Mmm. Wine.

I love wineries.  Not just because you can get wine there.  I love the atmosphere, I love the tastings, I love the big rooms and the (almost always) friendly people.  I went to Hidden Brook Winery today to get more of the sweet rosé John loves, and even though I was only there for five minutes, it was such a nice five minutes.  And in an odd coincidence (considering the comments from the other day’s post), NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” played the Sesame Street theme song right after making George Stephanopoulos answer questions about Snuffleupagus.  But it sounded like Elmo was singing it.  Didn’t it used to be a bunch of kids singing?  Did they really change it to just Elmo?  ‘Cause I’m not okay with Elmo being the star of Sesame Street.

Failure of a ponytail

Complete and utter failure.  Worst ponytail EVER.  I took the dogs for a short jog this afternoon, and for the first time in months, I put my hair into a normal ponytail instead of the double-decker thing I’ve been doing (which has been working just fine).  Because the ponytail wasn’t tight enough, it slid down the back of my head, freeing all the shorter hair in front to flop around in my face.  I couldn’t just tuck it behind my ears (over and over and over) like I usually would because I was wearing my ear grips to keep my wittle ears warm, so I didn’t have ears behind which to tuck the hair.  Behind which.

John has been in the driveway all morning replacing the rear brakes on the mustang.  It’s not supposed to be this hard.  That’s true of EVerything he does to this car.  Except when he replaced the drive belt a couple of weeks ago.  That one went pretty well.  He got the driver’s side done, but he’s having trouble compressing the piston back into the caliper on the passenger side.  I’ve been googling the problem, but he’s got the right tool and he seems to be doing all the right things.  He’s not ready to assume the caliper has seized yet, but if he can’t fit the new brake pad in, he may have to replace the caliper.  And that will mean he won’t be going to his cousin’s new baby’s christening.  Because it will take the rest of the weekend (bleeding brake lines, replacing parts, adding fluid, etc) and he won’t have a car to drive until it’s done.  So we’ll see.  But if he does go, he’ll leave for PA tonight to spend the evening with his family and then drive to Long Island with them Sunday morning for the christening.  He’ll stay with his parents in PA Sunday night and go to work from their house Monday morning.  So I won’t see him again until after work on Monday.  On the plus side, I’ll have Indian for dinner and watch movies he’s not interested in.  But that’s only fun for one night, not two.  Oh!  Speaking of movies, we watched 500 Days of Summer last night.  We both really liked it.  Joseph Gordan-Levitt was fantastic, and while we didn’t like Zooey Deschanel’s character as much, she was really good.  John couldn’t decide if he thought she was really attractive or not.  He said he wasn’t sure if he’d call her beautiful, or even pretty, but he wants to keep looking at her.  So at least he thinks she’s interesting.  I think she’s very pretty.  She’s got that blue eyes with dark hair thing I’ve always liked.  Like Liesl in The Sound of Music.  🙂  And I will watch the musical number (from 500 Days) at least three more times before I put the movie back in the mail.

What next?

I finished reading that Stuart Woods novel (Run Before the Wind – I liked it) a few minutes ago, and I find myself faced with a very familiar dilemma.  What should I read next?  I have too many options!  Another mystery?  Am I in the mood for science fiction or fantasy?  Which one?  Do I want to read something light and frivolous or something a little harder?  I really don’t know, and I might not know until I start something.  Please excuse me while I peruse my bookshelves.  That doesn’t sound right.  Probably because that’s not a word I normally use.

I didn’t get very far in my perusal.  Okay, browsing.  Feels more natural to me.  I stopped in the A’s and decided to try a Margaret Atwood novel.  I’ve only read The Handmaid’s Tale, but I like it so much I’ve read it several times.  So I’m going to try Bodily Harm.

