I Got Nothin'

Sep 30, 2009

Working. Cooking in the kitchen. Listening to music that makes me happy. Running most evenings, though not tonight because my ankles are unhappy with all the pavement-pounding. Trying to finish a book before its due back to the library. Reconnecting with dear friends. Spending time with The Handsome One.

There are words percolating, but nothing I'm ready to share.

I think it's just adrenaline-let-down. That feeling you get when all the panic and anxiety and thrill are over.

Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose

Sep 28, 2009

Each generation asserts its modern values and dismisses the old, priding itself on its sophistication, its wisdom. We appear to have little in common with those that have gone before us. . . . But within these tunics of flesh, the human heart beats the same as it ever did. Greed, desire for power, fear of death, these emotions do not change. . . . The things that are fine in life, too, do not change. Love, courage, willingness to lay down one's life for what one believes in, kindness.

- Audric Baillard, from Kate Mosse's, Labyrinth

Catching My Breath

If sales is a marathon, then last week was a sprint. Do as much as you can, as fast as you can, and don't stop until you hit a wall.

And though it all seemed to end on Friday, I woke early Saturday morning, heart-pounding and sweating with anxiety. Raced downstairs to check my email and ended up working half the day to make sure a larger order cleared. Continued to dream of work and grind my teeth at night the rest of the weekend. Which kinda sucks.

In any case, today is day one of the new year. Primarily a cleaning-house kinda day, but still getting some quotes out and some orders in. But mostly, everyone in the office (those who strangely showed up today) are staring at each other in wide-eyed, shell-shocked silence. Battle fatigue, I guess.

Thoughts About My Personality Pattern

Sep 26, 2009

Passionate trait: Sometimes you react before you think.

Translation: You get yourself into lots of trouble, completely and totally of your own making.

Lesson: Shut up, already!


Aesthetic trait: You have good taste, and you're proud of it.

Translation: Pretentious bitch.

Lesson: Seriously! Shut up.


Creative Trait: [You] enjoy avant garde and classical music as well as literary fiction and scholarly non-fiction.

Translation: See? Pretentious. And boring.

Lesson: Perhaps you should pay a little attention to popular culture. Ok. A lot.


Introspective trait: You never feel bored when you are by yourself.

Translation: You have lots of imaginary friends to keep you company. You think we're joking.

Lesson: Get a life. Tout de suite.

Passionate, Aesthetic, Creative

Sep 25, 2009

I just took the Personality Pattern test.

Jennifer's Top Ten:


You are in touch with your emotions, and sometimes you react before you think. The good news: you don't tamp down your feelings. The bad news: you sometimes say or do things that you later wish you could take back. You do not live your life on an even keel; you do not go for long periods without experiencing some mood swings.


You appreciate art, beauty, and design; you know that they are not superficial but absolutely crucial to living the good life. You have good taste, and you're proud of it. Those with a high score on the "aesthetic" trait are often employed in literary or artistic professions, enjoy domestic activities — doing things around the house — and are enthusiastic about the arts, reading, and travel. You don't think it's pretentious to be moved by art and beauty. You're not one of those who believe it doesn't matter what something looks like as long as it does its job.


You are good at solving problems, coming up with original ideas, and seeing connections between things, connections that most other people miss. People with a high score on the "creative" trait often are employed in such fields as finance and scientific research, and enjoy avant garde and classical music as well as literary fiction and scholarly non-fiction. You do not shun abstractions and concepts in favor of the concrete and tangible.


You like your own company; you're a very interesting person. Tracking your own mental processes, knowing what you're thinking and why you do what you do, is important to you. Often, what's going on in your mind is more compelling than what's going on outside. For the most part, those with a high score on the "introspective" trait enjoy reading, taking long walks, learning new things, and other solitary activities. You are not someone who is constantly looking to be among a group of friends; you never feel bored when you are by yourself.


You are a private person, not very comfortable in a big group, and view excessive socializing as a waste of time. You do not prefer hanging out with others to spending time alone; you do not tend to feel at home in a crowded room, club, stadium, or auditorium.


