topaz119: (off to see the wizard)
So, you know, it’s always good to do a friending meme and introduce yourself and add interesting people and have others add you… and then disappear for a week or two.

Um, oops?

Sorry!

Hello to the new people! (and to the rest of you, too, who’ve been hanging around here for a decade or so, ILU.) The me (lj) | me (dw) tag has an introduction and assorted random posts (like favorite movies and books, etc.) Feel free to poke around and interact as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.

At least the disappearing act was for a fun reason: the Annual Epcot Food & Wine trip was last weekend, \o/. There was food! And wine! And I got a tiara! (I don’t know why, just that my friend L walked up and handed me what she assured me was a Belle (my favorite Disney princess) tiara, and that no, it wasn’t the $200 one from the shop in the Mexican pyramid so I shouldn’t worry about losing it. (She’d started making noises about how I needed a tiara then, but I put it down to the tasting flights of tequila layered on top of half a World Showcase worth of wine. Clearly, the idea stuck.)

Happily enough, it was really comfortable and hey, it was Disney World—nobody even blinked at the sight of a 50ish woman wearing a crown. So, yeah, I have sparkly headgear in about half the pictures from the weekend. It’s not the strangest thing that’s ever happened on one of these weekends.

surprising no one, this got long )

favorites )

And now it's almost Halloween and thus time to haul out all the creepy crawlie stuff, to further distract myself from the election insanity... I will try for pictures this year.
topaz119: (off to see the wizard)
I am sous vide-ing pork chops for dinner, which is going to take about an hour. I'd planned to clean up the utter disaster that is my kitchen while that happened, but then I fumble-fingered an 8 oz container of dried thyme and artistically sprayed it across the floor and decided I should probably sit down and breathe for a while.

BabyBoy is off to camp tomorrow, so we've been doing laundry and filling out forms all day (really ALL DAY--I think the last time I really did concentrated laundry was somewhere in the middle of Beach Week. The 7th (and LAST, YAY) load is in the dryer now (not counting sheets and towels other than those necessary for camp) so the end is nigh, tfg) and there was a run to the grocery store early this morning, as every time I went to make something once we got home from NYC, I couldn't find half of what we needed and I am tired of take-out.

But! let's talk about food, yes? Mostly I want to talk about it b/c I want to whine about the reservations I ended up canceling when it was for sure BabyBoy coming with me, not D. I mean, on the one hand, BB eats very adventurously (much moreso than his father), but on the other, I'm not quite ready to take my 16 year old to restaurants with Michelin stars.

So, it was with Great Regret that I canceled reservations for Peter Luger Steakhouse (for D) and Le Bernardin (for me.) It's been more than 2 weeks since I canceled them and I still weep. An 8 p.m. Friday night reservation at Peter Luger! 8 p.m. (::weeps::) I don't want to talk about having to let go a table at Le Bernardin on Saturday night.

sigh

It was fine, I know, I know, this is hardly a real world problem. We shifted to a much more casual and open plan, and I think it worked really well. We did MoMA's free Friday hours (terribly crowded but still worth the walk) and then went to Toalache on Friday night, which was super-fun and very very good, even if we didn't find the courage to try the grasshopper tacos. (Apparently, BB can eat anything off an Asian menu, even if it has tentacles, but he drew the line at grasshoppers.) We mostly ate breakfast at the hotel (it came with the room, and ended up being room service which was a terrific timesaver, too.) On Saturday, we walked from Times Square down to the Strand, stopping at Bryant Park, where he wandered around and bought I know not what while I made the obligatory visit to the library. And then we spent some ridiculous amount of time at the farmers/green market at Union Square, where he zeroed in on anyone who had anything that looked immediately edible, especially the bakers. He did pretty good. But I did walk him a long way that day, so we had to detour to 8th Avenue on the way back, where there was a street fair in progress so he could eat MORE, despite early reservations for pre-theater dinner. 28" waists fall off him, too. So not fair.

