Thursday, December 31, 2009

It was a very good year

2009 was a busy, eventful and life-changing year over here at chez sula. For starters, the location of "chez" (which literally means at the home of). It was one year ago today that DH and I finished moving all our stuff from the house I was sharing with messy college students into a cozy, historic apartment smack in the old town. We rang in the new year by spending our first night here. And how lovely it has been. Not just to have one's own place, but the location, the architecture, the windows and sunlight, everything. A great way to start 2009.

In April, I led a group of students, faculty and staff from our university on a one-week trip to Mali. Not only was it a great experience to be able to share the country I love with others, but I also got to re-connect with friends back there and visit DH's family. AND get back to speed on my language skillz (which apparently may go dormant but are not lost...happily).

The first half of the year also saw both DH and I busily working on our respective degree programs. It's important to note that in DH's country, there is only one university. When he attended classes there back in the early part of the 2000s, a series of strikes resulted in the entire academic year being canceled. So he ended up working and doing other things and wasn't able to go back and finish his degree. When we got the chance to come to the States and study, it was an unforeseen opportunity. He slogged through three years of classes in not his second, but his THIRD language, was often the oldest student in his courses, and worked a part-time on-campus job to boot. So when he walked across the stage at commencement in May and received his bachelor's degree (the first person in his family to do so) I was bursting-at-the-seams-proud. :)

Right after graduation, there was another trip out of the country for me...I was in Taiwan for about 10 days for my work. It was special in that I got to spend time with a colleague and friend who is from there and being with her gave me lots of insider scoops that I wouldn't have had otherwise. (Did I mention the all-u-can-eat sushi bar for under $10????) heh. But I missed my fiance and it was nice to come home again.

After two long years of part-time evening classes with no breaks for summer, I too got a chance to walk across the stage in August and receive my MBA. (Come to think of it, I guess I'm the first person in my family to get a graduate degree.) It was nice to finish the program, and I barely had time to catch my breath before my 30th birthday. Yet another mile-stone of sorts. heh.

Then it was full speed ahead to the biggest milestone of our lives...our wedding! Thankfully, I had a couple of very talented and giving friends who basically planned, coordinated, decorated and shepherded me through the whole process. The ceremony was held in the backyard of our good friends. The mountains and fields served as a cathedral unmatched in beauty. With a classic English garden at on end, guests were seated in four sections creating a circle which surrounded the ceremony site. Our families began the processional and walked in pairs to their seats in front of the garden. To the strains of a single violin, the wedding party processed through the garden paths and met one another in the center of the ceremony circle. During a moving interfaith ceremony led by our two ministers (husband and wife), we took our vows and exchanged rings. A djembe drum ensemble led the celebration as we left the circle as husband and wife.

Our reception was held under the trees in an open buffet style. Among the dishes served were roast lamb, plantains and a special African rice dish. After toasts by the best man and matron of honor, we enjoyed musical selections by a small gamelan orchestra, an instrument native to Indonesia (my childhood home). We cut the cake and then had our first dance to a song by a musician from DH's home country. Guests joined in the dance and much fun and laughter was had. Before the sun set, we changed into our best traditional African clothing and finished the evening by spending time talking with our friends and family.

As if that weren't enough for an eventful 2009, DH found a great job (in this economy no less) and started work shortly after our wedding. I began taking Spanish classes and applied to another graduate program for spring (hey, gotta keep busy). Then last week, we traveled down to Louisiana to spend Christmas with my parents and meet my mom's side of the family. I hadn't seen my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. since it was quite fun to catch up with everyone and to introduce DH.

whew! Now that I look back on all that, I can sort of see why my blog has fallen by the wayside. Hopefully next year I can get back to reading more books and writing more entries. So that was 2009. This is a year I don't think I'll ever forget. Now onward to 2010!

Happy New Year to everyone who takes the time to stop by this little corner of the interwebs. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

all snowed up

Didja hear about that blizzard that blanketed the east coast/mid atlantic this weekend? Well, we managed to get smack in the middle of it. Snow began to fall around 9pm Friday night. By Saturday morning, we were under almost a foot and it continued to come down steadily until nightfall. All told, I think we ended up buried under almost two feet of the stuff. Very pretty. But a total mess to clean up. ack!