You like to think a task through before you embark on it. If it's the slightest bit complicated, you make a list (even if it's only in your mind) and methodically work your way through it. When you have a goal in mind, you're not satisfied until you reach it. You are not one of those people who ignore the details, and you don't understand how anyone can get anything accomplished without thoughtful planning ahead of time.


You are not a slave to your emotions. It takes a lot to upset or unnerve you. That's why you're a good person to have around in a crisis. You don't let it all hang out, which means that those around you often don't know the pressures you're under or what you're going through. You're not the kind of person people run from in a crisis.


You are a quick study. You generally don't need to have things explained to you more than once. When presented with a problem, you will often have an instant understanding of where to look for the solution. You do not take your sweet time when presented with a new task to complete or problem to solve. You don't avoid assignments that require you to learn new skills.


You are thoughtful, rational, and comfortable in the world of ideas. People find you interesting to talk to. You're the living embodiment of the saying "You learn something new every day." In general, those with a high score on the "intellectual" trait are employed in such fields as teaching and research, and are enthusiastic about reading, foreign films, and classical music. You do not avoid abstract conversation, experimenting with new ideas, or studying new things. It bores you to stick to the straight and narrow of what you already know.


You are somewhat shy, or at least unwilling to spend all your time socializing. With you it's true that "still waters run deep," which is why many of your acquaintances never get to know you well. You are not always ready to talk at the drop of a hat. Whether you're in the office or at a party, you're not likely to be found gabbing away in the middle of a group of people.

Now it's your turn. Take the test, post your results on your blog, and leave a link in the comments.

The Government You Deserve

The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

- Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


Sep 24, 2009

Lesson for Jennifer:

Myriad sources of frustration and anger do not make it acceptable to lash out the nearest easy target. The height of love is to behave in love, regardless of the circumstances in life. You wanna prove you love someone, then ACT that way. Regardless of how you're feeling. You're feelings don't matter as much as the person you claim to love.

Now, go apologize. And mean it.

Doing It Backwards

Sep 23, 2009

Cook chicken. Cook veggies. Cook rice. In that order.

Bringing hot food to the plate all at the same time: FAIL

*shakes head and sighs*

On the upside, tried a new chicken recipe with a white wine reduction. It called for mustard and sour cream, but since I have neither on hand, I sauteed onions, artichoke hearts, and fresh spinach with butter, seasoned with fennel*, parsley, pepper, and sea salt. Stirred in the reduction, et voila - seriously delicious dinner.

fennel seed, which I minced by hand with my big chef's knife. By hand. Which was an adventure unto itself, what with all the projectile fennel bits that kept flying around the kitchen. I'll be sweeping the pieces out of corners for a decade, I swear. Note to self: buy spice mill.

Cooking in the Kitchen

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Even when I'm not cooking, that's were I hang out to surf the Internets or write about wine or stare out the back window at the doves in the cedar tree. But in the interest of honesty, I thought I'd share some of my more exciting kitchen adventures:

Exploding beverages. Like Perrier. We've also cleaned out the freezer with Diet Coke, which works exactly the same way.

Flaming kitchen linens. Including two potholders and a cup towel.

Cremated sauce pans. You would not believe the smell.

Watering the ivy on top of the refrigerator. And, consequently, the entire refrigerator. And the cat.

The broken faucet that sprayed water all over me, the backsplash, the window, the walls. And the cat.

Coffee pot overflowing its basket and spewing hot coffee and wet grounds over the counter top and floor.

Blender lid not firmly fixed in place, resulting in an artistic spattering of chocolate sauce.

I could tell you more horror stories, but we've all set off the smoke alarm and covered the microwave interior in marinara. What's your most surprising kitchen misadventure? Go on, tell us. We won't laugh. Much.

Hello and Welcome to Autumn

Sep 22, 2009

A thunderstorm swept through Central Texas last night bringing rain and cooler weather. Just in time for the official end of summer. Yesterday, our high was 94 degrees; today we'll won't see 80. Autumn, indeed!

