It’s not Cinderella’s Castle, but I guess it’ll have to do

I’m of two minds about being home.  On one hand, there’s my bed, my shower, my clothes, my DOGS – I’m SO tired, and it’s SO nice to be home.  On the other hand, DISNEY WORLD.  It’s the happiest place on earth, and I LOVE IT.

Some pictures before I collapse.  Details at some later date.

Molly, Emily, and me in line for the It’s A Small World ride.


Our first five minutes in the park.


Happy to finally be in the air-conditioned line for Pirates of the Caribbean.


Hey! You can totally see my new house. It’s right there behind John’s head.


Greetings from the Sunshine State

Hi.  We’re alive and well and tired and not sunburned and tired.  We’ve had three+ completely crazy FUN days with two more to go.  This is the first time we’ve been in the condo for longer than it takes to sleep and shower, so it’s also the first time I’ve been online since Wednesday afternoon.  I haven’t even been carrying my phone around.

I’m keeping notes, so I’ll post the highlights eventually.  For now, here’s a picture of the four of us with the Hulk roller coaster from Universal behind us (that was yesterday).

Lemon or orange peels would work, too. And smell nice.

Did you hear about Cal Ripken Jr’s mom getting kidnapped (and returned)?  Crazy, right?  I wouldn’t bring it up except that I heard the best use of the wrong word in a news report about it.  I don’t know who was talking, but whoever it was said, “She was approached by a man garnishing a gun.”  I was immediately distracted by the image of a guy poking sprigs of parsley down the barrel and in the trigger of a handgun.  Odd, but not all that scary.  Or maybe it’s all the scarier for being so odd.

Posts here will probably be scarce (or at least very short) for the next few days, so to keep some pretty on the screen, here are some randomly selected pictures of Sparky’s other Scottish crush.



Apparently, he can’t keep his hands off himself.  Can’t say I blame him.


Had to add this one last thing from The Daily What.  SO creepy and wrong.

Hypothetically ruffled feathers

A pest guy (guy in the pest control business, not a guy who’s a pest – although those guys are usually both) just came by the house selling pest control services (he was conventional like that -it would’ve been more interesting if the pest guy was selling, I don’t know, ANYthing else), and I got rid of him by leading him on a little (“Sure, give me your number.  I’ll check the company out online and give you a call if we’re interested.”).  I also told him I never make decisions like that on the spot, and as he left he said, “No problem.  Just check with your hu – [big pause here] – whoever you need to check with, and let me know.”  Nice catch, buddy.  Never assume!  Although he does still seem to be assuming someone else makes this kind of decision and not me.  What?  Just because I was home all day today?  You don’t know me.  I’m sure I’m reading too much into it, but it’s FUN to get hypothetically angry at the hypothetical assumptions the hypothetical real pest guy was making.  How dare he?!

It is time for me to take on the enormous task of catching up on the internet again.  It keeps getting away from me.  In case you need help with the same task, I’m very happy to tell you that Jess has started blogging again.  Like, yesterday (or a couple of days ago), but still – it’s a (re)start.

Losing track of the point

John is working on his blog software, I’m cataloguing (Really, spellcheck?  That looks SO wrong.  I want to pronounce it cat-uh-log-YOO-ing.  I might from now on.) our books because I’ve noticed that many are missing from my spreadsheets (Yes, plural.  Don’t you talk about me and my spreadsheets.), and I’m finishing a bottle of wine I wasn’t really crazy about.  (Yes, there is such a thing.  Let’s all forget that I’m drinking it anyway.)  This one was described as “herbaceous” at the store.  I’m not getting anything herb-y out of it.

Leaving the not-so-great wine out of the equation – no, even including the not-so-great wine, this is a pretty great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I got my nails done earlier (at a place I will NOT be going back to – I don’t know why I keep trying out new places.  I love my normal place.  I should just keep going there.), and John painted the trim between the library (that used to be the dining room and has no furniture other than my desk (where I am not sitting) and the bookshelves) and the family room, and yesterday we went to Home Depot to start pricing hardwood floors because we’re going to do the whole upstairs ourselves, and I feel like this weekend we’ve reached a nice balance of productive (painting, estimates, laundry, etc.) and relaxing (blog software, book organizing, wine, etc.).

The other thing I did while I was out today was ask around about this GPS watch I’m thinking about getting.  I wanted to ask some real runners what they use, so I went to the one of our local running stores (I went to another one last week) to talk to someone.  I’m thinking about the Garmin Forerunner 210, and the only decision I have left to make is whether I want that one or the 610.  I’m leaning towards the 210.

