Since I'm already procrastinating, I'll tell you about my birthday. =) S & W schemed a smallish dinner party at W's house for about 15 people or so and I had a GREAT time. Having a birthday that falls in the 'valley of death' as I affectionately refer to it is sometimes difficult to pull off but they did it wonderfully. Frankly, any excuse I have to eat W's cooking is good by me. He, Steve & untold others prepared this asparagus soup with potato and chicken stock and other stuff, handmade summer rolls with shrimp, mini burgers cooked on the grill and finally, the City Ham from Good Eats. It was fabulous!
I got a handful of presents but it was really nice just to have good friends and good food around me as I entered my mid-thirites.
I love to fly. LOVE it! I wake up at the crack of dawn like a little kid on Christmas morning whenever I have to travel, get to the airport early and am all excited to hop on my plane, buckle my seat belt and let 'er rip. This is largely why this story just makes me laugh instead of freak out.
Tuesday morning, I got to the airport a good two hours early, spent some quality time with my McGriddle and my coffee while waiting for my flight to be called, then boarded my plane with the rest of my Zone 4 posse. We finally get all snuggled in and ready to go and the first officer gets on the horn and does his little song and dance.
"Blah blah blah, Seth is our captain this morning, I'm First Officer Joe and Lindsay will be serving you in the cabin today."*
Whoa whoa whoa! First thought: Dear G-d, 2Lips is in charge of flying the plane. Second thought: I'm all for maintaining a certain professional distance between my flight crew and myself. I don't need to be on a first name basis with them, we're not going out for drinks, I'm not getting them a Christmas present - we can maintain a certain level of mystery in our relationship. Please, you be Captain Jones and First Officer Smith and I'll be your happy passenger. That's all I'm saying.
So, I chuckled to myself (as I so often do) and dozed through Lindsay explaining the safety protocol on our Embraer whatever whatever commuter jet. Although I know it bothers a lot of people, I especially love takeoffs and landings (especially at National; I know - I'm sick). So, we're sitting at the end of the long-ass runway at Port Columbus International Airport and Joe gets back on the microphone to inform us we're first in line for takeoff. Excellent, here we go.
We make the last turn to lineup at the end of the runway and pause momentarily. They do whatever magical pilot sh!t it is they do up front, and the pitch of the engines gets higher and I feel the thrust throw me back into my seat. I grin to myself as the plane starts to roll...
For the record, NOT a sound you want to hear during takeoff.
Engines throttle back and we make a lazy left back off the runway.
Here comes our friend Joe: "Well, folks, some of you may have noticed but the cockpit door just fell open. We've got that all taken care of now and we're going to circle back to the end of the runway and we should be up in the air in just a few moments."
Um. The cockpit door fell open? Excellent! I get funny looks from security folks for my knitting needles, but Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam can't manage to lock a door.
Let's reflect on how very wrong this entire horror-scope is.
- Maverick moves - oh yeah, that's me all over.
- Family figuring in finances? - well, if you count the money I got from my grandmother for my birthday, I suppose that's not entirely cracked.
- Investments in February? Is that when I'm buying my plane ticket to Italy?
- Wedding bells in April? I don't know who they're talking about but it's certainly not moi.
- The only Scorpio I know is Dr. T and the only person he's adoring is S (and I don't even know if she's a Libra), so I'm not sure where they're going with that either.
So, insane horoscope aside, so far it's been a good day. My boss took me to lunch, I got the aforementioned $ from my grandmother (which went straight into the vacation jar), I got the NASCAR pets calendar from Rebecca (Killer and Junior are hanging on my wall as we speak), and I get to hang with friends and food tonight. I'm just hoping they don't break me too badly - I do have to work tomorrow.
Holly was also good enough to give me another (I think I'm up to my third) copy of the sock pattern. I have to figure out what I'm going to take to Lake Anna. I have to take my socks because I'm apparently teaching Stick - LOL, riiiiiiight.
OOH, speaking of Stick (and to add in that hint o' NASCAR) she got us kick-bootie pit passes to the Atlanta race in March! W'HOO! Yet another addition to the Stick ROCKS! encyclopedia.
However, don't believe her if she (or her mug) says she's an innocent bystander. Lies. All lies.
We had a good visit with Sweetie for Christmas and the day after. I was actually surprised that more family didn't do a fly-by while we were there, but I saw two of my cousins and my uncle while we were there. I still have to mail my aunt and cousin their Xmas presents. I SO don't have my act together.
Somehow over the course of the next couple of days, I have to manage to celebrate my birthday, work two days, use 3 coupons, bake for the trip to the lake, make a new packing list, do laundry, pack...I clearly have no time for this!
By and large the evening was a lot of fun - the only sour spot was at the end of the night when Tom told me I wouldn't be invited to their wedding. First off, they're not engaged yet, but they're on the verge - she was "hoping for hardware" by the new year. But when I was finally able to talk to him when she wasn't around he said he was basically doing it for her and it would probably be super-small - just family. I can respect that, I s'pose, but it still hurt my feelings a smidge. Once more, proof positive that he means more to me than I do to him. Then again, he could've just been getting me back for all my chit-chat about NASCAR, country music and the fact that I don't totally dig France.
We didn't drive down to Dayton 'til this morning. Something about strained sleeping arrangements since my cousin is currently living with my grandmother. A handful of family just left so the house is quieting back down again. I'm sure things will pick back up tomorrow - my uncle is supposed to come back by for sure.
Countdown is on: 36 hours til my flight leaves for D.C.
Once I landed in bright and sunny (NOT!) Columbi, I whipped up a batch of eggnog for the 'rents then stole the car keys and dashed off to hunt down the Franklin County LYS's.