In other news, I made a batch of lisabea's famous buckeyes to be part of a party spread, and they were a big hit. nom nom nom. And now I'm going to go eat one of the leftover ones because it feels lonely. heh.

And then I'm off to knit whilst curled up in the armchair. It's that kind of day. I hope you are all safe and warm!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I've always liked to cook. Ever since my first lesson at age 6 when my dad taught me how to make scrambled eggs, I've been invigorated by the mystery of cuisine. When we lived in the jungle village of my childhood, there were no stores. No roads or cars (or even bikes). Everything we ate either came from the earth or was flown in on a supply run once every few months. So my coming of age included making everything from scratch. Including bread. Yummy delicious, warm fresh bread. mmmm. I fell out of the habit when I lived in my shared housing situation of the past few years, but now that DH and I have our own place, I find that I'm curious about picking back up and perfecting my craft. Besides, it gives me something productive to do now that my MBA classes are over.

Here is a French country loaf I made on Sunday to bring to a luncheon. It turned out pretty, but I need to work on the dough because it was fine-grained and more suited to sandwiches. Needs more of those big air holes and crusty goodness. Still...

The other day I decided to be more creative with my left-over pumpkin puree from T-day, so I found this recipe for a Ginger Pumpkin Braid and gave it a whirl. Let me just say, it was a huge hit when I brought a loaf to work yesterday. And I think I have an idea of what to make as Christmas gifts for people this year. heh.

So that's what I've been doing with my spare time. That and reading an AWESOME book which I hope to post about later this week. Cheers and greetings to all and happy hump day!

Monday, November 30, 2009


So long, farewell, dear holiday week of relaxation and fun. It was nice to know you. heh.

We had a great time here at chez sula. DH's cousin flew in on Tuesday afternoon to spend T-day with us. He is the only member of DH's family who was able to come to our wedding, and it was great to see him again. Since he lives in the States and not in Africa, he's able to come over here from time to time. We celebrated DH's birthday that evening with homemade pizza and homemade cheesecake (thank you KitchenAid stand mixer!). I decided it was high time we had a GPS unit, so that's what I gave DH as a present. Big success. oh yes, good decision on my part. He loves it. (and so do I, heh).

We spent T-day dinner down the street at a friend's house. I brought some of the food items, she supplied the turkey and other dishes. Some other students from DH's home country also came as well as the mother of one of them (she's visiting this week). So we had a roomful of Africans and a couple Americans and much food and fun was had by all.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we grooved to Michael Jackson tunes and attempted the gingersnap pumpkin pecan pie that I had made (note to self, tinker with pumpkin filling a bit next time around...did not set up well.)

While this all seems like a good time, it got even better the next day. No, we didn't brave the Black Friday hordes. We celebrated Tabaski (otherwise known as Eid Al Adha), the biggest Muslim holiday of the year in DH's country...essentially equivalent in importance as Christmas is here. Back in Africa, one would have purchased a sheep a few weeks ago and kept it in the courtyard to feed and fatten. On the big day, it will be sacrificed and loads of roast meat will be given to the poor and of course, eaten by everyone in the family. Then people visit their friends and family and wish them well, giving them lots of blessings and benedictions for the year to come. Basically, the point is to eat a lot of roast meat and hang out with friends. Which is exactly what we did. Not that we got to kill our own sheep, but we did buy a load of lamb chops and ten pounds of beef from Costco. After marinating and grilling, we gathered and partied African style for several hours. Everyone was speaking Bambara (DH's native language) with some French and a bit of English here and there to help out our Sierra Leonnian friend who is was like being back in Africa. Good times! :)

Saturday morning saw us up at 5am to bring DH's cousin back to the airport. Our new GPS system proved it's worth as we used it to find another location in the Northern VA/DC metro area after dropping him off. I could get used to this little thing! It was nice to have a weekend to recover from the holidays. I actually don't feel too bad about going back to work this morning. Rather, I feel pretty refreshed and ready to hit it full steam to push through till Christmas.

Hope everyone had an equally festive week and best wishes to you all. In Malian style, here are some Tabaski blessings to send you out...

Aw sambe sambe!
Fa tigiala!
Ba tigiala!
Denw tigiala!
Ala ka san were yiran na!

Friday, October 30, 2009

fabulous friday fail

fashun! we can haz it!

