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.

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, 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 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.