Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Welcome to the world, Gaffney-Girl!

Two of my dearest friends just welcomed a beautiful little girl to their family. Miss Amelia Mary Gaffney was ushered into our lives on Saturday the 22 May. Unlike her two older brothers who didn't dare be anything but exactly on time for their birthdays, Miss Amelia decided to throw a wrench in her parent's plans and arrive early. Oh, mom, you're in for it. I can't wait to see this little beauty grow. Much happiness and lots of love to two of my oldest and dearest Vassar chums on the newest addition to your amazing family.

Missing Moment #162

Today I pulled a washcloth out of the linen cupboard and took a whiff-mmmmmm. HOME. My stuff was in storage for so long and lovingly packed away that I am still coming across things that I haven't really used since I moved here. The washcloth was one of those things.

It was so soft and smelled like home-- Tide laundry detergent and Bounce. And it was sooooo soft. Just like all the laundry used to be. It smelled like my linen closet in Chicago smelled... all those wonderfully clean towels and sheets... it took me right back there.

Smell is such a strong sense... a pipe reminds me of my grandfather, who died when I was 8; Drakar Noir takes me back to junior high and all the cute, popular boys who wore it. There are smells that remind me of Hawaii... and, smells that remind me of home. As clearly laundry detergent does.

Such a silly thing to be missing, but it really did pull at the pit of my stomach... I guess even nearly two years in, I'm still homesick. Or maybe I just need to import some Tide.

(Disclaimer: While I haven't actually been counting the things I miss, I'm sure if pressed I could come up with close to 162...)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Martha Stewart Moment

I love me some Martha. I know-- hard to believe, especially since I'm not crafty at all, and have no patience-- oh, okay, talent-- for it (I craft only under extreme duress or on someone else's behalf-- Christmas stockings that MRN insisted we make ourselves because it was a "life memory;" or hundreds of paper butterflies for the centerpieces of my niece's 1st birthday party (yes-- HUNDREDS). But crafting is something I wouldn't do voluntarily).

Despite all this, I still enjoy READING about crafty-type of projects. Martha Stewart, Real Simple, the now defunct Blueprint (also a MS magazine). I like to know all the creative stuff that people do, and how they make things beautiful. And then I want to know where I can buy it (I mean, come on-- how many people have time to MAKE hundreds of paper butterflies-- those suckers took me about 4 months, and two of them I was on disability leave from work, so what else did I have to do?). But every once in a while I pick up a useful tip, I store it somewhere in the back of my overcrowded brain and it pops up in a lightbulb, Martha Stewart kind of moment.

Today was one of those days.

I was sitting on the sofa looking at a candle holder in the window sill and trying to work out how to get all the layers of built up, stubborn wax out of the 8 glass votives. Then it hit me: "Martha!" I remember reading in one of her magazines that if you put the glass holders in the freezer, the wax will pop right out.

Riiiight-- well, why not try it? Beats chiseling it out, heating the class, pouring hot water in it, or any of the other really messy things that I would generally do (hence the years of build up...). So in the freezer the 8 little glasses went and, WAH-LAH! it actually worked! ten minutes, glasses out, turn 'em over and out came the wax. No joke! it was that easy!

What can I say? It's good to have a Martha Stewart moment every once in a while.

Monday, May 03, 2010

All [Hawaiian] American Girl

I wonder if I didn't live in another country if I would be so ra-ra everything American. I'm guessing not, since it would be just the same as everyday. But you've gotta think something's a bit off when your day is made by finding Grape Nuts at the grocery store (as mine was on Friday). Well, I guess it's the small things...

I think that if I had to pick one thing that I missed (aside from my family and friends), it would have to be food. And I'm not talking gourmet, foodie-food; I'm talking run of the mill, fast food (Yoshinoya, Chipotle, In & Out) and stuff of my childhood (vienna sausages, spam musubi, tofu). Yes-- gross (well, maybe not the tofu; although for some, maybe so). So when driving through Manchester on Saturday on a random detour to avoid traffic (which we didn't-- but that's another story altogether), I realized that we were on the street where I had discovered a Japanese market a few years ago and I excitedly requested a quick stop.

On my wish list: REAL rice, noodles, chili oil, nori and sake... and anything else of interest I could grab with my greedy little hands (oh, okay-- my hands aren't that little). To my great disappointment, the store was CLOSING and there was hardly any inventory left... I was able to get a few really small bags of rice and the last packet of nori (my sis kindly sent tobasco spam and I'm making spam musubi!) and a teeny bottle of sake. Well, it is better than nothing.

But thankfully, all is not lost... I discovered the Japan Centre in London which has an online store and they ship! Whoohoo! So while I'll have to wait a few days, at least I can get some creature comforts from home. No luck on the vienna sausages though. Even Selfridges vast array of American junk food-- Fluff, Lucky Charms, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix... all for around $10 a pop, doesn't stoop so low for spam and vienna sausages. Ah well.