The End of the Year as We Know it

on 30 December 2007

Courtesy of Sundry...it's a blog post of random information! About meeeeeeeeee!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Um. Get myself knocked up? Go to Boston?

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't actually recall any of the resolutions that I made last year so I cannot accurately answer this question...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
SH at work had a beautiful baby girl just 3 weeks ago! She's adorable...both of them!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Uncle Howard. He was a very good man.

5. What countries did you visit?
No new countries. weep.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Oh a second car would be great but I'll settle for all the baby crap we need to acquire in the next 6 months.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 18th. We were in Boston and according to my doc's calculations there was some activity in my wee uterus. Go figure.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Deciding that being a Mother can be a good thing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not doing a PhD...for now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
More colds and viruses than I care to comment on. No major injuries...

11. What was the best thing you bought?
No contest. My iPod.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
No contest! The Husband's!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Wow. I could make a list. George W. Bush, Michael Vick, Britney Spears (will someone please stop her?!), Vladimir Putin, basically anyone stupid, cruel, pigheaded or irreparably selfish.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Hmmm, probably to eating out...Boston took a big chunk, and student loans. Sallie Mae hates me...but we're paying off early!!!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All the college football upsets. Harry Potter 7.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Regina Spektor's Fidelity or Apres moi le deluge.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
I am a) happier but in a bittersweet kind of way and b) fatter...but PREGNANT! and c) richer in more ways than one.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Studying. My languages are leaving me quickly. And writing...I'm out of the critical habit.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Whining about my job. Stressing about things I can't control. Wasting time.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With the Husband and my family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't watch TV. I don't have TV. I have an innate distrust of TV.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. I don't apply hate to people. Only ideas and situations.

24. What was the best book you read?
The History of Love, The Solace of Leaving Early, Les Miserables (uncut), Tolstoy Lied, and Our Mutual Friend.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Regina Spektor

26. What did you want and get?
A speaker system for my ipod.

27. What did you want and not get?
Gold earrings, garnets, a new car.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Hmmmm. Stardust. Harry Potter 5. I was unimpressed this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31 and we went to dinner with my family. To a steak house! How ironic! They took the only vegetarian to a steak house! That's comedy!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A better job. Or a PhD program.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Classic, comfortable, casual, granola.

32. What kept you sane?
Books and classical music. Always the Husband.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Probably Clive Owen...he's nice. Dominic Mafham...also very nice.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Hmmm...no one. I'm pretty cynical about politicians....I am unimpressed with the lot of them.

35. Who did you miss?
Whimsy. Sarah.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The Heatons and the Jones.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?
The the quality of a life isn't measured in the initials behind your name. That important people are not always paid what they're worth. That love is unconditional and forgiving and CRAZY.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don't know. Is there a song that says something about how "you know how you thought your life was going in one direction? well now it's going in another! Enjoy the ride!"? Yeah. I need that song if any of you have heard it.

Destination: Ghost Town

on 28 December 2007

So. It's the Friday before New Year's weekend and guess who's here at work?!

ME!

And guess who else?

Yep. Only 2 other people. They work in a different suite and they're lovely. It's eerily quiet here. I went down to the lavatory and it was still dark from the cleaning people having cleaned it and turned off the lights last night. The only sound is the occasional warm up by the printer. I've read my morning news, pop culture updates and blogs for the day...so now I'm left with this bizarre feeling of what to do?

All this spare time on my hands has left me contemplating new year's resolutions. I generally make them and forget them every year. It's tradition! This year I have a couple that I'm actually considering writing down because I actually want to keep them...

What about you all? Any resolutions you actually want to keep this year?

84 days

on 26 December 2007

I hope you all had a merry Christmas, as we did. We spent Christmas eve together, opening presents and laughing heartily at one another. Christmas day was spent with my sister and her family, my parents and my 91 year old Grandmother. We opened more presents, we ate more candy than is good for anyone and laughed heartily at one another...some more. All in all it was a lovely day, if a bit exhausting. We came home last night and took down the tree and put the apartment right. As much as I love Christmas, this year it was a sort of milestone and one that we're both grateful to have past.

Last Saturday it was 12 weeks. 84 days. The pit has officially blossomed into a fetus. On this note, my sister has FORBIDDEN us from referring to The Child as the pit so from henceforth it will simply be The Child. It was fun, but she's right. It's not an inanimate object any more, it's a being that will eventually grow into our Child.

How insane is that?! We're going to have a CHILD?! And just to prove how crazy we cats are, here's proof. 12 week rainy day belly:

I know. You're all looking at my chest. It is impressive. Some days it feels like they need their own postal code. I just keep telling myself that my child will drink cream.

Today is my last day off this week. Tomorrow it's back to work, back to life, back to normal. We're cleaning out today in hopes that somehow in our tiny utopia there will be room enough for the Child and all the child's necessaries. It's a good thing they start out small.

I surrender.

on 21 December 2007

I give up.

I have succumbed.

I am doing a Pride and Prejudice crossword puzzle at my desk and daring anyone to walk by and give me actual work to do.

I am biding my time until some merciful being comes and says, "Hey! Go home! Happy Holidays!"

As far as I am concerned, that being cannot come soon enough.

In the meantime, I have an embarrassingly familiar acquaintance with Pride and Prejudice.

The Motivation that Wasn't

on 19 December 2007

So.

I'm at work.

I'm finding it difficult to be motivated to do work.

Instead I'd much rather read. Or surf the net. Or look at socks. Or eat bagels.

The problem is that I have stuff to be doing...small projects, but still work. I just don't want to do any of them.

Also I think I'm getting another cold. So really, work is bad for me.

Right?

Random Randomness

on 17 December 2007

OK. So I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something clever to write about today but I opted for random but mildly entertaining...lists!

Stuff I've listened to lately:

  • Boys of Lough
  • Carpenter's Christmas
  • Sense and Sensibility Soundtrack
  • Regina Spektor
  • NPR
Stuff I've read lately:
  • Little Women
  • Christmas Carol
  • LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Bleak House
  • Blogs
Stuff I've eaten lately:
  • macaroni and cheese without the nasty cheese
  • pineapple
  • celery with Cesar dressing
  • carrots
  • chocolate chip muffins made by my own two hands
  • salt and vinegar chips
  • soy hot dogs
  • dill pickles
  • toast with cinnamon and sugar
  • sour dough bread with butter
  • cheerios and milk
  • navel oranges
  • beans
Stuff I've bought recently:
  • Christmas presents for the Husband
  • a star for our Christmas tree
  • Christmas cards
  • maternity t-shirts
  • mini-twixs
  • cat food
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on DVD
People I've called recently:
  • My grandma
  • My sister
  • My mom
  • the Husband
Places I've fallen asleep recently:
  • Bed sweet bed...of course
  • the futon (which I think might need a name)
  • the car
  • the shower
  • the floor
  • my desk. oh dear.
Things I've thought recently:
  • "CRAP! I forgot to take my vitamin Saturday and Sunday!"
  • "Bluuurgh. HATE. Alarm. Clock. Shut. Up. Now."
  • "Get off of me, cat."
  • "I wonder what this poor child is going to inherit from me that I have no control over...genetically speaking."
  • "Yay RAIN!"
  • "The Husband is attempting to come between me and my giant bowl of pineapple. Please don't take my pineapple."
  • "What should I read next? Modern? Old? Modern? Old? Poetry? Nope. Play? Um. Not so much. Short stories? Maybe."
  • "What is wrong with me?"
  • "Make your own da** tables for your own da** paper."
  • "How can people EAT this?"
  • "The Husband is going to give me a lump of coal because I am a BAD wife."
  • "I wonder how many mini-twix bars 3 different stockings can hold? I wonder if the Husband would find that as funny as I do...raining mini-twix bars! Awesome."
  • "Who are these people that buy Christmas presents for their pets?"
As you can see. The Wife is kind of all over the place. Theoretically, we will be back to our previously scheduled random cleverness in the next few weeks. Until then, please stay tuned.

Potluck Issues

on 14 December 2007

I have issues. Potluck issues.

Here is my problem.

Aside from the Meat Issue--as in, everyone drowns every living thing in MEAT--people just eat strange food! They put FRUIT in SALAD. Fruit has no place in a salad! It's sweet! You can't mix sweet and savory! Then you never want to go back to the savory! It's bad nutritional practice! They drown everything in SAUCE. There is such a thing as too much sauce people...Salad shouldn't be Soupy! If you need a SPOON to eat solid food there might be a problem. Put down the bottle of sauce and step away from the serving dish. Nothing is ever as warm as it should be, you're given nothing but plastic utensils to cut through things with, and everything TOUCHES. Then there's the cattle drive. You know what I'm talking about, everyone in line waiting to walk the line of food and the people in front and behind you quietly (and disdainfully) surveying your plate and wondering why you're so picky that you're not eating EVERYTHING. It's too much. I cannot take it...I must FLEE.