Dinner that night was Becco on 46th Street, which satisfied some serious Italian cravings. And somehow, after having spent the better part of 2 days with me (AND having Pokémon Go on his phone) he managed to behave well enough that the ladies at the table next to us (all 60+) felt the need to tell me what a well-brought up young man he was (I decided they probably hadn't actually heard our conversation, as it centered on League of Legends (he's ranked pretty high), Orange Is The New Black, and the afore-mentioned Pokémon Go. But hey, we'd already had our political and social conversation while sitting in various airport lounges with CNN on constant loops.)

Breakfast on Sunday included both the room service stuff and a uber down to Russ & Daughters for actual NY bagels and schmear. It was Good. And then we came back up to Times Square so my geeky, Daredevil-loving kid could say he'd walked through Hell's Kitchen on the way to the Intrepid, before we walked over to see Wicked. Spoiler alert: there were treats at intermission. We didn't eat an actual lunch or dinner (after all that, you're shocked, I know) but we hung out on the 8th floor, outdoor lounge at the Marriott Marquis overlooking Times Square and grazed through their (so-so) apps menu (but the view was great and our server was the nicest woman in the world), until someone who is not me had their phone die from too much Pokémon hunting while doing all this walking. The weather, btw, was amazing--almost too cool but just fabulous.

Also, the AmEx Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia is worth the hassle of getting to Concourse B if you need food/drink/a computer/printer. They have actual food. And they pour great booze, just sayin'. (That's a whole other story, one for later this week or next.)

So, babbling about all this calmed me down and got me back to where dinner was a possibility. (First time doing pork chops sous vide and omg, so freaking good!) Cookies to all of you who've made it this far! ♥ ♥ ♥

wanderlust

Jan. 20th, 2016 05:16 pm
topaz119: (off to see the wizard)
For [livejournal.com profile] ancarett: Travel plan if money & time were no object

Hah, if I had the money, I’d be gone for so long it’d be better to just sell my house. Part of my thing with travel is that I can’t possibly know and understand a place if I just go there for a week. I want to stay and have it become part of me. I have a friend who travels a lot, and he keeps telling me that he always is looking for the next new place, and I do get that, but I keep thinking about all the stuff I still learn and find when I go back to places I’ve loved. So, if I traveled, I’d want to spend a while at each place, to the point that I might as just not worry about coming home. (Sadly, every time I investigate regular (ie, non-independently wealthy) people who travel for an extended period of time, I always stumble on the funding issue—selling my house/liquidating my retirement accounts to fund a year or two of life on the road does not seem to be a good trade, so I am still here in my normal life.)

But, if I had the money (and it wasn’t winter), I’d start with a loop through the Western US National Parks, the canyons (Bryce, Zion, Grand) and Monument Valley, and then heading north to Grand Teton and Yellowstone and Glacier.

And then I’d go back to Hawaii for the winter, basing the visit up in the hills overlooking Honolulu and bouncing around to the other islands, especially the volcanoes on the Big Island, but making sure I was around for the Triple Crown (surfing) on the North Shore. Then we could hopscotch across the South Pacific and end up in Tokyo in the spring. Possibly the summer, too, b/c the humidity in Singapore, etc, would probably knock me flat. But at some point, I’d need to see Hong Kong (staying on the Kowloon side so I could have those incredible views) and Shanghai (the girl who sits next to me at the new office has already offered her family’s home as a place to stay, but I have no idea where that might be.) I have worked with too many people from India to be in their hemisphere and not stop to visit, so Pune to begin with and then wherever they tell me to go.

I have no idea how one might go about tracing the Silk Road, but I’m sure somebody must offer a guided trip, which would put me back in Eastern Europe, so a stop in southeastern Poland to see if there’s anyone left of my father’s family would be good. We could knock around Prague and Budapest for a while, and maybe Turkey, as one of my bridesmaids has family there. Italy is always on the list, as is Switzerland. I could live in London and wander around the UK for forever. Norway would also be on the list for the Northern Lights and then it would be good to go south to Africa for the rest of the winter.

