What? Today was Valentine’s Day?

John and I celebrated Valentine’s Day the way we normally do – by mostly ignoring it.  We decided to celebrate by buying ourselves little somethings.  We went to the used book store in Reston (he got two books, I got six), we had dinner out, and then we went to Circuit City just to see what kind of crazy sale they had going on since they’re going out of business.  We ended up buying six or seven DVDs.  Most of their selection was under $10.  And then, since we were right around the corner, we went to Friendly’s for ice cream.

I never want to eat again.

This used  book store in Reston is practically the only used bookstore in Loudoun County.  There’s one in Manassas, but it’s terrible.  It’s really big, and they have a lot of stuff, but it’s not organized at all.  It would take days to find anything, and it’s too far away from us.  There’s one near our office, too, but the books are practically full price.  You might as well buy them new.  So that one doesn’t really count.  Those are the only ones I know about.  And that’s really depressing.  I was able to help a guy at the store tonight, though.  He asked the guy working there if he knew the author of a particular book, so he could look for the other books in the series.  I happen to own those books (and the guy working there had never heard of it), so I gave him the author’s name and then helped him find them.  I want to do that all the time.  And read.  I just need to be independently wealthy so I can afford to work in (or own) a bookstore.  I’ll work on that.

Emma Thompson – love her!

I almost forgot about posting today.  It’s late, and I want to go to bed, so this will be short.  John and I just watched The Remains of the Day, and we’re not quite sure what to make of it.  I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t prepared for how it ended.  I feel like I missed something.  That’s not exactly right; I don’t think I missed anything.  It feels like there was something missing.  But I love Emma Thompson.  And she looks so young in this movie!

I just checked out IMDB.  She was 34 when this movie came out (and I think she looked young.  That’s a good indication of how I feel about my impending birthday, right?), and she’s only 50 now.  I thought she was older.  AND she’s married to the guy who played Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.  I wish she were with Kenneth Branagh, but since I can’t have that fantasy, at least I can be happy knowing she snagged a very good-looking Austen character.  🙂

Blown away

Here’s what I was trying to post yesterday but couldn’t because we weren’t able to reset our internet connection (again) until this morning.

Thursday, February 12th

I didn’t think today was ever going to end.  It was our last day of work before our long-awaited 5-day weekend, so it was guaranteed to take forever.  We’re home now, thankfully, waiting for Brian to call us back to see if he’s free to hang out tonight.  Brian is John’s friend from high school who’s a Coast Guard pilot living in Coos Bay, Oregon.  He’s in town for a conference, and we had dinner and hung out with him last night.  He leaves tomorrow morning, so hopefully we’ll get to see him again tonight.

It’s been ridiculously windy since last night (we could hear the wind howling around the house all night).  When we got home, we had to reset our internet connection, and the lights have flickered twice just since I started writing this.

New book

I just finished reading Axis, by Robert Charles Wilson.  It was…okay.  It’s a sequel (kind of) to Spin, which I really liked, but it was kind of a disappointment.  Spin was similar to Contact (Carl Sagan).  (That’s a good thing.  A very good thing.)  Axis was…weirder.  Still interesting, but not as gripping, not as real.  And Spin didn’t really need a sequel.

I’ve decided to try Tad Williams’ Otherland series.  I’ve heard it’s very good fantasy.  I hope people haven’t been lying to me.  🙂

Obama and paper towel tubes

Last night I said I was going to read instead of watch TV.  Turns out I lied (not on purpose, I swear).  But I wasn’t watching crap TV, honest.  It was Obama’s first prime-time new conference!  Three weeks into his first time (not nine months), intelligent, coherent, thoughtful, and reasonable.  What else can you ask for?  He can’t fix everything, and he certainly can’t do it righthisminute, but only crazy people expect that.  I expect him to make the right decisions, not just the quick decisions.  And he knows this stimulus package may not be perfect, but if we wait forever for the perfect bill, where will we be when it finally passes?