Temptations in Dublin, OH was my personal favorite of the three I encountered. Huge house full of yarn and antiques on a snow-covered street. Large table in the front for sitting, probably where classes were taught. I could've snuggled into that place for hours. It would definitely be my LYS of choice if I lived in Columbus.
My next stop was The Yarn Shop over in Kenny Centre. Large and a fair amount of selection but just didn't give me that warm fuzzy vibe.
Third and final venture was to Knitters Mercantile in Graceland. I liked that there was a cozy knitting nook of sofas in the front of the store and the people seemed friendly but the setup of the store itself was kind of odd.
Of course, have to give KM props because they were the only store that had what I was looking for.
And for the NASCAR front, for the first time I saw a white Monte Carlo with red stripes and a big number 8 on the side. Oy.
p.s. For the record - I forgot EVERYTHING. So much for the stinking packing list.
- Wash hair
- Take home Sweetie's presents
- B&N: buy journal
- CVS: batteries
- Pick knitting for trip
- Print out TSA "needles are okay" page
- Pay bills
- Schedule cab
- Forget RMT's present at home
Yeah, we'll see how many of these things I forget to do.
My doctor put me on The Pill b/c I was having a teensy-weensy couldn't-stop-bleeding-to-save-my-life issue last month. Groovy, rock and roll, go drugs go, all taken care of. I just went to refill the script before going home for the holidays and the !#$%&^* pharmacy won't do it because insurance won't cover it before the 23rd - which would be fine except my flight's on the 22nd.
So my choices are:
- refill and pay for the whole thing out of pocket (which is no big deal b/c my !#$%&^* insurance company only springs for $1.71 anyway); or
- hold off and refill when I get home and go through the whole Pill song and dance with my parents (assuming, of course, that the pharmacist at home doesn't have a moral objection to refilling my prescription)
I loathe the system.
Last night M & I went to go see Carbon Leaf at the 9:30 Club. I've lived in D.C. for 12 years and I've been more in the last, oh - 15 months, than I have in the previous decade. Anyway, CL played an acoustic show and it was really excellent. They started off with 5 or 6 unreleased songs that they've written in the last handful of months; my favorites were "Unknown Bride" and "Native America." After that they switched over to tracks from their latest release, "Indian Summer." They played most of my favorite songs - the only one they missed was "When I'm Alone" but it's all good.
Barry - lead singer - is apparently starting to pick up on guitar, which he played for the first several songs. He was noticably more relaxed when he switched off to just vocals. Jordan (bass player) was incredible, as was Carter (electric/acoustic guitar). Loved him. He had a couple of riffs that were just incredible.
However, this wouldn't be a complete recap without noting the idiot in the white shirt who, during the 2nd half of the show would just stand up and start clapping (not on the beat, mind you) and trying to get the crowd into it. Now, I can see how getting the crowd into the show is one thing, but this idiot was standing up and taking bows after each song the band performed. Nice job, dude. M chimes in on Carbon Leaf, too.
Ye olde Xmas trip packing list is nearly done. I'll fine tune it at work tomorrow, but I have to do laundry tomorrow night and do as much packing as I can. That 6:00 a.m. cab pickup on Thursday a.m. is gonna SUCK!
Friday was chock full of red wine and hysterical laughter. We got together to plan our weekend at Lake Anna. Not quite as much planning happened as wine drinking, cheese dancing and general frivolity. I love my friends.
Saturday night was the annual Christmas party. It was all I could do to drag myself away from "The Sound of Music" - thank goodness for TiVo - so I finished watching it this afternoon. Anyway, the party was fun for the most part. There was this huge deal made about how it was a holiday party and that jeans and tee shirts were taboo, yet we were expected to stand outside under the rented tent and use the Port-A-Potty. I'm sorry, I'm supposed to wade through the mud in girl-shoes and ankle length velvet then use a Port-A-Potty? I don't think so.
For the most part the party was uneventful. Uncomfy shoes, Francisco the marshmellow/pretzel rod/fruit rollup dude, gorging on meatballs, feeble attempts to recreate Legspreaders and VAM & Steve seranading the living room with 'Do You Hear the People Sing' from Les Miz.
The evening culminated with my typical round of goodbyes and as I was heading over to say g'night to C, M walked up to me and said, "Merry Christmas, J." I never broke stride, but did say Merry Christmas back, and for some reason, he took this as an invitation to try to kiss me.
WHAT?!?!?!? Could he really be that stupid?
The answer is yes.
At first I leaned away and he kept pushing so I finally had to shove him off and yell, "No, M!" I don't understand how he could possibly think that it's okay to break one of my best friends' hearts and think that I'm still going to play nice. I didn't shove him into the firepit but that's about as civil as I'm capable of swinging. Ugh. Moron.
Tomorrow: Carbon Leaf and the long awaited project audit.
...it rocks for the 'Quakes no more.
On Monday, August 26, 1996, Steph and I piled into her Mercury Tracer and headed west. She'd had enough of this east coast mumbo-jumbo and decided to head home to CA, albeit to Moraga instead of LA. With 3500 miles to burn, we had lots to talk about: her move back West, my first trip west of Chicago, whether or not she was going to abandon my beloved D.C. United to begin cheering for her new hometown-ish San Jose Clash. She claimed allegiance to DCU but that only lasted as long as our trip to the old Mile-High Stadium (we beat the Rapids 2-1).
I suppose it's only natural. You have to love the one you're with ultimately. Over the years, her attachment to the Clash grew. Her devotion survived their name change from the Clash to the Earthquakes in 2000. She travelled to Columbus for their MLS Cup victory in 2001 and to Secaucus to see them play the MetroStars at some point or another, survived the Carter ratf*cker association, and took my favorite picture ever of Zach (*sigh*) ever in the friendly confines of Spartan Stadium.