See? It just doesn’t ever end. :D
topaz119: (bats!)
Helllooooo, happy-almost-Halloween!

We did do the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot last weekend, and ended up really doing 3 fairly full days in the parks + the drive to/from, so this whole week has been an insane exercise in trying to catch back up. Work is also crazy-busy and now my f-i-l is in the hospital with an infection from a nasty cut he got out on the farm. I am indulging myself with a long and rambling Disney post, cut for your skimming convenience.

cutting for Disney planning contortions (non-food) )

okay, *now* for the food! )

If you read all that, you're awesome. (Even if you didn't, I am, as always, available for WDW consults. ♥)

good times

Jul. 17th, 2014 09:32 pm
topaz119: (ow fuck)
It was a beautiful day on the river yesterday (the Chattooga, right on the border of Georgia & South Carolina, also known as where they filmed Deliverance.) D & I have rafted a lot of different rivers over the years--the New and the Gauley in West Virginia, the Youghiogheney in Maryland/Pennsylvania, the Snake in Wyoming, etc) and in all the years we've done it, I've only been out of the raft once (Iron Ring on the Gauley, which is a Class V rapid and one that you *really* don't want to be out of the boat on, but we hit it wrong one year and I backflipped out, hit the water, and came up right alongside the raft as we all finished the rapid. It was pretty painless for a 'your life is in danger if you're in the water' kind of a rapid.)

Yesterday, I was out of the raft TWICE. The first one was a stupid little dip that I didn't get my lean away started early enough, but the second was Corkscrew, which is a Class IV and I went out on the high side and got to take the last 2/3rds of the damn drop on my own. blech. Our guide threw me a rope really fast (bless him) and then hauled me back in at the bottom (though I think he had to tell me 4 or 5 times that it was okay to let go of the line because by god, all my brain knew was that I HAD THE LINE AND I WASN'T GOING ANYWHERE.) He was pretty freaking adorable. At some point in there, I lost my paddle, Oldest's paddle (because the kid held it out to me but wasn't braced to take the torque of the current and wisely let go) and my pants.

Now, granted I was wearing swim shorts under my cargo pants, so it's not like I was flashing anybody, but it made for a great story, and an even better one when the above-mentioned adorable guide snagged them off a rock further downriver. :D

There are pictures of my Corkscrew debacle, which I got to commemorate the occasion (and D's birthday.) Unfortunately, they were having issues with their burner so they're mailing things out, but I will share when the CD arrives.

(I may possibly be getting too old for this shit, but I hurt less today than I did after the zip lines in Costa Rica a few years ago, so the weight training might be helping? maybe?)
topaz119: (wdw)
I haven't fallen off the edge of the world or anything, I'm just really behind on everything fannish and am trying desperately to avoid spoilers in multiple fandoms.

But! we're back from spring break and I have plans to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend, so that should alleviate some of the craziness. (I'm seriously not checking in anywhere, not even fb.)

Anyway. Disney World is still there and for the Disney-philes on my flist/circle, I will add that the new Festival of Fantasy parade at MK is fabulous (semi-decent pictures here and here on tumblr; having lunch with an Imagineer is pretty cool even before you add in good food at the Brown Derby; and Morgan Freeman now narrates the updated, actually-bearable Hall of Presidents presentation. No naps were taken! This trip turned into the restaurant tour, which you all know is not ever going to make me sad, so that was fun, too. (It's hard to top a window seat at the California Grill on a clear evening, but Be Our Guest gave it some good competition. I'll never eat at the Castle again. Also, the Kobe burger at Yak & Yeti is seriously awesome--yes, D orders burgers everywhere, but you knew this already. I think I have to give the lowest marks to Le Cellier, which was not bad, just didn't knock it out of the park food-wise and had nothing atmospheric going for it.)

