Take THAT You Turkey (or Season's Greetings from the Christmas Plague Rat)!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (almost)! We had a wonderful visit with Adam's folks, as well as his Uncle Chris and my Dad. Daddy wins the Christmas Trials & Tribulations Award for spending the night in Chicago O'Hare airport with three pounds of frozen tamales and no phone charger when his connecting flight to Rochester was cancelled. AND THEN his flight out today was cancelled - so we'll be seeing him off at 4:30 this morning instead. Standing ovation please!

And... WhaBAM! Turkey chili! Courtesy of the Houston law firm Whoosie, Whatsit & Thingimie - the world's cutest little cajun spiced turkey was delivered to our door amongst the holiday loot. The thing that amazed me was that the six of us did not polish it off Christmas Day! So less than 24 hours after Christmas dinner - I used the left-overs to make chili to go with the fabulous tamales Daddy brought along from Dallas. Mmmmmm...


O Christmas Tree...

Nothing of particular note has occurred in recent days, other than the acquisition of a rather stunning fir tree which we will decorate shortly. There's this place near our house that is a crazy huge garden-supply/nursery during the warmer months. At this time of year, they serve as Fir Tree Mecca and Purveyors of Poinsettias. They also have a miniature electric train set-up that takes up more space than our living room.

Nothing gets you in the spirit more than a tree that makes you feel short...

We're not talking about the soup.


Black Friday, Turkey Soup

We are partaking of a time-honoured family tradition this year and have made the leftover turkey soup. Last Thanksgiving, we had intended to make the soup, but forgot and left the turkey out on the counter all night. Ah well. So this year, the Mr. jumped on the soup-wagon straight off and got it boiling before the dishes were in the dishwasher. We'll just have to wait and see if we uphold the remainder of the tradition, which is apparently to do absolutely nothing with this turkey broth until we are so frightened of its potential that we have to toss it out. I've heard tell of this road... it's paved with good intentions.

And yes, I worked the bookstore today. We'll just say the customers were friendlier than my coworkers today, and THAT'S saying something. I'm wondering how I'll make it through the season. I do believe I shall be dependent upon the kindness of strangers.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers, y'all!


Newsflash! from Seattle

For the second time, bridesmaid Jill has called to tell me she has (and I quote) big news. The first time was several years ago, and she followed that statement with "No I'm not pregnant, but WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!". You know, she never did send me any pictures of that house... or of the Newfoundland they adopted... are you feelin' the guilt yet, Jill?

Anyhow, earlier this week, Miss Jill called and said she had (and again I quote) big news. This time, she told me I'm going to be an AUNTIE! OK - as close to an Auntie as I'm ever likely to be - but still! The funniest bit is - the baby apparently likes cheeseburgers! My friend, Miss Jill of the Vegetable, is gestating a carnivore!

Everybody raise a cup of OJ to the west! Congrats to Jill & Chris!


A Weekend to Remember

This was one trip none of us will forget! You may remember groomsman Danny from last July... well, we attended his wedding this past weekend in Atlanta! Now - people always refer to Atlanta as HOTlanta, but I think we'll rename it FOGlanta. As we sat in the airport in Rochester, listening to other flights being cancelled due to (and I quote the pilot here) "poopy" weather in Atlanta, and watched people pile up at the desk to rearrange connections... we were glad of our non-stop schedule. We were also glad that our flight was NOT cancelled, merely delayed for 2.5 hours. We eventually met up at the airport with (also delayed) Novo Collegians Naomi and Kelcey, and Kelcey's husband Mike, and wound our way to Stone Mountain.

The day of the wedding dawned clear and calm, if a bit too chilly for an outdoor ceremony (once again, so much for HOTlanta). Danny called to let us know the 6PM ceremony would be moved inside, and we all met up for coffee. Long story short, with six of us (including Danny the Groom) enjoying our coffee and the view of the lake and the brisk Fall air on our fifth floor balcony, the sliding door locked behind us. After several panicky minutes and quite a bit of nervous laughter, we discovered that Kelcey had the hotel phone number saved in her cell phone (lucky it was in her pocket). So we called the front desk, and asked for someone to come let us back in. Yay for cell phones!

Fast forward through a calm and uneventful afternoon to the ceremony. The guests in their finery, men in tuxes and suits, ladies in cocktail dresses, the bride in a lovely beaded strapless gown. The stately processional, the warm welcome, the readings, the vows. The fire alarm. Yes. Fire alarm. Followed by evacuation, with outdoor temps in the forties. The most impressive thing to me was the relative calm of the bride and groom. I would have been howling! I would have stalked the empty hotel, raging at anyone I came across! But Danny was steady and calm, Shelley shed just a few quiet tears. And after the fire department came and cleared us to re-enter the building, the wedding party reassembled at the front, the smiling and laughing bride and groom RE-processed to a standing ovation, and the ceremony resumed with grace.