(sorry for the post and run, but this picture cracked me up and I just had to share). Remember the 80s!!!!! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what i'm reading

I received this book in the mail after sitting on the paperbackswap waitlist for several months. And then I had a houseguest all last week, so it basically sat on my bedside table waiting to be opened. But now I've started it, and I'm happy to say, it's been worth the wait. So far I am loving the writing style of Ms. Duran. I feel like I'm getting to know these two rather dysfunctional people but i'm being shown, not told. I don't like being hit over the head with two much exposition; give me dialogue and character's interacting and I'll figure it out. So this is really working for me. yay books!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The other night I was feeling very nautical, what with a week full of grey and rainy days. So I rummaged around and pulled out our copy of Master and Commander. I'd forgotten how thoroughly enjoyable a good sea yarn can be, not to mention how curiously attractive Mr. Russell Crowe can be in the right role. It made me long for a good shipboard romance, so I pulled out a Marsha Canham novel. Why isn't she still writing? *sniff*

Anyways, here's to those rousing adventures of derringdo on the high seas. I like to imagine myself participating in a leading role...and then I remember that I get seasick in a bathtub and my likelihood of being Keira Knightly to Johnny Depp's Cap'n Jack is low indeed. ah well.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I don't have any good excuses for my pitiful lack of blog material this past month. Settling in to married life, I suppose. More likely just plain lazy. After all the craziness of this past year, finishing the MBA, planning the wedding, etc. I think I'm just burnt out. I'm too scared to even look at my Google Reader list of unread posts. sob! I want to catch up but don't know where to start. Hopefully, all my virtual internet frendz will still want to play with me. I promise to get back into my mojo/groove...sometime...soon...

I have been reading though! I picked up three Jeanine Frost books from my library and devoured them all in a weekend. nom nom nom! I officially heart Bones (although s'rsly what kind of a name for a hero is that?) Apparently there is a fourth book out already. I wonder if my library has ordered it yet? hmm.

In other book news, I just received my copy of Meredith Duran's Bound by Your Touch. It may have taken me months of sitting in line on PBS, but to those who are patient, good things come. :) I am looking forward to curling up in our new rocker-recliner (one of those newlywed purchases) and savoring this book. Preferably with a glass of hot cocoa. Or wine. heh.

So what's new in bloglandia? Catch me up to speed and save me from my google reader! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

rockin' the dress

Did I mention how much I loved my dress? hehehe. I felt like a frickin' princess from a romance novel in that thing. Such fun. *g* I want to pull it back out of the closet and swan around the house in it. lol.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009


:) More to come....

(it was a fantastic day)

Friday, September 11, 2009

tomorrow is it

well, tomorrow is the big day. i think i'm ready, despite being super-tired from waking up in the middle of every night this week and not being able to fall back asleep. ugh.

I hope that the shaky weather situation will hold on and give us just one nice day without rain. pleeeeease!!! heh.

um, otherwise it is all just run here, run there. got my fake nails (they look fab), waxed my bushy brows for the first time evah (wow, they look neat), have hair and makeup appointments for tomorrow... Let's rock and roll. I think I am ready.

thanks to everyone who stops by this blog and has put up with my non-book meandering posts. lol. we should be back to normal pretty soon. see you all on the flipside!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Oh yes, my pretties! I am the proud owner of a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. mwahaha. And to inaugurate it, last night I made a cheesecake. It is sitting lovely-ly in my fridge waiting for our dinner guests to come and partake.

And here is another awesome gift. An area rug! Really makes our living room feel more homey. Sometimes we sit on it to watch TV. heh.

Five more days to the wedding. At this point it is all about last minute stuff and a lot of it has to do with person, my beauty needs, etc. So funny. I am going to get acrylic nails, waxed eyebrows, a pedicure. Makeup. lol.

My parents arrive tomorrow night. Now we are just watching the weather forecast for Saturday. Fingers crossed. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It's kind of fun being a bride. People throw parties for you and give you presents and all kinds of things. heh. So yesterday evening was my shower. My cousin and maid-o-honor planned it and we had it at the gorgeous spacious home of our celebrants. (How cool is this, our celebrants are a husband and wife both of whom are ordained ministers and super ecuminical, they are both going to do the ceremony, tag team). Anyways, the wee party was just lovely. We had wine and cheeses, specialty breads, crackers, fruit, brie en croute, yum yum yum.

