Book Club – First Impression

Tonight was the first meeting of our neighborhood book club.  There were about 12 people there.  Eleven were women.  And there were five or six people who couldn’t make this meeting, but were interested.  Big club.  We decided on a book pretty much by default.  Barbara, the woman who organized this, reserved a book kit from the library, so since we already had enough copies of the kit that came in, we’re going to read The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama.  It looks pretty good.  We’re only meeting once a month, so I’ll probably put off reading it until we get a lot closer to the next meeting.  Anyway, we all introduced ourselves, then we made the book and weekly meeting decisions (first Tuesday of the month), and that was pretty much it except for the chatting.  I met Diana, who was sitting next to me and likes to read all kinds of things, including fantasy.  She has a 25-year-old son who bought World of Warcraft for her a year ago.  She’s addicted to it now, which strikes me as pretty funny.  Anyway, we chatted for a while and then helped Barbara pack up the snacks, since everyone started to leave.

The verdict?  That’ll have to wait until after our first discussion meeting or two.  Also, I’m the youngest person there by 5-8 years, I think.  Not really surprising, I guess.

What a perfect morning!

I’m not going to say it was easy to get out of bed this morning, but once I got outside, I was happy to be up and moving.  It was sunny, 52 degrees, a little windy – perfect for running.  It just felt so good to be outside and active.  Not too hot, not even remotely cold.  The wind even showed up at the right times to cool me off.   I wish every morning could be like today.  Happy Friday!

Moving up?

I’m moving into Joe’s old office tomorrow.  I don’t mind moving, but the only perk is that I’ll have a window.  That office shares a (very thin) wall with our boss’s office, and you can hear everything from the other side.  It’s not really a big deal, except that for the last year or so, everyone has been coming to my office to vent.  It was safe because I was as far from our boss’s office as you could get and still be in the same part of the building.  On the other hand, I get a window.  🙂

Two things, food-related

There are a couple of things I forgot to mention about the weekend.  On Sunday, John and I had a late lunch/early dinner at Woo Lae Oak in Tysons Corner.  Korean barbecue.  I love it.  And I don’t understand why there aren’t any Korean restaurants near us.  Tysons isn’t exactly around the corner.  I think the Pentagon City Woo Lae Oak is still my favorite, but that might be because I’ve been there more times.  I definitely liked this one better than the one in LA (too loud, too echo-y, couldn’t hear anyone).  And the food was super good.

The other thing is Amish Friendship bread.  Christina baked a loaf for me for my birthday.  This stuff is delicious.  It should be illegal.  It’s moist, sugary, covered in cinnamon, and I think Christina said it had vanilla pudding in it.  Unbelievable.  Apparently, somebody gives you the dough and a loaf, and you add to the dough and make more of your own.  But adding to the dough makes a bunch more that you are supposed to pass on to your friends.  And it takes ten days to make.  So Christina, wonderful friend that she is, spared me the chain letter aspect of this whole thing and gave me delicious bread.  I appreciate that.


John made me a delicious cake yesterday.  Butter cake with milk chocolate frosting.  SOOOOO good.  This is a huge test of my willpower.  I’m not even trying to stay away from it.  I’m trying not to eat the whole thing right now.  🙂

Work was uneventful, unless it’s noteworthy that I feel like I actually did something useful today.  I completely missed the Oscars last night.  I thought about it sometime Saturday, and the awards show didn’t cross my mind again until I saw some tidbits after checking my Yahoo mail this morning.  Sounds like I didn’t miss much.

My book is calling out to me.  See ya.

Blues and Comedy

It’s Sunday morning.  John and I are trying to plan our day so that we can do the things that need to get done and still have time to enjoy the day before we start wishing we didn’t have to go to work tomorrow.  He’s looking at his homework, and I’m enjoying the contrast between my bright and sunny yellow flowers and vase (a birthday present from John’s family) and the snow falling outside the window behind them.