A list

Things I Like (in no particular order):

  • Reading fiction, anywhere, anytime
  • my dogs
  • all dogs
  • And kittens
  • And cats that actually like people
  • chocolate
  • milk chocolate
  • white chocolate
  • Paul Reiser
  • Mad About You
  • Saturday mornings
  • sunny days (“sweeping the…”)
  • summer days
  • trees
  • books (and their smell)
  • big band music
  • lists
  • flowers
  • BIG bathtubs
  • showers with real water pressure
  • manicured lawns
  • manicured nails (my own, anyway – don’t much care for anyone else’s nails)
  • clean sheets
  • John’s clean, just-out-the-shower smell (much better than his just-came-back-from-a-long-run-sweaty smell)
  • John (duh)
  • everyone else I like (but won’t list here for fear I’ll leave someone I like off the list and that person (let’s call this person “H” for “hypothetical”)  will notice and be mad at me for leaving her (or him) off (even though it was an accident and I really do like H) and she will stop visiting my site, assuming  she was visiting and reading anyway, but if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t know I left her off and she wouldn’t get mad and stop reading, so I guess H was reading, which means, again, that I shouldn’t list anyone because I might leave someone off and she’ll get mad and stop reading)
  • decorating with books
  • my pretty new dining room table
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • working from home
  • that relaxed feeling as you drift off to sleep

Speaking of that last one, it’s getting close to my bedtime.  More accurately, it’s getting close to that time when I should be in bed reading.

Morning person?

Much as I like sleeping in and being lazy in the mornings, I find that I’m happier when I’m up and moving and it’s early (not crazy early).  As the day goes on, no matter how good that day is, I get more and more tired and worn out and less likely to want to do anything.  That’s mostly why I need to run in the mornings.  If I put it off to after work, I might never get out the door.  Actually, I’m gonna have to change that soon.  I’ll have to get downtown so early that I won’t be able to run in the mornings.

My point, if I had one, was that I like mornings.  Particularly sunny ones.  Oh, right, my other point is that I think I might like to become a morning blogger.  Not sure if that’ll happen, considering how long it’s been taking me to get ready for work lately, but maybe then I wouldn’t feel this pressure to come up with something in the evenings when I’m brain-dead.  What’s that you say?  I’m always brain-dead?  Don’t be mean.

Hooray for Easter? I mean candy….

I don’t care all that much about the actual Cadbury creme egg (John loves them – my favorites are the hard-shell mini eggs), but I always laugh at the Cadbury bunny commercials.  I love the tryouts (particularly the lion in the bow), but you can’t beat a clucking bunny.  I know, I’m easy.  But it’s funny!

My camera isn’t taking good pictures for some reason (grainy with no flash, and there are glare or dirty lens marks all over the picture when I use the flash), and I can’t find John’s camera (he’s in class, so I can’t ask), so there aren’t any good pictures of the dining room.  When I manage to take one I’m willing to let everybody see, I’ll post it.  I really want you guys to see it, ’cause it looks GREAT.  Like a whole different room.  Again.  🙂  The wall where the couch used to be has four dark, very tall bookshelves on it now.  Turns out the floor is uneven along the wall right in the center of the room, so we have two shelves coming from the wall by the fireplace.  The other two are right up against the light switch by the basement door.  Eventually, I want to put a shelf or narrow table or cabinet or something in the space in between with a mirror on the wall above it.  The buffet (blond wood) is still on the opposite wall, between the windows, but I think we’re going to get two more of the dark bookshelves and put them there instead.  We’ll add doors to the bottom halves of the bookshelves so we can use them for storage space and maybe use the upper shelves for wine glass or something.  Ooh, we put glass doors on the upper shelves…  Yeah, I want to do that.  But that can wait for the next trip to Ikea.  I finished rearranging the books last night, and once again (maybe for the first time in this house), all of the fiction fits on shelves on the first floor.  With room for more!  We have a whole bookshelf free.  That won’t last long.  One new book and we’re on the last one.   And of course I’m not counting the books we have in bags and boxes in the basement (that’s our store inventory), and I haven’t even begun counting the books in Mom and Dad’s basement.  Someday I’ll get around to organizing the non-fiction upstairs.  I LOVE how the dining room looks with all those books on the shelves.

Enough about me.  Except not, because I’m posting this link to The Bloggess because I love the way she tells a story and I laughed at this post.  A couple of times.  Loudly.  And Riley came over to check on me.  Apparently, he doesn’t get why she’s so funny.  But he’s a dog.  What does he know?

Should a post have just one subject?

My day didn’t quite live up to its promising start, but how could it have?  I had to go to work.  Not that work is a bad place.  But it’s work, so it can’t compete with anything that’s not work.  No, that’s too big of a generalization.  There are lots of things not-work that are worse than work.  LOTS of things.

It rained today!  That’s the first non-snow precipitation we’ve had since early December.  Well, maybe not, but it’s the first I’ve noticed, and it made a big difference in the amount of snow left on the ground.  I’m SO glad.