Out on the patio overlooking the valley, sun setting, good conversation, laughs with friends. It was an excellent evening. Oh and I got my Kitchenaid stand-up mixer, so my life is pretty much complete now. lol. Other gifts include many assorted kitchen tools (which I lurve cuz I like to cook) and gift cards to places like TJ Maxx and (heh) Victoria's Secret.

And now I gotta run because I scheduled my dental cleaning visit for this week (smart, yes?)

Monday, August 31, 2009

tick tock

So my newly minted 30-year-old self is now ready to get all primped and prettified for this here upcoming wedding. I got my hair trimmed for the first time in over a year and colored with something other than clairol out of the box. Figured doing it two weeks before the big day would give me a chance to get used to any changes. I have an appointment to go in and do a trial run of my hair style later this week.

I'm hoping someone can give me some sage advice about tanning salons. I don't go to them, but it appears I am going to have to. My dress is a lovely sleeveless thing, but I never go sleeveless in real life, so I have a nifty triangle shaped tan from my neck to my chest and farmer tan from my upper arms down. ack! (my helpful fiance notes with glee that HE doesn't have such problems...pffft, yeah because his skin is all one lovely shade of luscious chocolate. yum. um, where was I....?) Anyways, I plan to drop in at a tanning place nearby and get started on evening my shade out.

My poor chewed up nails are going to have to be covered with those ghastly press-on thingies. Why oh why did I not shake that nail-biting habit???? Oh well, too late now. I would say just screw it but apparently my hands (with rings) may figure prominently in the photography. bah. Open toed shoes mean a pedicure is also in order. I wonder if the hair salon person can do that for me.

All these little details, but I guess they are sorta important. At least I have the next two weeks to get them done. Then again, between my slamming work schedule, my three-times-a-week Spanish class (you didn't think that just because I finished that MBA, I was gonna take a break from school now?), cooking all our meals from scratch, and finalizing all the little last-minute wedding stuff (make ipod playlist, choose vows and ceremony structure, call caterer to verify tablecloth numbers, etc.)....wahhhh!

Ok, whining is done. Does anyone have any songs they want to suggest for my reception playlist? I had to fire the band, so it looks like ipod to the rescue. :)

Btw, amidst all this silliness, I still carve out time for reading. Cuz you just can't live without your books, dammit! Check out the lovely one I found at the library this weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

iz 30 today

wow, it seems like a long time since I had this photo taken. Here's to another decade on this planet, more adventures and more memories. :)

(and moar buks!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

t minus 30

some random thoughts on this friday morning. We're down to less than 30 days before W-day. I feel like I should be either more stressed or more organized than I actually am. But so far, everything seems to be going alright. We have a location, tables and chairs, food, ministers (husband and wife team), rental tuxes ordered, my dress in the closet, shoes (woot!) and the flowers are going to be a last minute thing. Still gotta do something about the cake (I'm thinking Costco). And I have a friend who is totally artistic and has done about 10 weddings serving as my de facto wedding planner. So is it ok not to panic? yet.

One thing that I have turned my attention to is the hair situation. I have rather curly hair and it's natural. I'm not interested in straightening it and doing anything uber-elaborate. But I also don't want it to just look blah and normal. So I have a hairstylist that I've met with once to play around with it and we're going to have another consultation soon (reminds me, I need to call her). I have spent some time combing teh interwebs for photos of inspiration. Lemme tell you, finding good styles of naturally curly hair is not as easy as I thought.

So this is a bit like what my hair looks like on a normal day (except that I don't pile it on the top of my head like that.

I kind of like this (except for the fluffy veil) but the flowers are a little big. Also, it's more wavy and not curly.

Really like the front of this one but I don't plan on a full up-do. Probably I will see if the stylist can take the part I like and marry it with the following.

Everything from the flowers back looks good. Not so much the bangs.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

I'm not really a fussy girly-girl kind of person. My idea of fixing my hair is wash, scrunch with mousse to keep the curls defined, airdry and go. So I'm trying to get hip with the bobbypin. But it is still a foreign language to me.

oh yeah, and I graduate tomorrow at 10am! Then we are going camping for the night with some friends. DFs first camping trip. Wish us luck. lol.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ten dollars

When I got home last night from work, I grabbed the mail that had arrived and found two envelopes. Both were cards from my grandparents (father's side). One to DF and I for our wedding and one to me for my birthday.

