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?

Writing in the margins

Jess mentioned on her blog yesterday that she loves marginalia.  I have to agree.  I usually don’t write in my books (and John thinks it’s sacrilege to deface a book in any way), but that’s part of why I love used books.  I like to read what other people may have been thinking when they read the book that’s in my hands.  What was important enough to them to point it out in the margins?  Was it for school?  I found an old book of Sherlock Holmes stories that had several pages of someone’s notes for a book report in it.  My copy of A Handmaid’s Tale was Mom’s, and it looks like she used it to teach a class.  Unfortunately, her notes are so cryptic that I can’t tell why she marked particular passages.  (You’re going to have to walk me through it sometime, Mom.)

In other news, I just watched Waitress.  I really liked it.  It’s quirky, funny, sweet.  There aren’t any one-note characters.  I just really liked it.  It made me feel good.  You should see it.

Lazy weekend

I love library sales.  We bought 20 or so books for $24.  This was yesterday (Saturday).  We got there around noon, maybe a little before.  The books were organized by genre, mostly, but that’s it.  I didn’t find anything I was looking for, but I found plenty of books I’m interested in.  That’s pretty much how it usually goes.  The books are spread out on table tops and in shallow boxes under the tables, so I spent about half of our time there on the floor under the tables, trying not to trip the people around me.

Today I was planning on going to DC to see Jess, but Chuck got sick last night (hope you’re feeling better, Chuck!) and Jess decided to stay home with him, both to take care of him and to catch up on the sleep she missed since he was so sick.  Disappointing not to be able to hang out, but it turned out okay since I was feeling very very lazy today.  Very.  I was already up relatively early (9ish), so I didn’t go back to bed or anything.  Actually, John went for a run and I went to the grocery store.  All errands were done by 1:30 or so, and I pretty much haven’t moved from the couch since then.  I read for a while, and John did his homework.  Then we played a game of chess (I had to be retaught).  He won, but I think I made it a little bit of a challenge for him.  Oh, we’ve had a fire going all afternoon, too.  It’s been very pleasant.  Now John is cooking dinner, and I don’t plan to make it a late night.

Not very exciting, I know.  Sorry.

Book sale and working late on a Friday again – poor dogs

What was I doing last Friday? Ah, yes. Working late. What am I doing today (also Friday)?  Working late.  For a short week, it sure did last a long time.  Today was busy again, the good kind, but I’m done now.  I’m ready to go.  John is not.  So maybe I should say I’m AT work late.  At least it is Friday, and I can sleep in tomorrow and be lazy for two days and figure out how and when we can see our friends next.  Now that classes have started, I’ll have to take John’s homework and study load into account.  Of course, I don’t always have bring him.  But I like that we have friends.  It’s not just my friends or his friends.

Oh!  Exciting!  The Ashburn Library Book Sale is this weekend!  Well, now I’m happy about that.  They sell their books for $2 or less.  I missed it last year (this is not the big Loudoun County sale – that’s in June, and it didn’t happen last year), so I am definitely going this weekend.   Ooh, I should print my book list.  Yes, I keep a list of books I run across on websites and in reviews that look interesting to me.  And then I never have it when I’m going to a bookstore or a sale or even Amazon.  Silly me.  Except that this sale won’t be organized at all, except maybe by genre, so my list may not help me at all.

Head in the clouds

Every time I run down this one little hill, just before the corner, it’s almost easy.  Effortless.  I’m not aware of the work my legs, my lungs, my arms are doing.  It only lasts for about 30 seconds, but that’s the feeling I reach for every time I run.  And on this particular stretch of sidewalk, it always catches me by surprise.  I don’t realize I’m in that perfect place until I round the corner and all of a sudden there’s a slight rise and it feels like work again.  I just don’t know how to get to that place on purpose (and it’s not just about going downhill – other hills don’t feel like that).  I only even know I was there after the feeling is gone.  It’s almost…sad when I realize I’ve just wrenched myself out of my perfect running headspace.  I try to remember what I was thinking, so maybe I can get lost whatever daydream it was, but I’ve never been able to get it back once it’s gone.


I watch Fringe, and it just started up again yesterday.  I think the guy who plays the scientist’s son (whose name I can never remember) is deliberately trying to be a charming younger George Clooney.  He’s only sometimes successful.  Can’t think of his name.  I keep thinking of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but I know that’s not right.  Got it.  Joshua Jackson.  From Dawson’s Creek.  And I didn’t even have to resort to IMDB!

Wonderfully busy

Okay, “wonderfully busy” may be a little much. I had a very busy day at work, and it was a nice kind of busy. I should save “wonderfully busy” for a day I spent doing things I enjoy. I was usefully busy today. That’s better.

We had to be at work early this morning, and then he left for his first class, so I was actually able to leave shortly after four today.  I got home before the sun went down!  It was nice to go to work and drive home with the sun up.

I don’t really have a lot to say today.  I need to get over that.  Mom made fun of me the other day for reading Dragonquest again.  What’s to make fun of?  Okay, there’s plenty if I leave it wide open, but she was saying I’ve read it a million times, so why read it again?  My answer?  I’m not just reading that book again, Mom.  I’m reading the whole series again.  🙂  Where’s the fun in owning books if you’re not going to reread them?  And I have two additional reasons for wanting to reread this particular series:

  1. It’s been years since the last time I picked up a Pern book, so I’m due a refresher.
  2. I’ve had a hard time getting really involved in what I’ve been reading lately.  I mean involved to the point of hoping to get stuck at stoplights so I can read while the light is red.  (I don’t read while the car is moving, I promise.)
  3. (Okay, I have three reasons.)  I love these books.