How did Texas know?

Observing the Natives

Sep 21, 2009

Handsome and I took a walk around the park yesterday, which in and of itself is neither noteworthy nor unusual.

What was unusual was the group of strangely clad individuals nerf-sword fighting in the wooded area on the hill above the lake. We are assuming they were rehearsing for the Texas Renaissance Festival, because they carried the aforementioned nerf-swords and several crudely painted shields. And they wore knee-breeches and tall boots and doublets and puffy shirts and stuff. Except that one chick in the jester pants and bikini top.

A quarter mile later we encountered an odd group of middle aged men with their radio-controlled flying machines. Little miniature helicopters and planes tricked out with smoke kits and performing aerial acrobatics.

A little while later, we passed a large pavilion being outfitted with a full band and eight huge speakers. The ladies in attendance had covered the entire shelter with baby blue and white crepe paper decorations. It was probably preparation for a quinceaños party. On a school night.

Somehow we missed the disc golf tournament that had occupied most of the park, closing the walk trails, from Friday to Sunday afternoon. But we did not miss the RV sale-a-thon being conducted in the ball-park parking lot. Imagine a sea of giant, shiny, new RVs and giant, not-so-shiny, not-so-new people. And a million semi-deflated balloons.

And me and Handsome in our own little universe, making up stories about the strangers in the park. Modern-day socio-anthropologists.

J. Lohr Arroyo Seco Chardonnay (California 2007)

Sep 18, 2009

Delicious and half-price! New review at the Baptist Wine Club.


Sep 17, 2009

If I keep moving I can get it all out of my system. Run hard enough, long enough; sweat enough; lose my breath.

Maybe, just maybe, I can keep ahead of it all. I'll get to the end of the road, find out what I'm made of.

Temptation and exhaustion seduce me to my knees, fall on my face, close my eyes, cry.

Endless pursuit. Endlessly pursued.

"Rest when I'm dead" just might be truth.

The Time Is Now Again

Feeling unlimited
Still unsatisfied
Changes never end

Ceiling unlimited
Windows open wide
Look and look again

Feeling unlimited
Eyes on the prize
Changes never end

Winding like an ancient river
The time is now again

Hope is like an ancient river
The time is now again

-Rush, Ceiling Unlimited

Music On. Brain Off.

Sep 16, 2009

Maná - Revolución de Amor

Relaxing music with lyrics I can't really understand, so it's easy to turn off the worry and anxiety of the day. Perfect for a quiet evening at home cooking in the kitchen. Or elsewhere.

Favorites: Justicia, Tierra y Libertad, Pobre Juan, Mariposa Tracionera and Eres Mi Religión.

Things I Forgot To Remember

Sep 15, 2009

I can't worry when I'm running. I can only concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, of breathing, of my body screaming for oxygen. The rhythm of the music. The sound of my breath.

I have no time or attention for the work left undone on my desk and waiting for my return in the morning, or the dishes in the sink, or dinner to be cooked.

It's just me and the pounding of my feet and heart. The music. My breath.

The Grocery List

dish washing liquid
diet coke
salad stuff
bananas, apples
asparagus, spinach, broccoli
fish, chicken, turkey
yummy sausages that are bad for you


Guess someone doesn't like the diet.

Telling Secrets

Of alcohol and irony. At the Baptist Wine Club.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (But Not Really)

Sep 14, 2009

We live in a quiet suburban neighborhood, where everyone smiles and waves at each other as they park in garages which they close behind them. The yards are manicured and fenced; kids ride bikes in safety, graffiti the sidewalks in chalk and generally make too much noise.

Several years ago, a couple with three children bought the house to our immediate east. We share a property line and sixty feet of fencing. Like all new homeowners they set about making the place their own. They built giant flower boxes edged in plywood and kept stuff in the garage but their cars in the driveway.

And then in June, they decided to dig a hole to China. With a jackhammer. At 8 AM. On a Saturday.

