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The end of the year...
October 31, 2005

It just amazes me that tomorrow it will be November, and quickly enough, the year will be over. It seems that time, since we returned from Scotland, as been passing by hastily, the days barely announcing themselves before they're gone again.

I took some time this weekend to have fun with cooking up a lovely Creamy Chicken-Rice-Roasted-Red-Pepper soup, which unfortunately went halfly to waste. I fell asleep before putting the leftovers in the fridge, and Ben didn't do it, so it was puréed in the garbage disposal the next day and sent on its way to the water treatment plant. We ate Frenchly last night, downing 1 1/2 baguettes between us, dipping the bread in a gorgeous olive oil/balsamic vinegar concoction, and spread a cheesy artichoke dip on the open white flesh interior. It was gorgeous, and of course, I had to drink some red wine, or else it just wouldn't have been complete.

I have indeed found a baguette locally that is the closest to the coveted french bread of my memory. The Big Wood company's Organic Baguette found at the Co-Op has a lovely crunchy crust that isn't too dry with a lovely spongy interior that isn't too chewy. It certainly isn't an exact replica, but it will satiate me until I find something better.

Spices!Also in the kitchen this weekend, I introduced a new pan to my All-Clads - a large roaster that will be used for Friendsgiving turkey. It is gorgeous and sitting atop my stove-top grill, and I am running out of cupboard space quickly. I also organized my spices, after receiving the spice racks for the inside of the cupboard (less dusting of the spices = really keen). You can take a look at them on my Flickr.

Since Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving are coming up quickly, I need to start the preparations, which include getting ahold of the dude that raises happy turkeys not too far from here so he'll hold one for me, getting a brining bucket, checking on recipes for pumpkin cheesecake, and other miscellany. Also: note to self: actually get invites together for Friendsgiving. I'm sure the locals already know what's going on, but it doesn't hurt to send out a mailrific reminder.

You can expect more photos of my amazing cooking during the fall and winter, when I tend to cook and bake more. This is all making me v. v. hungry...

PS Happy All Hollow's Eve. I'm not doing anything for it this year. If interested in Halloweeny kind of stuff, look at last year's post. Erm... except the photos aren't working over there for some reason. I'll get them fixed later.

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October 26, 2005

I have herefore given up on attempting to download the first season of Desperate Housewives, and vow to never again watch trashy teevee, lest I succumb to cable and turn into a Britney-type-hag, cheetos in one hand, redbull and a cigarette in the other.

I attended a show last night, where The Decemberists rocked my socks off. It was one of the best shows I've been to in Boise, truth be telling. It all came down to the first encore offering: a cover of ELO's Mr. Blue Sky. Anyone that knows me knows that I love that song, and I almost pissed my pants when the keyboardist started playing the well-known notes. My love for The Decemberists jumped tenfold after the amazingly done cover. I suggest everyone go out and get ticktets to any one of their shows. And purchase their albums. Seriously. Go do it now.

In other music news, I almost peed myself (it was the second time in less than 24 hours!) when I checked out my iTunes today and noticed that the new Robbie Williams album had been released. The album came out on the 24th of this month in the UK, but from what I understood (and currently understand), EMI was not planning on releasing the album here at all. Therefore, I ordered the album from Amazon UK a few weeks ago. Since the album ordered is technically a birthday present, and I was just planning on ripping it after given as such, I just downloaded the songs from iTunes: disaster averted!

Speaking of Robbie (as I can totally call him by his first name like he's my BFF), I realize now that I have never written about my number-one (ichiban!) rated male singer. Even Ben is into him, which is pretty damned awesome, as Ben also listens to Rammstein. Not like I hate Rammstein or anything... but... it's Rammstein. I introduced Ben to Robbie Williams a couple of years ago after "Sing When You're Winning" came out, and Rock DJ was in heavy rotation on the computer (this was pre-iPod). My friend Sara (who will be receiving aforementioned birthday CD belatedly) introduced Robbie to me when she got back from France in 2001. I now have her to thank (besides the man himself) for the large promo wall hanging in the livingroom from Sing When You're Winning, the Robbie Williams coasters, the 3 t-shirts, the many many albums, singles and DVDs, a biography (see: reading list), and other miscellany, mostly purchased with cold hard Pound Sterling (by Ben! ^_^ ). The strangest thing is that I only tire of listening to Robbie after about a week of in-car-ipod-on-random-in-the-robbie-listedness. And at that point, I take a day off, then go back to the same rotation. So here's to you, Robbie. Thanks for being such a good singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Some day I will have to fly somewhere where you're popular to attend a proper concert (instead of just watching Albert Hall over and over again).

PS. Also burned the crap out of my hand today. But that's a whole other post.