My grandparents are simple, salt of the earth folks. Grandma is the daughter of Italian immigrants, raised in a series of foster homes and married young to get away from it all. Grandpa signed up for the Army at 18 and caught the very tail-end of World War 2 before coming back to settle down with Grammy. He worked in a factory job for his adult life before being laid off right before his retirement would kick in. Grandma raised 5 kids including a youngest son that was born with birth defects that meant he spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals having surgery. If it weren't for the Shriners, my uncle probably would not be able to walk.

My memories of my grandparents come mainly from letters and pictures and from my dad's stories. My family lived across the planet and didn't get to visit more than for a week or so every four or five years. I remember Grandma's homemade spaghetti and meatballs (took all day to cook and made the house smell divine) and grandpa's proclivity to take out his dentures and make funny faces at us. Grandma had a job at Sears to bring in extra income and in his later years (post lay-off) Grandpa worked as a janitor to make ends meet. Now they are both in an assisted living apartment, working days finished due to the onset of old age and illness. I keep telling myself that I will drive the 10 or 12 hours up to see them, but life always gets in the way.

Ever since I can remember, right around my birthday I have received a card with a ten-dollar bill carefully taped inside. Each and every year. In Indonesia, in Mali. Even now as an adult, long after the time when I would anticipate getting anything birthday related, the cards arrive like clockwork. I know that ten dollars for each of their ten grandchildren is a sacrifice and I almost wish I could send it back and say, no need this money more than I. But I am their granddaughter and this is their gift to me.

Today I have ten dollars to spend on myself. And I'm infinitely richer because of the love of my family.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Shopping yesterday for wedding accoutrements...I was not able to find a bra-pushup-corset thingy, but I did run across some shoes that might work. I wanted some ballet flats but it is impossible to find any that are simple and white and have a teeny heel (very long dress in the back, could use a little heel action). Since the ceremony and reception are all outdoors, I can't have any serious pointy heels (or I will make holes all around the yard) but I think this might be ok. My dress is champagne colored so bright white is a no-no...these are kinda shimmery and the color is called "bone". Thoughts? For $20 I might just get them anyways. lol.

34 days!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

my fav things


I took my last final exam in my last class to complete my MBA degree. woot! As readers of this blog will's been a slog - 2 courses each semester, 3 semesters a year (no summers off) but it feels great to be done. :) I will walk in our summer graduation ceremony and am quite looking forward to balancing that mortarboard on my head.

DF and I were housesitting for our friends at whose house/backyard we will be having our wedding. It's out in the country, wide open fields and mountains in the distance as well as a gated English garden. The great news is that I was able to get some of my artistic helpful friends to come over and we planned out where the ceremony will take place, the reception, etc. I am feeling much better about the status of the whole event. Mainly because I have such awesome talented friends. Thank gawd they have cute ideas and can decorate cuz I surely cannot.

On the reading front, I plowed through a couple of books from the library. One was so awful it was a DNF, Kat Martin - Heart of Honor. But the other two were delightful and easy to zip through in an afternoon. Jacquie D'Alessandro's Love and the Single Heiress reminded me why I continue to pick up books with her name on them (even when I have been burned before). She's hit or miss with me, but when it's a hit, it's quite good. And of course Julia Quinn is always a safe bet for an enjoyable read. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheaver was a lovely little book with a successful childhood crush turned adult romance storyline. Nice.

Now I'm hitting my own shelves for some re-read material before I get to the library. Currently, I'm working my way through the Elizabeth Hoyt Prince books. The Leopard Prince is on my table at the moment. I'd forgotten how funny it was. I just hope the heroine doesn't annoy me as much this time around (I recall her pulling some serious TSTL action near the end).

And now, I am to share seven favorite things. Super Librarian Wendy awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger award, and I think I'm supposed to come up with seven more people to bequeath. Thing is, I am so late on this, I bet all the bloggers I know have already done it. lol.

Anyways, here are some fav things.