So how do you follow that? With cocktails and dinner and dancing to an excellent live band till they kicked us out! I must say the Hora was a first for me, and somewhat nerve-wracking (and I was just watching). Shelley looked just a little concerned as well!

So - with the couple safely married and shipped off to Cancun, we returned to our cozy nest here in Rochester. We got settled in, and when I checked my email, I discovered that some other folks have been making memories too! My friend Chloe delivered a baby girl on Friday, and my cousin Allison and her fiancé Danny popped down to the courthouse and got married on Thursday!

What a weekend!


Yeah We Did...

Activity was brisk, but lines were moving very quickly. Staffers said it was unusually busy.



Everybody Raise Your Glass...

And a GREAT BIG super happy congrats to the lovely Miss Heidi P and the notorious Mr. Stephen VanD!

Heidi (my Maid of Honor) and Stephen (who I suspect contributed to my own wedding in more ways than I know) got engaged last week! Now - I only met Stephen for the first time last July, when he accompanied HP to Dallas for the Clark/Rains Extravaganza, and I am so glad he did because I can be totally and unequivocally ecstatic for them both! These are two of the most fun-loving people on the face of the earth and I am so glad they found each other. They're gonna be dancing circles around each other for the rest of their lives!


Blogging for Warmth

So, it's been a wee bit chilly here of late. We had an exceedingly temperate summer and early fall, but I've been glad of the furnace most nights this month. On Tuesday, parts of the Rochester metropolitan (HA!) area were slated for snow, so I was not particularly surprised to wake up shivering. I got bundled up and headed downstairs. I WAS surprised when I looked at the thermostat, and the temperature in the living room was LOWER than the thermostat setting.

I raised the setting. Nothing.

I turned the thermostat off. And back on. Click. AAAAnd nothing.

Into the basement, and the furnace is definitely doing SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what.

Called Adam, "I'm cold and the heat won't come on! Help!" and on his recommendation,

Switched the thermostat to FAN. Ooh! Air... blowing! But not heat.

Eight hours later... the HVAC Man squeezes me into the end of his day. Stuck valve, unstuck ("SmartValve" = not so much). As HVAC Man says $600 to replace this genius valve on an 11 year old furnace - here's hoping it doesn't stick again. He also says that a NEW furnace would likely save us $600 in fuel costs in the first year. Any of you priced furnaces lately? nnngah...

So here's me REALLY appreciating the warmth that my laptop produces while I'm typing.


ETSY of the Week!

OK all you lovely people - it's time for a new game!

For those of you who have not met Etsy, let me introduce you. Etsy is an online marketplace that is chock full of handmade goodies. You can get everything from pottery and paintings to soap or clothing. There's stuff for you, stuff for your house, stuff for your pets, stuff for your kids. And MORE. And all in support of small business people making things by hand! I do not have a shop right now, but when the time comes to reopen my studio...

So here's the plan. Once a week, I'm going to post a link (just off to the right) to a cool Etsy shop I've found. Check it out! You never know when you'll discover the perfect treat for that person who's SO hard to buy for (you know who I mean...).


Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

So the Mr. has been working in up Montreal for longer than I care to contemplate, and lucky for me, I had the forethought MANY weeks ago to request off several days in a row so that I might attend Canadian Thanksgiving for a change. So, new tires on the little Golf, and off I trundled on Friday... up I81 and across the 401, in a blaze of glory. It was beyond lovely to see Adam, and to NOT be at the bookstore. We had turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes, courtesy of Malibu. I even made cheese grits. I think the cranberry sauce may have eaten a hole in my tongue...

There is really no adequate segue... so I will just say that Monday morning, Adam's step-dad Jim had a small stroke. We are thankful that it was a small stroke. We are thankful that Prue noticed something was not right. We are thankful that he agreed to go to the hospital. We are thankful that he is OK.

I am home now, sans husband.


That Sound You Just Heard...

I know you thought it was the breeze ruffling those glowing yellow leaves on that tree at the stoplight, but no. It was the gentle exhale of someone who LOVES autumn. I love the changing colors of the trees and the still green grass, highlighted against approaching rain clouds. And the way the maple around the corner seems like it has a light inside it when the sun comes out. I like wearing a scarf, even without a jacket (I know. You're shocked). I like the smell of the damp, cool air. And the aroma of other people's lit fireplaces after dark. Each season has its own particular beauty, each its own little awe-inspiring moments. But Fall? The sole drawback to the autumnal season would be that it is my absolute worst allergy season.

Perhaps more of a wheeze than an exhale, but a very appreciative wheeze all the same.


Note to Self...

When you put cream on a cat's leg without covering it with a bandage (because said cat has somehow sprouted four extra legs), the cat will lick the wound even more... hmmf.


My Day Off

Things I did on my day off today:

  • Drycleaner. Check.
  • Post office. Check.
  • Gas station. Check.
  • Grocery store. Check.
  • Played with iPhone. Check.
  • Nap. Check.


