Wednesday, December 31, 2003

New Year's Eve

I hope that everyone traveling to parties tonight has a safe trip. For the first time since early childhood, I'm actually going to a party and I'm very excited about that. No, you don't need to visualize an inebriated Lenore. I quit drinking at some point during my college years.

I've been uploading photos from my camera to I don't have a lot of disk space where my website is hosted, but hopefully I'll be able to move smaller versions of a few images to some appropriate places on my site. Don't hold your breath, though. I only have a few more days before I go back to work.

This is how the house looked on 12/31. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Cell phone Confusion

The main event of today was going to the AT&T wireless store to return Siemens car charger that arrived with my parents' Sony Ericsson phones. Lots of irate people were in line to be helped, so my dad and I waited for a while. I perused the model selection and quickly determined that they did not have a Handspring Treo 600. Well, quickly is probably an exaggeration, because there were lots of people standing in the way. As we had assumed, but wanted to confirm, Cingular does have a roaming agreement with AT&T, so there shouldn't be any roaming charges within the Carolinas. I like the advantage of being able to make calls practically anywhere with Sprint, but AT&T has cooler phones. We hope that the plan also includes nationwide long distance. According to the AT&T wireless website, it should be included, but the slick brochures that we picked up at the store said that it was not included. Hopefully the website was just updated more recently. It would be so nice if this were stated in the account information, rather than our having to guess.

I'm still feeling like I should consider looking into getting a new cell phone eventually. I must resist!

Lots of progress has been made on the house in the last couple of days. It's really looking good. It turns out that I'm going to have "regular"/"French" doors in the great room, as opposed to sliding ones. The low profile sliding doors weren't available. I think they will be easier to use, so this may not be a bad thing.

Movie with a Great Kitchen

I actually saw the movie, Something's Gotta Give, tonight. It didn't look as if it were sold out this time, but that's not too surprising for a Monday night around dinner time. I think that may actually be the perfect time to see a movie, because there's actually room for popcorn. I enjoyed it. The characters had some excellent lines and it was primarily set in a beautiful house in the Hamptons. The kitchen was particularly nice, with white wooden cabinets and green countertops. That's what I'm planning for my kitchen, so it's no wonder I liked it. Of course, my countertops will be formica instead of stone, but hopefully the overall effect will be slightly similar. The house had beautiful windows, too. I could say more (something) about the actual plot of the movie, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone planning to see it. It's recommended.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

House, Food and a Movie

I went over to the new house today and saw the progress that's been made. It continues to look great. Not a lot has changed over the Christmas holidays, but that's perfectly understandable. One of the most interesting things that I find about the process is how the house, which is just under 1900 square feet, seems to change size during the different stages. It's all an optical illusion and I'm thankful that people warned me about the effect before the building started. When only the foundation was finished, it all looked very small. When I drove up to the house when just a few of the walls were up, it looked small, but when I got out of the van and looked around, it looked like a decent size. Now it's looking huge and individual rooms feel different from how I expected. My studio, for example, looked on the floor plan as if it would be long and narrow, but it's actually nicely proportioned. The nine foot ceilings probably help with that.

I only had a few minutes to take a few pictures and then I headed off to see a movie with a friend of mine. We wanted to see Something's Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Once we finally got a parking space, the movie had sold out. From what I noticed, it was the only movie that sold out. We decided to just eat dinner and call it a day. We should have better luck tomorrow, since we bought tickets while we were there.

One of the advantages of being at a shopping center, like Southpoint in Durham, is that restaurants seem to be open all day long. It was around 3:45pm and Big Bowl was roughly half full and filled up by the end of our meal. If I remember correctly, Big Bowl proclaims to have Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. I'd been there once for lunch before and I had the Crispy Orange Peel Shrimp, which were excellent. Despite the fact that I wanted to try most of what was on the menu, I decided to have that again, because I'd liked it so much. We also split a combo order of potstickers, with three chicken and three vegetable dumplings. It came with three sauces, a duck sauce, the standard soy ginger sauce and a creamy sesame. I thought all were excellent, but I was surprised how much I liked the sweet duck sauce. I was also surprised at how good the vegetable potstickers were. I'd heard friends recommend them before, but this was the first time that I'd ever tried them.

Of course, the shrimp were nicely crisp and tangy, just as they had been before. I also had a glass of their ginger soda, which was very good. It tastes strongly of real ginger and lime juice, a lovely combination. Before, I had tried their iced hibiscus tea, which is basically red zinger. While I enjoyed it, it's not nearly as good as the iced red zinger that Pyewacket used to make,because Big Bowl added the sugar to the boiling water, just as you would make regular southern sweet tea. After some experimentation a few years back, I determined that you have to make the tea and chill it so it doesn't get diluted by the ice. Then you add the sugar afterwards. Red zinger is acidic enough such that the sugar (Sugar in the Raw is best) will dissolve, with stirring, when it's cold.