Anyway, I like him.  🙂

I gave Roxy the BEST TOY EVER tonight, judging by her reaction to it.  I’ll regret it later, I’m sure.  I was putting a new roll of paper towels on the stand when I saw her sitting intensely at my feet.  (You’ve all seen a dog sit intensely: ears perked up, tail wagging furiously, whole body quivering with the effort of sitting rather than jumping.  That was Roxy a few minutes ago.)  What on earth could she want?  I mean, aside from the empty cardboard tube I was waving around in my free hand.  Oh.  Right.  So I gave it to her.  She’s thrilled.  She’s ripping it to pieces (which is why I will regret it) and throwing them around the living room.  So far I’ve only had to rescue pieces for her from under the chair twice.

Nothing much

Wow.  I just watched about a minute of The Secret Life of an American Teenager (this is the ABC Family show about a pregnant teenager (Molly Ringwald is her mother)).  That is some seriously bad acting on the part of the pregnant teen and her friend (sister? boyfriend’s sister?  I’m not sure who she was, actually).

Not a lot happened today.  It’s Monday.  I’ve decided to officially start worrying about work and money.  Nothing has changed, but I was worrying anyway while feeling like I shouldn’t.  I don’t need the guilt.  🙂  For now, though, I’m not going to worry or feel guilty about it.  I’m just gonna read.

With one exception, Michael Chabon doesn’t do it for me

It’s early February, the windows are open at home, and I went for a run in shorts and a t-shirt.  Something is wrong here.  I like it, but I’m just going to be disappointed when the temperature plummets again.

I finally finished The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.  I was forcing myself through it until around page 200.  Then it got interesting.  No, that’s not fair.  It was always interesting, but I didn’t really care.  The plot didn’t settle down until around the 200th page, which was when I was sure I was going to finish it.  And by that I mean I actually got hooked.  But I shouldn’t have had to get through 200 pages first.  It will never go on my list of favorite books, and I will probably never re-read it, but it wasn’t bad.  I just can’t really recommend it to anyone who isn’t an all out Michael Chabon fan.  The kind who will read anything by him.  I’m like that with lots of authors (more than I can name, really).  Not him.  But I loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and I’ve liked a couple of his other books.  I’m not giving up on this guy.  I’m just not in a hurry to move on to the next book.

Worn out

My legs are tired.  I ran three miles this morning (hamstrings still sore from Yoga Booty Ballet (!) the other day), walked maybe 8 blocks round trip to and from the American History Museum, and spent several hours standing while in the museum.  I think it’s the standing that did it.  And the tiredness only kicked in while driving home.  All of a sudden it was an effort to keep my foot on the gas.  Pathetic.  I certainly don’t regret the museum.  I got to hang out with Jess, Chuck, and Cody, and we had a good time.  Of course.  We didn’t get to hang out long enough, as far as I’m concerned.  They may not agree.  🙂

I came home to John, who looks burned out (burnt out?  When do you use burned vs. burnt?)* on homework.  And he’s not done!  He’s practicing his guitar right now, and we’ll probably have dinner soon (I suggested we go to IHOP for dinner – he’s very happy about that).  But he may have to go back to his homework later tonight, and he’ll definitely have to work on it tomorrow.  Sucks that this is taking up his whole weekend.

By the way, the Americans at War exhibit at the Museum of American History is neverending!  Lots of neat stuff.  Too much, perhaps.

*Google to the rescue!  In general use, this is more of a British English vs. American English thing.  The British tend to use burnt and Americans use burned.  There’s also some past tense vs. past participle stuff out there, but I’m going with the general use thing for now.

The Conundrum of Woot

If you’ve never been to woot.com, you should check it out.  They sell one thing every day.  Just one.  They sell it until they run out of whatever it is.  And then they sell a new thing the next day.  It could be anything (toy helicopters, mp3 players, roombas, headphones – anything).  Some things are new, some are reconditioned, but they’re always in good shape and they’re always CHEAP.  And only available for that day.  You check the site in the morning.  They have a laptop computer/iPod docking station/Nerf bow and arrow set that you may not have realized you wanted until you saw it at the woot.com price.  Do you buy the desk chair/stand-up mixer/bar accessory kit because you’ve always kinda wanted one but have never seen it less than half the usual price before?  Well, you have to make that decision fast.  So is buying it right now, at a ridiculously cheap price, even though you don’t really need it, worth it because you may never see it that cheap again?  This is the woot conundrum.  Today, it was a record player that has a USB port so you can transfer all your records to mp3.  What can you do?

