Lovely Dream

I had an awesome dream over vacation:

I was in a house that was my house (not my current house, but some sort of townhouse) and it was full of people. There was a party going on -- a surprise party for me -- and all my friends were there, laughing and having a great time. It was so lively, it felt like a restaurant (though there was one quiet little secret room for writing). The food and the service was great, and when I finally had a spare moment to go to the bar myself, the bartender complimented me on what fun and cool friends I have.

The truth is, my life IS full of fun and cool friends and family.

Thanks for sharing my life with me.


Weekend Rundown

I had a wonderful Saturday, including babysitting my beautiful nephew. I hadn't seen him in three weeks and in the interim, he's gotten more mobile and more alert. He is a funny little monkey man and boy oh boy will he be hell on wheels when he's older. (And he'll be able to charm his way out of anything, I'm sure.)

Then, my dear friend Susan came down from Loveland and we went to a holiday party for WiD. It was *fabulous*. First of all, we looked fabulous. Susan wore a lovely charcoal gray asymmetrical blouse and long black slacks that unfortunately covered the sexy black heels she was wearing. I wore a purple silk cocktail dress with my killer purple heels and a Julie Knudsen necklace. Second, the party was hosted at a fabulous place: a penthouse apartment at the Denver Art Museum Residences. The building was designed by Daniel Libeskind (a smooth talking architect that a friend of mine described as being like Saruman) and the apartment was on the top floor with a view of the art museum and the city beyond. Every room in the house was an architectural showpiece with gorgeous bathrooms, a heavenly kitchen (which had been taken over by the caterer, but we sought out to admire), a second floor with bedrooms, and glass everywhere. In fact, the glass that provided such lovely views from the upper level (though the two story space of the living and dining rooms) had privacy settings that would make the glass opaque when electricity stopped flowing through the glass (this has a good graphic of how it works). Every bathroom was decorated differently and somehow managed to be cooler and cooler with each successive room, culminating in the master bath that had a giant shower that must have been like showering in the rain and a dual flush toilet that had the tank in the wall. On top of that, there was artwork everywhere. It was, essentially, an apartment turned into a gallery. It was fabulous, if a bit unsettling. After all, every time you sat down, you wondered if you were sitting on a piece of art. Granted some stuff was just uber expensive or even just expensive.
The food was really great (catered food will always be disappointing to me now that I know how good it could be) as well as the service (something I think really separated first class from the rest). The crowning touch was the lovely company. Intelligent, creative women and their lucky/smart spouses.

Afterward, a lot of the gals were going out for drinking (an dancing, I found out later). Susan and I declined. I had a craving for sushi (one of the appetizers at the party was tuna and roe on a disc of cucumber), so we went to Sushi Sasa, which is quickly turning into my favorite sushi restaurant in Denver (which leaves Junz to be my favorite sushi in Parker). Of course, we had to wait, since it was Saturday night and we didn't have reservations. By the time we were seated, we had been standing most of the night, so our feet were killing us, but the wait was worth it. We had a fancy roll (that was tastier and half as expensive as Namiko's), a really good spider roll, and yummy yummy nigiri. When compared with what I had at Namiko's it really was astonishing how mediocre that sushi was. And the price! What Susan and I got was not that much less than what I had in my previous dining experience, AND we got sake and it still cost less. I don't think I can manage to convince myself to waste money at Namikos again -- not when I can go to Sushi Sasa.

Today, Susan and I made homemade oreos. I'm very embarrassed to say that I screwed up the amount of butter (we were doing a double batch and I didn't double it properly). They are unfortunately flawed (which really tears me up, funnily enough) but good enough that I'll still share them with others.
I'll just have to make more, I guess!



I usually eat smoked clams with Melba toast.
Well, I've been out of Melba toast for a while and I keep forgetting to buy more.
Yesterday, I defrosted some bread for toast (to have with my "Janiece's Extra Special Chokecherry Jam" I have some and you don't, nyah nyah nyah) and had some leftover this evening. I realized "hey, I could make my own toast."
Well, when I got home from work, I went into an automatic cooking mode in which just started making a full meal from the disparate pieces of this idea.
Here's what I did:
I thinly sliced about 6-8 oz. of mushrooms and minced a small shallot clove.
Then, I sauteed these gently in butter and seasoned it with a little salt and a little ground sage. (Sage tastes like stuffing... or rather, stuffing tastes like sage) When that was done, I served it on toast with smoked clams.
It was SO yummy!


