28 April 2007

Aside from it being pure evil

Why I could never endure a low-carb diet:

1. European bread
2. Fresh pasta
3. Pies
4. Brownies (chased with a mug of cold milk)
5. Rice (now I know this one may seem odd, but when you grow up in Hawaii, rice is the other half of any meal, breakfast included)

So last night I made brownies. Not the innocent cocoa kind, mind you, but rather the sort with little bits of peanut-butter-chip-goodness mixed in. That kind.

I made them for the kids. Mmhmm.

And then I snuck a few. In my defense, they were small, so my few probably equalled just one (or one point five) in the world of reasonably sized brownies. Plus, I got them one at a time so each brownie would require me trekking to the kitchen and back. (See, like half the calories are expended just in the getting! Or maybe three. Three calories. If we're being honest.)

Sigh. I think this calls for a change of subject.

So the thing I love about two year olds is that they can play happily by themselves for a few minutes, but they still want to do it near you.

Such is the case with my Elle. If I migrate toward the computer or sewing machine (as I'm prone to do), she's there within thirty seconds, plunking her toys on the carpet by my feet. I know from experience that this particular habit has a shelf life of about six months, so I'm trying to be better at putting my work on pause and joining in her play.

You know, before she turns thirteen and rolls her eyes at the mere sight of me.

26 April 2007

Because every Thursday needs a dash of quirk

In high school we discovered the pithy wit of Ogden Nash. His poetry is brilliantly odd, especially the shorter rhymes.

The Cow
The cow is of bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other is milk.

The Eel
I don't mind eels
Except as meals.
And the way they feels.

Further Reflections on Parsley
Is gharsley.

The Termite
Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

Celery, raw
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.


Arrant ingenuity, I say.

25 April 2007

choses préférées

...aka "favorite things" in case you're not feeling particularly French today.

Eden on a cracker. This key lime marmalade is made in London but available in the international foods aisle of your local Meijer. How handy is that?

Pink lady apples. (Funny how something as wholesome as an apple can have a name that sounds so risque.) Sweet and tart, like pink lemonade, only fresher.

Rain drops on glass windows. I love these sort of days, the damp greyness of them, the cold that calls out sweatshirts and lounge pants and house slippers, mornings of working play-dough and puzzles with my babes.

22 April 2007

Pet peeve of the week

**(Disclaimer: I wrote this a while ago, so if you have recently posted a quiz on your blog, rest assured that this is not in direct response to you. It's just me switching my rubberband to the other wrist...)**

Internet quizzes are the bane of my existence. Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of having posted one or two (hey, it was about ice cream! who can resist ice cream!) and to be honest there are a few that are genuinely entertaining. But I simply can't be alone in recognizing that 99% of them are little more than thinly veiled flattery.

Let's say I'm having a particularly onerous Tuesday. I plop down in front of the computer, type in a few answers and voila! I am hereby entitled to announce to all of blogdom that, as I've long suspected, I am an architectural genius! I am Natalie Portman's identical twin! The Quiz has spoken, and The Quiz does not lie.


Call me warped and cynical (no really, feel free--I'd completely agree), but I'd find enormous pleasure if these people with obviously too much time and computer programming knowledge on their hands would whip up a few quizzes with honest results. (Heheh.)

For example:

Well, you're actually quite average in every way. "Safe" would be putting it nicely; we prefer the term "boring." If this disturbs you, consider seeking counseling.


You are a genius in nothing, although you are alarmingly above average in knowledge of TV sitcom side plots. Seek counseling at the next commercial.

or (hey, I'm on a roll)

You look like no model, famous actor, or anyone even remotely attractive that we can think of. On second thought, you do slightly resemble Snuffleupagus, although that could likely be remedied with a quick shave and a visit to your local counselor.

See? Scads better.

And as an added bonus, I'd be creating numerous job opportunities in the counseling profession. Just call me a genius. Or Natalie Portman's twin. Either one will do.

18 April 2007

The long-awaited photos

Last week I was getting all existential and thinking about how two different people can take the same holiday and wind up with entirely different sets of photographs...almost as if they were on two distinct trips.

Anyway, I wound up wishing I'd photographed different subjects...I feel like I had to do the expected buildings, the famous landmarks, and with my limited memory card, I missed what I would have liked to record...the people, the random details like street signs and tree branches and the warning "Mind the Gap" printed along the subway platform.

