someone's blog who was outside her family. If you take a look at Empire Notes, you can see that today, April 4th, at 9:45 AM, Rahul Mahajan mentioned "M.K. from North Carolina" in his blog.

At Least Monday Night is Free

This afternoon, I went to the new house. My builder has put up a lot of the base molding and window frames. I really like the way everything is looking. I was briefly worried that there wasn't enough space between the window frames in the great room for the wall sconces I've picked out, but I checked once I got back to my parents' house and there's just enough room. As always, I took several pictures.

Tonight was also a night of basketball, the first round of the final four. The ending of the Georgia Tech v.s. Oklahoma St. was just beautiful. The ending of the Duke v.s. UConn game, however, was not. Call me a sore loser, but I have a hard time believing the possibility of two ACC teams in the final was not a factor. The television industry certainly doesn't want that to happen, because there will be more viewers if there are two teams from different areas of the country. When there's that much money involved, I become very skeptical that everything is kept on the straight and narrow. The reffing was just too weird, with blatant fouls that weren't called, particularly in the final minutes. At least Duke didn't play badly, but, as Duhon said in the press conference, they should have gone inside to draw fouls more at the end, rather than making jumpshots.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Nothing and CostCo

I spent most of the day working, of course. I got home reasonably early, but that means sometime after 7pm. I had a nice portion of Kurama sushi, watched Joan of Arcadia and goofed off on the computer.

Since nothing remarkable happened to me today, I thought I would write about how I've been meaning to mention that CostCo actually seems like a pretty cool company, since they actually compensate their employees appropriately and give them benefits. Then I read another article saying that, in California, they had their employees gather signatures for a political petition, on company time. I still think positive attributes of the company outweigh the negative ones, at least when comparing it to similar companies.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

April Fool's Day

Last night, about the time I was thinking of leaving, I noticed, on the radar, that there was a nasty looking storm in my path. I ended up staying until 9:45 pm to avoid it. It actually hailed some and when I went out to the van, I saw that it had collected between my driver-side window and the side mirror. I didn't notice any on the ground or anywhere else. As I drove home, there were patches of white on the ground as I turned onto the on-ramp onto 147, from Cornwallis Rd, but that was the only evidence of severe weather that I saw.

The highlight of today was the status meeting at work. One of the people in the department announced that the code MS and I have been working on had a tremendous number problems and the schedule would have to move out two weeks. My manager looked very concerned. Since I was in on the joke, I was trying to stuff my mouth with sticky buns to keep from giggling. When she went onto another topic, our manager wanted her to go back and describe the nature of the problems. She replied that it had to do with today's date He stared at her briefly and then yelled an insult at her. It was really hilarious. I'm sure you had to be there to fully appreciate it, but believe me, the whole room was in hysterics (including our manager).