Does anyone else see a problem here? It's seriously cruel and unusual punishment to continue to hold these kinds of events...but HOW do we get people to leave off and realize the total INSANITY of what they're suggesting as a holiday party?

I can understand a dessert potluck where everyone brings a sweet of some kind and shares and you eat tiny little portions and talk over the merits of one dessert or another...but that's it! I'm officially over the potluck edge...someone save me...send a rescue party...and also normal food.

Craptacular

on 12 December 2007

I generally have a quiet job. I get phone calls...mostly perspective students wanting to know more about one of the programs we offer. I get the occasional bizarre number. It usually adds humor to the day. (Now that I think about it, this always happens on Wednesdays...what's with that?)

But seriously, people, if your job is to call and harass innocent people? Quit now and pursue a life of peace.

We had a graduate student here a while ago, who, it seems, rang up quiet the credit card bill. She has since gone back to TAIWAN. But because she listed this number as her "contact" number, her credit card collection company keeps calling ME. ME!!!

I have tried everything with these people. I tell them she doesn't work here any more. She doesn't live here, this is a place of business. She's no longer in the country. I can't very well transfer you to TAIWAN. I'm sorry and blah blah blah. I am polite and professional because I am PAID to be so. Today has seriously pushed me over the edge.

This HORRIBLE woman called me 3 TIMES this morning looking for this poor student. The second time I informed her as politely as possible that the student is no longer here, she graduated and we do not have any forwarding information for her. The woman informed me that she didn't like me "tone" that I was "unprofessional" and could she "speak to my supervisor." People. We work in CUBICALS. My supervisor heard every word! She's been telling me to hang up on these people for months! That I'm too nice to them, I need to stop talking to them blah blah blah.

So I transferred her over to my supervisor who proceeded to tell her that what I had said was not unprofessional but rather, true. The woman then asks to speak with my supervisor's supervisor and so on up the food chain. My boss asked her to stop calling and hung up on her! It was brilliant!

The woman immediately called me back. I saw the number pop up on caller ID and promptly left. Went to walk for a bit. Cool down so as not to pick up the phone and tell her this:

"You must be pretty proud of yourself! You get paid to be a WITCH. Nice life. So what do you tell your kids that you do all day? Harass innocent people who don't OWE you money? OH, wait, I'm assuming that someone would want to be near enough to you, you hateful, spiteful, cruel person, to PROCREATE with you, which now that I think about it, is doubtful at best. It's CHRISTMAS and I'm operating under no assumptions about your religious persuasion or tolerance here, but at LEAST be POLITE when you call STRANGERS. It costs you NOTHING and we are far more LIKELY to ASSIST you rather than HINDER you when you are NICE to us."

How's that for unprofessional?

Gross.

on 10 December 2007

So, for those of you out there who threw up the whole time you were pregnant and who are secretly seething that I haven't been sick at all, I have good news!

No, not The Quease. The Snot. I've had 2 colds in 3 weeks. mmmm. Nastiness. And no cold meds allowed.

I sincerely hope the Pit appreciates this kindness...and doesn't grow an additional limb or anything just to mock me.

Pregnant Thoughts

on 06 December 2007

I've been saving this post for the end of this Whimsy dedicated series because, well, it was the last one she listed, I think it's the least compelling of the topics, and also, the first doctor's appointment was yesterday (the first real doctor's appointment) so theoretically (HAR HAR HAR!) we know more. Also, I feel a bit guilty because I haven't been sick at all. Not a bit of it. Well, sick to my stomach...I could go on for ages about my allergies and the woe of my nose. And I know so many wonderful women who slog through months of misery and sickness for their babies. Apparently, it's not my fault, women in my family just don't get sick with pregnancy. Not to worry though, apparently we get wicked heartburn in the last trimester so for all you haters out there, I will get mine in the end.

Here's what we know. We're only having one baby (yay!), being a twin, this was a reasonable fear so the OB, we'll call her Dr. Wonderland, checked it out for me. We're definitely due July 7th (yay for me! 9 months pregnant in the South! in July! Clearly I am a master planner!). And I'm in pretty decent shape physically (yay!) but need to get back to working out daily once this whole first trimester evil exhaustion abates.

Here is what I realized while there:

THERE IS AN ACTUAL BABY IN THERE!

And also that this teeny little gummy bear sized baby has a heartbeat all it's own and it's just flickering around in there while I feed it a frillion mini Twix bars. And also Rolos. And also mini York Peppermint Patties. And Candy Canes. And Navel Oranges. (I love Christmas!)

This whole thing has been a bit abstract for me...I feel pretty normal. But yesterday...was a reality check. At the end of this wonderful mixed up state of anxiety and confidence I will get this tiny little baby who will look at me and rely on me to feed it and clean it and protect it. And frankly, I feel like the little engine that could, IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIthinkIcan, but a time will come when the little baby will grow up and I won't be able to protect it anymore and how can I be expected not to fall into pieces at the pain of watching this teeny tiny heartbeat go out into the world to banged up and bruised and maybe even broken and put back together again by other hands than my own?

So. These are my thoughts on pregnancy. All mixed up and chaotic and random. Also, I really really love navel oranges right now.

Used

on 05 December 2007

So, Whimsy asked me to tell you something truly weird about myself...and I've racked my brain and this is what I have come up with.

I CAN NOT wear used clothing. CAN NOT.

And here is why. I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT HAS BEEN.

I donate clothes to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, what have you, but I cannot even go into one of their stores.

heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies

The Husband has a 3-piece baby-blue plaid suit circa 1970 that he bought in a Goodwill and just seeing it hanging in the closet gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I can't stop thinking about the people who might have worn the clothes. And what if they didn't wear underwear? What if they didn't bath? What if they were sweaty nasty crack whores? What if they were in a gang fight while wearing _________ ?

The Husband has tried to talk me down with the whole "They wash everything that they receive at the donation sites before they put it out to be sold!" argument. But I don't CARE. The fact remains that at some point someone nasty could have worn those pants and I CANNOT WEAR THEM.

heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies

I've been thinking about this recently because, dude, we are with child and children's clothes--they are expensive. And I could potentially save a great deal of money by buying children's clothes used. I just don't know if I can swing it mentally. I mean...the child thing is weird enough, but someone else's kid, someone else's poop etc. But then potentially we're thinking about someone else's house and the things that go on there...what if they weren't clean? What if they just let the kids LAY in the poop? What if they were like Britney Spears? There are people who do this sort of thing!

heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies heebie-jeebies

The problem is, I don't know which side of my brain is stronger, the side that is grossed out by used clothes or the side that is CHEAP. Stay tuned for this ongoing drama.

First Pet

on 04 December 2007

My parents are more cat people than dog people. My mom grew up on a farm where they always had cats in the barn as mousers, but my dad? Well, his dad was a dog person, and by dog person, I mean the man loved his dogs more than he loved his children, or his grand-children for that matter.

As a kid I distinctly remember my grandfather's dogs, he had two Great Danes named Shiva and Duba and one of them (I can never remember which one) tore into a second cousin's face and after that my father forbid me and my brother to be on the floor when the dogs were in the house. When we stayed there we had to sleep on the dog's bed (maybe not the best plan) which was elevated like a captain's sea bed and if my grandfather accidentally let the dogs in while we were there we had to sprint and jump up on the bed to be "out of reach" of the dogs. I have no idea how BEING ON THEIR BED made us out of their reach, but I was a kid and I did what I was told.

Anyway, my dad grew up around dogs but never had a strong desire to have one. Put simply, my parents had kids to take care of, they didn't want pets in the house, it was enough to take care of the kids. But then my sisters wanted a cat so my dad brought home one cat and then another when that cat ran off or we moved and it disappeared, anyway it was all before my time.

This is not a picture of my cat, but you can sort of get the gist of why black cats are so great.

One spring day when I was five years old, my dad brought home a kitten that was to be my cat. Maybe I had been begging for a cat for some time, I honestly don't remember, maybe my sister had negotiated this development on my behalf, I don't know. All I know is that one day my dad came into our tiny house and looked down at me and said, "Your cat just threw up in the car, go clean it up." Which I did, and while there I became acquainted with this tiny little black kitten with bright yellow eyes. Whoever says that black cats are bad luck has never had one. They are wonderful!

She lived in my closet and under my bed. For those of you who are not "cat people" let me tell you that cats are every bit as social as a dog, they just tend to limit that sociability to one person. I was my cat's person. She loved me and just me, she attacked every single member of my family at various times in her life.

I did not have a gift for naming pets as a young child so I called her Kitty because that's what she responded to. When asked, I still insist she named herself.