  • Made lasagna.
  • Took a "Thanks but No Thanks" call from a prospective employer. Hey, at least they called.
  • New batteries in the thermostat so I can TURN THE HEATER ON, cuz it's officially Fall now...


Nori had her follow-up vet check. Two more weeks of soft foods, because she somehow popped her stitches. And now, in addition to her twice daily antibiotic, I have to put cream on her leg (six times a day) where they shaved it last week, because SHE WON"T STOP LICKING IT and it's all raw and angry.

Do I know how to live it up or what?


Poor Nori...

Oh my poor kitty! She had an appointment this morning to have her teeth cleaned. In spite of her gluttonous intake of prescription dental kibble and tartar control cat treats, she needs occasional professional tooth care. Last time she had a cleaning, they took out three teeth. This time, they took out more. More than three that is. Cat dentistry is about as expensive as people dentistry, except my cat isn't on my health insurance plan. It would seem that much like people, some cats (like my poor Nori) just have worse teeth than others. Unlucky in the genes, I suppose. Anyhow, she survived the anesthetic and had a good swipe at the tech through her cage door. They recommended we restrict her to one room for the evening, so I let her out of the carrier in our bedroom. She ran straight under the couch and hid. So, I went out to get her a snack and a litter box, and shut the door behind me. I kid you not - THREE SECONDS LATER - she was downstairs in the living room. Now she's curled up on one of the new chairs, recovering from the trauma. I'm REALLY looking forward to dispensing her medication tomorrow! Won't that be fun?

What on earth made me think that the day I take the cat to the vet would be a good day to take my car to the mechanic to get that "Check Engine" light evaluated...


Thank You Mr. Moore

Just about everyone is going on about the political thing, and I generally just change the subject. I don't think of myself as particularly articulate or eloquent. I'm not very good at "debate". My thoughts generally just freeze up when confronted by the rhetoric spewing from the politically passionate and genuinely under-informed. But, I just read this post by one of my absolute favorite authors ever, and somewhere in there, he asked the most pertinent question regarding this campaign that I've heard yet:

What good is experience if you don't learn from it?

What indeed.


The Gift of Equity

The wedding is now behind us, and we begin to realize that this lovely weather won't hang about indefinitely, and so we get back into home improvement mode. This is our third summer in this house, and we FINALLY ordered screens so we can open our bedroom windows. It's actually a little embarrassing, now we realize how simple a task it is to pick up a phone and speak into it, and then wait for the screens to turn up. Golly geez...

I pulled out the most recently deceased evergreen, and sent off a soil sample to see why things keep dying in that location. The tests were inconclusive, but I suspect an excess of water (otherwise known as poor drainage). Oddly enough, the early bulbs all did beautifully there, but for the moment that spot is proudly featuring a big hole where two dead evergreens have now departed. Talk about curb appeal!

And last week, we got our long-awaited glass block windows in the basement! This was something we've been planning/saving for since we bought the house. I have very high hopes for these windows. They are clearly (or perhaps that would be LESS clearly) more secure than the old ones, and here's hoping more insulating against the cold.

If only the housekeeper would vaccum...


Please be Seated

Chairs! We have real and proper chairs, with cushions and all! All around the dining table! This Holiday Season, we will all be able to sit down to the table without worrying someone's chair will topple - ah, we're living the dream now!

As the vast majority of you are likely unaware, we have for the last six years been using antique wooden folding chairs around the dining table. I "rescued" them from a slow rot in the basement of a certain art center, the first year we decided to host a holiday meal at our apartment. They are quite cool for folding chairs, but genuinely old and increasingly decrepit. One of our guests last year had a very narrow escape, so we retired one of the crew and set about the quest for Dining Room Chairs.

I feel like a real live grown-up now! Reminds me of the New Year's Eve we sat around the table arguing the merits of broccoli at five minutes to midnight...


Thanks EVER so much!

Filbert says a big thank you to the giver of the gift that arrived in this lovely cat bed... er, box.


Our Personal Paparazzi

In the event that you lost your camera (or dropped it in the toilet) - no need to panic!

The pros got tons of great shots of every possible thing, and anyone who wants to can order prints through collages.net . The site recommends using Internet Explorer or Firefox (my personal choice) for viewing. Also, if you don't have high-speed internet, you won't have much luck. I'll send out an email containing the login and password to our gallery, but if you don't get the email just call/email me and I'll give you the info.

Once again - if you got any particularly good shots, we'd love to see them! And if you got video, we'd love that too!


Stellaluna vs. the Dark Knight

DanananaNananana DanananaNananana... BAT BEAN!

Give that cat a treat! My little pampered Nori-bean trapped herself a BAT in our attic. Big meanie that I am, I pulled her away from it and shut the bat inside the attic. I'm sure it knows a way out. It got IN after all...

