Slight redesign

Very slight. But I like it better. I also added a page to track my exercise (so now I can publicly humiliate myself when I don’t exercise), and I think I’ve figured out my picture issues. Haven’t fixed it yet, but I think I know how now. I’m going to settle in for the evening with John.

What did we do all day?

For one thing, we stayed up way too late again last night.  I read and John played video games until almost 1 o’clock in the morning.  So our plan for easing back into normal hours wasn’t going well.  We got up around 10 or so, which is not outrageous for a Saturday, but still not normal.  I wanted to run today, if only to convince my legs that squats and lunges from the day before do not automatically mean a break from running.  I didn’t need to go far and we were out of bagels and cream cheese, so I ran to Bloom.  This time I used a backpack stuffed with sweatshirts (so I could pad the bagels and keep them from bouncing around on the way back).  It worked better than the grocery bag I used last time, but it’s still hard to run with a backpack bouncing around.  I either had to let it bounce (annoying) or hold onto the straps, which means I can’t pump my arms.  And that’s just awkward.  I don’t think I’ll be running to Bloom anymore.  And the bagels I bought today are the last bagels allowed in the house for quite some time.  Starting Monday, I am going back to strictly watching everything I eat.

After breakfast, we went down to the basement to do some cleaning up.  We brought some things upstairs (games, picture frames) and threw out a lot.  There’s a lot more to do, but at least we made a dent.  Then we went upstairs and rearranged the guest bedroom.  We’re thinking about getting rid of the two twin beds and replacing them with a futon to create a little more room in there.  For now, we just moved the drum set over so we won’t be tripping over all the cables.  Not much rearranging, actually.

We took the dogs to PetSmart so they could pick out new toys for themselves, and then we left them at home so we could run other errands.  We’ve been to Target, Home Depot, Sears, and Borders tonight.  I’m worn out.  It’s after ten, I do NOT want to stay up late tonight, and we still have a few things to do tomorrow.  Well, I really only have one thing I have to do (grocery shopping).  The rest of the day can be spent however I want, so it will probably include (in no particular order) a run, lots of reading, calling Mom, and getting John to help me with some changes I want to make to this site.

I have stared at that last paragraph for too long without really seeing it.  That’s a signal to me that I’m too tired to keep writing tonight.  Also, I’m out of things to write for now.  🙂  Good night!

Pretty good day

I love days off.  Today we slept in some, but not too late.  Got up, went for a run, had breakfast.  I had a very successful shopping trip to Ann Taylor this afternoon (my gift card from John’s parents took me a LONG way – it was a great present and I need to thank them again).  When I got back, John was in the midst of cleaning out the garage.  After I helped him with his air compressor, he came in and got cleaned up.  Then, best part, we put my new electronic drum set together.  We set it up in the extra bedroom (after shoving the trundle back under the other bed in there) and plugged headphones in.  It was surprisingly quiet.  Too quiet, really.  We went out to Bertucci’s for dinner (I have a weakness for this creamy, cheesy, chicken and tortellini dish they have), and then when we came back, John set up a stereo and speakers for the drum set so you don’t have to have headphones on to hear it.  Also, now it’s louder.  And, even better, we can play together.  He grabbed his guitar and sat in the room with me and we jammed.  🙂  It was really cool.  He needs to practice singing and playing, and I just flat out need to practice, but now we can do that together.  Aw.

We quit after about an hour and a half, and now we’re downstairs on the couch.  I’m on the computer (obviously), and John is playing Star Wars: Battlefront. He’s playing a storm trooper and killing all the good guys!  I think I have a problem with this game.  And Darth Vader just helped him out?!  This is not cool.  On many levels.

Anyway, we’ve had a productive and enjoyable day off.  And we still have two days to go!  Long weekends with no plans are the best.

Happy New Year!