She wasn't spayed when we got her so by the time she reached adulthood she was pregnant. I just thought she was getting fat. One day she started howling and following me around everywhere I went and it kind of spooked me (I was 6, please, cut me some slack!) so I put her in the closet and just left her there. I told my mom about it and my mom freaked out. She built her a little nest out of a cardboard box and some old towels and then put that in the closet and seemed to calm down. I honestly had no clue what was going on. I was probably out riding my bike or climbing a tree or some such nonsense. All I know is that when I got home that night there were KITTENS in my CLOSET! And they were the cutest kittens the world has ever known!

I would like to go on the record as saying if there are people out there with hearts so hard that they can resist a wee kitten, I do not wish to know them. Kittens and puppies both are magical magical creatures.

Kitty had 3 kittens whom I promptly named (badly) Claudia, Barbie and Spike. Naturally, being a sucker for hard luck cases at an early age, I wanted to keep them all--in my closet-- FOREVER. My parents, being realistic and also prudent people said, "Not so much small fry." And once the kittens were weaned, Kitty was spayed and the kittens disappeared. I don't know if they were given away (I suspect at least Claudia (a wee white and grey striped kitten with blue eyes that could melt the heart of Ebeneezer Scrooge himself) was given away) or if they were left with the Humane Society for adoption. I still suspect that my older sister paid to have Kitty spayed by a local vet.

Life continued uneventful after that. We moved across the country and she moved with me. We tried leaving her with friends when we went on extended trips to visit family members but she always ran away and managed to find her way back to our house. She continued to be fed, watered and cared for by me. She continued to sleep in my bed.

At the ripe old age of 12 she vanished. I don't know what happened to her. I suspect that she knew she was wearing out and she went off to find somewhere to lay her bones. I suppose it's sentimental and foolish of me to admit that I cried sorely when she wouldn't come home. It was my first real experience with loss. With loving someone or something that is independent of you and that you can't control...and losing them to time, to circumstances, to...whatever you want to call it. She was a great cat.

A Funny Childhood Recolection

on 03 December 2007

OK. Per Whimsy's request again. And this isn't really one of my recollections, it's my parents' memory and a story they love to tell about their liberal-minded, pseudo-hippy, passivist daughter.

I was about 4 and playing in the yard of a neighbor kid. It was me, Jody and another neighbor kid of about the same age. Now this neighbor kid and Jody used to play together all the time but I was new on the scene. Well, at some point he starts pulling her hair and bullying her and then he turned on me and I hauled off and punched him in the face. At which point Neighbor Kid goes crying into the house to Jody's mom saying, "The Little Orange Girl hits back!"

So there you go. Be ware before you cross me, for the Little Orange Girl hits back!

A Funny Adolescent Recolection

My father loves to sled. As in snow sledding. We had ice-sleds growing up--for those of you raised on the pitiful plastic disks, ice sleds have metal "blades" on the bottom which you wax so that you can go even faster!

Now, Washington doesn't get a lot of snow, but they do occasionally get a good heaping dose! And one particular year, in my troubled teens, we got a good dose, followed by sheets of ice. Everything was shut down, even the shipyard so my dad couldn't go to work. What was to be done? Sledding of course.

So we headed out, one bright morning, to this nearby street that had a massive hill that then turned right and went down another massive hill that then ended in a T intersection--turn left, go down hill again, turn right, go up hill, go straight and you're in trees, shrubs and blackberry briars.

Now, you should know that, my dad, he doesn't have the best track record with sledding and his kids. We have ALL been thrown, hurt or wounded sledding with this man. And yet, we continue to go. Why? Our judgment was probably damaged in the accidents, that or our sense of speed and competition out weighs our good sense every single time. So we go! Happily! To our snow cold dooms!

My dad, my brother and myself tramp off to this icy, steep and treacherous hill for "fun" and "good times." My dad lays down flat on the long sled and tells me to lay on his back--which I do. My brother takes the smaller sled and down we go. Wind whipping our hair and faces until tears stream down our cheeks. At the bottom of the first hill we bail off the sleds and into the snow drifts. And tramp back up the hill. After a couple of runs like this my father says, "Ok. Now why don't you kids race?"

Please know. As a child I was the single most competitive girl in the WORLD. Especially where my twin was concerned. There was no way I was going to let my ogre of a brother WIN. So after some trash talking, I get ready and we sprint and then jump down on to the sleds going at breakneck speeds down this hill. I am behind him by 3 maybe 4 inches and I know I can catch him, so I hunker even closer to the sled and see myself creeping up on him but the road is rapidly approaching that T intersection, so I being to turn to the right thinking: I can cut him off and force him to yield (I have always been an aggressive driver) and I can also slow down so that I don't have to bail off into the snow! It was brilliant!

And it really was brilliant until I hit a patch of bare pavement. You know that law of physics, the one that says, "An object in uniform motion tends to stay in uniform motion unless acted upon by a net external force"? Yeah. That one is TRUE. Want to know how I know? Metal ice sled coming into contact with pavement? Yeah. The pavement stops is cold. And I, retaining all the original force of the previous movement did not stop cold. No, no, I continued to move. In the air. ACROSS THE STREET! I flew in the air across the street until I hit a tree with my back and then rolled down 6 feet of blackberry briars.

I still have the scars to prove it.

And my brother? My dear sweet twin? He stood at the top of the hill and laughed at me. LAUGHED!!! Until he had tears in his eyes. And yes, I'm sure he did it with love too.

Needless to say, I scrambled out. Grabbed the sled. Began the long march up the hill where my dad took one look at my face and said, "Don't tell your Mother."

Can we take a moment to appreciate my dad's lack of logic at this point? My face is scratched and bleeding! My face! Where my mouth is! In the front! Presumably my mom is going to notice at some point that I am injured. But my dad, worried now about getting me and himself in trouble with mom, lovingly smears snow in my face to slow down the bleeding and sends me home. I trudge home, pride more wounded than my face (which was pretty wounded) and walk in to the house through the garage. I walked straight in to my MOM--because I am a tattle tale that's why! And my father had scarred me for life and I would never get a date and it was all his fault and yes, at 14 I was quite dramatic.

So I walked in the house and promptly burst in to tears at which point my mom started yelling, "WHATHAPPENEDTOYOURFACE???" It was about a week before Christmas, so holiday pictures would permanently mark that I too had been scarred by my father's love of sledding.

In my brother's defense it must have looked quit comical the whole flying through the air, tumbling through blackberry briars and then the scratched and bloodied sister. The story has since passed into family tradition, we all gather round and lovingly tell how Dad tried to off every one of us via sledding!

7...it's not the magic number

Ok. So Whimsy asked me to do this...and I did try when she first did her version of the 7 Weird or Random things about her...but everything I wrote just seemed so normal and boring and Whimsy is so cool that I couldn't possibly compete so I chickened out. Here I am again...trying to come up with 7 truly Weird or Random things about me...here I go:

1. (GAH! It's already starting! I'm blanking again! Somebody call the Husband! He's the expert on my weirdness not me!) I am a creature of habit. Everyone says that but I really am. I do the exact same things in the exact same order every morning and every night. I get up. I feed the cats. I pour a glass of something fizzy (I like carbonation in the morning, I don't know why). I take my allergy meds (and yes, my Doctor gave me the all clear to take them while knocked up). I clean out the cat box (and yes, my Doctor gave me the all clear to resume this lovely activity while knocked up). I get in the shower. I wake up the Husband. I get dressed including shoes. I do skin care. When the Husband gets in the shower, I do my hair. I put on make up. I pack up stuff to take to work. I eat breakfast (read during breakfast). I put on coat. I walk out the door. Every morning. Exact order. If the Husband is late getting in the shower I have to poke around until he does because I can't do my hair until he's in the shower. In the evening it's the same shtick.

2. I have multiple copies of the same book. Whimsy! This is humiliating! I have my reasons though! Some are different editions. For example. I have 4 copies of all of Jane Austen's novels. Why? I have the Oxford edition because it's the one you have to cite from if you want to publish and I was published so there! I have the Norton critical editions because it gives a good smattering of the popular criticism about that given novel. I have a 6 in 1 edition which I bought to travel for when I can't decide what book to take (and I can always decide so really this edition is just taking up space...) and I have the mass market paperbacks for when I'm sick and stuck in bed and don't want to be hefting a big ol' book. SEE! It makes sense! Sort of. Some of the multiple editions are different translations...which also makes sense...but maybe only to me.

3. I hate having my picture taken. I know. Many people will also say this about themselves, but by HATE I mean HATEWITHTHEFIREOFATHOUSANDSUNS. HATE like native islanders who think the camera will steal their souls. As in, when I was a teenager I destroyed most of my childhood pictures because I hated seeing myself on a piece of paper. It gives me the heeby-jeebies. I tend to duck out of most pictures and if I can't then I tend to destroy the evidence afterwards.