The next time a Dyson vacuum cleaner is on there, I’m in trouble.

My inflexibility

I went to bed last night determined to NOT be lazy anymore.  I want to get my act together and get back to exercising regularly and being careful about what I eat.  I checked the weather last night for this morning, so I knew it was going to be bitterly cold (the forecast last night was for a low of 15, with a windchill around 5).  John and I decided not to brave the cold and to just work out inside, instead.

Getting up wasn’t too hard, although it took a little longer than it should have.  It takes turning the light on to make getting up inevitable.  John headed to the basement to lift weights, and I grabbed my yoga mat and 5-lb dumbbells for Yoga Booty Ballet!

I can’t decide – no.  I like parts of the video, but I just can’t do the yoga section.  I am incapable of touching the ground with my hands while my legs are straight (and my feet are flat on the ground).  Just can’t do it.  And that seems to be an inescapable part of yoga.  Or at least of the yoga parts of this video.  I’m sure there are other yoga-related positions that don’t ask me to do that.  My point is that because that’s what they base most of the yoga portion on, I can’t do it.  I try to fake it, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anything out of it.  I wouldn’t mind taking a beginner yoga class or something.  I just think I’ll be skipping the yoga section of this video.

Anyway, I mentioned the weather forecast earlier for a reason.  I didn’t check it again until I was done with Yoga Booty Ballet (! (I think it should always end with an exclamation mark.)), and by then the sun was up.  The temperature outside, after the sun had been up for about 30 minutes, was 15 degrees.  The windchill?  -1.  Yes, that’s one below zero.  It is NOT supposed to get that cold here.  Especially not when it hit 60 degrees four days ago, and it’s going to be in the 50s in two days.  What’s the weather trying to do, make us all sick?  Is this revenge for global warming?

Okay, so I’m not really that outraged about the weather.  It’s fake outrage.  I admit it.  What are you gonna do about it, huh?  And there’s some fake belligerence.  I’m done now.  With the fake emotions, I mean.  🙂  Also, I’m done with this post.

Funny grammar mistakes! Yay!

This cracked me up today.  It came from an article on the Washington State Bar Association website about grammar pet peeves:

Comma errors: The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (do a Web search for these folks and start reading them regularly) recently noted a startling example of what a difference a comma can make: “The state Board of Elections decided today to adopt a ban on clothing, including buttons and hats that directly endorse a candidate or issue.” Without a comma after “hats,” the Board is not banning the wearing of things that promote political causes but is banning apparel altogether.

Here’s the link to the whole article.

I turned on the TV intending to switch to one of the classical music channels, but Dirty Dancing is on and I got sidetracked.  What a great movie.  I believe every minute of it.

Stuck in my head.

I really hate it when a song gets stuck in my head.  It’s even worse when it’s a commercial jingle.  I have Subway’s $5 foot-long ad repeating over and over in my head.  And the only other song I can bring to mind is one I can’t stand (it’s Steely Dan), so maybe I’ll just give up and try to ignore Subway.

Ignoring it is not working.  I’ve been sitting here, trying to start another sentence, and all I can think is “Five.  Five dollar.  Five-dollar foot-long,” with the horrible guitar riff from “Reeling in the Years” in the background.  I can’t believe I made it worse.

That reminds me, though, of a coincidence today.  This morning I had three words from a song I couldn’t name stuck in my head (“night life baby”) along with the hook.  And I kept trying to fit the words “cat scratch fever” in instead of “night life baby”, even though I knew the song wasn’t “Cat Scratch Fever.”  Very different song.  Anyway, I got distracted and forgot about it.  I got into the car and turned the radio on just in time to hear “night life baby” followed by that hook!  It’s “Let’s Go” by the Cars.  So that’s a little weird.  And now I’m hearing that song sort of combined with “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince.  At least I got rid of the other two.  This is an improvement.  And I’ve decided I really like the Cars.  Or at least their hits.  I know more of their songs than I realized.