I finished The Pillars of the Earth a few days ago.  The last third was much better than the rest, starting just before the (very quick – really, I was surprised)  grand tour of France and Spain.  But I’m not in a hurry to pick up the sequel.  I started a Stuart Woods mystery/thriller instead.  Actually, I read the first Dresden Files novel first (it was okay).  Almost forgot about it.

I haven’t mentioned yet how nicely John planned my birthday.  We got up early to go to Ikea for the shelves, but not before waiting half an hour or so for this woman who answered the craiglist ad to show up to take the old dining room table.  She didn’t show, so we left.  In the car, John said, “I got you this for the ride to Ikea,” and handed me a card and the new Michael Buble CD.  At least half of the songs are standards, with a couple of new originals, and another couple of covers.  I really like it.  We went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast (yay bagels and boo coffee), and then we shopped at Ikea, which is always fun.  When we got home, John put all the shelves together, and sometime in the middle of that, the other woman who answered the craigslist ad showed up for the dining room table.  So it’s gone.  We went out to dinner at the  Woo Lae Oak in Tysons Corner (it was really good), and as we were leaving, John said, “I didn’t bake you a cake, but we can’t let your birthday go by without dessert, so what do you want?”  I decided we should go to Wegman’s and visit the bakery ’cause they were likely to have chocolate-covered strawberries.  They actually didn’t, but when I asked them if they knew where else I might find some, they said they’d make some for me.  🙂  They did, and they were yummy.  So we got home (with the chocolate-covered strawberries and some peanut butter fudge for John) and I found another card and another present on the coffee table.  John planned our evening, too, and bought me a copy of the movie Clue, which neither of us had seen in I don’t know how long.  So we sat on the couch with our chocolate-covered strawberries and fudge, opened a bottle of the dessert wine we bought in Charlottesville when we were there for Jess and Chuck’s wedding, and watched Clue.  Pretty much until we fell asleep.  I couldn’t have been happier.  And that’s why my birthday was so wonderful.  John planned it.

Mornings agree with me

Sometimes.  This one does.  I didn’t want to get out of bed at first, but I convinced myself it was the right thing to do, mostly by reminding myself how good I feel after I run.  It worked, and I do!  The sun is rising earlier and earlier every day, so I didn’t have to run in the dark.  I did have to negotiate the ice in the ex-Bloom parking lot, but there wasn’t that much of it.  It added variety.  Anyway, I ran, the sun is up, the sky is blue, and I feel great.  And I’m hungry, so I’m off to Frosted Flakes and a banana.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.

(Is this too full of sparkles and sunshine for you?)

Alphabetical decisions

My birthday present yesterday was a trip to Ikea so we could buy more bookshelves.  We’ve been in desperate need of more bookshelves for a long time now, and we made a big dent in that need yesterday.  We came home with four tall ones, and John spent a few hours putting them together for me.  The best part of making this my birthday present was that it meant I got to reorganize our books.  I love that.  I spent a few hours today re-shelving and moving the overflow from the library onto the new shelves in the dining room.  I’m not done with that yet, but when I am, I’ll post pictures.  The biggest decision I had to make today was whether to start the alphabet in the library or in the dining room.  Hard stuff.

Fantastic day

Seriously, I had a really good day.  Things went my way in a big way at work, I got to run home to take custody of my NEW DINING ROOM TABLE, I was listening to music I love in the car, and then I got to drive home with a rowdy bunch of balloons.  Yes, someone at work pays attention and noticed that my birthday is tomorrow (yay birthday!), so they got me a cake and balloons (yay work people!).  The cake didn’t make it home.  🙂  The balloons might as well have been the dogs in the car.  They blocked my view out the back window, and the red one kept trying to get in the front seat with me.  It was kind of cute, actually.  It would bump gently into my hair, nuzzle a little (yay static?), and then retreat when I batted it back into the backseat.  Rinse and repeat.

Dining room table?  Here you go.

And here’s one with my pretty placemats from that green store Jess took me to in Easton.

And now it’s time to say goodbye to the old table.  I’m posting it on craigslist tonight.  Right now, in fact.

I am a carrot

My day was fine and not fine, and it totally exhausted me, so I told Mom I was going to become a vegetable for the rest of the evening.

I woke up this morning with a very irritated left eye (turns out I have a weird eyelash problem – I stopped at the eye doctor’s on my way home ’cause I couldn’t drive), so I wore glasses all day, which means my eyes (without contacts in) thought it was bedtime all day AND my left eye watered and stung the whole time.  And I was teaching at work today, so I stood most of the day (and talked ALL day), and now I’m really really really tired.