Friday night, we met Joe and Megan, Lloyd and Maggie, and Eric and Robin at Constitution Hall in DC to see Buddy Guy and B.B. King.  It was a really cool show.  Buddy Guy has SO much energy.  The crowd was completely with him (people were yelling, singing along) and he was doing all kinds of cool things.  He’d play guitar solos with just his right hand.  With his left hand, he’d lean on a speaker, or drink beer, or just gesture to someone.  It was cool.  Then he left the stage.  During a song.  With his guitar.  He headed to the side and before we knew it, he had waded out into the crowd on the floor.  While playing.  Everyone was on their feet, crowding around him.  You could barely make him out, but you could hear him just fine.  So he wandered around the hall for a while, hanging out with people, hugging them, giving them high fives, and PLAYING the whole time.  Then he disappeared.  He was still playing, the band was still going, but he was in the lobby?  backstage?  whatever.  He was heading back to the stage, where he eventually reappeared.  Every once in a while, he’d stop the band, say something funny, and then go back to a song.  And he’d talk over the band and himself.  He was really funny, and if we go too loud, he’d tell us to shush.  You know, so we could hear him better.  🙂  He had more energy than we did (long day), and he’s 73!  He doesn’t look it.  He ended his set by playing parts of (and imitating) Clapton songs, John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, Albert King, and a couple of others.  It was a great show.

After intermission, B.B. King’s band came out.  There were at least 8 people on stage, but no B.B.  Four guys in the horn section, a guitarist, a drummer, a guy on keyboards (he had at least four keyboards), and a bassist.  They played two songs while the rest of us are trying to figure out where B.B. King was.  Finally, someone brought out a chair and out he came.  The crowd went nuts.  And then he proceeded to tell us stories.  Long, rambling, mostly nonsensical stories.  The band vamped behind him, and he occasionally interrupted himself to tell the drummer, “Don’t rush me, youngster.”  The keyboardist would laugh at something he said, and B.B. would say over his shoulder, “I’ll cut you.  Don’t you laugh, I’ll cut you.”  It was funny and good-natured, but we didn’t have a clue what his stories were supposed to be about.  I think they were supposed to be segues into the first line of the next song, but they rarely made sense.  It was still entertaining, but we think he talked more than he played.  When he did play, it was awesome, and his voice is incredible, powerful, but he’s 83 and it’s starting to show, I think.  Most of us had more fun with Buddy Guy.

Last night we went to the Barns at Wolf Trap with Christina and Will to see the Second City National Touring Company.  There were six cast members, and they did sketch comedy and improv.  I love that stuff, and they were really funny.  I’m not going to try to describe any of the sketches, but there are at least two I’m still laughing about today.  We had a good time, and I’ve had a good birthday weekend.  🙂

30 isn’t old, right?

So I’m 30 today. I don’t feel old, but I feel like I am old.  You know, officially.  Okay, not old, but adult.  Like all the time.

Anyway, John and I are off to DC to see B.B. King and Buddy Guy in concert.  Woo!  With Joe, Megan, Maggie, Lloyd, and a couple of other people.  We are going to have a marvelous time.  🙂

Happy birthday to me!


I’ve always been a procrastinator.  I don’t know anyone who isn’t, at least to some extent.  But it can be a problem at work.  I only put off projects I’m not interested in.  (Duh.)  So how do I fix this?  I can’t avoid all projects I’m not enthusiastic about.  Maybe I just need to set much shorter deadlines.  Less time to put the project off.  Hmm.  I think I’ll try that one out next time.  Too late for this one.  The deadline is tomorrow.  End of the day.  The thing is, I’m turning in a draft and it won’t take me very long to do it.  I could have done this yesterday.  No, I was busy with other work yesterday.  Well, I could have finished it today.

Enough whining about this.  It’ll get done tomorrow.  🙂

Playing favorites

I went through my bookshelves today and made a list of my favorite books.  It’s a little long.  I’m working on different ways of organizing them.  I ranked them, sort of.  I put them in three groups, anyway, based on how much I love them, but I didn’t rank within the groups.  I might group them by how long they’ve been my favorites.  Should newer books get a lower ranking because I haven’t read them a million times?  Should Anne McCaffrey books be ranked higher because I’ve loved them since i was 9 or 10?  And Anne of Green Gables?  And Pride and Prejudice?  Anyway, I’m obsessing a little over this, but it was a fun way to spend the couple of hours I was home before John got back from class.