Our story begins at 3:30 AM, and our heroine is asleep at the foot of my bed. Suddenly, I am awakened by two cats launching themselves full speed off the bed and skidding into the attic door. A flurry of... wings? and GOOD LORD WHAT IS THAT NOISE!!?! I launch mySELF off the bed (only because the Mr is away on business, otherwise I'd launch him) and into the hallway, running into walls and flipping on lights as I go. Only to find Miss Nori hunched over Something on the attic stairs. And she's OFF! Up the stairs and into another corner of the stairwell, amidst much squeaking and flapping from her prey (which I still cannot see). OK. I'm calm. Promise.

FLAPPING + SQUEAKING = BAT according to my calculus.

So I'm up the stairs, grab the cat, toss her back to the landing and slam the door. Lights off, back under the covers and I'm pretending that did NOT happen, 'cause I've got to get up for work at 6am. 12 hours later, after much input from the internets, BOY am I glad the cats are up to date on all their shots! Crunchy creature that I am, I'm waiting till September to serve the eviction notice, so I can be sure any potential bat-babies have fledged. The last thing I need on my conscience is dead bat-babies in my walls.

Two days later, the basement flooded. If anyone knows just what I did to annoy Mother Nature, could you give me a clue?



My husband ROCKS! Just thought you should all know. Behind Door H(oneymoon) was a sybarit-astic weekend at Mirbeau! Cue orchestra.
Click the photo above to view the slideshow.

I had NOT heard of it.

I was glad of the swimsuit.

We arrived to the most amazing hotel room I've ever seen. Those of you who saw the rooms Adam & I had at the Adolphus will have some idea just exactly what that statement indicates. Shortly after our arrival, we received a delivery of wine & cheese, which we consumed on our deck overlooking the coy pond and gardens. But wait - there's more!

While exploring the grounds, we encountered the spa where we would receive our "treatments" on Saturday. They gave us a proper tour of the facility, including the Relaxation Room and Aqua Terrace. Enter the need for a swimsuit.

When we approached the hostess to be seated for dinner, I spied two plaques at the entrance to the restaurant. One declared a AAA Four Diamond rating, and the other, a Mobil Four Star rating. Yum. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We spent Saturday sleeping, eating, getting massages, sleeping, getting manicured, eating, and then eating some more. And then sleeping again. Sunday was a final hedonistic wallow, including more sleeping and overeating, before a leisurely drive back to the house to rejoin the cats for good.

We're planning to go back for a winter visit.


The Shriek Heard 'round the World

THANK YOU to whoever took this one! And no... I couldn't resist. Why should I?


Got Film?

Yes indeed! We have returned from our mystery honeymoon destination, and I will share that with you as soon as we have some photos to illustrate the stunning beauty of the place! Instead of our usual digital cameras, and in an effort not to be guilty of waste... we used up the remaining shots on the disposables left over from the reception. So we wait for processing...

... and in the meantime...

Did you get any great pictures at the wedding? Did you perhaps get some VIDEO of our first dance? 'Cause we didn't hire a videographer, thinking there wasn't anything we'd really care about watching OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Forgetting we'd have no idea what that dance really looked like... oops. Yeah, so... if you'd like to share any photos or perhaps video... put it on a disc and mail it to us.

Please. Thanks. I'm gonna go eat some humble pie now.


Mystery Honeymoon Destination

We made it! We arrived in Rochester late last night, to some very happy kitties. Our decorations drew quite a bit of attention on the road, and we eventually got used to the honking. It was kind of sweet actually. The expressions of good will were a refreshing break from the usual highway experience. Thursday was awfully long, due to the fact the AC went out in the car about an hour into the day. So many miles of HOT car and sunshine before the sun set... Ah well, Rochester is gray skies and rain as usual! Nice and cool!

We are off on our mini-honeymoon this afternoon, and while I still do not know where we are headed, I've been given a few hints.

It's not the Pocono's.

I don't need my passport.

I will probably want a swimsuit.

It's about a two hour drive.

I've probably heard of the place.

I've never been to the town.

I got nothin' here people. Totally at a loss. Any thoughts? OK fine - stay tuned for updates!


And here we go again!

Hold on to your hats! We're off to ford the mighty Mississippi!


Embarrassing Photos of Adam

My mom and best man (Matt Fortier) collected a series of photos of me growing up for display at my bachelor's party. As a true sign of love they kindly avoided most of the photos from my ill-conceived 80's Corey Hart frosted tips hairstyle period...as well as the even more egregious shots of my short-lived but long-haired El Debarge jerry curl perm days. However, fear not, there remain many photos of an embarrassing and generally mortifying nature for your enjoyment. Click here or on the image above to see the full Flickr photo slideshow.



I just had to share what my incredibly brave friend Chloe wrote on her blog. She and her small (but growing) family are finishing up a Fulbright year in the Czech middle of the back of beyond. I just love this - she melts my heart.


Still Need a Place to Crash?

OK kids! Have you made your hotel reservations? If you haven't, now would be a good time! I don't even want to think about how fast the days are slipping past...