John and I are having the laziest New Year’s Day ever.  We didn’t get out of bed until almost noon (we didn’t go to bed until after 2am last night, but noon is still excessive), and we’ve spent most of the day since then on the couch.  Jess and Chuck crashed with us last night and were gone before we even stirred.  (They needed to get home before the dog exploded.)  I wanted to see them out, and I had assumed I’d hear them, but I must have been out cold.  Didn’t even hear the dogs, who usually go nuts as soon as someone heads down the stairs.  I hope they spent the read of today sleeping.  Jess and Chuck, not the dogs.  I know the dogs slept most of today.

I think our New Year’s Eve party was a success.  We, at least, had a great time, and I think our friends did, too.  🙂  We’ll probably be snacking on leftovers until next week.  I’m glad we managed to clean up a lot before we went to bed.  It was nice to come downstairs today and find the house still looking relatively neat.  Of course, then I went on a search for bagels.  I picked up lox and cream cheese (and capers and tomatoes) at Wegmans yesterday, but I wanted bagels from Panera so I deliberately didn’t buy any.  (And I didn’t have time to go to Panera then.)  Today, however, I paid the price for sleeping in so late.  By the time I got to Panera, they didn’t have any plain or egg bagels left.  I didn’t want any of the fancy flavored ones ’cause I knew John preferred plain for his lox.  So I went to Dunkin Donuts in Leesburg.  Also out of plain and egg and everything else except cinnamon raisin.  I went to Giant.  Thankfully, their bakery makes pretty good bagels and they had both egg and plain.  It just took entirely too long to find bagels.  It was closer to one before we finally ate anything today.

We watched our last recorded episode of The Mentalist over breakfast and then John played video games while I read.  I finished A Three Dog Life (wrenching, but in a good way, and no, I didn’t cry again) and started another Sharon Kay Penman re-read.  I have a whole stack of books to read right now, but nothing is really jumping out at me.  I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to shop a little.  One of my Christmas presents was a gift card to Ann Taylor (yay new clothes!), so I’ll probably head to Tysons or Reston Town Center, depending on whether John comes with me.

I hope everyone got home safe last night and this morning.  Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve prep

I’m a list person.  I don’t keep them once I’m done and I certainly don’t organize them, but I do create them.  They’re usually on post-it notes or the backs of pages in my work notebook.  Sometimes I email myself lists and other times, if they’re short, I just repeat the items to myself over and over until I get to the store.  That’s not usually a successful method of remembering anything, though, so I do try to write stuff down as much as possible.  Today it’s a text file with a running list of everything I need to buy or do to be ready for tonight.  It’s open on my desktop so I can add to it as soon as I think of something, but the danger in the virtual list is the strong possibility that I will forget to print it before I leave for the store.  And yes, if I had a Blackberry or something similar, this wouldn’t be an issue.  I know.

My point, if I had one when I started today, might have been that even though I have a list of things that really should get done before anyone shows up at the house tonight, I am not worried about getting it all done.  I’ll be able to leave work early today (by virtue of having arrived much earlier than usual) and I will have plenty of time.  Besides, our friends are pretty forgiving.  🙂  Thanks, guys!

Spick and span

John and I just spent the evening cleaning the house.  It’s not sparkling, but it’s SO much better than normal.  We just need to make this the new normal.

I’m sitting at my (neater than usual) desk in the living room, with Amanda’s accounting book next to me and the Obama bobblehead that Erik and Margaret got me on top of it.  Our Christmas tree (the fake one our neighbor gave us) is over my left shoulder with lights on, and Roxy is on the little rug in front of the piano, gnawing on one of her chew toys.  I think I’ll buy her (and Riley) some new toys this weekend.

The dogs smell so good now!  They got baths at the kennel, so they smell clean and sweet, and they have the cutest bandannas around their necks.  Roxy’s is pink.  🙂

I’m looking at our tree again, and I think we need to put more thought into decorating it next year.  Or whenever we put one up again (since we haven’t been doing it every year).  We have a gold ribbon twining around, but it stops about halfway down.  The lights aren’t very even, but that’s an easy fix, since we’re planning on buying a new one with lights already in it.  Whatever.  It’s too late to put anything thought into it now.

I’m gonna go read my sad book and see if I cry again before I go to sleep.