There Are Two Lights

Today I found that all the bulbs in my dining room light were burnt out. Two of the three had lovely burn patterns on the sides. Knowing how much some of you appreciate details, I managed to get a good photo for you. :D


Architecture In the Future

Ever wonder what drawing buildings might be like in a 3D virtual environment? No? Well, I have. And this video postulates a really cool version of what it might be like!

(Thank you to Eric for pointing it out.)


Review: Two Sushi Places

Since I researched sushi restaurants in Golden (near work), I stumbled across a sushi restaurant near my house that had received great reviews in the past.
Tonight, feeling hungry but too lazy to cook, I decided to go try it out. It's called Namiko's and it's in a little strip mall space near I-70 and Wadsworth. The interior was a little cheap, but that's not a bad thing in a place where the prices are affordable and the food is good. (A good example of this is Saigon Phở at 72nd and Federal -- great phở and great prices, chinzy surroundings.) Unfortunately, the service at Namiko's was not great. I sat at the sushi bar and my waitress, after trying to rush my selection the first few minutes, disappeared. Eventually, the sushi chef working just across the glass from me took my order. Then, I had to be creative about getting my check, etc., since my waitress was MIA.
Let's get on to the important part. I ordered the sushi dinner (which is a good way to try a lot of different fishes, even though the roll included was the California roll, which is a little boring in my opinion) and... I did something I rarely do... I ordered one of the fancy "chef-designed" rolls. I think I was swayed by the reviews I had read. In a nutshell, I was mostly disappointed. The fancy roll was boring and the California roll was boring, though the fish on the nigiri was good. So, at this point, I'd say it was average food. Problem was, all that was pretty pricey. Undeservedly pricey, considering the service and ambiance.
However, as I was about to leave, I watched one of the chefs put together a plate that was attractive in its arrangement and looked like an interesting selection. (I had tried to find something like that on the menu, but it wasn't apparent from the descriptions.) So, I might visit again to try that (and only that -- no extra stuff to raise the cost...

I find that I really much prefer to have sushi that's been composed by the chef, as in the next review...

A couple weeks ago, finding myself with time in downtown Denver to eat before a show (the Trans Siberian Orchestra) at the Pepsi Center, I decided to try out Sushi Sasa, about which I've heard very good things.
It turned out to be well deserved praise. The ambiance was beautifully modern. The service was great. (Again, I ate at the sushi bar.) I chose to try a dinner bowl of sashimi on aromatic rice. It was gorgeously composed, like a flower arrangement; all little bits of different sashimi. Most of the time, I had no idea what I was eating - animal or vegetable - but it was all fascinating. I would post a photo, except that I didn't have my camera, and the picture from my phone is trapped inside my phone.
Because I just got that bowl dish with no fancy rolls or alcohol, it felt like a reasonably priced meal.

The contrast between the two places is quite dramatic. If I had gotten the sushi and sashimi mixed plate that I saw before I left Namiko's, the bottom line on the bill would have been nearly the same. And let's say the food would have been better, since it would have focused on the quality of the fish, which I did think was decent there. Even with those two factors, Sushi Sasa would have had a clear edge, for the quality of the environment and service.

By the way, for those not interested in eating raw fish: Namiko's had an exclusively Asian menu. Non-sushi eaters would have to have something like teriyaki chicken, udon noodles, or tempura. Sushi Sasa, on the other hand, had a wide variety of western dishes with Asian influences (including Chilean Sea Bass).

Cheap Comfort

I got some plumbing fixtures in the mail and the box was a great size for cats, so I put it under the bench by the front door (where I've noticed the boys sitting lately) and layered the bottom with an old towel. Sure enough, it was an instant hit.

I think the new location is preferred, since it's near a heat register. I know I keep the house temp low (I have to wear a fleece and/or hat a majority of the time) and this is how the cats compensate.
Sitting on me:

Sitting on each other:

Or sitting on the stove (the pilot light makes the metal warm):

They are soooooo cute.


Name That Bird

Yesterday, during the lovely snow, I spotted the above on my ash tree. At first, I thought it was an enormous woodpecker, since it was clinging to the tree in the same way a woodpecker does. After taking some photos I decided to look it up online and it seemed to lack one major woodpecker feature, red coloring on the head. It seems like it might be a yellow shafted Northern Flicker. The white and black spots on its breast were particularly beautiful.

Now I want to put out some suet and sunflower seeds. :)


The Latest Snow

Here's your latest snow picture of my deck. I think I got somewhere around 8-10". I've had a nice quiet morning, but I'm thinking I'd better put on Princess Bride or Star Wars or LotR to have on in the background while I do a nice thorough cleaning. And maybe make some more Oreos. And do some writing.
Yep. It'll be a good day.