Alsoalso, the third-party vacation club broker worked out perfectly, which let us snag a savannah view studio at Kidani Village for approximately the price of a moderate-resort room. Many thumbs up and I'll be happy to provide links if somebody is thinking about taking the plunge.

Actual fannish content to follow soon, promise!

Ciao, bellas!
topaz119: (A-Babies!Nat)
::waves::

So, I'm writing an Avengers/Agents of SHIELD/Hawkeye Clint/Coulson that I've wanted to write right from the start of AOS, and I'm posting it a chapter at a time, because that's the only way I can reliably finish anything these days... and that got long and boring )

...and that was probably 100x more than what you signed up for around here, but it feels like I just freed up my brain to keep going on the writing, so cut-text it is.

I feel vaguely guilty for doing anything but trying to write on this thing (I, er, underestimated how long it was going to take to claw out of the angsty hole I dug for everyone, so instead of a nice 15K fic, I'm about to crack 25K and still have a third of it to go, whoops), but I have managed to read a couple of books (I finally realized I could put my iPad in a ziploc bag and read in the bathtub, which makes life SO MUCH BETTER, duh.)

What I've Just Finished
So [personal profile] poisontaster not only sorted me out on where to start with Barbara Hambly, but also loaned me her pick, so Bride of the Rat God, it was. I enjoyed it immensely, especially the setting and atmosphere of 1920s Hollywood, which was vivid enough to be a character of its own. So, that was fun.

And then I resolved to actually *read* some of the sale-of-the-day e-books I compulsively buy, so I dove into the first of the Phryne Fisher mysteries, Cocaine Blues, and didn't come up until I'd gone through Flying Too High and Murder on the Ballarat Train (and #4 is on the way from the library.) I think it's safe to say I enjoyed the series--it's nice to read something outside the usual post-WWI setting of England/NYC (these are set in Australia) and Phryne is entertaining enough in her own way. Plus, dear lord, the *clothes*. I find myself googling her designers and imagining my grandmother (who was a knockout in her day) in various and assorted outfits. The mysteries are fine -- I never bother trying to work out who the villain is when I read these things, I just float along and (if all is working right) am entertained by the spectacle, which these are doing nicely.

What I'm Reading Now
Nothing, at the moment -- or, well, cookbooks as I sit around assorted therapist/orthodontist offices. Canal House Everday and Bouchon Bakery (which qualifies as strength training, too, as it is huuuge.)

What I'm Reading Next
Phryne Fisher #4--I can't remember the name, just that it's waiting at the library and tomorrow is conveniently enough a work-from-home day, so I can grab it on my errand run around the little town we live near.

Other random stuff
Spring break -- I am experimenting with a third-party broker for Disney Vacation Club properties and have a savanna-view studio reserved for approximately the price of a moderate-resort room. (This is mostly so that #2Son can hang out in the room and have something to see if the rest of vacationing gets to be too much for him.) I will report back on how it all turns out, but so far it's been pretty painless. I also started making dining reservations in November, as soon as D confirmed that the varsity team was playing in a WWoS tournament, so I'm holding Saturday evening fireworks-timing at the California Grill, a reasonable time for dinner at Le Cellier, and an actualfax dinner table at Be Our Guest. (My squee is only barely contained at this trifecta of Holy Grail restaurants.) The Flower & Garden Festival is doing food booths again this year, so that's cool; the new MK daytime parade starts in about a week (and has so many steampunky elements I might have to see it more than once); and the construction walls are down from around the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, with the possibility of it being in soft-opening by the time we get there. For this being my 4th trip in 9 months, I am ridiculously excited by all of this.

TV -- Behind on everything except for SPN but that's only because BabyBoy has caught the bug and watches it in the morning before school. I was very happy to see who I saw this week, even if I'm seriously ready to start smacking some sense into people named Winchester.