One thing leads to the wrong thing

I am SO not in the mood for work today.  We packed up the car, dropped off the dogs….and went to work.  That’s not what’s supposed to happen next!  Packing the car is supposed to be followed by hitting the road!  Driving to your destination!  And your destination should never be work.  Work is NOT a destination.  A destination is someplace you want to be, someplace you’re looking forward to going.  Vacation.  Work is an end, a place, an objective (an objective I am not meeting at the moment), but never a destination.

So yes, I’m at work.  I still have an hour to go.  And contrary to my own expectations, I actually have done some work today.  I have also fielded calls from Mom and Erik and been to the bank and the deli.  All not work-related.  It evens out.

We stayed up a little later than planned last night.  Got a lot of presents wrapped, more peppermint bark made.  And this morning we just couldn’t get out the door.  We got up early to pack and load the car, but it was still almost 10 o’clock before we left the house!  So for the second day in a row, we were late.  Our boss was good-natured about it.  I’m a little tired, but I see a stop at Starbucks in my future, so I’m not worried about making it to PA.

Only a couple of pictures from Annapolis

Here’s me and Jess in a coffee shop/bookstore in Annapolis.  We’re annoyed by Zagat’s restaurant blurbs.  A handful of quotes do not a review make.  Also, I think we’re aware we’re being photographed.

We know when we're being watched...

We know when we're being watched.

Look!  The state house!

Look! The state house!

We have a very pronounced lack of holiday-themed pictures of Annapolis.  We enjoyed the decorations, but apparently not enough to take any pictures.  🙂  I can only blame myself, though, both for not bringing my own camera and for not asking John to take any pictures of Annapolis decked out for the holidays.  I’m sure we’ll muddle through without them.

I expected more from these movies

WARNING: If you haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain, don’t read that part of this post.  I give stuff away.

John and I watched two movies this weekend, fully expecting to really like them both.  Neither of them really did it for us, though.  We didn’t dislike either of them, but I guess we were expecting more.

We were really disappointed in Dan in Real Life.  We just kept coming up with different (maybe better, but definitely preferable) ways to handle the situations he found himself in.  It was still enjoyable, but it was a little frustrating to watch.  We decided to watch Dan in Real Life Saturday night because John wasn’t in the mood for gay cowboys.

We watched Brokeback Mountain Sunday night.  You know, I really did like that movie.  My only complaint (John’s, too) is that I didn’t see the point where their friendship turned into love.  I liked the friendship, I liked how it was developing, but then one night because it was cold they decided to have sex?  It didn’t feel like they developed those feelings.  The plot needed it, so it had to happen right then.  We had the same complaint about the short story.  And some of the early tenderness felt underdeveloped.  These are tough, taciturn cowboys.  It doesn’t feel right to have one of them reach out to stroke the other’s cheek right away.  Later, sure.  Not at first.  So the beginning of the relationship felt rushed, I guess is what I’m saying.  By the time they reunited after four years, I was invested in it and I didn’t have any more problems with the movie.  And I loved what they did with the shirts.  When Ennis takes the shirts from Jack’s parents’ house, his shirt is inside Jack’s.  When we see the shirts at the end, Jack’s shirt is on the inside.  It’s like all those years that Jack had the shirts, he was hugging Ennis, and now that Jack is gone, Ennis is hugging him.  LOVE it.  And apparently (’cause I read the trivia section at, switching the order of the shirts was Heath Ledger’s idea.  Man, he was really good.  I couldn’t always see Jack past Jake Gyllenhaal, but Heath Ledger completely disappeared.

Too tired to type

We watched Dan in Real Life last night.  It was okay, but we didn’t like it as much as we expected.  You know, I’d like to get into why (and talk about Brokeback Mountain), but it’s late and I’m tired.  So you’ll just have to wait.

We went shopping, too, and got everything else we need for Christmas.  We should be all set.  Yeah, I can’t type anymore.  Going to bed.  Sorry.

No news IS good news!