Not long after I got home, my parents and I took one more step forward toward joining the 21st century or even the previous one. We ordered our first pay per view movie! Direct TV was offering a coupon for one free movie a month, December through February. We saw Anger Management. I thought it was pretty funny and it was the first Adam Sandler movie I'd ever seen. I was pleased with how easy it was to pick out a movie. It certainly beats forgetting to take a movie back to the video store!

This was the view from the garage entrance on 12/28. Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Uneventful, but Filling

We (my parents and I) went out to the Nantucket Cafe and Grill tonight. We probably go there more frequently than anywhere else, even though it's 17 miles from our house. As some people reading this (ok, I only know of one person reading this) know, my true desired occupation of choice is that of a restaurant critic. I love going out to eat although I'm not as eager as I used to be, especially after coming home from a long day at work. Since I'm still on vacation, I was more than eager to go. Nantucket is a rather casual place with a light nautical theme. There aren't any preserved fish hanging on the walls, but it is vaguely reminiscent of a restaurant you might find near the shore. In fact, the owners originally had a restaurant in the Boston area. I had a combo with fried clams and shrimp, which is accompanied by fries and cole slaw. The fries were rather crispy tonight, which was a treat. Now, I've only had fried clams at one other eating establishment, one of the IBM cafeterias. Needless to say, they are much better at the Nantucket. Regardless of whether they are fried or are in their rich clam chowder, their clams have no resemblance to the erasers that one normally associates with the word.

One of the features of the Nantucket that I like best is their sample cake. They always have a sheetcake available, cut into approximately 1 1/2" cubes. It's just right if you feel like eating something sweet after your meal, but you don't feel like bursting afterwards. I've never been that crazy about white sheetcake, but their sample cake is really quite good. In fact, I've only been tempted to order a full dessert once, in the gazillion times we 've been there since we discovered them.
Part of this is due to their gigantic portions.

For those of you who don't live in the Triangle area in North Carolina, I have a bit of angst to share. I have been trying to come up with a decent title for this blog. "Lenore's Blog" and "Lenore Ramm" are way too boring. I thought of using "Flying Spuds From Space", but this was rejected by one reader, because I used it in my early teenage years. "Grilled Eggplant" was also nixed. Perhaps "Eclectic Glob of Tangential Verbosity"? That's it!

Friday, December 26, 2003

Uneventful but Productive

Wow! It's getting late. While I don't know why I feel the need to write some nonsensical lines, but I certainly do. I spent almost the entire day updating my website. This may not seem like much, but I've been meaning to update it since 1999 or 2000. The problem is that, in the past, I've only felt like updating it while studying for exams. I haven't had any exams since I graduated from Duke and since then my website has been sorely neglected. Now that we have DSL at home and it's actually practical to update it in my spare time, my interest has been renewed. I also added some counters from and found that 2 or 3 people a day are actually looking at it! That's probably unusually low since it's so close to Christmas, too.

I am convinced that the fattest opossum on earth is eating birdseed on our deck rail.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Christmas Day

Today's Christmas day lived up to our family tradition as a somewhat anticlimactic day to enjoy our presents and company. Unlike most American families, the anticipation of how people will react to their gifts and of what one might receive is already gone. Needless to say, it is not necessary to wake up early! It's perfect for night owls, like me, who like to sleep late. The day does call for a splendid meal, so my mother made her fantastic fried chicken, biscuits, asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Other than that, I completely revamped my website. It still looks the same. It says almost the same stuff. ..but now most of the links should actually work and the text is a lot more accurate. There are a couple of new links here and there. What would a personal website really be without a link to one's favorite comic strip?

My brother, Karl, and I gave our parents cell phones for Christmas. My phone is starting to seem ancient, but I'm really not in the mood to spend a lot of money right now, because I've been saving up for things for my new house. Granted, a lot of the cool new phones are free, but that still involves making a decision. Would I want a Handspring Treo 600 or something nice and tiny? If I change carriers, I want one that will work everywhere, of course. I'll probably just keep my phone, for now...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve

In my last post, I neglected to mention that I would like to wish that everyone has a Merry Christmas!
My family is somewhat unusual in that we celebrate Christmas on the night of the 24th, a German tradition. Under normal conditions, we would decorate the tree on the day of the 24th and then light the tree's candles in the evening and unwrap presents while the Bach Christmas Oratorio is playing on a stereo, boom box or computer. Since we have a dog, FIFO, that considers everything that falls in the floor to be his, we have been putting our tree outside on the deck. This year, my dad actually put the lights on yesterday! On the 23rd! They weren't turned on, so I suppose that is acceptable. Since my brother is visiting for fewer than 2 days, he didn't want to decorate while he was here.

The Beginning

Today I am going to start another blog, the second one in 24 hours. Hopefully this will be the semi-permanent home of my blog. I figure once I have a machine to host it on, I *might* at least move it there.

I can't promise that this will be either exciting or interesting, but hopefully people who wander here from my website will discover that I am, indeed, still alive. While I am terrible at responding to e-mail, perhaps I can keep people (someone?) updated more effectively than I have in the past. Really, the best way to communicate with me is through instant messaging, but some people just don't do that.