Super Bowl Sunday. Whoop-te-doo.

The weather today is unbelievable.  For February 1st, anyway.  It’s 60 degrees out (!), the sun is shining, the snow is melting, and it just feels good.  Of course, since my run this morning, I’ve spent most of the day inside, but I can still appreciate the weather.  🙂  The house smells SO good.  I put a brisket in the oven around 11:30 (one hour to go!), and the whole house smells like warm brisket cooking.  It’s too nice out.  I’m gonna go sit on the deck with my book.

For everyone who’s been bugging us about TV, here’s the update.  We are all caught up on Lost, and we just finished the last season of Battlestar Galactica.  We have three episodes on our DVR (from the last three Fridays), so we’ll get to those soon, but we’ve watched everything that’s out on DVD.

Thanks for the dumb superpower, Mom.

It’s been a nice Saturday.  We met Erik for brunch at this restaurant in Clarendon this morning.  Whitlow’s on Wilson. We’ve been there with him a few other times.  They have a brunch buffet we can’t stay away from.  🙂  The breakfast part is pretty typical, but good.  Waffles, biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, eggs, bagels, etc.  John loves that they have a giant platter of lox.  Then at 11, they bring out the lunch part of the buffet.  The highlight every weekend is crab legs.  They also usually have baked salmon, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, and a few varieties of salad and dessert.  I’ve never made it to dessert.  We were there for nearly three hours today, I think.  Not eating the whole time, thank goodness.  I probably wouldn’t have fit back in the car.  But it was good to hang out with Erik.  We had a good time.  Then we went to Barnes and Noble for a little more hanging out.  John was looking for a CD they ended up not having, but we spent another hour or so talking about random things while standing among (amongst?) the DVD shelves.  Eventually, we dropped Erik off at his place and headed home so John could work on his homework.

Of course, when we got home, Roxy had had an accident, so we had to clean that up.  Cleaning that up included mopping the floor, so we decided to do some other cleaning, too.  Mostly picking up clutter.  While I was sorting through all the random stuff that collected on the island, John decided to grab the paint can and touch up some scuffs on the walls in the front hall and living room.  That’s when he realized that he was going to much greater lengths than usual to avoid his homework.  He did eventually start to work on it, but not until after he put a coat of some sort of wood-conditioning oil on the top of the island.  That’s when I headed for the grocery store.

Actually, before I did that, I checked Mom’s blog and noticed that she updated it today with a long post that basically reviews what Mom and Dad got out of their almost two years of restless retirement.  Well, Mom hasn’t actually posted that entry yet (and when I checked again, it wasn’t there anymore), so she has determined that I have this completely useless superpower that allows me to read other people’s draft blog entries before they’re published.  I can’t think of any time when that would actually be useful.

John and I jammed for part of the evening.  Yeah, I said it.  We jammed.  Sounds weird.  Whatever.  Found a couple of drum patterns I totally suck at.  And a couple I’m pretty good at playing.  Since then, John’s been playing his acoustic and looking for songs we can sing together.   And I’m starving.  I thought I’d never eat again after brunch today, but apparently I can’t last more than 8 hours without eating.  At least now I know.  So before I faint with hunger, I’m going to post this.  Good night.

Gotta stop complaining about work

And DO something about it.  I’m working on it.  Anyway, today was long, but busy.  Not so bad.  John’s day was three hours longer than mine.  He just called to tell me he was leaving.  And I just ordered pizza.  We’ll see who gets here first.

I am officially tired of winter.  I’m tired of cold weather.  I would say I’m tired of snow and ice (and it would be true), but we’ve barely had any.  I’m just tired of the cold and the short days.  And the dry air.