4. I have red, naturally curly hair. You can't tell me this isn't weird or random because I have to do something with it. Every day.

5. I love a list. I have been known to put things that I've already done on a To Do list just so that I can have the pleasure of scratching them off. I love it. I know. Somebody call the psych ward.

6. I hate clutter. Including work sitting on my desk. Everything has to be put away or I can't concentrate. Our apartment is positively institutional. There are NO knick-knacky crap things lying around--I can't stand them! Not even pictures...they have to be hung up on the wall or not at all. And we don't have house plants because I can't seem to keep them alive.

7. I hate things tight around my throat. No turtlenecks, chokers, bands, anything. I can't stand it. Same with wrists or fingers...if my rings are too tight, they come off...I can't wear a watch because it's too constricting and my watch is loose.

There. I did it! And I successfully avoided all food related weirdness. I could probably do a whole series of memes about food related oddities but it hits a bit too close to home and at some point my family may read this and I don't want them disgruntled for bringing up private things in a public sphere. Man that was hard. Next up, I want Tessie to do this one, and also Sarah B. and Chantelle!

Plethora

on 30 November 2007

So there are a number of things that I could write about today, but nothing cohesive. Here is a list of things on my mind lately:

  • Le Petit Pit...GAH! It's the thought that NEVER goes away. I guess that's kind of a good thing though.
  • Russia's "elections" GAH! EAK was right, once KGB always KGB, what in the name of St. Nicholas is Putin doing?!
  • Christmas...oh dear. This means I need a plan of some sort. And also to do something about it.
  • This post from Whimsy. Holy CRAP cats!
  • The Husband has finals next week...I hope he PASSES!
  • There are approximately eleventy-one people I have said that I'll call or write or something and I haven't done it yet. Have been hibernating.
  • Speaking of hibernation, is there some feasible way to get more sleep in my life? I'm already going to bed at 8:00pm but I have to get up at 6:00am to get to work...what is to be done?
  • RSW's tenure review is on Monday and everything that I can do, I have done, but I really like her, I want her to get tenure!
  • SEB--I haven't heard from her in a long time...must email.
  • Work. It's like Chinese water torture...nothing busy just steady dripping.
Do you see? The scattered randomness of these thoughts? Please! Send help! Someone give me a topic to blog about and I'll see what I can do.

The Kindness of Strangers

on 28 November 2007


So the Husband had a meeting in Raleigh yesterday. I mention this because we only have the one car and usually he chauffeurs me around like the Princess that I am (not really, but a girl can pretend, yes?). The meeting necessitated me taking the bus home from work.

I have lived and worked and gone to school in Seattle. I have ridden public transit with some CRAZY people. One time a guy got on our bus and was promptly followed by two other people who were on the phone with the cops because the first guy had just broken into a car and stolen some stuff. He got off the bus and took off running. Another time we were actually shot at. I have seen most everything, drunks, junkies, hippies, old people, immigrants, and transients. It takes a lot to phase me and I'm fairly jaded. So, with that in mind I picked up a bus at 4:15 on Tuesday evening.

Now. I should admit that I was lazy and didn't check the schedule on-line. I knew I needed either the 412 or the 413 and that possibly both would get me to my apartment so I was lazy. I admit it. And the 412 got there before the 413 so I did the responsible thing and asked the driver if he would stop on the street near my apartment complex. He said, "Yes, sure, get on." So, I trundled aboard, swiped my bus pass and took a seat.

After about 20 minutes, flying past the street I had named and getting on to the freeway, I realized that maybe it was the 413 that I really wanted. I live about 10 miles from where I work. It generally takes 15-20 minutes to drive there. 30 minutes later! I mosey up to the driver and apologize and say perhaps I'm on the wrong bus, and my jaded self fully expected an eye-roll, a sigh, a "Hey, STUPID! Check the schedule next time."

What I got instead: Lovely driver chuckles and says, "Honey, if you'd taken the 413 you'd have been home already, but I'm going there now, you just sit tight and I'll make sure you get home."

I routinely wonder why I am blessed by encountering these strangers who are so unimaginably kind, who act with genuine grace and who fully restore all my lost and beaten down faith in the goodness of humanity.

The driver started chatting with me and we had this lovely conversation about places we've been and things we've seen and places we'd like to go. He was well-traveled and kind and wonderfully articulate. When the lovely Chinese woman stepped on to the bus he got up and bowed and greeted her in Cantonese. He knew most of his regular riders by name and where they were going. He knew all of the routes and regularly picked up the radio to give another driver directions. He spent 10 minutes at a stop explaining to a lovely lost South Asian how to get where he needed to go in order to get back to Chapel Hill later on. And he made sure that I found my stop.

It took me 2 hours to go 10 miles down the road, but I wouldn't have traded it for the shorter commute.

Blah blah Thanksgiving blah blah blah

on 26 November 2007

The Husband swears that at some point I promised to learn to like Thanksgiving and he would learn to like Christmas. I have no memory of this conversation and I think he's trying to covertly weasel me. My solution is that I will pretend to like Thanksgiving while trying my darnedest to make him LOVE Christmas.

Thanksgiving in Savannah was all that could be expected. The Husband and I went, wanting only one thing each (for me? NAPS! for the Husband? to shoot guns at orange disks in the country!) That was all. Not too much to ask from a four day weekend. Did we get either of those things? Nope.

Family dinner on Thursday replete with chaos and noise and more food than human beings should be confronted with and yelling--oh dear earth beneath my feet the yelling! and enough people that you could not possibly find 10 minutes alone. I did manage to hide in bed (under a huge mound of covers) for the bulk of Thursday evening. It is a gift. What can I say?

Friday was spent working at the family business (Russell's Trophies and Sporting Goods Store! A Savannah tradition since 1967!). Friday night was dinner with the FIL and then meeting up with Friends of the Husband. Saturday was breakfast with Grand-mama and more working at the store--we're stocking up for Baseball season--followed by pizza (mmmm. Vinnie Van Gogo's) and the longed for, hoped for, pined for bed. Sunday was cleaning up, quick visits, and then traffic. On I-95. For 6 hours. 3 of which were polished off by the howling Agnes. We very nearly left her on the side of the road.

What are we thankful for this year? Home sweet home. Bed sweet bed. Husband sweet husband. And our own space.

It's back to work for me. Back to school for the Husband--please send the man some good vibes, it's his last week of class and next week is finals.

And for those of you still interested we're due July 7th. It was hard not to go through the motions of Thanksgiving with the family without thinking, "Wow. This time next year, we'll have a kid." that's just crazy.

Did you do anything interesting for this weekend? Please share! NOW!

Expedition Everest

on 21 November 2007


So.

In July of 2006 the Husband took me on my first ever trip to Disney World. I have very strong opinions about Disney, but that is a rant for another time and place.

See. The Husband grew up with Disney, they used to go as a family and he LOVED it. He really wanted me to experience his Disney in the hopes that I would love it too. (There were certain things that were pleasant, there were many things that were decidedly unpleasant, but we're getting there.)

We had three days, so we had planned to spend roughly each day in a different park--squeezing two parks in to one day towards the end. We did Epcot with the very cool Land and Water exhibits and the less than cool rather kitschy country exhibits. The Husband took me on Test Track and then Mission Space. Which was maybe the meanest thing he has ever done to me in the whole of our married lives! You have to understand. I am not a roller coaster girl. If it were only very very fast (like Test Track) then I do okay. Mission Space is a giant centrifuge and they spin you until you reach some g-force something or other. I am a wuss. I know. I nearly tossed my lunch and had an indescribable headache afterwards. I literally was ready to abandon him in the park and hold a grudge against him for the next decade. We saw the excellent fireworks that night and the next morning headed to the Animal kingdom thing.

We went on safari and saw a bug's life and did all those things you're supposed to do. We got to go on this very cool ride through a hypothetical dinosaur environment and that was pretty cool. And then. The Husband does not always learn his lesson. He is hard hearted sometimes. He wanted me to go on Expedition Everest--Disney's new ride that takes you up the world's tallest mountain in search of the YETI. Does anyone, rationally, think this sounds like a good idea? Nope. But I love the Husband and I know the Husband loves a roller coaster so I suck it up and take one for the team. We get in line. We stand in line for an hour or more. We finally get up to the hateful thing and they put us in the FIRST car. I look at the Husband and I said (resentfully), "You soooo owe me for this." At which point he grins like a maniac and bounces up and down expecting me to be all excited or something. The car pulls away and up up up we go to this faux Everest.

People please believe me when I tell you that this ride terrified me on so many levels. It is important to understand this point so please don't skim past my abject terror to get on to the funny bits.

