Really Long Post

I woke up this morning and couldn't even remember the last time I'd blogged. It seemed like, for a while, I wasn't blogging because there wasn't anything to blog about. Then, seemingly overnight, I wasn't blogging because there was too much. I decided to stop whining and start writing.

I noticed from the last post that there's been a request for pics of the home-grown produce project. I am planning to post pictures of our 6-foot tomato plants once their fruit actually ripens - right now, it's just lots of tiny green tomatoes!

Okay, so, starting with events more-or-less in order:

At the end of August, Max's grandmother, Joyce Wyver Hollands, passed away. She was an absolute delight and her loss is terrible. I flew out to meet Max after she passed (which brought up some strange issues with my in-laws that I'm sure will come up again, so I'll discuss them later), and things went surprisingly smoothly. Everyone pretty much held it together, and it was actually more pleasant and less somber than I had anticipated. As a plus, I got to meet some relatives for the first time, Max's unlce John (Sue's brother) and Jonathan Berry, Max's cousin from England. Both were great - witty and articulate (if a bit reserved, in uncle John's case), getting to know them was really the highlight of the trip. Jonathan is widely known as the extrovert in Max's family, and he lived up to his title. That man has been everywhere, seen everything, and really needs to write a book about it. It was like talking with James Bond.

There was no funeral or memorial service or anything, which I found a bit odd, but we did have a large family dinner in her honor, which was very nice (and delicious as always). Grandma Hollands always hated being fussed over, so I'm sure this was more her style, anyway.

A few weeks later, we went to the Addison Oktoberfest and had a good time, as usual. Our strange friend John Safranek entered (and won!) the German Idol yodeling contest hands down. I guess if you're gonna have a bizarre, uncool hobby, your only path to redemption is being very good at it.

The next weekend, we had our 1-year anniversary. We had dinner at Blue Fish on Greenville. It's a pretty nice sushi restaurant, however, it wasn't terribly romantic. I kept an eye on the first presidential debate on a TV over Max's shoulder during dinner. The ingredients were top-notch, but the chefs weren't as skilled as we had expected - the cuts weren't as clean as they should have been, and the presentation was just okay. The crab claw appetizer I had was spectacular, though, and we had a sake sampler of imported stuff that's not widely availabe here. Every sake in the sampler was one I'd never tried before, which was very cool. And of course, they were all spectacular.

Then, we stayed at the Renaissance hotel in Dallas, where we stayed for our wedding night. Initially, I was disappointed in the room. It was a small, generic hotel room with a spectacular veiw of the back parking lot - less than inspiring. So I mentioned it to the concierge to see if they could move us to a room on the other side of the building. Unfortunately, nothing was available, so... he upgraded us to a suite!!! It was WONDERFUL! The rooms were huge, the view was fantastic, and we had a great time. We also ordered cake from Romano's, the bakery that supplied our wedding cake. It was supposed to be white chocolate (our wedding cake flavor), but we somehow ended up with an amaretto-flavored cake. I was literally voicing my disappointment over the mix-up to Max in between large mouthfuls of cake when I realized, "Hey, this is really delicious!". I still thought about mentioning it to Romano's, but by the end of the weekend, the cake was more than half gone and I didn't really see the point in bringing it up. What would I say? "You messed up and gave me the wrong cake - it was still really good and I ate it... Thanks!"??? In the end, I just let it go.

The next day after breakfast in the hotel (which ended up being free, for reasons we still don't understand), we went to the 6th Floor Museum, since Max had never been. It was probably not the best choice for a wedding anniversary - presidential assassination being such a somber subject and all - but we had a really good time and I learned a lot, despite the fact that I've been to that museum countless times for school field trips. I guess you pay more attention to something when you're not FORCED to go. Also, it's kind of a mature topic, and I'm not sure how my teachers expected middle school students to "get it". What I "got" out of it on field trips was that I didn't have to go to math or P.E.; I imagine my colleagues were operating on similar levels. Anyway, the museum was great. If you go, skip the 7th floor. It was LAME. It's a whole bunch of terrible home videos from the day of the assassination with commentary like "Mr. Jones was out of town that day. It's too bad Mrs. Jones didn't know how to work the video camera, or we might've gotten some really amazing footage..." I kid you not. After the museum, we went to the Ginger Man, a pub in Uptown, had a nice time, and made our way back home feeling like we'd been on vacation, even though we'd barely left our zip code. It was really fantastic, actually.