Mindy came home from the hospital today.  I talked to her this afternoon, and she’s doing okay.  Mom is taking care of her.  🙂

John and I went to Annapolis today to hang out with Jess and Chuck.  We had a little bit of a hard time getting started this morning, though.  Last night we went to Joe and Megan’s house for a few hours after work.  We weren’t able to leave work early at all, so we rushed home to let the dogs out and try to run them around for a few minutes before abandoning them again.  (We made sure we put everything edible or valuable as far out of their reach as possible, since it’s days like this when they get destructive.)  We made it to Joe’s house around 7:30 or so.  It was a little bit crazy there, but good crazy.  After the boys went to bed, we sat around in their living room with a fire and talked until about midnight.  I pulled John away with the reminder that we were getting up early the next day to go to Annapolis.  He and Joe have plans to have lunch soon (and hopefully Megan (and the boys) and I get to come along…).  Anyway, we got home and got to bed around 1am.  Got up at seven.  No, the alarm went off the first time at seven.  For a second I thought the clock was wrong – I was WAY too tired for seven am and it was so dark outside!  But we snoozed for about half an hour and then got up.  Snoozing helped.  And I was wide awake and ready to go by the time we hit the road.  Starbucks helped.  Their croissants are really good.  🙂

Jess told me where we should meet them when we got the Academy this morning, and she warned me that even with directions, it might be hard, since there ARE NO STREET SIGNS.  I figured that the only street signs that would be missing would be right at the very end, and I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  I was half-right.  We had street signs until the last two turns, and yes, the two that were missing were right at the end, right at the Academy.  But the Academy is a BIG place.  So we turned too soon, found ourselves across some body of water (not the Severn itself, but something attached to it), turned around at St. John’s College.  Got back on the road we were on, went a little further, didn’t turn on what would have been the right road (because it had no sign) and ended up across the Severn.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t right, so we turned around again.  This time I took that turn onto the right road, but went right by the hall we were supposed to park behind.  I got pointed in the right direction by the gate guard.  And Jess and Chuck showed up just as we were parking our car.  So our getting lost helped with the timing, but still.  Street signs are important!

We got an information-filled (and trivia-filled) tour of the Academy from Chuck.  It’s a very impressive-looking place.  I kinda wish we’d been able to see it filled with middies, but that’s my own fault for waiting until the holiday break to get out there.  We weren’t able to see the chapel (there was a wedding going on), but we wandered through parts of Dahlgren Hall and Bancroft Hall (which is HUGE!), and much of the grounds.  Some of the grounds.  Saw the mast from the USS Maine.  There’s all kinds of cool stuff just laying around.  John took some pictures, but I haven’t looked at them yet, so I don’t know what he got.  After our tour, we headed into downtown Annapolis for a little bit of wandering and some lunch.  I love that kind of historic downtown shopping district.  Fun to just window shop and people-watch.

After lunch, Jess and Chuck took us to the bookstore with the dragon in the children’s section.  I really like that kind of bookstore.  It’s basically in an old house, sort of shotgun style, with a step up to each room as you go further towards the back.  Not very big, but cozy and crammed full of books.  That’s basically what I want, although I think I want it on a slightly larger scale.

Oh!  On our way to lunch, we were walking by this hotel and Chuck muttered something about wanting us to go in and see their heating system.  We all looked at him like he was crazy.  We should know by now that he is, but he certainly steers us in the direction of some really interesting stuff.  This hotel apparently used to be heated by hypocaust (an underground heating system used by the Romans), but no one at the hotel knew it until they were doing some renovations.  So there’s a room off the lobby with a glass floor so visitors can look under their feet and see part of the ducts used to move the heated air around.  It was really cool.  But walking on the glass floor unnerved me and Jess a bit.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time with Jess and Chuck (as usual – thanks, guys!) and can’t wait to see them again.