The ride takes you up the side of the mountain, inside where it comes to a stop at some broken up tracks (I think it's supposed to indicated that the YETI has been there and torn up the tracks, whatever, the ride itself is frightening enough without adding a YETI into the mix), and then you drop BACKWARDS in a corkscrew spiral drop down the middle of the mountain (and yes, I was in fact crying at this point), you then shoot out of the mountain and around the outside before they drop your petrified a** outside at the gate where you got on. The Husband tells me at some point a YETI also jumped out in the dark but I have no memory of the YETI and I told him that maybe it was while I was wailing in tears.

When I say this ride scared the crap out of me, I am not exaggerating or lying for humor's sake. I am being absolutely serious. I proceeded to sulk and he finally bought me an ice cream in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head (which I ate with relish, only wishing that I could have had blood dripping from the ice cream stick) and then gave me a good back rub later on so I decided to forgive him. Also he was my ride home.

The reason I'm telling you this is that...well, there's an 800 pound gorilla in the room and this roller coaster has become my metaphor for what this past summer has been. The honest truth is that the Husband and I are pregnant...well, more me than the Husband. (I know. It's all very exciting news, I'll wait while you all celebrate...and dear Whimsy, you can let out that breath you've been holding because you've done great keeping our secret.)

See. When I wrote this, I never really thought I'd be a mother either. I'm just not one of those women that aches for children. It's not me. Maybe because I'm a youngest child or something. But then I thought of my cats, and dude, I know it's totally supreme dorky of me, but I LOVE my cats and I thought, they're just cats. If I love them as much as I do, then how much will I love a child?

I am a big ol' chicken. Big. Chicken. Once upon a time I used to be fearless and then something happened, I'm not sure what, but I learned how fragile life can be and I just got scared. Scared of screwing things up, scared of failure, scared of...loss. For a long time I didn't want to have children because I didn't want to screw them up. I didn't want to fail at motherhood. I didn't want to face losing this child that you work so hard for and sacrifice so much for...and yet. We grieve much because we love much. And we can hold people and things and life at arms distance but then we never love or are loved and well, what's the point?

So the Husband and I got in that big line waiting to get on this crazy roller coaster thing called pregnancy. I was scared scared scared. I cried. a lot. And 4 weeks ago when that second pink line showed up I crawled back in to bed sweet bed and into the Husband's arms and told him that the car was pulling away from the station and going up the big mountain and I was sacred scared scared. and I cried. and he kissed my back and said, "It's okay. You've got me and I won't leave you."

I'll be honest. I'm afraid of pregnancy. I'm afraid what my body is going to become. I'm afraid of having this wee helpless thing to take care of. I'm afraid of failure and screwing up. I'm trying to have faith that somehow, some way, excepting the laws of physics things will work out okay in the end. And in the end, I am blessed with the Husband. With amazing women who remind me that my body was made to do this...that from great sacrifice comes great beauty.

So. Now you know. This has been the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The Husband wanted to wait until we were 12 weeks along, but well, the families know. The friends know. The bosses know. I may as well tell you, right?

So deep breath. Here we go.

Thanksgiving

on 20 November 2007

So. It's here. Again. And we're off to Savannah, for another Thanksgiving.

What are the plans, you ask? Well I'll tell you.

We'll drive down Thursday eeeaaarrrllly so that we can get there in time for dinner at 12. In reality we'll probably curse the alarm clock, get on the road very late, eat snacks all day, miss the dinner entirely, warm up leftovers and catch up with the family on individual basis's.

Dad owns/runs an awesome sporting goods store and we're youngest children and the Husband has had...shall we say...a turbulent relationship with his Dad in the past, so we'll end up working all weekend to show Dad that we love him, because we really do. But I shall probably grumble about it because I'm tired and want to nap.

My MIL and one of my brothers-in-law (and his whole family) are all going on cruise on Friday so we'll only see them Thursday evening.

The Husband briefly mentioned riding out to a "hunting cabin" owned by his uncle (shout out to uncle Marlon!) to shoot guns, because the Husband has an inner redneck and likes to do that kind of thing. And in reality I don't mind because this "hunting cabin" also has couches and indoor plumbing and central heat and air conditioning. Since the BIL will be gone from the family store, the Husband and I will probably bag the shooting plans and work on Saturday as well as Friday.

Sunday we'll brave I-95 along with the hojillion other drivers to get home by Sunday night where I'll probably be so tired that I collapse on the futon and cry for a while.

Theoretically, all of this working and family goodness will be interspersed with some fine food and (one can only hope) conversation.

I've been going to Savannah with the Husband for nearly 4 years. I still get nervous tummy. And they aren't mean to me...they're lovely. I'm just....nervous.



good grief.

Twin Bed Secrets

on 19 November 2007

So I realized this morning that I had officially written about Bed Sweet Bed without offering any sort of introduction. And since it's a fairly sweet and comical story I thought you might rather enjoy it on a Monday morning...so here you go! You can tip me later. I take cash or checks.

When the Husband and I got married I had a twin bed from Ikea and he had a double bed from the first half of the LAST century. Naturally, I informed him that I would not be sleeping on said antiquated bed. Sorry. It's not you it's me. So we got rid of his relic of a bed and slept on my twin bed for the first three months. I know. It will seem odd that we, two fully grown adults, chose to sleep on a twin bed. And why? you might ask? Because we're cheap. And also busy. So by the time we had decided to fork over the money for a decent bed we had to find the time to go bed shopping. The other problem was that we liked it. I slept wedge against the wall and the Husband some how defied gravity on the other edge of the bed. It was cozy. And there was much spooning involved.

We eventually made our way to Macy's a bought a proper bed. Queen-sized, pillow-top. It is all things comfortable and welcoming. We had gotten this amazingly soft Wamsutta sheets as wedding gifts so we promptly made up the new bed and got in it. I lay on my accustomed side and the Husband lay on his. At some point this small quiet voice comes out of the dark, "Where did you go?" It was so pitiful and sweet and sad all at the same time. The bed was HUGE compared with the twin. So I scooted in to the middle and he rolled over and we've essentially continued to sleep in the same space as a twin bed ever since.

When I was reading for my oral exams, I read Evgenii Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. I read the translation by Douglas Hofstadter and then read a bit from his book on translation called Le ton beau de Marot where he writes about his late wife and her struggle with cancer. She had always called their bed "bed sweet bed" and after she died he took to translating Evgenii Onegin. He talks about how he would get up in the morning and fix a cup of coffee and get his Russian dictionary, Russian version of Evgenii Onegin and his notebook and he would climb back in "bed sweet bed" and start to translate.

I read the whole story to the Husband. We made Bed Sweet Bed the place where only good things can happen. No arguments, no fighting, no meanness, not even fear--if we're reading a scary book, it has to be read in the living room.

I was thinking the other night about how differently my life has turned out from what I thought that it would be. I never thought I would be married. NEVER. I just figured it wasn't in my cards, that I was too set in my ways, too independent, too much the workaholic. And then...well, things changed. And it was odd. I resisted for a while. But I think if someone had whispered in my ear about Bed Sweet Bed and how wonderful the whole life with the Husband would be...I wouldn't have resisted so much.

5:06 Sunday

on 18 November 2007

The Husband is snoring softly next to me in Bed Sweet Bed. We've had one of those lazy Sundays that refill your soul and make you feel up to tackling the rest of your life. He's been rereading the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien...I'm rereading Bleak House, but then I decided to re-watch Band of Brothers.

I was watching the taking of Carantan and thinking about the cost of war. Not the dollars and cents. I think we all know that. Not even the human cost, we know. We know the fathers and sons and husbands. What we can't measure is how war changes us fundamentally as human beings. What I fear is that as a people we are becoming hardened. On the inside. That those qualities that make us feel connected to all other human beings regardless of race, religion, language or what have you are being eroded. Those parts that make us mourn with those that mourn because they too are human, and one day we too will mourn. Those parts that grieve loss because we too have lost. I worry that we care less and less about the violence and suffering done to others in the name of ideology...or what ever cause you want to name.

The problem is, of course, how to we turn this back? How can we undo the damage that has been done but cannot be measured? How do we return to that ineffable human characteristic that connects us with all other human beings? How can we at least stop the erosion taking place?

One of the reasons I keep watching Band of Brothers is Captain Winters...in his interviews he talks about this...the ineffable parts that make us human. He is quiet and kind and wise and I wish that I could sit down and ask him these questions. I fear he wouldn't have a concrete answer. What I fear most is that there is no answer.

Absence

on 16 November 2007

So I can explain.

It probably won't be interesting or funny, but it's at least an explanation as to why I have not been funny or...well, present.

I have been sick y'all. Sick in a bad way. Sick enough to lay on the floor in a dark room and wish for death. Sick enough that my insides began to emerge through my face. It was not pretty. I have tried to run interference and spare you all from the gory details.

