Birthday Girl
Yesterday was my sister's 21st birthday. Leave her a belated birthday wish on her Xanga site if you feel like it.

Giving of Thanks
Pictures of the weekend.
Our house was full of family and friends this weekend. Both sets of grandparents made the trek to Arizona for a warm holiday celebration. Saturday we had our annual Orange Pancake Breakfast, which may just be my favorite day of the year. We had the comfort of family, neighbors and friends over for orange sourdough pancakes (best pancakes ever), and it was almost like the days of crowded dinner parties with old friends in Manhattan.

Requisite Cheese
Things I'm thankful for:
+ Bandit, cutest puppy ever
+ My view of the mountains through the scaffolding of the building being constructed in front of my work window.
+ Figuring out how to filter out the 200+ spam messages delivered to my work email over the weekend. (I had been able to avoid all spamming until now.)
+ The 40º "cold snap," that lets me pretend winter is here. Turtleneck sweaters! Yay!
+ Yolanda the Honda's current mileage: 43.5 mpg
+ Mom's Chocolate Pecan Pie
+ Baby Viviane's babbling
+ Barb, the irreverent, 60ish-year-old lesbian in our Sunday School class
+ Coffee-mate's Cinnamon Vanilla Crème creamer
+ Leftovers for lunch
+ Jeffrey Sachs
+ Grey's Anatomy, even though I totally forgot to tape it and Desperate Housewives last night while we were out for Ally's birthday dinner.


Mi semana en México por los números
10 Approximate yards from my room to the beach.
4 Bruises sustained from learning how to windsurf.
1.5 Hours spent kayaking on the ocean.
3 References to The Wizard of Oz ("You're certainly not in Kansas anymore, are you?!" — And people think they're so clever when they say that, as if they must be the first person who has helped me achieve this enlightenment.)
5 Middle-aged American men who bought me drinks.
2 Young Mexican men who bought me drinks.
0 Drinks I bought.
6 Times I heard Madonna on the radio.
1 Tackle shop named "Master Baiter" in the city center.
Also 1 Woman wearing a Willies t-shirt (the Columbia bar) in the Puerto Vallarta airport. She grew up in CoMo and still lives there.
809 My America West flight home.
Countless One-kiss greetings on the cheek.

• Mexicans smoke. A lot. There were ashtrays on top of the toilet paper dispensers in the airport.
• I am much more impressed with my French retention after realizing how little Spanish I've remembered from elementary school. (Although I could easily recall "Vino tinto, por favor," the phrase I memorized before spending a weekend in Barcelona two and a half years ago.) Actually, I impressed myself with how quickly I learned, thanks to my Mexican traveling partners/language coaches: Rocio, Maria, Fernando and Diego. Although, I did find myself creating some kind of English-Spanish-French hybrid language: Sprench. "Oú est les baños?"
• Not only has Wal*Mart (plus Sam's Club), McDonald's and Madonna invaded Mexico, but so has Gold's Gym, KFC and — horrors! — Comic Sans on local signage.
• They pronounce their "V" more like "B," so Puerto Vallarta sounds more like, "Porto Bayarta."

How I ended up spending an evening in the penthouse of the resort with a trio of millionaires
I'm sitting on the bus between the parking lot and the Phoenix airport when the middle-aged guy across the aisle from me says, "So where are you heading?" "Mexico," I reply. "Really? Where in Mexico?" he asks. "Puerto Vallarta," I reply again. "Really? Where are you staying?" he asks yet again. "A resort called the Playa del Sol Grand, I think," I reply for the third time. "Ha! Same here! I own a condo there." Having grown up with a timeshare-owning family, the phrase, "We have a condo there," hasn't ever really impressed me, because I'd always interpreted that as owning a week at a condo, not the unit itself. He was meaning it literally, though. He owns the penthouse unit. And during his time there, dropped another $2.2 mil on two more condos, including another penthouse. Idiot that I am, I never even thought to give them my card, or ask for any of their's in return. So I'll probably never see my Phoenix golf-course owning millionaire friends again.

Pictures TK...as soon as I take the time to install my new camera software on Jack the Mac

While I was out
The following notable events happened:
Kate and Adam got engaged!
My sister was accepted to a summer institute at Georgetown.
Ralph Edwards died. This is significant for our family; my grandfather will be speaking at his funeral.
Bill Snyder retired from coaching the K-State football team.


Barack Obama is a rockstar
He also has nice hands. I went to hear the senator from Illinois at a rally in support of 2006 Senate candidate Jim Pederson on the ASU campus this afternoon. It made me miss the fun and excitement of election season. And true to his reputation, Barack "Too Hot for HottestUSSenator.com" Obama had quite the swooning following, including someone who had strung up a "I LOVE OBAMA" banner.

I didn't get that fancy degree for nothin'
After the rally, and after I shook his hand and told him, "Thanks for all your hard work, Senator," I managed to get snagged by a reporter for the East Valley Tribune who proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions. (Nosy reporters.) When I had answered them to her satisfaction, she told me, "You know this job requires me going up to random people anywhere from 8-years-old to adults and asking them a bunch of questions, and I don't think I've ever had anyone answer my questions so concisely and clearly and eloquently as you." (Concise! Clear! Correct! -- Of course my opinions are correct!) My response: "Well, I have to admit that I graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, so I've been in your shoes before and I know a bit about what you're looking for." "Cheater!" she replied.

I went to the fights tonight, and a hockey game broke out
I got my introduction to hockey tonight at a Coyotes game against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. (An appropriate opponent because my only previous experience with the sport was The Mighty Ducks, the movie.) I would have benefited greatly from the expertise of my many northern friends who grew up in hockey country. The game halted several times without any clear reason, players all of a sudden jumped over the wall at random (yet seemingly planned) times, and penalties were dished out without explanation. But I enjoyed myself and was surprised at how graceful the athletes can be on the ice in such bulky outfits.


We live in a digital world, and I am a digital girl
I need a replacement camera for my slow, clunky HP -- stat. Do you like yours? What would you recommend? I'm looking for a point-and-shoot with enough pixels to be able to print in a magazine if needed. But I can't break the bank with this one.

This place looks nice, doesn't it?
I'll be chillin' there next week.


Do you know how hard it is to sit on exciting news like this?
Natalie is pregnant!!!! The first of my friends to have a little person growing inside her!!! Check out Jason's very scientific analasys on Nat's blog to see what Baby Wilson will look like.


A haiku for you
I've been quite busy
Deadline lessons must be taught
A real post will come