Your best bet is to call the Adolphus direct at 214-742-8200. Don't forget to mention that you are coming for the Clark/Rains wedding, so you can get the discounted rate!


What to Eat

As I may have mentioned previously, Dallas is a major restaurant test market, and you can get some really great food at a WIDE range of prices. Below are some of our favorite places to chow down in Big D, grouped by approximate price ranges. At least one of us (frequently both of us) have eaten at and enjoyed all of these selections. Obviously, the higher range options will require an advance reservation.

Taco Bueno - one step up from Taco Bell, just as cheap, but with fresh salsa.
Chipotle - Barbacoa taco!! NOM NOM NOM! Kelly's favorite.
Tin Star - one of Adam's favorite Tex-Mex stops.
Schlotzsky's - sandwich chain, but not available everywhere.
Jason's Deli - admirable rendition of a muffaletta!

Mid-Range/Comfortable Sit-Down
Snuffers - they were making cheese fries before Outback existed. Mate.
Cafe Brazil - 24 hour step-up from a diner (some locations DO close on weeknights)
Green Papaya - Vietnamese
LaMadeleine - chain of French-type yumminess, good for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
El Chico or El Fenix - staple Tex-Mex, Kelly's childhood favorites.
Gloria's - Salvadoran, recommended by Adam!
Mia's - OMG! sour-cream enchiladas that will make you weep with pleasure!
Blue Mesa Grill- just slightly chic, nouveau Mex.

Oooh-la-la/Suit and Tie
Stephan Pyle's - you know, from the Cooking Channel?
Fearing's - at the Ritz. Really.


Get Thee to the Airport!

UPDATE: Dallas is now attempting to launch itself into the 19th century with rail transit (otherwise known as TRAINS). I have zero experience of the service myself, and can offer no opinion or recommendations. Check the website, and see if it looks like your sort of thing. It is an option, at least. Keeping in mind, they don't operate on Sundays. Because, apparently, people don't travel on Sundays.

For those of you flying in for the weekend and not planning to rent a car, a cab will run about $40 between DFW & the Adolphus, and about $20 between Love Field & the Adolphus. There are also the SuperShuttles - at about $40 for two people.

This may not help you get FROM the airport to the hotel, but the Adolphus does offer hotel shuttles TO both DFW & Love Field airports. The cost is $17.00 per person one way, and they depart at 5 minutes to the hour and 25 after the hour. No reservations needed - just show up! Certainly a better deal than a cab!

For those of you brave enough to rent a car and take on Dallas traffic:

Map from DFW

Map from Love Field


Meet the Attendants

Oh, all right... that's not them. If you want to see our REAL attendants, just click here.

Maid of Honor
Heidi Paskoski: Kelly and Heidi are friends and accomplices from New College days. Heidi is currently doing interior design for custom yachts in Ft. Lauderdale. She likes boats and chocolate labs. And that sunshine song? Yeah – they wrote that about her!

Bridesmaids (Bridesmatrons?)
Jill Braxtan: Kelly and Jill (Doran) are former housemates from New College days. Jill is a Database Queen in Seattle. She likes sushi and dogs no one else can manage. She LOVES her iPhone!

Bethany Iraci-McBane: Kelly and Bethany worked together at B&N, for more years than either of them would like to admit. Bethany and her husband own the hottest new pub in Rochester, the Tap & Mallet. She likes good wine and grown-up conversation, but not so much the finger-painting!

Best Man
Matt Fortier: Adam and Matt were childhood friends and neighbors. Matt is a freelance photographer in Montreal. He and his wife, Karen, are the proud new parents of Jack Cameron Fortier, born May 6, 2008.

Tenea Johnson: Adam and Tenea were housemates from New College days. Tenea is a writer, poet and musician, living in St. Petersburg. Check out her website to learn more about her. We owe Tenea a lot.

Danny Berke: Danny and Adam were roommates at New College. Danny teaches English as a Second Language to adults in Atlanta. He is a percussionist and (apparently) a Spam™ enthusiast. He is marrying the lovely Shelley this November.


Bridal Shower-ette Party Weekend (Are YOU in the Mood?)

This past weekend, a group of lovely ladies from across the country (and one from Canada) convened here in the Finger Lakes to do the girly thing, and celebrate my upcoming nuptials with a weekend of overindulgence (also known as the Women & Wine package). Due to the scattered nature of my social circle, there were a number of ladies who were unable to join us... and we missed you! As you look through the pictures, you will see my Maid of Honor (the famous Heidi P.), Bridesmaid Bethany (always unexpected!), my Mom, her good friend Susan (who hostessed the BBQ for us last August) and Adam's Mom, Prue.

Everyone met up here in Rochester, and drove on down to lovely Cohocton, NY, to spend a couple of days being pampered by the amazing Fran of Villa Serendip. If you ever end up doing the B&B thing in the Finger Lakes (highly recommended, by the way) - check her place out. And if she makes a restaurant recommendation, just do it. We had an endless supply of of fabulous food, some of it supplied by Fran herself.