I'm guessing it was meant to be a fish pond. Until they ran into the Central Texas bedrock approximately two inches below the topsoil. And forgot to put in a liner. Or water, a filter, fish, water plants, anything actually. For three months.

So it's really just a failed attempt at a large-ish fish pond/water garden thing. And with all the rain this past weekend, it's now a muddy bog surrounded by limestone shrapnel breeding mosquitos - which they cannot seem to keep in their own yard.

I think I'm gonna need a bigger fence.

For The Record

I am not so much of a lush that I was able to drink three entire bottles of wine this weekend. There's about half a bottle of each left, just so you know.

This means there will probably be a few days before the next wine review at the BWC. Maybe we'll tell Baptist drinking jokes instead.

Callia Alta Torrontes (Argentina 2008)

Read more about this fantastic white at my new blog: Baptist Wine Club.

Middle Sister Rebel Red (California)

Sep 13, 2009

Dateline 1993 - Mom: "We didn't expect you to be the rebellious one." Me: "I'm not trying to be rebellious."

Dateline 2009 - Me: "Ok. I am trying to be rebellious. Well, a little." (Hi Mom!)

This red blend was simply irresistible. And not only because it was on sale for $9.99 at the HEB. I blame the funky Middle Sister in platform heels; residing in Santa Rosa, California, apparently. Little Sis and I don't have a middle sister, but if we did, I'm sure she'd have put our pathetic attempts at rebellion to shame.

At first sip, this Zinfandel-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend is light and refreshing. It's clean and dry, lightly tannic, strongly cherry/raspberry, with a lingering, mild tobacco taste. Subtle, but out of the ordinary for a California Zin-Merlot-Cab blend. And also just right for dinner at home with take-out pizza on a (long overdue) rainy night.

I'll confess this one is not something I'll add to the regular rotation, but I might be persuaded to pick it up on sale. Maybe. If all the stars align. Or I'm feeling rebellious.

Procrastinate Sauvignon Blanc (California 2006)

Sep 12, 2009

I picked up this surprising SB at HEB for only $9. I mean really, who can pass up a label like "Procrastinate?" Not this procrastinator, so I didn't. I bought it.

It helped that I was planning salmon with asparagus and rice for dinner, for which Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are my preferred selections. It also helped that the label describes its contents as "vibrantly aromatic" with "notes of lime and lemon grass . . . ruby grapefruit, peach and citrus peel . . . tangerines." Sounded perfect for dinner.

I was taken aback by the smooth, buttery mouth-feel and the balanced fruitiness, not things I'm accustomed to in a SB - which I usually find citrusy and crisp. And Handsome noticed a subtle yeastiness, which normally I avoid but works well for this wine.

It was good alone as I was preparing our meal and was pleasant with buttered French bread though it clashed rather severely with a half-wedge of Brie we were trying to finish up. I probably should have served the aged Provolone Picante hiding in the fridge instead - something to remember for next time. (Because really, who serves Brie with white wine?)

With dinner, the lemon grass and citrus peel flavors stood out making the wine taste more like what a Sauvignon Blanc normally tastes like. Crisp, cool, delicious, great with fish.

So yes, "vibrantly aromatic." Easy drinking. Inexpensive. A welcome addition to the wine list here at Chez Knighton.

Baptist Wine Club

Sep 11, 2009

You know who you are. Your parents are teetotalers (hi Mom!). You didn't see the inside of a liquor store till you were 25. Your first wine was a White Zinfandel.

Eventually, you learned a little more and tried Merlot. And behold, it was good!

And the, one day, you took a California vacation, including a trip trough The Wine Country. *insert chorus of angels here*

And you've never been the same since.

At least, I've never been the same since.

But one thing remains - the Baptist in you. (And me. Hi Mom!)

That conservative streak that refuses to pay more than $12 a bottle. Who still looks around to see if anyone you know from church is in the wine aisle at the grocery store. Who occasionally feels a little guilty stocking up on your favorite when it goes on sale. And who still enjoys a little frisson when you remember you're a good, little Baptist who isn't supposed to drink wine.