Wow.  Too much complaining.  That shouldn’t be all I have to say.  It’s Friday!  It’s the weekend!  Finally.  This was kind of a long week.  Hmm.  I had a sunnier outlook a couple of days ago.  The only thing I can think of that has changed is what I’m reading.  I just can’t get into The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.  I haven’t given it enough of a try to feel justified in putting it down, though.  It hasn’t grabbed me yet.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood.  But I was much happier when I was reading Anne McCaffrey.  I haven’t spent much time reading it yet (I’m not even 30 pages in, which why I’m not ready to quit), so maybe it’ll grab me over the weekend.  I need to spend some quality time reading.  I’ve only had a couple of minutes to spare here and there.  I haven’t really given it a chance.

Pizza’s here!

Aches and pains

I may have mentioned yesterday that my back hurt a bit after shoveling.  That was nothing.  The whole upper half of my back aches.  I barely noticed it this morning, but as the day has gone on, it’s been harder to ignore.  I’m certainly not in any pain.  My (mostly unused) upper back muscles are just protesting yesterday’s unexpected exercise.  I wish they’d protest a little quieter.

We’re planning a quiet night at home (how is that different from any other night?  It’s not.  Shut up.) tonight.  We finished the first four episodes of Battlestar Galactica Season 4 last night, and we have the next disc already, so that’s probably what we’ll watch.  Still haven’t watched the first Lost episode of the season, but we’ll probably do that this weekend.  Our DVR is starting to act funny again, so we’re going to try to watch and/or record everything we have saved so we can get a new one from the cable company.

Anyway, I’m hoping to leave work very soon (just waiting for John to check out with our boss).  Yay home!

I think I have blisters.

I shoveled snow!  And ice.  Mostly ice.  But I did it!  John is at school, so when I got home today (not very long ago), I decided to try to clear the driveway and sidewalk of the packed ice that appeared after last night’s and this morning’s freezing rain.  John shoveled the snow away last night.  It was pretty easy to get the shovel all the way under it, but ice is heavy!  And my back started to hurt (towards the side, and mostly on the left side even though I made a point of switching my grip on the shovel) before I was halfway done.  At least my neighbors think I’m less of a girly girl now.  Both Mike, the crazy guy who lives behind us, and Mark, the boyfriend of Mike’s ex-wife who lives across the street from us, said I was doing a good job and decided to shovel their own sidewalks.  Anyway, I’m hot and sweaty (ick), my hands hurt (I wasn’t wearing gloves – stupid, I know), my arms are a little weak, and my back hurts.  All from shoveling ice for about 20-25 minutes.  I am a WIMP!  The worst part is that the sidewalk is still wet and all that moisture is just going to freeze again overnight.  So unless it warms up enough to melt and dry up tomorrow, we’re going to be looking at icy sidewalks for a few more days.

Filler. And dogs.

I’m just posting tonight so I can say I did.  I don’t like this kind of  post, but I left it to the last minute and I really don’t want to start skipping days for no good reason.  Nothing really exciting happened today.  I was sort of busy at work, but not crazy busy.  It snowed last night and much of today.  We had about an inch on the ground by the time we got home.  We’re getting freezing rain tonight and tomorrow, warming up to regular rain, so the snow will be gone soon.  And we’ll get to drive to work tomorrow on ice.  Yippee.

The dogs really like the snow.  While John shoveled the sidewalk, I took them out to run around the backyard.  They ran.  I stood in one place and encouraged them.  And Riley proved to me (again) just how dumb he is.  He’s not very good at playing fetch.  I mean, he’ll chase the ball, but he doesn’t bring it back.  So I picked up a handful of snow, got his attention, and threw it.  I didn’t bother packing it, and it drifted back down the ground within two feet of me, but Riley didn’t notice.  He ran to back of the yard, and when he got to the back fence, he started looking for it, but not on the ground.  He knew it never hit the ground, so he was looking up, at the sky, at the trees – did he think it flew away?  Who knows.  The best part was how he was running.  You know how Pepe Le Pew bounds after the cat he’s always chasing?  Ears up, all four legs off the ground at the same time?  That’s how Riley made it the back fence.  We repeated this over and over again, maybe 12 times, before my hands got too cold to pick up snow.   What kind of dog chases a nonexistent ball?