Today, their relationship was dealt a blow, perhaps a fatal one. In their infinite wisdom, Major League Soccer has decided to move the 'Quakes from San Jose to Houston. Houston?!? Now, I can't pretend to know all of the politics involved in that maneuver; no doubt the move was motivated by money. In a league where the owners are still losing money every year, it's gotta be more and more difficult to find a place to play the game. But I've been to Spartan and I've sat with the Casbah and I feel for them as a group. I can't imagine what life would be like without D.C. United.
The Clash-Quakes were one of the original 10 MLS teams and the 2nd to go the way of the Dodo (name the first). The first game in the history of the league was played at Spartan Stadium. The first goal ever scored by a Clash forward (poor Jeffy) and the Clash was awarded the first MLS win.
We are the Clash! We are the Clash! We are, we are, we are the Clash!
And they will be missed.
My big sis and I got there a little bit early and started cooking a batch of pretzel/Hershey's Kisses sandwich thingies. Spread small pretzels on a cookie sheet, place a Kiss upon each one, then put the sheet in the oven for about a minute. As soon as the kiss is suitably softened, take 'em out of the oven, squish another pretzel on top and let cool. I personal prefer the chocolate/peanut butter kisses. Super tasty! Then she whipped up some magic cookies and eventually other people started showing up.
Two of my very-much-least-favorite people showed up not too long into the evening. M walked in first and I was probably the first person he saw. He said hi and I responded with civility. Didn't think bloodshed in PIO's swanky pad was a good idea. Of course, then I had to refill my drink and leave the room before I killed him. L showed up about 20 minutes later and we exchanged similar half-pleasantries. I spent the rest of the evening working in mini-circles to avoid them as much as I could.
Intellectually, I know they have every bit as much a right to be there as I do, but I really am okay with not having to share oxygen with them. As my friend Shannon said, 'running the gauntlet' at a party trying to dodge people just makes socializing not v. much fun. In some ways I'm glad the first encounter is out of the way. We've established that I'm not going to murder them and conveyed that I'm not going to play the "We're still buds, right?" game, so all's well that ends.
Only PIO would own a Billy Bass that sings Christmas carols. It's horrifying. He blames it on the MV White Elephant but I don't believe it.
Now, part of the problem could be that I don't lead anything vaguely resembling a life. I mean, how wittily can one actually write about yarn?
I only have one free night in the next 10 days so hopefully the fates will come up with something entertaining for me to convey to the world.
Don't hold your breath.
I realized as I was beating the eggs and whipping the cream that it's this particular ritual that marks the beginning of the holiday season to me. The first batch of Sugar's eggnog. The recipe isn't particularly complicated or unusual, but I'm still forbidden by family law to share it so share it I shan't.
I drink the first sip of 'nog the way wine connoisseurs sip a cabernet. The smell right before it hits my lips, the foam settling on my tongue, the sense of the alcohol brushing over the roof off my mouth. Mmmm...nog.
In a lot of ways, the nog is the source of a lot of my holiday memories. My cousin and I used to wake up at all hours Christmas Eve to the sounds of our parents and grandparents laughing uproariously while wrapping presents. My father still remembers the Christmas Eve that my grandfather ran his toy train off the table b/c Sugar had made a particularly strong batch of eggnog.
As I've gotten older - and consequently became legally permitted to consume alcohol and developed the requisite tolerance - I have different memories. Like when my aunt, cousin and I all realized we had different versions of the recipe. My aunt's is probably the most authentic, but I'm so accustomed to my version I'll just stick with it.
As Tanya once said, "Once a year, Just D creates this creamy, frothy, wet, gooey, sticks to your upper lip..."
So, that's my excuse for not discussing NASCAR much - which should leave me plenty of time to knit, right? Well...uh...theoretically.
I STILL haven't finished Jenny's blanket - and beautiful Lorraine was born a week ago. Well, in all fairness, the knitting portion of the blanket is done - it's just the finishing portion of the program that hasn't quite come together. My socks, Banff, Inishmore, top-down cardigan and Soliel are all still on needles. I need to do a more complete project audit tomorrow.
Tonight is my grown-up social outing: dinner at M&S Grill followed up by Les Miz at National Theatre. Ooh la la!
I know we had the odd snow day, especially if the snow started a couple of hours before sunrise and didn't even pretend it was letting up anytime soon as it got closer and closer to the time when the busses needed to pull out to collect students. I remember thanking every god I'd ever heard of the morning after pulling a near allnighter in high school trying to finish an English paper or college essay or something (procrastination is not a new development in my world). But by and large, snow days were few and far between and we had to have some serious downfall in order to procure one.
Now, maybe I'm just a little bitter because I work with not one, not two, but THREE school teachers and all three of those slackers is home today because we got an inch and a half, MAYBE two inches of snow last night. So far, J's winning the School Day Slacker competition (she had Tuesday off, too!), with S and S2 following up with one day apiece.
Whereas I'm more than willing to scoff at the amount of D.C. snowfall, it is actually starting to get a little nippy out. Wind chill has been in the upper 20s the last couple of mornings. It's wreaking havoc with my dislike of socks, hats and other cold weather gear.
Guess I'd better go finish my black Hermione hat.
Okay, so I found a teensy weensy bit o' holiday spirit. This morning, Elizabeth, Joan, Melyssa and I went to Old Town Alexandria to the annual Scottish Christmas Parade. We piled into M's PT Cruiser and headed south.
After a quick pitstop at Bread & Chocolate for coffee and muffins (and so J could ogle some Scotsmen in their kilts) we headed down to the parade route so we could stake out some territory. Good thing we did! We camped out on our corner and we're just hanging out chatting and people watching and a couple of women and their horde of children came to stand near us. This would've been fine except this little boy next to J decided we were in his way and started pushing at her and huffing about us being in his way. Excuse me? I don't think so, little man. Hrmphf.