Oh yeah, and there was a cat. Who enjoys cards. Which reminds me, we owe Fran a fresh pack of playing cards...

Things we learned over the weekend include:

1- How to tell which bread plate and water glass are yours when seated at a round table.
2- How to get rust off a cast iron skillet (this is still under debate, but salt and cooking oil seem to figure consistently).
3- Keep your silver in a plastic bag to slow the tarnishing process.
4- The easy way to open a bottle of wine with a synthetic cork (down one side of the cork).
5- How to care for your pearls (wipe with a soft cloth after wearing, and store in a soft bag).

KUDOS and many thanks to Heidi P for taking charge of the planning, and to my many loving friends and family members who contributed to the experience! It was a blast!



Well - the fence is back in place, or rather finally in the RIGHT place. And freshly painted to boot! I've been waiting all week for the sun to come out so I could get a picture, but no luck. I don't think we've had a sunny day since we took the fence down! Poor Carol, our neighbor on that side, was downright giddy with delight the day it went back up. To say nothing of three weeks may just be a record for project completion in this house! Of course, one of Adam's colleagues asked him if he'd been in a fight because his knuckles were so busted up. Ah the price we pay! I say "we" as if I actually expended some effort after the first day...


Drumroll Please....

And the winner is...

Team Guido of Mt Morris, NY, with a record breaking time of 72 hours! Go Team (Palermo no hyphen) Guido!


Start Your Engines (the Race is ON)!!!

The invites have been posted and we can hear the squealing of postal van tires bearing the first response cards already... OK, so really it's just the phone ringing and people babbling excitedly about the invites and how they've already posted their response card. Really - you people are too sweet for words!

So which of you will be the first to get their RSVP back to us? Obviously, the Rochester crowd have the tactical advantage of proximity, but will they get cocky (like unto the proverbial hare...) and allow procrastination to slow them down?

Stay tuned to discover who will be first to the finish - and believe me when I say that we are as excited about you coming to Dallas as you are TO BE coming to Dallas!


Product Placement

Tulip v2.0, brought to you by Coca-Cola and iPhone!


Song of the Daffodil

We don't have a release date for our upcoming album, but we've got a rockin' cover shot (courtesy of photographer Tiffany Webb)!


Adam's Version of a Shopping List

So when confronted with the need to buy a second can of paint for finishing the ongoing picket fence project, Adam wanted to be certain that he got the same as we already had. Enter the iPhone. He snaps a picture of our paint can with his phone, and uses it to remind him once at the paint aisle.

That's my guy!


Spring Cleaning Task #237: Mop the Fence

So, what with Spring having sprung, the sun making daily appearances and the garden beginning to rise up as it were, the time has come at last to get that picket fence fixed up. When we bought the house, we realized the Previous Owner had put the fence up wrong way out. Our next door neighbor is such a nice lady, and she insisted she didn't care what direction it faced, but would like to have it repainted as it was beginning to show signs of wear and weather. That was nearly two years ago now (good heavens, how did THAT happen?).

Needless to say - once we pulled the fence down to paint it and turn it around, we discovered exactly how dirty it was and that a good many pickets needed replacing (fortunately there are spares in the garage). We also realized we'd need to put down some primer before we repainted, and so you see me relieving the fence of unknown years of jet fuel dust and other grime. With the kitchen mop. I was using the dish scrubbie, but Adam suggested the mop might be more efficient. My hero!

And no, the garden hose would not have been sufficient, as jet fuel CLINGS like the very devil.

On a side note - has anyone else noticed how difficult it is to find sunscreen with zinc or titanium as the active ingredient? They all seem to have switched to those unpronounceable chemicals that give me hives (Welcome to Maui... umm, what are those spots on your arms?) and the apothecary where I bought my last bottle of Blue Lizard keeps banker's hours.



Just do me a favor and imagine the fridge (which you can't see anyway), the stove (which you can just see in the lower left corner) and the dishwasher in brushed steel instead... ahhh, Dreamsicle!


We completed one more room in the house today! The guest room is officially ready for occupation! Many thanks to the generous family members who gifted us with credit at Lowe's (not to mention furniture and carpets). The kitchen (pictured in the next post) and the new guest bedroom have been the primary beneficiaries of your largesse. Note the distinct absence of mint green and royal blue...

Thank you!



Both the ceremony and reception will be in the Century Room at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. There will be drinks between the ceremony and dinner, with dancing to follow (so any Baptists out there may want to come as Catholics just for the evening!).

The Adolphus is a luxury hotel, built in 1912 by Adolphus Busch (anyone heard of Anheiser Busch?). It is located in downtown Dallas, minutes from a wide variety of historical, cultural and tourist attractions. Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Aquarium, the West End Marketplace and more! My personal favorite spot to visit downtown is Fountain Place (The water garden surrounding the base of this IM Pei skyscraper is lovely even in the Texas summer heat). For a great view of the city - head to the Sky Lobby at the Chase Tower (open to the public Mon-Fri from 9-5).