You can thank me later.

For now...I'm back! And about as...um...un-exciting as before. BUT! There is semi-exciting stuff happening in my general vicinity. Shall I fill you in?

SH at work is about 2 weeks from her due date...SH is awesome so her kid must be awesome as well.

The Husband had his "Uninsured Bake Sale" yesterday. It's a group project that he did for a class...they had to do something to bring attention to the upcoming election. Yep. The election that's happening NEXT YEAR. Still! He wanted to raise awareness of the 47 million uninsured so they did this great bake sale where the pricing system was 2 tiered. One price list for those who were "insured" and one for those "uninsured." He used the Twister spinner to make the decision. It was pretty awesome. And also lucrative. They made a pile of money to give to the SHAC! Yay for the Husband!

There was no Snarky Wednesday food review this week because, dude, I have been SICK. But we went out Monday to the Salvadoran restaurant, which was great as always...I could seriously eat their salsa with a SPOON. And we went out again last night to Bombay Grille (where, they know us because we eat there A LOT) for malai kofta and pillowy naan.

The weekend bodes to be busy...visit the folks tomorrow morning, the Sister tomorrow afternoon with laundry and apartment cleaning in betwixt the two. I'm hoping for a nap. It's my Christmas wish.

Now it's your turn...what are you doing this weekend? And this is for posterity, so be honest.

in lieu of a post

on 13 November 2007

I am not funny today.

But Amalah is very funny.

You should pop over to her archives and read this very funny post.

Updates, various

on 12 November 2007

First, an update on the ongoing saga of the Los Potrillos suckage.

They POISONED the Husband!


He said on Thursday that he wasn't feeling so good. I thought, "Eh. He's a man. He's got a cold, he'll whine and get over it." Friday was the day from Hell. The day that will go down in infamy as the day that the Husband heaved up anything and everything in his almost totally empty belly. The day he puked in the sink. The day he dry-heaved in the parking lot. It was bad bad bad.

By 10:30pm he wanted Gatorade. So we schlepped to Kroger and bought the poor man some Gatorade. By Saturday morning the puking had subsided and he was on the mend. By Sunday he wanted biscuits and eggs and soup later on. All in all, it was a very much better day.

Curse you, Los Potrillos! We hate you with the fire of a thousand suns!

On the Christmas tree front, I think we're going to get the decorations out. Rearrange the furniture so that we can easily put up the Christmas tree whenever I decide to do it after we get back. And yes, I have to do the whole thing myself because the Husband? He is a Scrooooooge.

It's okay though. He has many redeeming qualities.

Friday JOY

on 09 November 2007

Maybe it's just me, BUT, I have these week periodically where they aren't particularly heinous...just generally irritating. The one redeeming point of these weeks is Friday: Day of Joy!

To make today even more Joy-able is that it's payday! Please, Internet, join me for a dance of JOY! (and also, I'm being Scarlet and trying not to think about my student loan payment today...I'll think about that tomorrow.)

So, it's 10:20 and I have no projects currently sitting on my desk, just my beloved copy of Bleak House and a highlighter all set for re-reading! I'm in a cozy fleece today and I have the prospect of 2 whole days ahead of me with not too much to do. Life is surprisingly good.

For those of you ready to gag about now, the Husband is sick. I've felt mildly feverish all week but told myself I was acting like a pansy and just go to work already! But lo, the Husband (who is very seldom sick) came home sick last night, took Tylenol, proceeded to wallow me like one of the cats, slept a whole bunch, took more Tylenol in the middle of the night and slept some more. Poor man. He's home sick today, while I am bringing bacon (whilst reading blogs and Bleak House all day). I'm gonna go home today and make that man some pudding. Because what cures a virus? Pudding!

So I have a conundrum for you. We're going to Savannah for Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Generally, I put up my Christmas tree (or as the Husband would say, our Chri'mah Bush--he's from Georgia...I don't ask questions...) the Sunday after Thanksgiving. (I LOVE a Christmas Tree, thank you for asking.) The problem is that we'll be driving home from Savannah that day with approximately 84 hojillion other drivers on I-95 so I know I won't want to put up the tree and decorate it after getting home. Which leaves me with 2 choices, and I'm chronically indecisive so I have come to you, dear readers, for assistance (The Internet...it's the NEW magic 8 ball!) I can either put up my tree the Sunday after the Sunday after Thanksgiving (also known as the 2nd of December) or I can put it up BEFORE we leave (also known as the 18th of November).

Before you get all head up about this, please know. I am not a Susy Martha Stewart. A Christmas Tree is the only piece of holiday decoration I OWN. And that includes ALL the other holidays. Also, you should probably know that the Husband strongly disagrees with me putting up the tree on the 18th because he says, "It's skipping a WHOLE holiday!!!" He is, apparently, outraged on behalf of the millions of turkeys that will innocently DIE to celebrate this holiday and cannot be bothered to put up a FAKE tree one week ahead of schedule. (Clearly, I disagree, but my loathing of Thanksgiving will be addressed at another time...)

So. Bring it on. 1 week early, or 1 week late? Your opinions please! Also, no Christmas trolls. I also celebrate Hanukkah--in company with my lovely Jewish friends.

Late Wednesday--Los Potrillos

on 08 November 2007

Here's the story. The Husband has a truly awful schedule on Wednesdays, one very late class that puts us on campus at the time of day when I turn in to a short, red-haired Godzilla marching up and down the streets of Chapel Hill mumbling, Food-Food-Food--blood...sugar...falling-- must...eat...food. And traffic is really only ever horrendous at this particular time of day so we've made it a date to stay in Chapel Hill and eat somewhere in the general vicinity of campus.

The routine generally follows: I leave work at sommat after 4pm and walk towards a lovely, musty old bookshop on Franklin Street. The Husband meets up with me at sommat around 5pm. We pick a restaurant and eat. By the time we're done, traffic is manageable and we head home. We've found some great restaurants this way--Mediterranean Deli with their creamy creamy lebnah (it's like cream cheese with SOUL). And Mama Dips which is that lovely kind of Soul Food that comforts you deep down in your bones.

I have avoided the food review type entry because 1) I'm a vegetarian which rules out a great many options that other people might find interesting...like the flavor and consistency of MEAT. 2) I'm fairly picky about what goes in my mouth. I don't like certain textures. I HATE certain food combinations. If you're interested ask and I'll tell you, otherwise I'd rather not discuss the very depths of my food-neurosis on the internet. I can see both sides to the issue that it's picky people who would give good food reviews because if they're picky and they like it MUST be good...but then if they're picky--what are they actually eating there? But I digress.

Last night the Husband and I promenaded ourselves out to Los Potrillos on Rosemary St. The Husband had heard some good reviews about it and the man lived in El Paso, TX for 2 years and worked with the Hispanic community there and he ATE a lot of authentic (aka Homemade by locals) Mexican food. He knows what's good and real and genuine and it seems to me that anyone with taste buds could determine what is not. So he'd heard that this place was good and we haven't found a Mexican restaurant that we like here so off we went with our hope high.

Oh how disappointed we were. Before I completely pan this restaurant, please allow me to tell you what Mexican food should be. In Athens, Georgia of all places there is this delightful little place where they make REAL Mexican food. We ate there A LOT and NEVER had a bad meal. EVER. Let me tell you about my favorite, just for old times sake. I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes (cheese, natch!) with a regularity that can only be described as habitual. The plate comes and it's 4 smallish cheese enchiladas tightly rolled so that only the outer layer of cheese is melted but the insides are warm. They are then covered in homemade green-chile-enchilada sauce and then topped with a pile of crisp lettuce, tomato (and you can get onion if you like, but me and raw onion---not so much) and sour cream (aka manna from Heaven). I think it also came with rice and beans but those of course were upstaged by the glories of the homemade enchilada sauce (it was earthy and tart and ever so slightly spicy). I cannot possibly sing La Parrilla's praises enough. And the people there are amazing! Great service, great food, not expensive...it's a win win win all around.

Los Potrillos? Not so much. We walked in and the whole place stinks of stale smoke. The place is empty--which in retrospect we should have seen as a warning sign to flee the premises as bad food was coming. But we are nothing if not willing to try. So we sit. We peruse the menu. It's all...meh. Basically your run of the mill Mexican-food-dumbed-down-for-American- consumption. But it got a couple of recommendations! So we try. The Husband orders the Enchiladas Rancheros and I order the Enchiladas Verdes. The salsa tastes like Pace picante sauce but the chips are good. Our food comes. I nearly cried. It was an oblong plate with nasty dried out rice on one side, beans on the other and two pitiful piles of melted cheese goo in the middle covered in CANNED green enchilada sauce. The Husband's was just as bad. We ate and it was nothing better than mediocre. The melted cheese goo refused to be masticated and slide alarmingly down my throat. Honestly, people. This is deplorable.