So I've decided that I shall have to go back to London. Now that I've gotten the expected photos out of the way, I'll be free to shoot pictures that feel like me. Maybe this time I'll even bring the hubby along. :)

Okay, these photos are arranged in eight different pages. Within each page, you may click on the photo to enlarge it, then scroll over the i for additional information. Click the arrow to return to the current page. To change pages, click on the arrow at the bottom.

For those of you who are my mom and want to see larger versions of the pictures, click here.

14 April 2007

Thoughts du jour (and in no particular order)

1. In London, our hotels (The Chamberlain, Sanctuary House) had this fabulous Cadbury hot chocolate...much like molten chocolate: creamy, dense, not too sweet. Quite similar to the churro-dipping chocolate in Madrid, come to think of it. Anyway, I wish a few packets had hitched a ride home with me. I've triple-checked my luggage for stowaways just in case, but no luck so far.

2. This photo was taken in my backyard several weeks ago, when it used to be spring. We have since reverted back to winter without my consent.

3. I am coveting these ivory crocheted leggings over at Free People. Unfortunately (fortunately?) nothing will come of it since they cost $38, and I do not buy $38-leg-decorations.

4. I am miserably failing at this no-complaining thing. I mean, I don't do outright complaints, but my humor and general approach to life tends to have that passive-aggressive negative thing going on...I like to call it satire and irony, but that probably all falls under the broad sweep of "complaints." Oh pish.

5. London pictures coming soon.

12 April 2007


Remember the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom last month? Well, I was the lucky door-prize winner of a handmade pin by Christelle Lachapelle.

Gorgeous, eh?

Not only do I adore the pin, I also fell in love with Christelle's vision. From the back of her pin card:

Every day, around the world, 29000 innocent and helpless children under the age of 5 die from hunger and preventable illness. 29% of the purchase price of this item will be donated to World Vision, to help children all over the world receive the food and medical attention they need to live and grow.

On top of that, at least 50% of the materials Christelle uses in her creations are either vintage or recycled. What an outstanding gal!

To find more of Christelle's handmade pins, visit her etsy shop at www.twentyninethousand.com.

Thanks, Christelle!

why I despise people who can outrun me

I was hoping for a leisurely neighborhood walk with the kiddos, until I spotted the weather report. So instead we spent the morning trying on hats, painting, dancing, and admiring the April snow fluttering just outside our windows.

On other matters...

Awhile back, the lovely Megan tagged me to accept the Quit Complaining Challenge. (I tried to dodge and run away from her, but dangitall she is fast.)

So here's the gist of it:

1. Click on Beki's blog to order a free purple Complaint Free bracelet. (Okay, for those of you that I'm about to tag who have a thing against purple or bracelets, try sticking a rubber band around your wrist.)

2. Tag at least 3 people and spread the word. Challenge them to participate.

3. Sign the Mr. Linky On Beki's Blog so we can see how far this goes!

4. The final step, and most important. STOP COMPLAINING! You put your bracelet (rubber band) on and any time you catch yourself complaining you must switch it to the opposite wrist. The goal is to go 21 days without switching it. If you switch it, your 21 days start all over again.

And now I shall tag my FIL, Rob, and Kim. You are very welcome.

10 April 2007

a lovely holiday

So I'm home. London is a gorgeous old city, stately and crowded and rich with character. I'll be busy catching up with life here, but hope to share more photos with you soon. Cheers!

04 April 2007

A Decade of Us

I wrote this a few years into our marriage, but dusted it off and edited the number at the end to share this vignette with the grand bloggisphere today because...drumroll...this month marks ten years of marriage for hubby and me. Ten. Years. Incredible, huh? Especially since I'm only like 21.

All Along

It didn't happen all at once. When I first met Todd, now my husband, he was still in his last year of high school, and I was a college girl. I didn't spare him a second glance.

But he remembered me. And when he arrived at the same campus a year later, he bragged to his friends back home about sitting across from me in history class. The way he tells it, he was drawn to me from the start. And quietly, over the months and years that followed, I came to love him back.

My first real memory of my husband is his voice, rich and ethereal, soaring effortlessly from our choir risers. I stood beside him during our Christmas concert, close enough to breathe the woodsy-sweet scent of his cologne. I didn't dare let him catch me eyeing him, but later that night in the stillness of my dorm room, my face warmed remembering the way his hair parted into flaxen curls, how tall he seemed beside me. And oh, what a voice.