1. U2. Love them, every album they have done, every b-side and outtake, every passionate save-the-world speech that Bono gives. Did I mention that I have flown to places and camped out in parking lots just to be up close at the concerts? um, yes. And I joined the Peace Corps and worked in Africa as a tangental result of having my conscience spurred by them. Who says music doesn't change things?

2. Reading a deliciously good book. Well, duh. Reading is the one constant in my life and I can barely remember a time in my life when I wasn't curled up in a book. Finding a real keeper, a book that keeps you glued to your seat turning the pages, staying up till 3am to finish...that's the stuff I keep coming back for.

3. Travel. I was lucky in that my parents choice of work had us trotting around the world from the time I was 3. My own wanderings as an adult have brought me to several more continents. And now for my job, I get to jet off to places on official business from time to time. As exhausting as it is, I do love it. Getting on planes and stepping off in totally different, new, exotic places is a thrill. You never really know what to expect. So far I have visited more than 30 countries and I intend to keep adding to my list.

4. Coffee. Gotta have it in the morning to start my day off right. I guzzle down my first cup like it's a tall glass of water. The second one is enjoyed more slowly.

5. Cooking. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes, planning menus, etc. DF and I really don't eat out anymore. Not only do we save money, but we can eat healthily. Of course, I don't know if the hand-made pizza I baked last night counts as healthy....but it was good.

6. Lazy rainy (snowy) days. You know, the kind when you just curl up on the couch or in bed with a good book or a good movie (north and south! pride and prejudice!) Then there is a baking project (cookies!) and maybe some hot chocolate or a big simmering pot of soup. mmm.

7. My fiance's scent. Ok, I know that sounds kinda weird, but really. No matter what he wears cologne-wise or even if he's been outdoors or working out, when I hug him or cuddle up to his neck, he smells fantastic to me. Makes me feel all cozy.

Since I'm too lazy to hit all my favorite blogs and see if anyone hasn't yet done this list, I will just open it up to everyone. Share some fav things if you want. Or don't. Or whatever. :) The floor is yours.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've been watching So You Think You Can Dance since season 2. Lots of great moments, performances and choreography. Unfortunately, the viewer voting tends to reward personality over actual dance talent. And sometimes those who get voted for have neither personality OR talent. And at the moment, I am SO effing pissed off at the idiot teeny-bopper voters. Seriously? Evan and Kayla should have been voted off ages ago. And now the actually TALENTED dancers like Jeannette and Jason get cut? Whatever. All I can say is if either one of those hacks wins the whole thing, I am so done with the show. gahhhh.

/end rant

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

moving on...

once again, blog suffers from neglect. it's like a disease. sad really.

So the wedding plans are progressing. We spent tonight hand writing addresses and checking names off lists. I think we've got our food plans and table and chairs plans down. Still working on flowers and cake (looking more and more like Costco). Oh, and we bought wedding bands for both of us from a pawn shop. woot!

Work has been crazy busy this week, but sometimes that's a good thing. Keeps me focused I think when I have so many things to do with tight deadlines. We're nearing the end of our cycle and my numbers are up this year. Thinking about asking for a promotion. Even if no raise is possible due to the economy, I would settle for a better title. Gotta think about the resume. ;)

One reason I think I ought to ask for this is because in less than a month I will be receiving my Master of Business Administration degree. That oughta count for something, right? Yes, after two long years of evening and weekend classes and homework to come home to after work, I have three more class sessions to go. Graduation is mid-August. I'm feeling pretty happy. And ready to take more classes...maybe Spanish? heh.

I have a book to read. Yay library! So far this is intriguing. I wish I had read the previous books more recently because I get the feeling there is some tie-in with the characters, but oh well.

RWA is happening over in DC, which is not too far from me. I'd like to drive over to hang with the cool kids on Saturday but we'll have to see. So much to do, so little time.

final note: DF had his first viewing of that totally classic film, "The Sound of Music" and he loved it. Now we are singing the Do-Re-Mi song and others. So funny. He'd never seen it before.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

rest in peace, MJ

I hope he finds peace at last. A troubled, brilliant artist whom we'll never completely understand and certainly never forget.

Monday, June 22, 2009

insert clever title here

Well, another weekend has come and gone. How they manage to do that so quickly...I'll never know. lol.