Man, I am very much over this wine.  And I’m going back to my books.  And thinking about dinner.  Because I’m hungry.

All bark and no bite

Today was supposed to be all rainy and stormy.  So far, though, it’s not rainy and stormy enough.  Actually, it hasn’t been stormy at all, and that’s rather disappointing.  Somewhat disappointing.  If it had been really stormy earlier, I’d’ve been all annoyed that I couldn’t just go home and enjoy it from there.

But, really, where’s the rain?

Leaky brain syndrome

I had a couple of half-formed ideas of things to write about today, but they’re pretty much gone.  Or far enough away that I don’t have more than a sentence.  You know, like how Jess’s phone called me without her knowledge this afternoon, and how I can’t get enough avocado lately, so I was terribly disappointed when I asked to have avocado added to my sandwich from Panera this evening and they left it off and I didn’t realize until I got home and then it was too late and I was sad.  I had avocado in my salad for lunch (Au Bon Pain – spinach, egg, bacon, avocado, chicken, black beans, honey mustard, and a little more avocado – oh wow good), so it’s not like I had to get through the whole day avocado-less.  Just dinner.

Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise

Mom has made some really good book choices lately.  The last two books I read (well, the one I’m reading now and the one I just read) were her recommendations, and I am very happy with them.  That’s not to say that her recommendations aren’t normally trustworthy – they very much are – but sometimes I need more persuading.  Maybe I’m just being stubborn for no reason.  Or for the same reason John gets stubborn he’s looking for his next book and I send a continuous stream of suggestions his way.  Suggestion overload!  Anyway, I think the best thing – okay, best things about these latest two are a) I knew almost nothing about them before I read them, and 2) they are not at all similar to each other but are both really good.  And good to read back to back, for reasons I have not yet thought out.  And I really like that I hardly knew anything about them.  Mom told me the premise of The Age of Miracles, but she told me absolutely nothing about Gone Girl, and I think I kind of prefer it that way.  John and I work pretty hard to avoid spoilers for movies and TV shows, avoiding just about anything that mentions them.  We really like going into these things with no preconceptions.  With books, you’ve usually got the cover, the blurb on the back, some expectation based on the genre or author or something.  With Gone Girl, since I’m reading it on the Kindle, I don’t have anything but the title and the author’s name.  In the long run, I can see how that might make it difficult to decide what to read next since I often decide based on what genre I’m in the mood for, but once in a while starting a book completely in the dark about it is fun.

Speaking of my book, I’d really like to read it now, so, you know.  Bye.

If only I could take a power nap

This morning was HARD.  I had to get up early to get to DC (which is always hard), but this morning the alarm woke me up out of a dream (one I was more than happy to be taken out of – I was watching myself in our high school production 42nd Street.  That was bad enough, but then I was actually in it, and that was terrible.), and I COULD NOT wake up.  I got up right away and got in the shower, but I basically fell asleep in the shower.  Standing up.  And then I tried to get out after only shaving one leg.  I noticed in time, but that wasn’t enough to wake me up.  Even my Starbucks wasn’t enough.  I was fighting yawns and droopy eyes the whole drive in.  That’s what coffee is supposed to prevent!  Come on now.  I’m mostly awake now, but I could really use a nap.  I think we should introduce siestas into the federal workday.

*@$%^ mosquitoes

Do mosquitoes love me or hate me?  On the one hand, they can’t stay away from me.  On the other hand, they’re harassing me.  On the one hand, they think I’m delicious.  On the other hand, they make me miserable.  Either way, I think I won by moving out of the swamp that is Hampton Roads.  High ground = very few mosquitoes.  Unfortunately, very few does NOT equal zero, and every once in a while, I still get attacked.  I had a bite on my left shin that was taking forEVER to stop itching and go away.  I finally got a day or two of relief, but then I lost my head and went outside in the early evening to sit on the deck and read for a couple of minutes while the dogs played in the yard.  Silly me.  By the time I found my head again it was too late.

Pastoral fantasy

John and I live in the middle of suburbia.  The epitome of suburbia.  It really really can’t get more suburban than where we live.  Lots of houses that all look the same, lots of people driving the same kinds of cars along all the same streets to take the same long commute to get to work and back.  When I go for a run in the morning, I’m running by the early-risers and long lines of cars.  There’s one stretch behind the high school where I run in the scraggly grass with the road on my right and the baseball field on my left, and usually I focus on the gradual uphill climb and uneven ground.  The other day I noticed little purple flowers lining the worn path in the grass, lots of little purple flowers, and for just a few seconds, I could ignore the cars zooming by 8 feet to my right and pretend I was running in a mountain meadow full of wildflowers.  It was a nice daydream, even if it didn’t last long.