Movies -- We finally (!!!!) coordinated schedules and went to see The Hobbit last weekend, and all I can say is that I have given up trying to be rational about those movies. As soon as the score begins, I just fall into this place where I'm catching up with friends I haven't seen in decades and while I can objectively see where the first part was a little slow, I honestly didn't care. I think we're trying for the Lego movie this weekend; I have promised not to make loud comments about Manic Pixie Dreamgirls while there (note the 'loud' part, because that's as far as I was willing to go.)



Anyway. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I'm still here (and on tumblr and twitter and goodreads and pinterest -- come see me if you're hanging out there, too!)
topaz119: (celebrate)
We had 5 different dinner reservations but then we found a little bar tucked behind the bandstand at the Grand Floridian & we've been here since it opened. There are balloons waiting to be dropped at the appropriate time. Very exciting!

we've been collecting the glowing ice cubes for days now )
topaz119: (path through the woods)
::waves::

Things that have happened since last we chatted:
  • Drove 400 miles with BabyBoy for company. Browsed a book store. Ate wood-fired pizza.
  • Searched fruitlessly for a non-foofy angel to replace our beloved lady who lost her head last year due to an unfortunate ladder-climbing incident.
  • Baked 10 dozen Gingerbread Kisses for my mom's cookie exchange. (If I don't bake some, she won't go, and it's an easy trade-off for me to get her some socialization w/o my dad.)
  • Saw Thor 2 again, this time with my parents. (At some other time, I will go into the blissful irony of explaining comics book canon to the people who literally burned any copies of said comics if they found them in their house.)
  • Concocted a ham dinner with all the trimmings when we all decided we weren't in the mood to eat turkey multiple times during the week.
  • Ate wild mushroom ravioli and pan-seared grouper over grits and was harassed by my favorite waiter (he was upset that the Beach Week crew dared to come in on his off-day last summer, so I promised we'd check his schedule first next year.)
  • Did not check work email, not even once.
  • Drove 500 miles back home (detoured to pick up Oldest.) Met the new GF, looking and feeling my best after 6 hours in the car, but apparently did not scare her unduly.
  • Made an assortment of cream-soup-based casseroles for the in-laws Tgiving.
  • Spent Tgiving keeping my mouth shut and reading by the fire at said in-laws, surfacing only to show my father-in-law pictures of his niece on the red carpet at the Catching Fire premiere. Made a valiant attempt to explain the plot and her role in it, but crashed and burned.
  • Threw out the remains of the cream-soup-based casseroles.
  • Ran around and dug the house out from under all the crap so the wonderful lady who cleans for me could, y'know, find the house to clean.
  • While out stocking up on general food necessities, saw that they had fresh, free-range turkeys for under a dollar per pound and decided to make an actual Thanksgiving dinner, mostly because #2 had spent the week being overwhelmed and didn't get any feasting in.) I had cornbread dressing in the freezer, so I hit the (clean) house at about 4:30 and we were eating by 7:30. I have to link you to Smitten Kitchen's Green Bean Casserole because it is SO FREAKING GOOD. Holy moly, I was mostly just making it as general cooking therapy for me, but guh, it was amazing even though I made it with 1% milk instead of cream. (I'm not even apologizing to the tumblr/pinterest people who are seeing this again because it is just that good.)
  • Cleaned up the kitchen. Made brunch. Cleaned up the kitchen again.
  • Administered oxygen to the Auburn fans in the house after that finish.
  • Made dinner. Left the kitchen a wreck.
  • Read some stuff. Watched some other stuff. Caught up on AOS and Arrow. Didn't quite get there with SPN or Sleepy Hollow.
  • Did not shop. Am not 'mostly finished' with my holiday shopping. Do not care.

    My life. So exciting. ;-)
  • topaz119: (wdw)
    ...and then it was Monday and cold and raining and there was work and school and it was Tuesday and I had an all-day training class. But now I'm home and in my pajamas and trying to decide if I am motivated enough to go get some wood for a fire to brighten up the rest of the day...