Good news! I was able to get my two bridesmaids together at one place at one time and we shopped for dresses. After trying on a bunch, we quickly decided on a style that flattered them both and in the color palette I'm going for (burgundy and chocolate and no it's not the color of the photo), ordered dresses, paid for dresses, dresses will be delivered to their doorsteps within about a month. hooray. Check another thing off the wedding to-do list. Unfortunately, that list just seems to get longer as more things that I ought to be doing crop up. le sigh.

DF and I finally got back to Target to use the little zapper thingy and choose stuff for a registry. It was kind of weird to be going around picking stuff we would like people to buy for us, but after a while it become kind of fun. We tried to keep it reasonable and practical and not extravagant. And s'rsly, it's TARGET, not frackin' Crate and Barrel or anything. lol.

I'm trying to read this book at the moment. Picked it up at the library because I had enjoyed some of the previous entries in this series. But now I'm wondering if my memory played a trick on me. There's lots of mental lusting and "oh I should not be attracted to this lower class dude" (on the heroine's part) and "oh I am so beneath this upper-class chick" (on the bow street runner hero's part) that I am fast becoming weary. But every night I pick it up and read a few chapters before bed. I have a hard time giving up on books.

I did enjoy Lover Ahvenged although it contained far too little of the central romance plot for my taste. Not that I wasn't expecting it though. I am totally skeeved out by the villain. Just ick. Really. I skipped his bits (har) whenever possible. John Matthew is making me a little annoyed but I'll cut him some slack for the moment. It's like his emo teen years. He best not keep carrying on with the poor-me stuff for much longer tho. As for the rest of the gang, I only wish that we got to see a bit more of the internal stuff between couples featured previously. Like the focus on Wrath and Beth and their relationship...that was nice. Can we have more of that but with RHAGE next time? k'thx.

And with that, I think it is time for me to find DF and start our evening stroll around the neighborhood. Weather is nice (finally no rain) and time's a wasting. Then it's homework time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009!

o hai! I feel kinda embarrassed about the state of my blog. Or more correctly, about the non-state of it. Sure, I was in Taiwan for almost two weeks and then in LA and then home and going to weddings, catching up on homework and office work, and planning my own wedding (that is coming up in 3 months, omg!) and and and....

Anyways, long story short, I've been a wee bit busy. And the longer I put off updating my blog, the more guilty I feel and the more guilty I feel the more I put off updating. What a viscous cycle. lol.

So here's the updates:

The Taiwan trip went well. Not only in terms of getting some good contacts and making professional visits that should be beneficial in the long term for my work but also because I was with a friend and colleague and hosted at her family's home with warmth and hospitality. Highlights included hitting the night markets and shopping, going to the most AMAZING sushi restaurant where it was all you can eat for only $12 USD (unbelievable!), a backstage visit with a traditional Chinese opera and watching a rehearsal, and seeing the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101.

My 12 hour flight back to LA went as quickly as can be expected. Once I finally got through customs (that airport is SUCH a hole) I checked into my uber-trendy funky hotel and had a busy three days trying to overcome jetlag, attend a huge professional conference, network with colleagues, and hang out with old Peace Corps friends. Oh and I got to see the dumpy little place they call Hollywood.

The flight home arrived somewhere around midnight. It was great to see DF after our long time apart. And the next morning it was up and off to my cousin's wedding. It went well if a little more casual than I see my wedding being. Still, it fit her and her husband and everyone had a nice time. Since then it has been hardcore homework, work and wedding planning. I've put off things long enough, so now DF and I are hitting it hard. We went shopping for crafty stuff and made our own invitations. Now we're working on tracking down a sheep or goat to roast for the reception (it's an african thing, don't ask), pricing chairs and tables, checking out pawn shops for wedding bands...lots of stuff. I'm starting to realize what a big undertaking a wedding is, even a do-it-yourself cheap-ass one. But we'll make it work. :)

And finally, in READING related news, I just got the new JR Ward book from my library (after waiting for about a month). I'm scarfing it down and am just getting to the part where everything seems to be going down. Initial impressions are that it's better than the last one, i still hate lessers (and skip their parts), love Rhage (and miss Mary), enjoy seeing more of Wrath and Beth, wish the central romance was more central, and enjoy being back in the BDB world. Oh and I'm digging Xhex and JM as a couple, but I never had any hangups with her in the first place. And now, I think I may go finish the book.