With the roar of a dozen police officers on motorcycles, the parade began. I don't remember the order in which they came, nor can I come close to remembering the names of all the Scottish clans that took part in the parade, but I had lots of fun. Checking out all the different tartans (no bright yellow for me, thank you very much) and the oh-so-cute doggie groups. The exchange program between the Westies and the Scotties, the adorable cairn terriers, the lab rescue league, the airedales (just so M could ooh and aah), the Irish deerhounds, the St. Bernards - they were all SO cute.
There were a few different bagpiper groups - only a handful though. J's big comment was that they were mostly older men - who's going to be around to pipe in the next generation.
Anyway, E dashed off to hold a table for us at Pat Troy's and we headed in after we saw Santa arrive on a local fire engine. Coffee with Bailey's, fish and chips and The Unicorn Song - is there a better way to spend a Saturday a.m.?
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
One thousand eight hundred and seventy U.S. dollars. If I fly out a day earlier it's $2025. WHAT?!?! I keep looking for the fine print. Am I somehow renting the plane? Is it business class for the all of 65 minutes of the flight? Is it a private jet? And it's not even direct! There's a plane change in NYC! Even better, if I fly out of Dulles, it's $4129 with the baffling routing of Dulles to Pittsburgh to NATIONAL to Laguardia to Columbus.
What are these people smoking?!?
Let's see where I can go for less (same dates):
$791 - Paris
$574 - London
$943 - Rome
$950 - St. Petersburg, Russia
$1414 - Rio
$1030 - Athens
$827 - Oslo
$1025 - Reykjavik
$1140 - Madrid
I rest my case. These people are insane.
I don't know why but it always takes me half of December to wrap my brain around the notion that it's nearly Christmas. There's just so much going on in the 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Year's: Turkey Day, my cousin's birthday, Hanukkah/Chanukah, Christmas, birthday, New Year's Eve and countless other occasions that I'm undoubtedly forgetting.
How do you force yourself to swing into the season? I remember having trouble with this last year, too. Is it shopping? Listening to holiday music? I'm sure getting off my butt and finally buying my plane ticket to Ohio would make things seem a little more real but right now I'm just not buying it.
Any ideas? I need suggestions to get into the spirit of things. Decorating? Holiday music? The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is this Thursday, I think. And the Scottish Christmas Walk is Saturday. Help me!
All week I did my happy food dance. At last, a night without ramen. A night without hotdogs or mac and cheese. Every time a commercial came on with a succulent turkey or steaming mashed potatoes, I'd become nearly light-headed with anticipation.
Finally the day arrived. I took the Metro out to Vienna and my friend P picked me up and took me back to his parents' place. We hung out, played with his new computer and generally caught up until his mother called us for dinner. We started up the stairs (his room was in the basement) and I wrinkled my nose. I didn't smell any turkey but I didn't think anything of it - maybe their kitchen's exhaust system was better than at home.
We all sat around the table, gave thanks and started on salad. Again, not what I was used to. At home, 'Turkey Day' was about a table groaning under the weight of food, me dodging the sweet potatoes/yams/whatever orange veggie it was, and fighting with my dad over the drumstick.
Again, I wasn't too suspicious. Maybe with such a large family instead of setting everything up on the table, they did it buffet style and we would go into the kitchen to load our plates with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the trimming.
Then his mother brings out a huge platter of pasta.
Alarm bells started going off.
It turns out, P's clan doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving the way I was used to. At all. The pasta and salad were wonderful as I recall, but all I can remember is the devastation of realizing I was going to be turkey free.
[Should P. ever read this, I just want to say that I'm still grateful that I was taken into their home for my first Thanksgiving away from my own. I'm simply saying that I was slightly taken aback at the menu.]
Fast forward a dozen years. I'm a couple of hours away from heading to my friend PP's house. This experience is a whole other can of worms. I went there for Thanksgiving last year and had a wonderful time. It's half family (though not mine) and half friends. A huge table groaning under to weight of way too much food, dogs stealing turkey, babies dropping cheerios (to be hoovered up by the dogs, as well). I can't wait.
Ultimately, I'm thankful for my health (such as it is), my friends, my family, my job, and the fact that there's a James Bond marathon on for the next 4 days. To anyone out there reading, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and fare the nasty hoiday travel with ease and patience.
The Blues Brothers.
To this day, I remember watching this movie at the former Raintree Cinema in Columbus, Ohio with my aunt and my cousin (who lived in Chicago at the time). My aunt literally fell out of her chair laughing.
"How much for the little girl?"
It's SO ridiculous, but it's such a great movie. Simply hilarious.
"I hate Illinois Nazis."
It wasn't until I was much older that I realized the fantastic array of blues musical talent that they actually managed to assemble for this movie: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker.
Time to climb into bed and wait for my favorite quote:
Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.
My friend DS is a dead ringer for a young Bob Saget - he's actually the one who motivated us to all get together and go see him. He got in touch with Saget's publicist and told him that his friends thought he looked like BS and wondered if there was anyway he could get to meet him. DS arranged to meet with the publicist before the show and apparently the guy was blown away by the similarity. He told DS that he would find a way to get DS backstage after the show so he could meet Bob S. He even gave DS his cell phone number so he could track him down. So, true to his word, after the show DS gets to go backstage and gets to meet Bob Saget who autographed a poster to him that said "Yo cousin!" or something like that. He was SO giddy.