We were home before 3:30 this afternoon, and we’ve done very little since.  Actually, that’s not true.  We put up the tree and decorated it, and we’ve talked to almost every member of John’s family and helped them all with gift ideas.  🙂  So now I’m waiting for the pizza we ordered to arrive, and then we’ll watch a movie (maybe Dan in Real Life, maybe Brokeback Mountain – I know, I know.  Very different movies.).  Tomorrow, we have to finish our Christmas shopping.  At least we know what we’re looking for.  Mostly.

Morning shift

It’s a yucky misty day.  Not so bad at work, but outside is unpleasant.  Work is actually kinda…not fun, but not aggravating.  I’m busy (still testing), but the end is in sight.  A lot of people aren’t here today (not on our team, but in the rest of the office), so things are pretty quiet.  We just had a short staff meeting (the best kind) and everyone was fairly pleasant.  We all still have our senses of humor.

I went back to that cake and candy supplies store so I can make more peppermint bark.  I also got some milk chocolate, toffee pieces, and malted pieces.  That should be delicious.  🙂  I will play on Sunday.  The woman at the counter this time was very pleasant, not like her surly counterpart from my first visit.  (“Surly” is a good word.  I should use it more often.)

We’re heading to Joe’s place tonight to hang out with him and Megan, but it’s looking more and more likely that we won’t get out of here as early as we were hoping.  I was planning on staying until 5 or 5:30 anyway because of today’s deadline, but John had planned on getting out around 4 (we came in at 8 this morning) so he could go home and take care of the dogs before coming back to get me and head to Joe’s.  Unfortunately, he had a rather busy morning, so he may not be able to leave that early.  We’ll see.

The rumor yesterday evening was that Mindy might get to go home from the hospital today.  I have no idea if that came to pass or if it’s likely to, since I haven’t heard a peep from anyone in my family today.  I can only assume nothing bad has happened and that she’s not any worse.  Everyone is pretty quick to get in touch if there’s something I should be worried about.  (NOT a criticism.)  I think, in this case, no news is good news.

It’s flour.

Tasted the cookies again today.  The weird taste of something that didn’t get mixed in all the way is flour.  I just have no idea how that happened.

The office holiday party was today.  I wore my new black boots.  That’s really the only noteworthy thing about it.  And of course, that’s only noteworthy to me.

I wrote most of my holiday cards tonight, so they can go in the mail tomorrow.  John wrote a few, too, and he wants to take responsibility for two of the ones on my list.

We have to be at work early tomorrow (and then I’ll have to stay a little late since we have a submission deadline), so I’m heading for bed.

This post does not flow at ALL.  Kinda sucks, actually.  Sorry about that.  🙂  If I have time at work tomorrow, I’ll do better.  Well, I won’t fix this post.  I’ll just aim higher for the next one.

Good night.

Last dentist appointment of the year

[Around noon.]

I feel like I got punched in the mouth.  Right side only.  The numbness has worn off and the ibuprofen has not yet kicked in.  Aside from that, it was another very pleasant trip to the dentist.  (Oxymoron, right?)  I think I will bake them cookies.  When I got there this morning, the front desk staff told me I was the Patient of the Month and gave me a bag full of goodies.  They gave me a travel mug, some Ghirardelli hot chocolate, some other chocolates, and some toothpaste.  🙂  If they hadn’t included the toothpaste, I would have thought they were just trying to give me cavities and make me come back.

I learned something today (while at the dentist).  They put adrenaline in the novocaine (or whatever they use now as the anesthetic).  Apparently, the numbing slows down your heartbeat, so they put a little adrenaline in there to keep that from happening.  Instead, your heart starts to race a little.  So I kept thinking I was reacting (belatedly) to my nervousness about getting that shot, but really it was just the adrenaline THEY added.  Totally weird.  Today I was so jittery I could feel my hands and arms shaking.  But only for a minute or two after the shot.  I do still dread the shot, but I don’t worry about the actual procedures anymore.  They’ve convinced me they’re not going to hurt me.

[At home this evening.]