And that’s the truth.

How to make groceries sound really unappetizing

After I got home from work today and found Roxy totally okay in her crate (no more seizures today as far as I can tell), I went back out to the store to pick up a few things I’d left off the grocery list Monday morning.  Can’t go to Bloom anymore ’cause the one nearest us closed.  I didn’t feel like braving route 7 in rush hour to go to Wegman’s, and Safeway was just that much too far away, so I went to the next closest store to the house: Giant.  Not my favorite place.  I only needed to get four things, so I didn’t write them down, but since I have this habit of forgetting even short lists, I went with my second-best method of remembering them: repetition.  (Second use of the colon in as many sentences: overdone already.  Third!)  I started repeating “Grated cheese, feta cheese, cereal, Oust.  Grated cheese, feta cheese, cereal, Oust.” to myself.  By the time I got to Claiborne, it was a chant with the emphasis on the first syllable of each item.  By the time I got to the parking lot, I was slurring the words a little (yes, I was chanting out loud) so it sounded like “Graded cheese, fetid cheese, cereal, Oust.” Who wants to eat graded cheese and fetid cheese?  That’s how you make your groceries sound disgusting.  End of lesson.

Does anyone know how to make the house stop smelling like scallops?  I sauteed scallops for dinner Monday night, and ever since then, the whole first floor has reeked of raw fish.  That’s why I bought Oust.  I figured I could try this odor-eliminator thing.  So far, not so good.  I can still smell scallops underneath the Fresh Linen scent.  And that’s almost worse.  I’m not sure what to do, since it’s WAY too cold to open the windows and let the kitchen air out.  I’ve cleaned the counters, run the disposal, thrown out the…hm.  The plastic container the scallops came in might still be in the trash can.  But the smell doesn’t get stronger when I open the door to the basement (where we hide the trash can from the dogs).  Still, it’s worth a try.

Wondering what my first-best method for remembering things is?  I bet you can guess.  I’ll tell you anyway.  If I really want to remember something I WRITE IT DOWN.

The ayes have it

The #6’s, rather.  I’ll mess around with version #1 and shades of green later.

I ran this morning.  Okay, it was more like a shuffle that sometimes looked like a slow jog, but it was more than walking, and more than I’ve done in weeks.  I ran twice on a treadmill in San Francisco, but not for very long either time.   It suddenly became very important that we both get out and run, mostly because I signed John up for a 5-miler in two and a half weeks and he coaxed/supported/shamed me into registering myself, too.  Five miles.  In two and a half weeks.  I’m an idiot.  Especially since we don’t really have anywhere to run.  Today we ran in the streets of our neighborhood, and that’s what we’ll have to keep doing until the county clears the sidewalks and paths along the major roads.  We can run laps around the Bloom parking lot, too, since no one is in it early in the morning (nothing is open).  It felt good to get out again, though.

Then we had breakfast, watched Heroes, and I went to the grocery store.  It was supposed to be a short trip, but I was gone forever because I got in the line with the slowest checkout clerk ever.  EVER.  I waited 15 minutes before she was done with the lady in front of me (who didn’t have THAT many groceries), and I got all excited for a minute because a new cashier was waiting behind the slow one and they even went so far as to lift the tray out of the register, but then I looked away for a second and when I looked back, the new cashier was nowhere to be seen and the slow one was starting to ring me up.  Frustrating.  She was using my cloth bags instead of plastic bags, and she got to the last five items and opened a new bag.  No problem with that.  She put the bananas and the grapes in the bottom of the new bag.  I got ready to object if it seemed like she was going to put the lotion and soap on top of the grapes, but instead she reached for a new bag.  Really?  These bags are big.  Just put the grapes on top of that stuff!  Why load up another bag?  I don’t get baggers.

Back to work tomorrow.  Yay.

Brunch is for babies

We met Baby Alex today at brunch with Greg, Amanda, Erik, and Margaret.  He’s SO cute.  See?

And he was on his best behavior.  He only fussed a little, and only right before we left the restaurant.  Margaret and I are in love.  With the baby.  🙂  (It was good to see Greg and Amanda, too.)