We have reserved a block of rooms at a discounted rate of $119/night for a deluxe room, and $169/night for a junior suite. You do need to mention that you are coming for the Clark/Rains Wedding in order to get the discounted rate. They are accepting reservations now, and these rates are only guaranteed until June 5, 2008. After that date, regular (higher!) rates may apply.

FYI - There are a handful of dining options at the hotel, including room-service and the Bistro (CRABCAKES Cassidy!), but the French Room is closed during the month of July. We’ll also make some local restaurant recommendations in future posts.

Click the Adolphus link to the right to get an idea of the facilities.


Flower Teaser

I have been hesitant to post much info on actual details of the event itself, because I don't want to spoil any surprises... but I've had so many inquiries about the flowers that I thought I'd share some info on the florist. We found Botanical Art Designs on the recommended vendor list at the Melrose (our second choice venue, which ended up being too small for our group, though a really lovely facility).

Another question I frequently find myself answering is what our "colors" are. We are using ivory, black and dark orange, and I have made a special request for spider mums and bear grass, because I just think they're THAT cool!


We'll call it a draw...

Well at long last, green things are beginning to poke their heads above ground. We have the first flowers on our block, my neighbors have crocus-envy, and my race against the plants has officially begun! Last year I killed two boxwoods, and maimed two hollies. This year, I've almost finished off the euonymus vine! I seem to be the Angel of Evergreen Death... watch out cypress, you could be next!

Last fall, I planted about 60 early blooming bulbs one afternoon. Two hours after I put the mulch down on top, the squirrels had already eaten about half of them. This week, the ones they left behind appeared through what's left of the mulch. Looks like they got most of the crocus bulbs, but left the tulips.

I like tulips better anyways.


Ponca City, USA

And we return for another visit to Ponca City, home of the Rains clan and the Pioneer Woman! It was a full house this time, with friends Rick and Malin visiting from Sweden as well. We were greeted on our arrival by live music pouring out of 221 N Oak. There were 3 guitars, one bass guitar and one harmonica rockin' the house, and an appreciative audience spread round the house and out on the porch.

We spent a lovely evening catching up with Herb & Margareta and getting to know Rick and Malin. Herb grilled up some steaks, and we did a bit of reminiscing and some wedding planning. Sunday was Herb's birthday, and there was a big celebration with BBQ ribs and deep fried turkey and all manner of sinful indulgences. We even got to do some sight-seeing!

In the picture above you may just catch sight of the Braum's cup...

At some time in the past, I introduced Adam to the Sonic Cherry Limeade, and he was hooked. Oddly enough, every time we stopped for one of these special treats, I was vaguely disappointed by the experience. Something always seemed to be missing. So when we passed the Braum's here in Ponca City, and I recalled the Cherry Limeades of my childhood, I knew Adam needed to try one. EPIPHANY! That's what was missing - I didn't grow up on Sonic, I grew up on Braum's! We'd been drinking the wrong Cherry Limeade! Much like the burgers at Johnnie's, if you get to this part of the world, you've got to try the Braum's Cherry Limeade - you won't be sorry!



Our short stay in Ponca City coincided with Herb's 64th birthday, and Margareta made a carrot cake for the party, much to Adam's surprise and delight!


Visiting with the Adams Family

As we are now wrapping up our trip, we headed to Oklahoma City to spend some time with my Mom's family. Friday afternoon, Adam and my mother and I picked my grandmother up, and we all went to meet up with the other Adams girls (Aunts Lele & Junel, and cousins Annia and Allison). Whenever we manage to get all of us in town at once, we get a professional photo taken, and this was one of those times! We had beautiful weather, so we went for an outdoor session at Daffodil Hill. Adam took advantage of the light and got some shots of his own (see above). I'll post one of the pro shots when we get them.

We followed our photo shoot with a visit to Johnnie's, and a life sustaining Cheese Theta with Bacon and Onion Rings. If you ever go to OKC, GO TO Johnnie's! The best burger you will ever find, from the plain and simple to the Ceasar Burger and the Theta. We topped off our evening with some of the tastiest gellato I've ever encountered (at Giovanni's, tee hee!). Who'da thunk, in OKC?

Saturday morning, we got up and had breakfast with Mr. Adams himself - my mother's father. He took us to Beverly's Pancake Corner, the home of "Chicken in the Rough". No idea what that means exactly... but they have a stuffed chicken on top of the bakery case. And by stuffed, I mean a taxidermy victim and mascot, feathers and all. Can't speak to the chicken, but they made my poached eggs just EXACTLY (I refuse to make that pun) the way I like them.

Hit the Starbucks in the parking lot, and it's off to Ponca City!