The rest of this week is going to be just as social. Tomorrow night is pho for dinner, Thursday I get a breather and Friday is fondue with IMF. Saturday night I'm hiding b/c the roommates have once again decided to make plans involving my house without consulting, asking or even mentioning it before sending out the Evite. I'm not their mother and they don't necessarily need to ask me permission but common courtesy would be a nice change of pace.
Next week is Thanksgiving - where in the world did that come from? I think I'm going to do the Josephs' Thanksgiving with dinner with Pete and Pam the night before. I wish I could go to Savannah for turkey day but right after the cruise and right before Xmas, it's just not going to happen. I have to figure out how to buy my ticket home for THAT holiday.
I keep trying to figure out exactly what I can say about Tom in a short and sweet entry and there just isn't anything that comes to mind. I used to glibly state that he was "the love of my life and the bane of my existence." I haven't had any romantic feelings for him for well over a decade, but I still don't know what I'd do without him in my life. We never talk on the phone, and I'm lucky if I see him once a year. We email nearly every day - rarely anything serious or specific, just the random flotsam of our day-to-day lives.
He introduced me to one of my best friends, helps keep me relatively grounded, took me to an Ohio State game and listened to me sob my way through heartbreak.
I don't know what, if anything, I bring to his life but I'd be lost without him. Here's to another decade and a half of friendship.
Yesterday was a full day at sea. We had our hash in the afternoon and Boner and Timmy managed to pick up about 20 virgins - all gay boys and women. Shocker. A good time was had by all, or so the story goes. We also had our formal photo taken. We all looked quite snazzy, I must say, and the boys were particularly handsome in their tuxes. Or maybe that's the vodka and tonic talking.
Ocho Rios - I believe - was the day before that and that was awesome. Climbing Dunns River Falls and the catamarran (sp) ride back and forth were so much fun. The anti-freeze disguised as rum punch, notsomuch. We all had to take a bit of a nap after we got back. It was the only way to survive.
All in all it was a pretty good vacation. Beat the pants out of the last cruise, that's for sure. I didn't manage to get in touch with my inner ho and it's something I've been thinking about quite a bit. Not the ho part exactly, but more figuring out what to do with the self-consciousness and the shyness factor. I think for all the times I feel awkward and left out, it's because I put myself in those situations. Hrm, something to think about when I get back home.
Tomorrow's an early morning - breakfast, debark and sprint for the airport. I have a 12:30 flight which should get me home by 3:30. I have last week's race taped and I really want to watch it before I know the result but if I have the opportunity to watch this week's race with scanner, I feel like I need to get my Trackpass money's worth.
I'm rambling. And running up a $.35/minute internet charge. I'm out.
Today was the big day on the ship - we stopped at our first port of call (Costa Maya, Mahajual (?) and it was also Cathy and Kevin's wedding day. First things first.
We got off the ship around 10:30 or so, fought our way through the first level of people seeking to get our hard-earned cash and took a shuttle bus to the TINY fishing village of Mahajual (I know I'm spelling it wrong, I'm going to have to fix it later). We walked the 3/4 mile from one end of the dirt road to the other, enticed and encouraged all the way to stop in and eat/drink/buy/bargain for any and everything. You'd think a single gal walking with 6 guys could've gotten a purchase out of one of 'em but nada - you'd think chivalry was dead or something.
At the end of the dirt road there was this little grass-roofed beachside bar with swings for stools and ice-cold XX. Our friends the Jenns, Pete and Arthur were already there so we decided that was a good enough spot to stay for a while. We spent the entire afternoon - well, until 2:30 - sitting in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon, drinking cold beers, sunburning our noses and laughing about what we'd be doing at work if we were back in D.C.
We scurried back to the ship to nap and change before the 5:30 wedding of C&K up in the Skywalker Lounge. Things got started a little late but Kevin was handsome and Cathy was gorgeous and Captain Nick Nash married them without (or with) a hitch. As soon as they were prounounced, I bolted for my room.
See, the Skywalker Lounge is this immense structure built port to starboard across the top of the ship. It's the 17th or 18th floor and stretches across like the top of a T. We hit some rough weather yesterday and the good ol' Skywalker was shimmying and shaking like there was no tomorrow. Normally I wouldn't say I'm prone to seasickness but I think the combination of a tummyful of Dos Equis, an earlier pitstop at the buffet and the non-stop movement of the Skywalker just pushed me over the edge. Unfortunately I missed a great deal of the reception b/c I was Dramamine-ing in my room, but I did make it back upstairs in time for their couples dance. I wish them all the luck and love in the world.
Everyone's onboard safe and sound and there haven't been any seasickness incidents as yet. The whole being-on-a-different-deck-from-everyone else is shaping up about as I expected. I accidentally ran into a couple of people when I made it to the Lido Deck to scarf down some lunch and bumped into the boys on the deck by the Terrace Pool, but other than that, I haven't seen anyone for a couple of hours.
Last night was Cathy's bachelorette party. It went a lot better than Kevin's bachelor party (which wasn't hard to do since Cathy had to escort Kevin to bed from the dining hall around 9ish). We went up to the Skywalker Lounge (which I think is where the wedding is taking place, too) and danced for a few hours before the 12 hours of drinking finally caught up with us and we started dropping off one by one. I think she had a good time, but I'm fairly certain we killed her with the lemon drops.
Well, I'm off to take a stroll around the Promenade Deck. It's about 82 and sunny hear so I should take advantage of it.
I probably should've gotten my pedicure earlier in the day and blowing of Knit'n'Nosh but I caved in to Holly and Pamela on the peer pressure front.
Contrary to how this may sound, I am really excited about this trip. OH! I forgot to mention that I may get to see two friends from college in Grand Cayman! They happen to be going on vacation the same time we're docked there so I'm going to try to meet them for lunch. I think that should definitely make the "It's a small world" hall of fame. Most everyone that I know is going scuba diving that day so I'm really glad to have something else to do. I'd like to go to Stingray City, too. We'll see how much time I have left.