To anyone who made it all the way through this self-indulgent post (and who bothered to check my sad little blog), I thank you and salute you. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Yes, I am writing this entry from Taipei, Taiwan. Pretty exhausted from a 30+ hour journey and missing a day somehow (damn you, international date line!) but happy to be here.

I left my little hamlet in Virginia on Friday afternoon, driving a spiffy rental car to the airport. As luck would have it, I've never driven a Prius and it took me over 15 minutes to figure out how to turn it on. Major panic...omg, I am going to miss my flight because I can't even get out of town! Thankfully, I called the dealer and they explained that one has to hold the power button down for a few more seconds than I was doing....ohhhh. Now I feel dumb. Anyways, made it to the airport, checked in and made it through security and to my gate on time. Five and a half hours later, we touched down in LA. I joined the disorganized mass of people waiting for the EVA Airlines check-in counter to open. Quite a mix of people, many Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodians taking the flight to Taipei to connect to another to points beyond. After a successful check-in, another three hours were spent sitting and killing time at the gate. By 1:30 am (LA body was saying 4:30am) we were ready to take off. Thankfully, EVA Air has more legroom and individual entertainment consoles even in economy class, so the 13 and a half hours spent in the plane weren't too unbearable. That said, spending 13 hours in one place is never a barrel of laughs. We arrived here at 6 am Sunday and after clearing customs (interminably long lines) and grabbing my bags, I found a bus to take me into the city and then a taxi driver to take me to my hotel. When I walked into the tiny lobby, the clerk assured me that I had a reservation...but that the hotel was full and I wouldn't be able to check in until 2pm. UGH! So here I am operating on very little sleep, in an opposite day/night time zone shift, don't know the area and not really great at speaking Chinese (although I am starting to remember some from my one year of language study). The joy of international solo travel.

Lucky for me, my Taiwanese friend whom I'm meeting later on this evening called the hotel to check and make sure I made it, and when she heard that I couldn't check in, she called her brother who lives in the area and I'm hanging out at his place in the meantime. We just ate egg sandwiches at a street vendor's stall and are now watching CSI subtitled in Mandarin.

Hope everyone is well and reading lots of great books. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

moar buks!

I'm on a roll! On my way home I remembered that I had a 30% coupon at Borders and haven't bought a single thing since...oh prolly last year. No really. I moved into my new apartment on new years eve and I can't recall any new books since the move.

So what the heck, I decided to swing by and see what struck my fancy. I should have planned ahead and brought a list because I always blank out when I reach the store. However, after some browsing I settled on a Jo Goodman that I have not yet read. I have really enjoyed her work...very textured and character driven. So hopefully this one's good. At 439 pages, at least I know I am getting plenty of book for my buck. heh.

As usual, I just haaaad to meander through the bargain rack to see if any cheap finds were to be had. And for $4.99 I was able to purchase the Good Sex Bible!!! omg. LOL. Finally, a bible that I can look forward to reading. With pictures! Gosh, it was fun to go up to the checkout with my mantitty romance novel and my porny sex manual. I'll, um, have to decide which book to start first. After I finish my fluffy bunny and rainbow Julia Quinn book that is. hmm. sex bible, fluffy pink novel...decisions, decisions....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

omg, i am reading books!

yes, this should not be a banner headline on a blog where i supposedly talk about books and romance books and reading. But given my long wilderness of busy work, mba homework, and all other such has been eons since I actually have had the time or energy to sit down and read. a book!

a book, a book, my kingdom for a book.

So now that I have turned in all my papers and taken all my finals (for this semester anyways) and even though my summer classes have started (but don't have any homework yet), I took the time to walk to the library yesterday after work. Did I mention that I love living so close to the library? k, just had to repeat it.

My quick perusal of the paperback shelves gave me these:

Ok, so two of those I've already read (the Holly and the Kleypas) but it's been a while so why not a reread? And the others are new to me.

Last night I sat up and read the Carlyle book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been so long since I've curled up with a good romance novel and just savored...what a treat. I'm now on to the Quinn. Scuze me while I go read some more. I could get used to this...

Oh and one other bit of library news; I got on the waiting list for this little book. Thank goodness for libraries because I don't pay for hardcover.

I figure it may come available about the time I get back from my trip to Taiwan. woot!