Gotta go to work tomorrow

What to say about today….it’s weird that it’s Tuesday.  I haven’t been to work since last Thursday.  No dogs had seizures last night (at least not in our house), so we were able to sleep in this morning.  Went for a run, had some breakfast.  John went to Sears and, since he was out of the house anyway, bought my birthday present.  (I think.  And I hope not from Sears.  🙂  Actually, that depends…)  I went to the grocery store (oh so exciting) and made brisket and banana bread.  Last days of vacations are hard.  I kind of feel like I wasted it.  On the other hand, it was nice not to be at work, and maybe that’s enough.  John had to study today, so I didn’t really get to spend much time with him.  (He has a test tomorrow in his AI class.)

We’re considering switching our living room and family room.  You know, move the TV and couch into the front room, and move the piano and all of the books into the room with the fireplace.  The (current) family room has more wall space to line with bookshelves (which we need more of anyway, of course), and we don’t really use the fireplace while we watch TV.  We hardly use the fireplace at all.  And we can’t see the TV from the kitchen the way it is, so that shouldn’t really be an issue.  Actually, if we put the TV on the wall where the piano is now, we’d be able to see something from the kitchen.  This is more thought than we’ve actually put into this possible switch so far.  I think I need to draw the possible combinations of rooms to scale somewhere.  I’m not doing it very well in my head.

I’ve decided I really like Billy Crudup.  We watched Almost Famous before John left for his lesson tonight.  I like him in that movie, I liked him in Big Fish, and I liked him in Without Limits (that’s the Prefontaine movie).  I’m not sure if I’ve seen him in anything else…a couple of minutes with IMDB and I know I’ve seen him in Everyone Says I Love You, but I don’t remember him.  And I haven’t seen anything else of his.  But I still like him.

Laziest day ever

Yesterday, I got to spend the entire day hanging out with Jess.  We ran a wedding errand (I love weddings and wedding errands), found out that most of Easton is closed on Sunday afternoons (in the winter, at least), and camped out at Panera for a few hours.  It was dark before we knew it, and even though I didn’t mean to stay late, I did.  Can’t be helped.  🙂  Next time, I’ll make sure I have an audiobook for the drive.

I have had the laziest day.  Not in terms of sleep, though.  I got back last night a little before eleven, and I was probably asleep by midnight, but I was up shortly after seven this morning to watch over Roxy while she had a seizure.  Really, what do I do?  I mean, there isn’t anything I can do.  I just…supervise.  So I got up because I could hear her convulsing downstairs.  That part usually doesn’t last very long, not even a whole minute, but it’s awful to watch and it feels like it’ll never end.  It does end, and she doesn’t do anything for a long time.  She just stays down on the floor, in whatever position she was in when the convulsions stopped, and she doesn’t move for about 15-20 minutes.  I usually grab a book or a magazine and sit on the floor near her, petting her occasionally, talking to her just so she can hear my voice.  Riley’s always in the backyard (or being monopolized by John, if he’s up with me) ’cause he gets a little frantic.  I shove him out the backdoor as soon as I come down.  Anyway, after a while Roxy gets up and starts to wander around the first floor.  I don’t know if she can see or hear for most of this phase.  She doesn’t react to anything except solid objects that appear before her, whether those are walls, doors, the fridge, a chair, or me.  She runs into things, detours around them, and gets stuck in corners.  Eventually, she responds to sounds, and then to her name, and we know she’s back to normal when she gets excited about treats rattling around in the treat jar.  It usually takes 30-40 minutes all together.

Just as she was getting back to normal this morning (around 7:40), and I was looking forward to climbing back into bed, John came downstairs, wide awake.  He couldn’t go back to sleep after I got up, and a half-hour of trying to sleep apparently woke him up completely.  I wasn’t really sleepy anymore (I just wanted to be in bed), so we gave up and decided to start our day super-early (for a holiday).  So I guess in that sense, I wasn’t lazy.  In every other sense, though, I was about as lazy as can be.  We decided to start the day, but stayed in our pjs.  We camped out on the couch for breakfast and TV catch-up (we were several episodes behind on Heroes), and then when John went to go study for his exam on Wednesday, I stayed on the couch and read.  All afternoon.  We had dinner, John went to class, I took a bath (with bubbles and wine – lovely).  I’m back on the couch (in new pjs – no real clothes for me today) with my computer.

I can’t complain.

Short post

I hate to skip a day, so this will have to do.  I got home from hanging out with Jess all day (yay!) about 20 minutes ago, my head is pounding, and I’m ready to quit for the day.  John is watching something on VH1 about metal songs, and I just heard someone yell “Freebird!” on TV.  My brain turned off at that.

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.