And since I would feel terrible ending this post in this manner, let me tell you something else. It is a strange state of affairs when the best Mexican food we've found in Durham happens to be at an El Salvadorean restaurant. We popped in to this unpronounceably named restaurant on the east side of Garret Road and 15-501 just to see what it's like. The parking lot was packed, the inside was packed with Spanish-speakers, the menu was in English (yay!). So we order, the Husband getting the Platos Typico (something with Chicken I think...I'm pretty sure I heard the word pollo in there somewhere) and I got the vegetarian plate number 5 (because I don't speak Spanish, y'all). The food was wonderful! The pupusas, next time I'm making a meal out of just those! With the spicy sour cabbage! And the creamy and delicious beans! And the salsa that tastes like REAL salsa! The Husband's had fried yucca and fried plantains and and and.

Let me know if you find this remotely entertaining as the Husband thinks that me being snarky about restaurants is a fabulous idea for blogging...if you agree it shall continue...if not, well, we'll put it to a vote!

The 800 pound Gorilla in the room

on 06 November 2007

So.

Not much going on here.

What's going on with y'all? (Did you notice how I casually worked in that Southern colloquialism?)

My attention span is shot for the day and it's only 1:21. That can't be good.

I can't seem to get in to a book right now either, which has never happened to me before. I've ordered yet another Dickens...his collected Christmas stories because I save up all my sentimentality all year long and then GORGE myself at Christmas time.

Since this post is soooo exciting, you should pop over to Messing with Texas and read hers. She's funny. And also has cool stuff to say.

Which apparently I do not. Today anyway.

Weekend Survival Challenge

on 05 November 2007

Want to hear something funny?

I survived the weekend> chores on Saturday, 3 hours at the mall suit shopping for the Husband, mammoth piles of laundry, baking for Family Dinner on Sunday, church AND the infamous family dinner. Yes, I did. With only 3 hours of sleep Saturday night and 4 hours of sleep last night.

Sometimes my life feels like the Insomniac's Limbo Dance Party. How little sleep can YOU survive on?! And the drama continues.

Family dinner wasn't nearly as treacherous as I had anticipated. I spent a good quantity of time with my 4 year old niece and 6 year old nephew pushing them on the swings of the swing set. It was one of those perfect Autumny days where it's cool and crisp and the leaves are beautiful but still on the trees so the kids could tilt their heads back as I pushed them and still see leaves on the trees. My sister lives on the outskirts of town so it's quiet and the light is golden. It was lovely.

My brother was...as he is. Funny and witty and charming and gregarious. And I watched him tell stories and chortle and eat and enjoy being surrounded by people who love him. I hadn't seen him for 3 years or so, it was nice...in it's own way. My sister is the calm of the storm, as always. My dad wandered from room to room wallowing in the presence of most of his family. Someday I'll write a post about the melancholiness of being my Dad.

Your turn: How was your weekend? Please tell me you slept more than I did.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

on 02 November 2007

The Husband and I had something planned every night this week. Guess how happy I was when we picked up the mail and there it was...shining like a beacon of hope in a long night of slogging away at social obligations! Netflix (can you hear the choir of heavenly angels?)! I had ordered up some travel channel favorites and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. It's that wee Irish independent that caused such a ruckus at the Cannes film festival a year ago.

Preface: Before I begin to tell you how amazing and wonderful and bittersweet this movie is--you should know that before I settled on Literature in school, I had set out to be a scholar in Irish History. I know. It's not for everyone... but it's lovely.

So. I thoroughly loved this movie. It's beautifully filmed, magnificently acted, fantastically written and fairly accurately representative of the happenings of the time. It's deceptively simple and assumes that the audience will understand Irish history/culture/character enough to understand without all that explaining to do. It's dramatic, poignant, violent, and at times frightening. It gives you hope only to take it away again. It is, in short, a wonderful film.

I loved it from beginning to end, but then Ireland is where I would live if I could choose of all the places on the Earth. It was invigorating to remember these things that I had learned once upon a time, and it was great to share that with the Husband.

That said, when the movie ended, I turned to him and smiled and said, "What did you think?" He looked at me (like a deranged cat) and said, "Well, I'm thoroughly depressed now."

Sorry, honey. Good news though! Tonight, fondue party! yay!

Obligations

on 01 November 2007

Tolstoy said that, "Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are uniquely unhappy." I agree and also disagree with this statement. He's implying that only unhappy families are interesting because of their unhappiness--which I disagree with. I find happy families fascinating. And I also think that there are grades of unhappiness. I'm reticent to talk about my family because, well, theoretically they may read this blog at some point, but also because compared with other families, ours wasn't that bad. My parents, I've mentioned before. My siblings? Well, I don't say much...my oldest sister I'm really close to--I love her to pieces. The other two--bewilder me.

I am a twin.

Let's let that sink in for a moment--people tend to LOVE this about me, I'm not sure why, it's not like I had anything to do with it. So, way to go Mom and Dad! I'm a fraternal twin--I have a twin brother. When we were born he was 6 pounds and I was 5. He had this thick black hair and I could not have been more bald if I was a bowling ball.

People inevitably ask, "Are you close?" That question is much more complicated than anyone who asks it realizes. It takes in to account all that has past, all that is happening (and in our case all that is NOT happening) and all that may happen. It's rather a distressing question as well since I cannot possibly be the only person accountable for the state of our current relationship.

Anyway, the answer to that question is both yes and no. We were very close growing up. There was no one I loved better on Earth than my brother. And even through school, he was funny and popular and sporty and I was...well, I was a dork. I made good grades, but was terrible at sports and I was never ever popular. But I was proud of him because he was, he was handsome and funny and people LOVED him. It was impressive.

Then stuff happened. We grew up. I managed to shape myself into my own version of cool--i.e. reasonably intelligent and well educated, wry sense of humor. And he...he went to school in fits and starts, never really settling into any one field. He got married. He had kids. He joined the Army. And in the Army he remains. I said some very unfortunate things about his wife that would have been better left unsaid. He said some unfortunate things TO me ABOUT me. The whole thing became this brouhaha in the family and I was cast off by the siblings.

It's okay. It sounds a lot worse than it was. My parents understood that young people say things impetuously that they shouldn't say so they refused to take sides. And really, looking back, those two years while everyone ignored me and pretended I did not exist--they were some of the best years of my life. It gave me the time and space to grow in to the person that I am today.

The reason I bring this up is that the Brother is coming. He and his wife and kids are moving from Texas to Maryland (he's being re-stationed) and they are stopping over this weekend for a family get together. ugh.

I'm not angry anymore. I don't hold anything against him, or anyone for that matter--I'm not a grudge holder. It's too much energy, holding grudges. Honestly? I'm exhausted and my stomach is twisted in knots. I get a whole Sunday of walking on eggshells and pretending to be...what I once was, I suppose. It's just not how I would choose to spend my time.

I'm sorry. I realize this is of no interest to any of you--that many of you, in fact, come from homes and families where serious abuse figured in to the equation and that me whining about my brother is not really anything but a pithy post. But it is foremost on my mind right now, and foremost on my list of things I'd really rather not do (like Bartleby).

Maybe Scarlet was on to something. Maybe I just won't think about this now, I'll think about this tomorrow and then put it off one day, and one day more and then at the absolute last minute when I MUST think about it...I will.

Just another Wednesday Morning

on 31 October 2007

I thought you'd all enjoy, yet another, slice of my daily life. (Note* Names and places have been changes to protect the not so innocent but I don't want to enrage the fates.)

I was sitting at my desk minding my own business reading blogs when my phone rang. so I answered it:

Me: Health Stuff and Accouterments*, this is Me*****, how can I help you?

Caller (with a thick Southern accent): Yes, ma'am, I found your number on the Internet. Is this Health Stuff and Accouterments*?

Me: Yes, ma'am.

Caller: Well. Let me ask you, how are you affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control?

Me (starting to be a little weirded out at this point): Ma'am, we're not affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC is its own entity. We're affiliated with University in another State*.

Caller: Well, let me ask you this, I contracted an STD a while ago. I was messin' around wi' this man and he tol' me that he tested positive for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia and I KNOW my body! I knows I had Gonorrhea and I been goin' to my doctor and they keeps tellin' me that the tests is negative, they negative, they negative, but I knows my body! I knows I got something from this man I was messing with! I am a 57 year ol' woman and my doctors they just messing with me like I am some kind of guinea pig that they can jus' experiment on and it ain't right! And I am gonna TELL someBODY cause it ain't RIGHT!

Me: Ma'am, where are you calling from?

Caller: Atlanta, Georgia.