My cookies failed.  I make darn good cookies, but something went awry tonight.  And I didn’t realize it until John came home and tried one.  I actually stayed out of the batter and away from the cooling cookies.  They’re not bad, but I can’t give them to people.  I have a cookie reputation to uphold.  They taste like something didn’t mix in very well.  Possibly the baking soda.  John says he’ll eat them.  🙂  So I’ll just have to try again sometime.  But this means I can’t bring cookies to the dentist office.  Is it bad form to bring them peppermint bark?  Hard, crunchy candy is supposed to be the worst thing for teeth, right?  I might do that anyway.  Because white chocolate and peppermint is hard to resist, even for dental hygienists.  🙂

Mom is on her way to Louisville to help Mark take care of Mindy.  Actually, she may have landed by now.  Mindy is still in the hospital, but hopefully not for too much longer.  Dad said he talked to her this afternoon and she sounded much better.

Still waiting, but NOT worrying

I have resolved to do no more worrying.  (About Mindy in the hospital, anyway.  I make no such promises about anything else.)  She’s in good hands, she has pain medication, Mark is with her, she’ll be okay.  She’s staying there tonight and at least until she sees the doctor tomorrow.  Then they’ll decide when she can go home.  I hope she’s feeling better, I hope she’s not worried anymore.  I don’t want her to be scared.  The hard part is over.  Easy for me to say, I know.

Details are very important.

Mindy’s surgery went fine.  She’s recovering.  But at third hand (Mark told Mom, Mom told me), she had a rough night.  What does that mean?  Probably pain.  I would expect some pain after surgery, but was this unexpected?  More pain than usual?  Different pain?  Is it related to the infection?  Mark hadn’t seen the doctor yet when Mom talked to him, so hopefully more information will be filtered down to me once that happens.  She’s still in the hospital, so whatever it is, she’s in the right place.  I just want to know if this is normal or not.  I want to know that the doctors know what it is and are working on it.

I don’t want her to be in pain, and I don’t want her to be scared.

Worrying won’t do me any good.

Nothing happened today.  I have to post something without the crutch of actually having an event to write about.

How about this?  I am super excited about our day in Annapolis this weekend.  Hmm.  That doesn’t sound like me.  I mean, yes, I’m excited, but I don’t usually say I’m “super excited” about anything.  🙂  “I’m very much looking forward to it” sounds stilted.  But the sentiment is the same.  I get to hang out with Jess and Chuck for a few hours, go on a tour of the Naval Academy, see Annapolis all decked out for Christmas, and have yummy fish and chips.  Oh, and I get to see this mysterious bookstore with a dragon in it.  What could be better?

I’m hoping to have all holiday shopping (what little we’re doing) done by then.  John and I will probably try to go to the mall Thursday after work.  We only have a couple of things left to get.  I ordered as many things as possible online so I could avoid going to the mall.  I don’t mind the crowds, but parking is a pain.  And it drives John crazy.  🙂  He hates circling for a parking spot.

Well.  Mom just called.  Mindy is in the ER for an emergency appendectomy.  I started to get upset, but this is not a life-threatening surgical procedure.  She’s been there for a few hours already this evening (for tests), so at least she was in the right place when the doctors determined this was necessary.  Mom says the doctors promised Mark they’d be able to tell him something in less than an hour.  I’m not sure what that means, exactly.  Does it mean they’ll be done that quickly?  Or that they’ll know about how long it will take by then?  Or that they’ll know how long she’ll have to be in the hospital recovering?  I have no idea.  But when Mark calls Mom, Mom will call me.  So I will try not to worry.

In other news, if you haven’t seen Keeping the Faith (and you like romantic comedies), you should see it.  It’s actually funny, which is something you can’t say about many romantic comedies.  Ed Norton, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman.  Good movie.  That’s one I always watch if it’s on TV (I just caught the end), and I never feel sullied (to steal Chuck’s term) afterward.  It’s just a good movie.

Yeah, I can’t keep babbling about random things right now.  Mindy in the hospital, Mindy in surgery trumps everything else I can think of.  So I’m going to post this and fret offline.

[On a side note, the spell-checker suggest Elvina as a replacement for Elfman.  How is that more of a word than Elfman?]