A couple of days later, I spent a few minutes talking to a trail runner about where he runs and how to get there.  I may end up hating running on uneven ground (or where there may be snakes and other unpleasant things), but it’s something I’d like to try.  I think.


Only a little spooky

The gym at night is a peaceful place.  I know I won’t work out tomorrow (going to visit Jess and Chuck – yay!), and Sunday will depend a lot on when we get home, so I figured I’d squeeze in an extra workout tonight.  Especially after IHOP for dinner.  The gym is open until 10pm on weeknights, and most nights there are still people there pretty late.  Not tonight, though.  I walked in at 8 and I had the place to myself.  It was kinda nice.  None of the TVs were on and neither was the music, so the only sounds were my own.  I could pretend it was my own private gym.  No annoying people allowed.

As if on cue, Riley came over and shoved his dripping head into my lap just then.  (He’s a messy drinker.)  I’ve got to pay him some special attention to make up for boarding him overnight tomorrow.

Good night!

Look what I got today!

When I got home from work today, there was a box on the island for me.  How very exciting.  Of course, I knew exactly what it was because I ordered it and I tracked it once it was shipped.  No surprises there.

Check out my new hat!

I have a very serious self-portrait problem.  I’m really very bad at taking them.  (Exhibit A: my numerous attempts on that trip to Boston two years ago.)  It takes every ounce of brainpower I have to get my eyes looking in the right place, and then I don’t have any left over to click the button, so I look at the camera to find the button and then I can’t find where I’m supposed to look again.

Here’s attempt #2 (the winner above was #4):

See? I think I’m looking at myself in the mirror instead of the camera, and it’s blurry. Cute hat, though.

I need to take lessons.  Or just quit trying.  I can’t figure out how to keep the phone out of the picture.

What sadistic bastard invented stairs?

You know what’s hard?  Biking uphill after yoga and squats.  I’m not sure I can get up the stairs.  I might have to crawl.  Or maybe I’ll sleep on the couch.

There are videos on The Daily What today that I’d like to watch, but they’ll have to wait.  I’d rather listen to John practice playing his banjo.  (Oh, yeah.  John got a banjo.)  Then I’ll figure out how I’m going to make it to bed.  Later, but soon.  Like maybe now.  No…almost.  Now.


Being geeky

This weekend was just about perfect.  I made a list of things to do and got nearly all of them done and still had time to sit on the porch and watch the rain.  Among my things to do were backing up my blog database, updating WordPress, and installing Linux.  Okay, so John did the actual installation for me and then solved my wireless problem, but still.  Now I have the latest version of Ubuntu (the Linux distribution I decided to go with after conferring with a couple of people).  Huh.  That makes it sound like I gathered opinions and did some research before deciding.  It didn’t go exactly like that.

“Hey, Randy, what version of Linux should I install?”

“Hey, John, Randy suggests Ubuntu.  What do you think?”

“Great, let’s do it.”

Thanks, guys.  🙂  Anyway, now that it’s installed, I have do some configuring.  It looks….different.  Cool, though.

Alien, but pretty. Customizing is underway.

Must go.  Time for pie.

They were right!

Riding a bike (after 4 or 5 years of not riding) really is just like riding a bike!  Who knew?  I was a little nervous.  Corey laughed at me when I told him this the other day, but I’m afraid of going downhill.  Because our hill is steep, and it’ll be fast.  And what if I use the front brake instead of the rear brake and go sailing over the front of the bike and die?  I mean, really.  Last night, though, it was either walk or ride.  John needed my car to go to Home Depot, and I had a yoga class at the gym.  How else was I going to get there?  Besides the aforementioned option of walking.  John pulled my bike out of the garage, put air in the tires, and adjusted the front brake so it wasn’t messing with the front tire (See?  My fears weren’t groundless!), and I couldn’t very well back out then.  He even took it on a test ride for me.

The hardest part was uphill (because duh), and I just rode the brake on the downhill.  I wasn’t exactly graceful getting off the bike, but nobody was around to see.  Yay bikes!

Wishing I could eat like a bird

I can’t eat any more.  I mean it.  I’ll explode.  This whole week – too much.  And now just about everything feels like too much.  I met John for lunch at Panera today, and after just half a sandwich and a small salad, I felt like I’d eaten a house.  Dinner tonight (before yoga) is decaf tea and a piece of toast with peanut butter.  I’m not so sure that won’t feel like too much, too.