It must be noted that we are slightly uncomfortable regarding the subject of gifts. We know that most of you are making quite an effort just to be with us for this shindig, and that is what we REALLY want - to celebrate with as many of you as we can possibly get into one place! Your joyful presence, your love and support are the best gifts you can give.

That said, many of you have inquired about where we've registered. The answer is that we are now registered at Crate & Barrel and also at Bed, Bath & Beyond. The BBB registry is a tad short at the moment, but we'll add to it next week or so. After the process of setting up the C&B registry, we are somewhat weary...

I will admit to having been TOTALLY baffled by pots and pans and packing it in rather than figuring it out. I think the little girl at the shop was genuinely concerned when she saw me staring like a deer in the headlights at the cookware displays and asked if I needed help... there is no other explanation for that tone of voice.

The Fine Print: You can search for our lists by either of our names (Kelly Clark or Adam Rains), and you may need the event date (July 5, 2008). Both of the registry lists can be accessed either in an actual store, online, or by phone.

Crate & Barrel


Bed Bath & Beyond


Day Three of Our Two Day Trip

Just so you know, it's REAL HARD to get a decent cappuccino in Arkansas. We did finally get the first cherry limeade of the journey, so some silver lining anyway. That and we got sufficient rain to wash all the slush/salt off the car as well!

In Dallas at last, we got some Tex-Mex in our bellies and had a Pooh-Bear Latte before crashing out.

Off to the hairdresser first thing Tuesday!



A vibrant sunset over the pasture lands of Kentucky... clear skies, clear roads...

K: "Oooh look! Baby cows!"
A: "Mmmm, veal... on the hoof..."

(He wouldn't REALLY, which is why I just about wet myself laughing...)


Spring Break '08 - now with Flying Monkeys!

So we're on the road. Or rather we're in a hotel room somewhere north of Cleveland, waiting for the BLIZZARD to pass on by. Rochester had snow all day Friday, mixed with freezing rain, all falling on top of the ice that formed when all the melting stuff froze with the cold front. As we headed out of Rochester today, the freezing rain kicked back in. Every five minutes or so, we passed a car in a ditch. About thirty minutes out, Adam rolls down his window and gets a face full of sleet. At which point he turns to me and asks...

"So when do the flying monkeys start?"

Turns out they were waiting in Ohio. We were supposed to get all the way to the southern border of Kentucky today - 11 hours of driving. We blazed through Pennsylvania at top speeds of 45 mph. The photo above was taken in Pennsylvania. We barely got into Ohio before we lost track of the actual road. It should have been about 3.5 hours, and it took us over 6. So we stopped... wherever we are... and got the last room in the hotel.

We'll try again tomorrow.


Road Trip v2.0

And here we go again! Come Spring Break we're making another trip down south to finalize the plans for July. What a pleasure it will be to escape March in Rochester. The less said about March in Rochester the better. We'll get to see wildflowers and parents in Texas, and family in Oklahoma and all.

The MAIN reason for this trip is the Menu Tasting (that and Adam needs to find a tux...). Beef or chicken? or both? Pork or lamb? And that's just the entrees - we have to choose hors d'oeuvres and starters and wine... gosh and we're gonna have to try them all to be sure they're nice enough for our loved ones. Don't you feel sorry for us when you think how full we'll be?

I'm also going to drag Adam to Crate & Barrel to look at dishes and flatware and stuff. I suspect he might actually enjoy that more than he'd admit. But he'll never admit it.


Book of Love

Well I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Adam had to go to Paris on business for the first half of the month (oh the things we must endure for a paycheck...), so he and I met up in Montreal just in time to celebrate the day. The photo is of the book of chocolates that Adam brought me from France. Yes - I said book. Leather-bound and all. What... you've never seen a book of chocolates?

I wish I'd seen the look on the shopgirl's face when he declined to taste a sample because he doesn't "really like chocolate". Apparently every single person in the shop stopped and stared at such a declaration. What a giggle!



The excess that is...

As you can see from the photo above, we had an EXCESSively lovely Christmas here on Raeburn Ave. Prue and Jim made the trip down, and Prue's brother (aka Uncle Chris) came over from Pittsfield, Mass. This was our first time to do Christmas in our very own house, so it was particularly special. It was a RAWTHER grand affaire which began with a delightful selection of imported cheeses (one of which went straight in the bin after I smelled it, eewww nasty foot medicine smell, eeewwww I AM NOT eating that!), various olives and crudite (and rather a lot of wine), followed by the exchange of many lovely gifts and a fine meal catered by the elite Pittsford Wegmans. Dessert was courtesy of our many lovely friends who bake, featuring the elusive Martel cookie. Daddy assures me that David slaved over those cookies, and boy are they worth every calorie! We rounded things off with a rousing "Cracker Concerto" of Christmas carols (so sad, no recording was made...) before the visitors returned to their hotel (by which you can read that the guest room is still a work in progress).

David, if you're reading this, we need more Martels!