The NEXT weekend, John (of yodeling-contest fame) and his wife Lauren invited us to go to the Richardson symphony with them - John won the tickets in the yodeling contest. (What are they trying to say with that, really? "Good job, now go listen to some real music, ya freak!"?!?) It was all German composers, and it was excellent. We heard Paul Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber (what a mouthful!), which was "meh", Franz Schubert's Symphony #1 in D major, which was very good, and Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto #2 in B flat Major, which was OMGWTFAWESOME. Really, it was a magnificent piece of music, and if you ever have the opportunity to see it performed, GO. Just go. Even if you don't understand music and aren't a symphony fan, some things are just awesome. Like socks and hot dogs.

Then, just after the symphony, I really hurt myself at martial arts. Turns out those wrist-breaking techniques we've been learning might actually work! After putting off going to the doctor for a few days, I finally decided it wasn't worth it to keep toughing things out, so I went in and got an X-ray of my left wrist. I really lucked out. Turns out it's not broken, but I do have "severe soft tissue damage" - as in, after a week, the internal swelling is still so bad, it's evident on the X-ray. So, that explained a few things for me. The strange part is that there has been no visible swelling, no bruising, just pain and crunchiness. But it should heal in 3-4 weeks, and in the meantime, I've got a hot new accessory - yep, nothing says "trendsetter" like a wrist brace.

Friday, the last weekend of the State Fair, we finally went. It was okay. We got there too late at night, I think. We walked around a bit, and watched the light show, which was really disappointing. They were really pumping the light show "sensory extravaganza" this year, a "multi-media spectacular" or something like that... When people go to a light show, they want to see fireworks. It's simple, really. Lots of explosions + music = cool. The State Fair's "extravaganza" did in fact have some fireworks, and even some (admittedly cool) flame-fountain thingies. But the bulk of the program was like watching TV. They had a large screen thing up, and they projected various videos onto it. There was at least one kinda trippy video, a very psychedelic, smoke-out-in-the-theater kind of affair, followed by an overly sentimental montage of Texas stuff set to loud country music. In between these things, they'd kind of intersperse a few fireworks and gouts from the flame fountains, but in a lame, "we're-too-cheap-to-do-too-many-pyrotechnics" kind of way. Then, and this is where we left, they showed another video, of cartoon chickens riding a train. Accompanied by a SONG about chickens ridin'/drivin' said train. It reminded me overwhelmingly of the "Hamster Dance" song, which is never a good thing. Even worse, by comparison, the hamster song is cuter, catchier, and makes more sense.

My friend Christi braved the "chicken fried bacon", and I had a pina colada that was disturbingly like Capri Sun for adults. Also, it was way too sweet. We had a decent time, and it's always good to hang out with friends, but honestly, I'd have rather spent the $40 (yeah, we got out cheap!) at the Saucer or something. And despite sticking to tried and true Fair "safe food" - nachos, a funnel cake, and my pre-packaged alcohol-in-a-bag, I got SOOOO SICK later that night. I woke up at 3AM and it was an emergency. After a very intense half an hour of everyone's favorite combo of vomiting + diarrhea (always a party!), I must have gotten the offending item (and everything else I'd eaten in the past week) out of my system. It was pretty rough, though.

Finally! Today I have a job interview at 1.30. Back when we went to the symphony, Lauren, who is the director of HR for the city of Frisco, mentioned she has a contract position open for an HR specialist. It's part-time, but it pays really decently and it'd be great experience for me. They're having a hard time filling it, apparently, because most people who are qualified for it aren't interested in contract work - they want a regular full-time job with benefits. Heck, so do I, but it seems I need more job experience before I'm qualified for full-time work, despite my extensive education. *shrug* Anyway, I passed my resume on to Lauren and she put the nod in for me on this interview, so I really hope I do well.

That's it for now, hopefully the next update won't be another 3 months out!