Me: Ma'am you've contacted the university of AN-OTHER STATE in Another City*. There's nothing I can do for you if you're in Atlanta, Georgia.

Caller: Well some body's got to do somethin' because this just ain't RIGHT!

Me: Well, ma'am, perhaps you should contact a lawyer.

Caller: Well, I got one of those but I don't trust him. And here I am I could be dyin' of HIV or somethin'!

Me: Ma'am, I'm awfully sorry for you, this sure is a difficult situation.

Caller: Yes, it sure is. I think I'm just gonna have to write some letters STARTIN' with the President and just goin' on down the line! I knows I gots to tell somebody if I has an STD and I know my body!

Me: Well, I think that's probably the best thing to do in this situation. You have a nice day now.

Caller: Well, okay, bye.



Yep. This is my job. Funtastic, no?

Thinking, optional.

on 26 October 2007

You know how when you go to parks or beaches where clothing is optional, there's always a sign posted that states: Clothing Optional. Sometimes I wish we could get fair warning from those people who live their lives as if thinking were optional.

I'd feel better about dealing with them on a day to day basis if I knew ahead of time that to them...Thinking Optional.

Boston, one more time...

on 23 October 2007

Okay, so here are the details of the trip.

We got in to town about 1pm and dropped our hud at P.'s. Lunch was, or course, the first priority.

Preface: The Husband and I are both youngest children (youngest of 4 if you want to know) so if you are an "oldest child" and it seems like we did a lot of wandering around aimlessly, it's because there was no one there to tell us what to do!

We walked down Massachusetts Avenue and found this amazing Greek place...And then we decided to walk to Harvard. It's a city, right? How far could it be? And it wasn't really that far...
So we did some wandering around Haahvaahd which was more than a little disappointing. It seems you need to have a Haahvaahd ID to get in to ANY of the buildings which I thought was a bit of overkill but maybe that's just me.



The sign itself wouldn't have been so annoying if it weren't for this:


Yep. You had to climb up all of those to even get to the lame sign telling you that your ass isn't white-collar, blue blood, old money enough to get in to even look at all the pretty books. And as much as I resented this (I borrowed your damn books, Haahvaahd! Anyone want to read my thesis? What's that resounding no mean?)...but it sparked a great discussion between the Husband and I on the control of information and the nature (and preservation) of power and existing norms...I know. We're dorks. It's okay.

The coolest thing we saw at Haahvaahd was this dog stalking a squirrel.


Then we found the Haahvaahd Natural History museum and saw much cool stuff--including a domestic Ass--who knew? at Harvard!


I know. We are both children...masquerading as adults...but we had a lot of fun together, which was nice for a change.

We walked through this amazing cemetery on the way to meet up with P. for dinner and saw all of these granite tombstones dating from the late 17th and early 18th century...it was so cool.
Friday came in grey. So we had some breakfast (Mr. Crepe!) and headed out to Boston Commons. We spent much of the morning wandering around aimlessly...we eventually found ourselves on the Freedom Trail though, and managed to meander past the Faneuil House and the Park Street Church and then we found the Holocaust memorial and we stopped and walked through and read and thought and took a moment to talk about all of those people who died so that they, in that moment, were remembered.


P. had said that he wanted to "do the Freedom Trail with us" so we saved the museums and Constitution for Saturday. uh-huh. We're pretty naive people.

Saturday came in with the Head of the Charles (which would be alarming except it's a rowing rigatta and not really as exciting as someone coming in with the actual head of someone named Charles...but maybe that's another story). P. had said, "We'll just stop by..." Which I innocently took to mean, 10 maybe 15 minutes. I like sports as much as the next girl--but I prefer them on the television, in my living room, in my pajamas, with me multi-tasking (i.e. reading a book). It was cool and grey which was lovely...but the wind blowing my hair every which way was not.


We eventually headed down town and towards the Constitution which was AMAZING!!! The Husband was like a kid at Christmas, his face all lit up and taking pictures of everything and absolutely in love with this ship. (I think the Husband has read the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien one too many times, but maybe that's just me...)


By the time the boys left the ship and toured the museum, everything was closing down for the day. We headed to Mikes and ate cannolis and then headed back to Cambridge for the night. Needless to say, I was disappointed. There was much I had expressly asked to see, but only one thing that I told the Husband I would cry if I didn't get to see. And I didn't get to see it. And I didn't cry--I'm not a completely spoiled brat--but I was unhappy and he knew it.

We flew home on Sunday. I think we were both just happy to be home, in our own space, with our cats and back to our routine. Boston was a great city to visit, and I certainly learned some important lessons--please see the aforeposted list--I'll do it differently next time. If we get a next time.

Intermission

on 22 October 2007

I really am working on a photo spread of our Boston trip...but in the meantime!

Pop over to The Creamery and congratulate Whimsy on her little Frijolita!

First things First

I am working on a bit of a spread of our Boston trip, because I knooow all of you are sitting on the edges of your wee seats dying to know all about it. But in the meantime...I have some lists for you!

What I loved about the weekend in Boston:

1) Spending time with The Husband. We were goofy and silly and sarcastic. We ate great food and had great conversation. He bought me an ice cream cone out of the back of a van and I laughed the whole time I ate it because I haven't done such a thing since I was a small small child.
2) I could hear 8 different languages in the course of a city block! It was like my version of heaven!
3) Lots of cool overcast skies. Beautiful!
4) Lights are optional for pedestrians, if you think you can cross without getting hit--go for it!
5) Piling up on P.'s bed to watch Everything is Illuminated.
6) Watching the Husband exploring the USS Constitution. He was like a little kid at Christmas--I have seldom seen him so completely and totally happy.
7) Cannolis from Mikes...ohmygoodness ricotta cheese x sugar + chocolate chips = BLISS.

Things I did NOT like about my trip to Boston:

1) Flying. We did not like it. Not a bit of it.
2) People honk their car horns A LOT. If you so much as hesitate at a light that is still RED but will be turning GREEN in the next millisecond, they will honk you to SHAME.
3) -----edited to protect the feelings of those we love.
4 ------edited to protect the feelings of those we love.
5) 3 hours at the Head of the Charles. It's a boat race, I don't get it.
6) NOT SEEING the Paul Revere House, the Bunker Hill monument, the Russian district, or the Irish district, or the immigration museum.
7) P. being so busy with work and others. We came to see him, after all, and it felt like we were just a hassle and in the way...and that's no fun at all.

That said, here's the last list of the day:


Things you should do if you ever go to Boston:

1) Don't trust your friends to show you what you really care about. They won't. They'll show you what they care about--which is fine if you have common interests--but if you don't, just by a Charlie Ticket and go and see stuff by yourself. Otherwise you'll end up missing out on the city you wanted to see.
2) Take an umbrella. Even if it doesn't look like rain. Trust me.
3) If you still persist in not taking an umbrella, take extra clothes to change in to when you are soaking wet from the rain that really didn't look like falling.
4) EAT. Where you want, when you want and what you want.
5) Know what you want to see, ride the T to that place and then walk--don't meander from Davis Square to Boston Commons. You'll be tired and grumpy and there won't really be any time to see what you wanted to see to begin with.
6) Pay for your own space, you'll sleep better if you can walk around naked for a bit.
7) Know how YOU travel. And don't mix vacation/pleasure/FUN with Friends or Family. It doesn't mean you love them any less, you do, it's just so much more efficient and you won't feel guilty for leaving them behind or resenting them in the morning.

Love and Hate

on 17 October 2007

We're gearing up for a trip to Boston tomorrow. Neither of us has ever been before and one of the Husband's best friends lives up there so we're popping in for a long weekend and a visit with P.



I love travel. I do. I love seeing new places and experiencing new things. I love the different faces. I love cities. I do. I really do.



That said: I HATE travelling! Why do we do this to ourselves and call it FUN?!? Seriously! The laundry and then the packing and the provision for the CATS and then the AIRLINES!!! Let us not even discuss the state of air travel! And then the hassle of not knowing where you're going and trying to navigate a CITY with all of your LUGGAGE! And I'm a LIGHT packer! And the people! So. Many. New. People. What was I thinking in my wee introvert brain? And then the COST!!! Please, can we not contemplate the amount of money that travel costs? I need to breathe into a paper bag for a moment.

...


Okay. I think I'm moderately calmer now. In a theoretical sort of way I am looking forward to this. After all 2 whole days off work! YAY! 2 whole days with the Husband! YAY! 3 whole days with P all to ourselves! YAY! But seriously...I still wonder why I am doing this to myself. I could feasibly hide in my apartment for 4 days not checking email, not answering the phone (not that I answer the phone that much anyway...), and not changing out of my pajamas! I know. I know. Travelling broadens the mind and enriches our life through being and experience and blah blah blah.


Alright, already! I'm going now. If you need me, I'll be in Boston.