The following summer, we both traveled to Spain and Portugal on a missions trip. I was dating someone else at the time, but I observed Todd enveloped in the throngs of homeless children, eroding the language barrier with a puppet and a silly voice. Their eyes danced with his, and my smile was even broader than the kids'.

I started the fall semester of my junior year miserable from a raging fever and a throat swollen with tonsillitis. Todd appeared at my apartment door with a jar of homemade soup, the glass still cloudy with steam. I later returned the jar with a note scrawled to his mom, assuming she'd made the soup. He never corrected me, but years later I discovered that it had been Todd who labored over the noodles and broth.

And he kept showing up, quietly, in my days. My college soccer team was in its formative years, which is a nice way of saying we were pathetic. But leaning on the far fence at every home game, Todd stood, silently exuding encouragement. When rain carved muddy puddles in the field and slicked the ball to uselessness, his solid figure stood outlined against the grey, drenched and unwavering.

We grew into close friends, spending hours holed in a corner of the library, poring over scattered notes and textbooks. He'd call at 2 AM to make sure I hadn't dozed off studying for an exam. And since I lacked the luxury of a car on campus, Todd drove me to the supermarket for those college essentials: cereal, frozen pizza, ice cream. He'd smile as I paced the frozen food aisle, waffling between mocha fudge and chocolate almond. When I finally picked one, only to race back and exchange it for the other, he never uttered a syllable of complaint.

Once, I concocted something vaguely resembling a stir-fry and brought it to Todd's dorm, where we pinicked on dryers in the laundry room. I winced at each bite of burnt chicken and soggy zucchini, but he consumed it all, every rice grain, and bravely, gallantly asked for more. I could have kissed him on the spot.

Our first Valentine's Day of being "us," he arrived at my appartment to exchange gifts. We fought over something so trivial the details escape me, but I remember him stalking off in silence, leaving behind his shiny package dotted with hearts. And I recall my flaming tears of frustration, the cold dread of remorse, the unraveling of my insides as I watched him disappear down the sidewalk. And then I knew.

I knew that my life was so closely woven with his that I couldn't remember who I had been before him. That I didn't know--didn't want to know--who I'd become without him. That in the middle of all the exams and groceries and zucchini, I'd fallen hard for him. And that I'd give just about anything to never see him walk away again.

My mom asked me later, "What changed, Nicki?" I had always insisted he was just a friend, nothing more.

"Everything," I told her. "And nothing." He just grew on me, rooted himself in my heart, and when I wasn't looking, wasn't paying any attention, he intertwined my life so completely that I couldn't tell where he ended and I began. And I found myself inexplicably, overwhelmingly in love with him.

We've been married ten years now. Ten wonder-filled, exhausting, exhilarating years.

So it didn't happen all at once. But sometimes the best love grows out of breathing and living and knowing someone so much that you don't want to breathe and live and know anything else. Sometimes the best love is the one that was there, quietly, all along.

To London we shall go...

...or at least I shall go. Although I promise to have some scones and clotted cream on your behalf.

I'm leaving tomorrow to spend this blessed Easter weekend in England. Upon suggestion from my sister in law Kristin, I've been practicing my practical British speech...stuff like, "All right, Guv'nor?" and "I'll give you a bell, then," and "Don't get your knickers in a wad."

I'm also imagining that if Loren is reading this right now, he is begging people to cough on him so he can develop a rapid case of the flu and avoid the categorical embarrassment of being seen in his favorite city with moi. Hmmmn. Too bad for him, I say.

So I am off! (Except I may post tomorrow before I leave.) Either way, try not to miss me too much.


01 April 2007


So I rescued a worm today.

When it rains, our church parking lot floods like nobody's business. The receding water strands hundreds of wriggling worms on the drying pavement, blindly searching for earth.

One little guy (well, he was pretty huge as far as worms go, but you know, compared to me) was squirming his way behind the rear wheel of my Odyssey.

I couldn't bear the thought of laminating him to the asphalt.

He did his panicked shrinking thing that earthworms seem to do upon human contact as I tossed him to the damp grass.

Yep. I rescued a worm today.

And I tried not to think about the several dozen I was likely steamrolling on my way out of the parking lot.