Please oh please let my pre-vacation adrenaline help get me out of bed tomorrow.
So tomorrow a.m. at o'dark-thirty I'm hopping on a plane to Ft. Lauderdale and then we're spending a day there running around - I'm not sure if we're all getting together or not - then Sunday afternoon we head to the port. W'hoo!
And, according to our good friends at the National Hurricane Center, "There are no tropical cyclones in the Atlantic at this time."
Love, exciting and new...come aboard...we're expecting you!
Well, it's not really an ode. Not in the mood to think up a limerick or a haiku so this is going to be more prose-like.
Growing up as an only child in central Ohio, we would drive to my grandparents' houses with a fair amount of frequency. Since my mom had to more or less pack her stuff as well as my dad's, she would have me make a list of the stuff I wanted to take on our little roadtrips. Then she - and as I got older, I - would pack up my bag for the weeekend based on the aforementioned list. Now, probably a quarter of a century later, I am utterly incapable of going on the simplest trip without a packing list.
Most of the time they're copied from previous trips to similar climates with small edits to reflect new clothes or extra days. Friends have been known to mock the list - usually right before asking for me to make them a list of their own. Carolyn maintains her list in Word whereas I prefer the grid in Excel.
The truth of the matter is that I'm COMPLETLY scatterbrained and would forget to pack half of what I needed if I weren't checking off a list. I'd have the contacts but not contact case; 6 pairs of pants but 2 shirts; and I would likely have half the amount of Underoos I would need to get through a trip.
Of course, the list isn't sacrosanct. After the final printing I do tend to jockey things around a little bit, but usually I've been drafting the sucker for so long, I have a pretty good idea of what I need. The current version is just over a page long - I really need to do something about that.
This debacle came on the heels of Chimmie not doing so hot in Atlanta. Finished on the lead lap which is about the best I can say about the day. At least the Bears and the Bucks scored one in the win column.
Another night in the life of a rock star.
I got some more news re: the cruise from the bride this a.m. According to the Princess Cruise Lines website, Cozumel is totally off the schedule. We're going to Costa Maya instead. On top of that, apparently a tornado touched down in Ft. Lauderdale and - according to her - 90% of the hotels in FLL have neither water nor electricity. This trip is going to be an adventure. I'm just going to try to think positively - not something I'm terribly good at.
The other photo I was trying to take last night was of the aforementioned OSU charm bracelet. I got it in the mail from Steph last week and it's tres fun. I wore it last Saturday but I don't think our game will be televised this week. The Block-O logo, Brutus and the scoreboard showing 12:28 left just make me laugh. I know the bestest people!
I keep thinking that I should say something deep and insightful in my blog. Something that reveals a deeper insight. A more involved worldview. Truth of the matter is, I'm not that deep and I'm not that insightful, and I'm CERTAINLY not involved. I completely forgot that I was going to be on vacation for Election Day in a week and a half - I thought M. was going to kill me when I told her I forgot to get an absentee ballot.
Anyway, maybe the more I write, the more I'll get a handle on how I want to put words down. I've had a journal for years so it's hard for me to lose that voice. That sort of all-over-the-place rambling instead of picking a specific blog topic and boring people with just that topic. Hrm...
WHAT THE $%&^*#@!?!?!?
I'm trying to remain calm and fully recharge the batteries and try again tomorrow morning before totally flying off the handle. I seriously cannot afford to buy a new digital camera before this trip, but I can't go on vacation without. UGH! I suppose I could get a totally craptastic $100-150 one just to get through the trip (because I really need that extra expense).
I talked to the bride-to-be earlier today. Apparently Cozumel (or maybe just the beach club where the wedding was supposed to be held) doesn't have electricity and the cruise line may be re-routing to a different port because of the damage to the pier done by Wilma.
For the record: I would RULE the Name that Tune DVD board game with classic 80's videos. Just so you know.
As I mentioned earlier this month, I'm going on a cruise in 2 weeks. My mother is thrilled beyond words, let me tell you. She's not crazy about the notion of her baby girl being out in the middle of the Caribbean to begin with - add a record number of storms to the mix and she's beside herself. To be fair, she's actually a little bit better than I would anticipate, but we're still a couple of weeks out so there's plenty of time for her to go nutso. News coming out of the region is kind of sparse, but my impression has been that most of the cruise ship piers have been destroyed. Nothing to do but wait and see what the cruise line decides to do, I suppose. They're pretty much in charge at this stage of the game.
As for this weekend's sports update, once again DCU failed to step up and perform as though they care about the playoffs. Tied Chicago at Soldier Field, forcing us to have to win next Sunday at home. I don't know if they're distracted by Freddie's whining or if there's other stuff going on but they have 6 days to fix it because there is no tomorrow. Well, there's a tomorrow, but there's no next-Monday if they don't get their act together.
Everyone else had pretty solid performances: my Buckeyes won (I wore my snazzy charm bracelet that Steph sent me), the Bears made it through a defensive battle and are tied with Detroit in the NFC North. Chimmie finished 3rd, behind FTS unfortunately. Here's to better luck at Atlanta. I'll prolly have to tape the race because of Marine Corps Marathon and the playoff game.
*Now, I have to clarify what that really means. In MY world, the word "done" when used to describe a knitting project means that I've finished the actual process of knitting and purling, which is huge. What I have left is the hard part: weaving in ends, not to mention this whole blocking, backing and piping nonsense. Hopefully at the end of the day (or rather, at the end of the 28th day of October), I'll have a blanket worthy of the little duckling.