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RIP: Fred, George, and Pending
October 17, 2005

The fish Ben and I got last weekend met his quick demise yesterday morning after killing the other 2 fish in the tank with whatever disease he brought from the pet store. George and Fred were the last of the original 5 fish I got with my fishtank - a birthday gift from my mom in 2003. Of the 5 fish, 4 of them, 2 neons and 2 blackskirts, were named by yours truly after Harry Potter characters (unwittingly); the neons were Ginny and Hermione, the blackskirts Fred and George. The 5th fish was brought into the equation a week after, and was the sole being in the tank to be named by Ben: Dubya. Both Ginny and Hermione died last year, just before and after our move, and Dubya followed just about 3 weeks ago. Dubya was a top-feeder, which spurred Fred and George to eat. Once he was gone, we knew we needed to get another top-feeder to make up for the loss of the other.

Enter Pending. Pending was a blue gourami purchased from PetCo on Sunday, October 9th in Boise, Idaho. He was a very pretty blue, and had funny little whiskers that stuck out at his sides. When he was introduced to the tank, Fred and George were skeptical, not sure if he would fit in. This proved to be his downfalll. Though he was supposed to be a nice (community, or docile) fish, he insisted on eating almost all of the food I fed them, a task only accomplished by eating and immediately digesting the food thuroughly within a couple of seconds, passing through him like a freight train. Fred and George would hover together behind the plastic plants, waiting for just a morsel to float down out of the hungry jaws of Pending, which rarely happened. I started feeding them 2-3x more than they were eating with Dubya, though I had a fear of Pending's eventual explosion.

Last Thursday, I was unable to find Fred. Since the tank is extremely small (5 gallons), the loss was suspect. I had a feeling that someone had eaten him, taking away the competition for food. On Friday after work, George lay on his side at the bottom of the tank, breating, but definitely not long for the world. It was at that time I discovered Fred, just under a plant, dead. I took them both out of the tank while Pending was hovering near the filter, hiding himself from his own shame. Though George wasn't dead yet, I flushed both he and Fred in the toilet while sobbing - it was the first time I had flushed any animal, living or dead. But being without a shovel, and not wanting to toss the loved ones in the trash, I kept my sanity by thinking of Finding Nemo, and the possibility that George, at least, might make it to the river. My annoyance and anger at Pending grew, unabated, though slightly ignored (see: church), through the next day. During the party on Saturday night, many people noticed that Pending wasn't moving much - he was floating oddly, but when one tapped on the tank, he would swim a bit, then float for a while, and so on and so on. By Sunday morning, it was all over. Pending was floating near the same water filter he had hid behind a few days before. I scooped him up and flushed him without feeling nor fanfare.

Last night, I spent 2 hours cleaning the tank and accoutrements completely in scalding water. It is now empty, a sad part of my life which will not likely be used again. Perhaps it is destined for eBay - someone needing a cheap 5-gallon starter tank can take it off of my hands, and I will only have to live with the memories of its previous habitants.

By the way, Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to Sara LASTNAME*! Since she doesn't have a real blog, as she is internetless, she'll just have to take my word for it that I have wished her a great one on the internet. Yay me.

* Last name withheld to protect the innocent. The last name, however, must be shouted.

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October 10, 2005

Dear Internet 'Friends',

I've been gone for a while. Yes, nearly a month. I still don't have my Thank You cards done, and I haven't completed the last page of my travel journal from Scotland. Things are far less hectic, and I've been spending more time uploading photos to my Flickr and labeling them than writing (like I should be). Now, more than ever, I have been trying to get myself out of a fear stage that is really starting to bother me. Ben and I have been talking a lot about moving internationally. We have been doing this for a while, but at this point, it's actually really possible, and the act of moving out of Boise is becomming a reality (albeit in another year - just enough time to plan for this type of thing). Even though I've been wanting to move ever since I came here from California, I have grown stagnant and comfortable. I have great friends (even though more and more of them are leaving as well), and I like my life here (for the most part). I'm not signing the lease of my life over to the mayor at all, nor do I want to. But I don't know how I'm going to deal with moving to a whole new place in a country in which I don't know the language, I don't have any friends currently living there, and possibly won't have a (proper) job. What in the hell am I going to do with myself? I really haven't had to make friends from scratch since high school, and the support system I have here with the Urban Tribe is insanely awesome. While I'm still close with my friends who have moved away, I am so far removed from their lives at this point that I'm not sure if they would even mind if I moved abroad - more than likely, it would just be handy for them to have a great place to stay in a foreign country. It's just a really huge decision to make, and I'm not sure if I can do that now. But I know I must.

Boise is a pit that too many people fall into and cannot get out of. The income-to-living expense ratio is rather good, and the area is pretty safe. I do, however, live on drunken alley (near the only 24-hour convenience store closest to downtown which was robbed a couple of weeks ago, and where the hobos prefer to purchase their beer-in-a-bag), and I have these new 19 year old neighbors that are driving me up the wall. Have I mentioned the 19 year old neighbors? If not, that's a whole other rant, and I shall save it for another time. I do love my apartment, though I wouldn't live here for the rest of my life, and I totally want to nest and purchase a house, but not here.

I'm just so damned conflicted and what I really need to do is pull up the old bootstraps and allow myself the openness of trying new things and having adventures. I don't need to live the sheltered life, and living abroad (most likely never to return as a resident of the US) has always been a dream. Sigh.

More interested musings will surely continue once I have my full catalogue of photos up in Flickr and I can't help but post again. Until next time...


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