Tiny Screen

Second try at posting something frrom the PDA.

Oh sure. The second time it goes through fine.

Will repost my thoughts later, when I'm at a keyboard.

OK. What I had laboriously typed into my PDA, only to have it not publish was something like this:

A while back, I considered a PDA as a portable computing device. My laptop had crapped out and it was (at the time) too expensive to replace with something similar (original had cost $3K). I decided to get a desktop ($800, as I recall) and use a PDA as a portable computer for writing. Of course, I was going to get a keyboard attachment (which I never got). Years later, I bought my netbook. Today, I was killing time in a Borders and got online with their free wifi. I didn't have my netbook, so I am picking away on the PDA. The moral of the story: netbooks rock!


BITB: Before

Here's a picture from 6 years ago when I first bought the house. It's the laundry room, with the storage room beyond.

This one is a clearer "before" photo, showing the laundry and storage room with the wall between them removed. It is the blank canvas, prepped and ready for work to begin! :D



I can't even claim my recent blogging silence has been due to being busy or "away from keyboard."

I've had a few little post items (that you'll see in the next few days), but I've been feeling pretty escapist lately. I spent a day off work (don't remember if it was a weekday or a weekend) last week simply reading a book. I recently (in the last couple months) picked up the third book in Lynn Flwelling's Tamir Trilogy and reread the first two, which I don't usually do. She's a great writer. The subject matter is a little dark, full of vengeful ghosts and blood magic, but the characterization is done very well. It's a coming of age story, but doesn't feel teeny-boppery in the slightest.
I've finally finished watching all the Get Smart episodes (will return to Stacey next time I see her!) and caught up on the TiVo.
I've been getting SOME stuff done:
- Demo in basement (found a 35 year old porn magazine - BONUS!) for the BITB project.
- Buying up a storm for the BITB project (my savings account will take a nose dive after my next credit card payment)
- Making donations of crap from the garage and basement to clear up space for the BITB
- Making up a cool acronym for the "Bathroom In The Basement" Project

- Making Homemade Oreos a la Michelle

- Making Sugar Cookies for a fairy-tale themed Baby Shower (last weekend)

- Making cards with the cool book Janiece got me
- Sending out a package or two
- Making catfood to stock up for my trip over Thanksgiving
- Editing my new writing project, Midnight City and thinking through the next steps.

Work has been a bit lightweight, though my next project is this:

OK, yes, it sounds like I have been busy, but I have had time to blog and I haven't. :/



It's blog posts like this one by Michael Ruhlman that make me think: How fascinating it would be to be married to a man who is a better cook than I am. I would eat well AND learn something new all the time. That would be SO cool.

(Logical Anne says: That can't be the only criteria. Marrying a guy who is a good cook but a real ass would NOT be cool.
Thanks, Logical Anne, for pointing out the obvious. You can take a break now.)


'Tis the Season

Even my favorite online comic has gotten on board the NaNoWriMo train.

Really looking forward to this story arc. :D Go Team Jade!

Writers in Thier Element

A four Christmases ago, I got a book called American Writers at Home from Stacey and JR. It's a really neat book about the homes of iconic American writers such as Twain, Emerson, Melville, Whitman. It's a great blending of my two main interests, architecture and writing.

In an interesting modern version, here's the website of Kyle Cassidy, a photographer who has a series of photos depicting modern science-fiction and fantasy writers. They are wonderfully varied. One thread through many of them is the inclusion of the pets. It's definitely worth a look.


And So It Begins

I'm going to cheat and post some previously written posts to start off my latest writing exercise in sympathy with the NaNoWriMo marathoners. It will hopefully continue long after NaNo is done.

Here's the plan:
- Post the episodes of Midnight City (a semi-gothic noir mystery) that were written significantly before today.
- Start writing new episodes on a MWF schedule.
- On the new episodes, give readers a chance to influence the storyline. I haven't decided if it'll be in major or minor ways, so I'll probably play around with both.
- Comments and suggestions are (for the present) appreciated. ;)

You can find Midnight City here.

(And sorry for the late posting, I was most of the day at a lovely baby shower held in honor of a good friend of mine. The rest of my day was spent tidying the house and doing chores. One of the reasons I'm not doing the full NaNoWriMo -- I'm not willing to let the house slide into disarray for a whole month. Just not in the mood for it...)

A Beautiful Thank You

Mum, remember I said the flowers were mostly buds when they arrived at my office? Because of that, the arrangement was continually in bloom for ages. Four blooms so far and one more possibly to open (or open now).