    Back in the Land of Mickey )

    Tomorrow, I will have recs and other fannish content, but for now I think I am going to go hide under the covers and pretend like I don't still have to clean out my inbox. Ciao, bellas!
    topaz119: (ow fuck)
    oh, ffs, I can't for the life of me get this draft to save properly on AO3. So much for getting my [livejournal.com profile] marvel_bang queued up and ready. ::frowns::

    Random question: has anyone ordered from both welovefine and threadless? Can you tell me how the sizing runs in comparison? I've been eyeing the Banshee Squadron t-shirt, but the sizing is giving me headaches.

    This week's distraction to keep me from screaming at work is the countdown to the Disney Food & Wine Festival trip, which is currently at T minus 3 days and counting. Crossing my fingers that #2Son will be able to go with us, but if not, BabyBoy and I will go and meet friends and D/#2 will stay home and watch college football. (This is where I am contractually obligated my the terms of my marriage to add a WAAAAREAGLE. Sorry about that.) Anyway. BabyBoy is angling for an extra day in the parks to ride mountains, so we'll see how that unfolds. On the plus side, this is the first time in ... many years I haven't had to have a conference with his teachers about how he hasn't been turning in any assignments, so a little positive reinforcement probably isn't a bad idea. On the minus side, the kid is a born Slytherin so if I give him an inch, he'll weave it into a nonstop argument for a suite at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. He smiles so cutely when he argues, too. I can't wait until he turns that into an actual career and I don't have to finance it.

    Seriously. Why will this not save the extra chapters in draft format?
    topaz119: (HeartsFromTheBeach)
    Highlights this year included:

  • The Supermoon rising over the ocean the first weekend we were there**

  • The teenagers singing karaoke until dawn (literally)

  • A new grill at the house which rendered our standard first night feast of beef tenderloin rubbed with crushed garlic and rosemary, shrimp skewered on the rosemary stalks, and grilled asparagus into something ridiculously sublime

  • Four new pairs of sandals/flip-flops during the outlet shopping spree (I seriously need a pedicure now)

  • Some spectacular lightning storms over the ocean, the kind where you pull up a chair and go oooooo / aaaaaaaaah**

  • Some very wide-ranging, deep, meaning-of-life discussions with assorted teenagers on topics ranging from roommates of the opposite sex to Ayn Rand to Marvel vs. DC

  • Many books read (more on this topic on Wednesday)

  • Enforced no-work time as I left my laptop on the desk in my foyer, which was nice, except that meant I didn't really do anything with my Marvel Big Bang, which was not so nice

  • Frozen drink of the year was a Mike's Hard Lemonade slush layered with Firefly to make an extra-alcoholic frozen Arnold Palmer. Or possibly one of B's sangria concoctions--he had both red and white wine versions available this year. Any one of them made me cross-eyed before I got halfway through the first glass.

  • I'm not sure if having the staff at the Urgent Care Center recognizing us by sight is a highlight or a low light, but some years are just like that (one back strain, one wasp sting and not-good reaction, one mild case of strep.) Fortunately, this particular UCC is located right behind where our favorite Italian restaurant relocated to, so we could at least pick up a pizza for the injured/sick parties.

    I'm still unpacking coolers, much less clothes, so I'll just wish you all a happy Monday night and see if my brain comes back online later in the week. Ciao, bellas


    * -- for those new to the flist/circle, Beach Week is 8 adults, 10 kids, 1 ocean-front house, all the food and drink you could possibly imagine. We spend the week eating and drinking and playing bocce for shots, with the judicious application of outlet shopping and golf. We've done it for 22 years now and it still takes us a month to recover from it all.


    ** -- I'm crossing my fingers that someone got some good pictures of all this, as the moon was huge and orange as it rose and the lightning was hitting three and four strikes at at time.
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