Dane Cook is on Adam Carolla's new show - which is irrelevant in and of itself - but he's wearing a Revs jersey and I feel I should support that. United v. Fire tomorrow night in game one of the 2-game playoff series. Keep your fingers crossed. GO UNITED!
Diesel is up to something. I was bugging her about buying tickets for the spring Atlanta race and I was saying how my friend Rebecca (who - along with her husband - is responsible for my NASCAR addiction) was talking about coming down, too, and now Diesel is scheming something behind my back.
Surprises make me nervous. I think generally because most surprises result in the surprisee being the center of attention and we all know how I feel about that.
So, I've got this friend we call Diesel. She's pretty much a rock star. I met her in an alley on a rainy St. Patrick's afternoon maybe 3 years ago. She had just moved up here from Atlanta and was planning on flying under the radar in our little running club.
I honestly don't remember how I met her. If it was anything like my usual M.O., after a few weeks she proved herself to be vibrant and popular and hilarious and willing to be the center of attention so I glommed in to her so I could follow around in her wake and people would learn to love me by proxy.
That did happen.
I've forgotten (or blocked the memories of) most of our adventures. For two and a half years, she and Tank and I (among others) forged memories and laughs and pictures and chaos.
- 'On the top deck'
- 'Awwwww yeah'
- Beer hats
- 'On your knees, b!tch!!!'
- Attack of the killer fog
- Duelling hangovers by the pool on the ski trip
- Rusty's pocket-less jeans
- Puppet 'Father Abraham'
- 'Stick a Pie in your Thong'
- the 'GeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgia' dance
- co-coining the phrase knit'n'NASCAR
- Maxing out Butch on camping trips
- Shot glass rave
Historically, I'm TERRIBLE about staying in touch with people who abandon me. Somebody kick my ass if I do that with Diesel.
I have 10 days to finish Jenny's blanket. This is it at 87% done. In an ideal world, I'll have it done by this weekend, but that would mean knitting all the way through Martinsville Oddly I've found that hard to do between the scanner, the chat room and actually watching the race. I am SUCH a dork.
$340 Million PowerBall?!?! I may have to play on my way to work tomorrow. Can't hurt to give it a whirl, although it would mean ending my streak of whining about not winning the lottery without actually playing it.
Stream of consciousness continues: an ad for the DVD release of Batman Begins just came on. This has bugged the crap out of me since I first saw the movie earlier this summer: did the screenwriters of this movie NOT WATCH the first Batman movie? I mean, they totally ignored the whole Jack Napier/Joker/Jack Nicholson "Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" killer of Bruce's parents. What gives? I mean, I know the original came out 16 years ago but are we supposed to have totally forgotten about that? Apparently so.
I'm watching the Colbert Report - it's hilarious!
My friend Steph IM'd me today - just add her to the list of friends that aren't in close proximity that I've totally slacked on staying in touch with. Maybe someday she'll read this blog and realize that there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING going on in my life worthy of reporting.
Chimmie won their FOURTH IN A ROW at Lowe's last night. W'HOO!!!!! I TiVo'd the race and came home to watch it after a lackluster performance by DCU v. Columbus. I know they tied and are heading into the playoffs, but they're not going to go far if they don't get their passing and finishing together.
I decided to FFWD through the race when I got home. I knew Jimmie had qualified 3rd but had to start 41st due b/c of an engine change. He did what he does best, marching through the field thru a combination of driving talent and Chad's pit calls. Overall the race was a mess - people blew tires like clockwork every 25-30 laps. Smoke cut a tire on debris, Sadler blew out a tire, and Junior, Stremme, Shrub, and Kasey all blew out tires. Anyway, so I'm ffwding my way thru the race and it's getting closer and closer to the end, and I hit the wrong button the remote and somehow I think I've hit the end of my recorded programming so I flip over to live tv & login to the chat room (I know, dork) in time to catch the very end of the race.
Somehow between the last thing on saw on TiVo and where I picked up live, Jimmie had gained the lead!!! There were two laps to go and my heart was instantly in my throat. The race went green and it was an immediate nailbiter, Jimmie driving hard into the corner revealed he had a tire rub from an earlier run in with Rudd (?) and there was fear the tire could blow any minute. Busch was coming hard, so was Biffle, but he managed to hold 'em off for the win at HIS HOUSE! He's now tied with Stewart for first in the Chase (Tony finished 26th, I think). W'HOO!!!!! I need to remember to tape Beyond the Wheel this week. There should be lots of Chimmie time.
For the first time in a long time, I actually got to do a little knit'n'NASCAR. I worked on the baby blanket in between heart attacks. I'm almost 80 percent done with the knitting part of things. The backing and the piping are going to take some creative arts & crafts work but I should hopefully be done in time.
Now to see what Martinsville holds. This is going to be a rough week for the whole HMS crew. I hope they hang in there and one of the guys can get a win for the organization.
There's a scene in "While You Were Sleeping" where Sandra Bullock's character is looking around at this family that she has adopted and is just grinning at their byplay with one another. My friend Eric had a handful of people over to his house for beer and snacks and generally lounging. I'm not super-close to the people in attendance. I call most of them friends, but I have this weird 'thing' where I don't let people get overly close to me (we'll jump off that bridge later). But I just looked around the room at these people in my life and smiled. Maisie running around visiting everyone in the room until Phil shows up then never leaving his side. Sven and Steve howling at a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog skit; Jenny sitting with her feet up staring semi-longingly at Lite beers and laughing about yellow fuzzy ducky slippers; Tim trying to figure out the best way to smuggle alcohol onto a really large boat.
I'm very forunate to have people in my life who are kind, fun, irreverant and caring. I need to get it through my thick skull that I possess those same traits and that I'm worthy of having these people care about me.