But drink wine you do! And you enjoy it, and so do I.

Therefore, please allow me to present the Baptist Wine Club. A new regular installment featuring inexpensive, easily available wines that I enjoy and that I think you might like as well. Unless you're still a teetotaler. (Hi Mom!)

I ♥ Sprouts Farmers Market

Sep 10, 2009

Do you have one of these near you? If you do, well, are you in for a treat!

In my extensive travels to the Pacific Northwest, I became accustomed to a great little place called Trader Joe's. It was one of my favorite stores, and not only because they sell Three Buck Chuck but also because it was a friendly little place with a unique selection. And for the past year, I've been sending regular location recommendations, basically begging TJ's to come to Texas.

Well, they didn't.

But Sprouts did! (The diety of organic grocers must have seen fit to redirect my prayers to a more suitable solution.)

Sprouts is a little larger than Trader Joe's, offers a far wider selection of produce (much of it local and organic), has better priced natural meat, chicken, and seafood than Whole Foods or Central Market, has a huge, reasonably-priced bulk foods section and a wide selection of vitamins, minerals, and "natural" cleaners and bath products.

For the past two nights, we've enjoyed the best tasting, most tender (cut-it-with-a-butter-knife-tender, seriously) natural, grass-fed steaks we have ever eaten in our lives. For only $7 to $8.50 per pound, ya'll! For Filet Mignon! I kid you not. I also purchase some hormone- and antibiotic-free, farm-fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts for only $3.50/pound. And I purchased local fruit and veggies for an average of $0.99 per pound, including organic Cameo apples for $1.29/pound.

And let's not forget inexpensive wine. At least as good as Three Buck Chuck is the Tisdale Cabernet & Merlot. And the $3 Marcus James is even better than that and was a surprisingly flavorful accompaniment with some imported French Brie we also picked up. But be ye warned: three-dollar wines are three dollars for a reason. Enjoy them with food or use in marinades, and don't drink too much in one sitting. Which, really, goes without saying for all adult beverages, I guess.

So, go there! Shop! Eat! Drink! Be Merry!

Voice of Reason

Sep 9, 2009

What she says:

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

-Camille Paglia, Too Late for Obama To Turn It Around?

Foot Joy

These are my new favorite flip flops. And you know why? Because they have an arch (a flip flop with an arch!!!!), and they are soft and mushy. I have seriously happy feet!

I'm Surrounded

Sep 8, 2009

Overheard #1: "She's like Lando Calrissian's executive assistant."

Overheard #2: "So we bought a minivan this weekend. It even has a special cup-holder for my b@11$."

Overheard #3: "Dude, you've just given us enough ammunition to mock you for the next couple years."

Oh Hai!

For my birthday, I got two fireworks displays, dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, barbeque on the beach, a few days away from it all, and a tan.

DMV = Diversity in Action

Sep 1, 2009

Everyone was there this morning:

The tattooed guy with an ankle monitor. (Not suggesting that tattoos lead to the kinds of criminal activity that necessitate ankle monitors. Just observing.)

The middle-aged real estate agent who engaged everyone in conversation. (Loud, boring, trite conversation. Sales people are all alike.)

The blonde bombshell in stiletto heels, carrying a ridiculously giant handbag. (One wonders how she stood in line for an hour in those shoes and with that weight on her arm!)

The huge black man carrying a tiny little girl dressed in a profusion of pink ruffles. (He was also carrying her giant sparkly, pink diaper bag, which on him looked teeny-tiny.)

The octogenarian who lost his driver's license. (And who forgot to bring his wallet or any form of photo identification with him. Wondering if he should really be driving?)

An assortment of messy teenagers and well-groomed immigrants taking driving tests. (Whose excess of parents and family filled every available chair in the place and most of the prime leaning spots on the walls.)

And yours truly. (Possibly the strangest of the bunch.)