At least I didn’t lose any cheesecake

I went to lunch with a coworker today (I kind of had to, even though I’m considering never eating again after this week) at the Cheesecake Factory, ordered the chicken salad sandwich, only ate half, and put the other half in a box to bring home.  And then I left the box in the car.  For four hours.  In this crazy heat.  And then I remembered it and threw it away.

Good story, right?  Here’s another.

Every once in a while, we find a peanut hidden somewhere in the yard.  Not hidden very well, actually, but you can tell it’s supposed to be kind of out of the way.  Once there was in a flower pot.  We found another one in a crack on the steps to the porch, and today John found one in the mulch under a bush.  And when I say peanut, I don’t mean one that’s ready to eat.  We’re talking circus peanuts.  Bar peanuts.  Still in the shell.  Like Mr. Peanut, but without the top hat, cane, and monocle (more’s the pity).  So…we think we have an industrious little squirrel or chipmunk or something, hiding peanuts away for winter.  We have no idea where the peanuts are coming from.

Maybe it’s not a chipmunk.  Maybe, just maybe, there’s an elephant tiptoeing around our yard hiding peanuts.  And maybe it’s invisible.  And silent.

Navel-gazing – it’s what blogs are made of

Take all of my whining and complaining and woe-is-me attitudes with a grain of salt – I’m utterly and thoroughly and completely and totally and redundantly grateful that I live where and how I live.  It’s crazy-hot outside, but I have electricity and air-conditioning.  It’s a Monday afternoon that’s not a holiday, but I have a job that allows me to work flexible hours so I can hang out with my brother and niece when they come to visit.

Hm.  Upon review, this feels a little odd.  I’m grateful, I’m thankful – to who whom?  I don’t mean to discount the feeling, although maybe I should describe it differently.  I’m happy, I’m relieved, I’m content…but I did this (with John, of course).  We are here, living where we do, in our house, in the jobs we have, because of decisions we made, not because of fate or luck or, heaven forbid, God.  (Hee.) So who would I be grateful to?  Our circumstances?  Our parents?  Ourselves?  All of the above?  Or maybe gratitude shouldn’t be involved.

I didn’t really mean to go there.  This was supposed to be a light appreciation of staying cool at home when the weather is stifling.  It just came out.  And I keep wanting to apologize for it, like I don’t want to sound ungrateful (there’s that word again) or cocky or anything other than…what?  Assured?  Confident?  I certainly don’t want to come out the other side to self-righteous.  Anything but that.  And where is this coming from?  I’ve been having a lot of conversations about standing up for yourself, valuing your own contributions, and being appreciated at work lately.  The underlying message appears to be bleeding through.

So why can I easily take credit for what I do at work, but when I try to take credit for my life here, I try to apologize?  Is my work persona that different?  Or is it just the medium?

Just nod if you can hear me.


Inspired by the six-year-old

We’re at the breakfast table this morning with Gaby, who is writing in her journal about what we did yesterday.

Gaby: Well, I want to write that we saw monuments, but…I don’t know how to spell “saw”.

John couldn’t hold the laughter in.  She had no problem with monuments.  And then I heard her spell Washington with very little hesitation.  She’s a genius!

We’re all on our laptops (except Gaby, who’s using a cute little spiral-bound notebook) this morning, after a nice lie-in.  Wolf Trap cancelled last night’s performance of The Pirates of Penzance, so we stayed in and had our picnic dinner in the family room with The Muppet Show.  It’s just as well – we were all pretty worn out after the heat and the driving.  We met up with Jess (Hi, Jess!) for a yummy lunch in Annapolis, blew some bubbles at the harbor (also thanks to Jess), ate some really good ice cream, and tried on lots of hats at Hats in the Belfry.  Hey!  That’s news for us – John found a hat.  One that fits and looks pretty cool and will keep him from burning his head every time he goes out in the sun.  It’s a miracle.  I fell in love with a plum-colored cloche hat, but then I looked at the price tag.  I just can’t spend $175 on a hat.  Even when it’s this cool.

Today the plan is to stay inside and hide from the heat.  No plans, no schedule, just whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it.  And now that the internet is back (the storm late Friday night knocked it for most of yesterday)…you know, I really don’t know how to end that sentence.  I don’t remember where I was going with it when I started it.  Now that the internet is back, we can…play on the internet?  But we’re not really going to do that today, so…yeah.  No idea.