Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fern Blogging

Botrychium dissectum, cutleaf grapefern.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Football Quandary

Yesterday I did something very un-dude: I went to a football game. To be clear, I am not generally a fan of football. I find it only slightly less boring than baseball. I never even went to a single high school football game, that all-American ritual, and had in fact only been to one previous football game in my entire life. However, SodaBoy got free tickets from a co-worker, and the venue where Hometown University plays is walkable from our house. It seemed to be a not entirely unreasonable way to spend an autumn afternoon.

Although I am to understand Hometown U has traditionally had a respectable football team, with standout history-making players, and long runs of success, the current team is widely regarded as dismal. They lost their season opener, which was supposed to be a cupcake game, to a team from a lesser division, and have lost all other games this season as well. I feel sorry for the whole franchise, the coach who will almost certainly be canned at the end of this season, and especially the kids who work so hard in practice every day.

But yesterday HU won! It was to another "lesser" program, but given the downward spiral of the last few years, such victories cannot be taken for granted. Attendance has dropped significantly. There were only maybe 30,000 guests in the 50,000 seat venue, which wasn't such a bad thing for our personal comfort. We had plenty of room to stretch out, instead of being crammed in, like at basketball games, our shoulders pressed awkwardly against those of neighboring fans. At one point, part of the marching band filed into the empty seats behind us, and stayed for the entire third quarter, blasting out little bursts of noisy pep at every possible lull in the action. Deafening, but definitely entertaining.

In my opinion, the main drawback to an early season sporting event at this venue is the beverage situation: outside drinks are not allowed. As I mentioned, we regularly attend basketball games at the same venue. However, the climate in my area is such that during basketball season, we are always bundled up in bulky outerwear, and it is easy to smuggle in a reusable water bottle (me) or a can or two of soda (SodaBoy). Another family friend has been known to bring his own beer. Yesterday, with the temperatures in the mid-70s, and both of us wearing t-shirts, bringing our own drinks was not an option.

We made it through the first quarter sans refreshment, but then SodaBoy broke down and hit a concession stand. Football games are interminable, after all, and we had walked there, perhaps a 20 or 25 minute walk in the sun. There was thirst to be quenched. I still felt pretty bad about the disposable water bottle though. So bad that I carried it with me all the way home so that I could recycle it. [Full disclosure: there are recycling containers available at the Hometown U sporting facility, but I did not pass any on the way to the exit.] I also picked up and carried home another empty water bottle that had been discarded along the sidewalk.

Does anyone have any advice for avoiding disposables in such a situation?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Kimchi Free Coincidence

SodaBoy and I went out to eat this evening, a very rare occurrence on a week night, but it just seemed right. We had initially been planning to go to a chain restaurant with a yummy salad bar. However, at the last minute, we decided on the Korean steakhouse instead. We often drive by the place and always talk about going there, but had never quite gotten around to it. SodaBoy had never been there before, and I had only once, about a year and a half ago. My one previous trip had been at lunch, with a few work friends I was just getting to know, including S. and L.

Shortly after we placed our order for bento boxes, S. and her husband came in and were seated at the table right next to us. It was the strangest thing--she hadn't been there in over a year either, and also rarely eats out on weeknights. We don't live in the same neighborhood, and there are literally hundreds of restaurants we could have chosen instead (and almost did). How in the world did we wind up there at the same time?

The bento boxes contain small portions of lots of different things, so even though they are a bit pricey, SodaBoy and I both ended up ordering them. It made deciding what to get a little easier--everything sounded so good. Although I could have lived without the greasy tempura, the rest of the food was delicious.

I was a little disappointed not to get any kimchi though. It seems like something we should have tried, something that would be in a bento box for newbies like us to sample. Next time I'll have to make a special point to order some.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gardening at Night

Was Michael Stipe talking about what happens when you work past dark, but still want fresh tomatoes in your salad? Somehow I think not, but when SodaBoy came out to the garden with me to hold the flashlight while I did my harvesting, we couldn't help but sing along.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Tasty Thanks

Despite my weekend of camping and the Monday holiday, this was a rough week (a rough few weeks, actually). I had a big deadline at work, which coupled with an extremely difficult client, has resulted in me working some very long hours. Last night, my boss and I were both at the office until 10 pm. We expect to have a few more days of scrambling early next week, but are hopeful things will calm down after that.

I was starting to get discouraged for a while, but light at the end of the tunnel is always a nice thing. Another thing that helps is knowing my Herculean efforts are not being taken for granted. When he was thanking me last night for all my hard work, my boss told me that he wanted me to take my husband out for a fancy dinner this weekend, and submit the receipt with my expense report on Monday.

So I had a lazy relaxing day today, a trip to the farmers market and several hours of reading on the porch. Then SodaBoy and I went out for our fancy dinner. We decided on a French restaurant we'd long been wanting to try. The food was delightful, but the prices were obscene. We won't likely return any time soon--I have never in my life seen such a high bill for dinner for two. I am not going to feel too badly though. My boss did use the word "fancy", exactly three times, and I definitely earned it. Plus, I gotta follow my marching orders!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Beaver Meadow Falls

SodaBoy and I spent our Labor Day weekend as we often do, camping in the Adirondacks. We hiked, canoed, and took in many a glorious vista. Beaver Meadow Falls was an unexpected bit of scenery.