After we left our friends to head home, we stopped at Hole in the Wall Books, our favorite local used bookstore in Falls Church.  It was supposed to be a quick stop (John’s looking for something in particular), but of course that didn’t happen.  We chatted with the owner for a while about the snow, then we browsed (I found about 12 books right off the bat), and then we chatted some more while the owner rang us up.  And since we were chatting, we took our time, and I found three more books.  I love used bookstores.

We got back to the house much later than we originally expected (and yet, not at all annoyed  by that because, come on, books and babies (and friends, right, can’t forget about them)), but the sun was still shining, so John disappeared into the basement to play his guitar and I took the dogs on a short walk (really cold).  Walking the dogs is only noteworthy because of what I overheard.  There were three girls playing on top of a mountain of snow in someone’s yard, and one of them said:

“I’m a 12-year-old girl, but my mom keeps telling me I have to be proper.  I mean, I’m twelve.

For a second, I thought she had to quoting from a movie or something.  What mom would say that?

Moving toward a decision

Two things:

  1. The band is practicing tonight, so I spent about 20 minutes picking up downstairs.  The island is totally clear, the kitchen counters are mostly clear, I only left John’s stuff on the dining room table (laptop, camera, PSP), and I mostly cleared off the things that were sitting on the steps waiting to go upstairs.  The house looks nicer, and I feel A TON better.
  2. We bought the dining room table!  We went out this afternoon and just bought it.  Table and six chairs.  We got the 10% discount for the holiday weekend and we convinced them to give us free delivery since that was last weekend’s deal and we TOTALLY would have bought last weekend except for the snow.  Not our fault.  🙂
  3. Okay, three things.  You may have noticed that I switched the site back to the original template.  This isn’t necessarily permanent.  I just don’t know which one is my favorite.  And I may switch between a couple templates regularly.  We’ll see.  Anyway, I’m going to post screen shots of each version.  You tell me if you had a favorite or if there were things you liked about some of them that I can incorporate into another one.  I NEED INPUT, PEOPLE.

#1 – I liked this one, but if I go with it, I’ll probably mess with the colors.  If I’m going to use a fading color theme, I’ll do it with something not boring.  Maybe shades of green.

#2 – This one is a little too big, I think.  Reminds me (and Dad, I think) of a newspaper.  I did like the width of the columns, though.  I like how it takes up the whole page.

#3 – I think we all agreed to not like this one.

#4 – This one is, well, it’s very much like my original template, but blue instead of red.  Maybe I’ll switch to this one when my mood is blue….

#5 – Here we have the same TOO BIG problem.  Too stark, too, I think.  But again, maybe if I messed with the color, this would be better.

#6 – I like this one a lot.  The banner picture across the top makes it SO different from the others.  Do I like it more than the simpler templates?  I don’t know.  Do you?

Take control

Things I’m doing to get out of this hibernation funk I’ve been in since the snow started:

  1. Train the dogs.  I started practicing down with Riley and stay with Roxy, and I’m meeting with a trainer this coming week to work on leash manners and come when called.
  2. Clean the house.  Our room looks like a cave.  Clothes are EVERYwhere.  And there’s stuff piling up on all surfaces downstairs.
  3. Get outside.  Yes, it’s cold, so I won’t be spending lots of time outside, but it’s good for me to see the sun and breathe fresh air.  Dogs like walks and so do I.
  4. Meet with the financial guy.  I need to ask him tax questions and we need to finally pay off the student loan.
  5. Buy the new dining room table!  But not until I’ve cleaned up enough downstairs and found places for everything so we don’t immediately cover our new dining room table in crap.  But that might be today!

More later, I’m sure.

The snow makes running really difficult.  Impossible, really, unless I’m willing to run in the street instead of on the sidewalks.  I could do that in the neighborhood – you know, I might.  I have to do something, and exercise DVDs just aren’t calling out to me.  That should probably be #6, with eating right (and less) #7, but those are all-the-time things.

And here’s a picture for Corey.  It’s me, wearing all the clothes I could find ’cause we were taking the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood, standing next to the biggest pile of snow we have.  John took it Thursday evening, so there’s already been some melting and settling.

Change for the sake of change (or maybe control)

I’ve been home for a couple of hours.  I added our donations to TurboTax (which still says we owe $1500), and then I read a few months’ worth of Dooce archives.  During all of this, I found myself wondering if I should switch to Linux instead of Windows, and then move my website to Movable Type instead of WordPress.  Why?  No real reason.  I guess something needs to change.  And a new template for my site apparently isn’t enough.