Or maybe they just put up with me as part of some bizarre public service.
While at the game, this guy came down to talk to Leslie. She tried to introduce me to him twice and he just kind of talked over her so she gave up. I'll grant that I was looking my most suave, wearing my fave red cropped pants, my black slides and an oversized, grey long-sleeved tee shirt (over my white tee shirt that I'd managed to dribble all over the front of at some point) - stylin' & profilin' as usual. I spent the better part of the 2nd period watching the game and text messaging Thea.
I HATE being invisible. I'm perfectly aware of the fact that I don't do much to make myself the center of attention, or even attention-worthy, but I hate being dismissed out of hand like that. There's really no easy way to recover from being put in that position. If you butt in to a conversation, you end up looking either socially awkward or desperate for attention. Whereas I am obviously both, I prefer to keep that my dirty little secret as much as possible.
*sigh* Okay, I'm over it. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.
I somehow rated an invite to go play at Eric's tomorrow night - just a low grade happy hour. I haven't figured out who I'm finagling a ride out of. Maybe P-phil.
Let's see, to-do list for this weekend:
Friday: work for a couple of hours, Knit Happens, store (pumpkin bar fixins), laundry, call Pam, make hair appt
Saturday: bake pumpkin bar thingies, game, laundry, pay bills, game
Sunday: early football at Bailey's with May, sleeeeeeeeeeeeep.
If I'm lucky, I'll manage to accomplish 3 things on that there list.
"Is he dead?
I jump off my Vespa and race past a fire engine, and ambulance, and the F.D.N.Y. scrimmage blocking my street.
There, in front of my apartment, is my brother's body, sprawled on the sidewalk."
These are the opening lines to Wish, a novel by Melina Gerosa Bellows, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I'm only able to read it in snippets - I'm still trying to finish The Master and Margarita for book club. Although the opening lines sound grim, the book then turns into a chronicle of a woman's life, starting in 1974 and it has these great little 'time capsules' at the beginning of each chapter that sort of put you in that time and place.
Melyssa and I went to the author's book event this evening at Border's. Ms. Bellows is apparently a D.C. native - I think she works at National Geographic? - and there were quite a few people there that she called on by name. She read excerpts from a few of the chapters and played snippets of songs that were highlighted at the beginning of those chapters. Although I wasn't really cognizant for the first time period (I was only 2 when "Me and Bobby McGee" was popular and 8 when "Anticipation" was all the rage), I more or less pegged the release dates of "Like a Virgin" and "You Oughta Know."
While we were waiting for Ms. Bellows' talk to begin, I practiced my 2-circular needle knitting. I mentioned that Holly showed me how to do it; I did NOT reflect on just how tiny size 0 needles are. They're approximately the diameter of toothpicks. My eyesight isn't the best to begin with - squinting at tiny stitches with tiny yarn on tiny needles doesn't do a whole lot to help. This photo's a little blurry but you get the idea: pencil v. needle. Getting started is the hardest part - I should be able to get a better picture once I've gotten some more rows on the needles. Not sure whether I want to work on the baby blanket or the starter sock right now. Well, there was a minor incident with a caramel-filled Hershey's Kiss and wool, so I should clean that up before I start anything else.
After the game, we ran around town, went to *$ so she could flirt with her barista then she attempted to teach me how to do socks on 2 circular needles. I tried for a little while then I decided it was time to put some time in on Jenny's baby blanket. I just started the final repeat. Only 89 rows to go - then the fun part starts.
I got an email today from Christy Mullins nee Hahn today. She's doing well, she's a vet technician and she and her husband have 2 dogs and at first blush are happy. I think they moved back to Columbus, though I know she used to be in Michigan. She's in occasional contact with Laura (nee Williams, I don't remember her married name off the top of my head). It's just so strange to think about high school friends being married with children. I mean, I know Janet Thode (Uhrick) has Christopher and all, but I can barely wrap my brain around my college friends having children, much less my fellow band geeks and classmates. I s'pose that's just the normal progression that most people's lives take.
My only pet peeve of the night was the people who felt that the "no photography" rule didn't apply to them. There was a woman in front of us who just whipped out her digital camera and kept snapping off pictures. Why do people do that?!?
Three-day weekends are supposed to be for catching up on all sorts of things: sleep, reading, laundry, dishes, bill-paying. I've done NOTHING! And I'm looking to keep my streak alive with a trip to MCI Center tomorrow to see the Caps v. Rangers. Whatever you do, don't call me Sporty Spice. Maybe Spectator Sporty Spice...
The Flair Bartenders' Association defines flair as "...the act of flipping, spinning, throwing, balancing, catching bottles, drinks, and various bar tools while in the process of making cocktails." Think Cocktail without the Beach Boys and Tom Cruise. As a matter of fact, I think Cake's cover of "I Will Survive" was playing in the background. It was AGONIZING. After seeing what all the hubbub was about, we just turned back to our meals and giggled. Mature, I know, but it was absolutely ridiculous. The only thing that was going to save the evening was stopping for ice cream for dessert. Mmm, cheesecake ice cream with graham cracker crumbs and cherry pie filling. Gotta love that Cold Stone Creamery.
Today was only slightly less eventful. After spending a lazy Saturday in bed, it was time to dig out the rain gear and head to RFK for the DC United game. What a waste. Lost 2-1 due to some stunning non-calls bythe ref. I hate to lose to anyone, but I despise losing to the MetroStars. Ah well, at least their folks that travelled got to see their boys win. Currently watching the U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier. Today's clearly not my day for soccer. Or college football for that matter - ugh, PSU.
Tomorrow is the race at Kansas (Go Chimmie!!) and the field trip to Baltimore to go see STOMP! I can't wait! Fortunately I have Monday off work, so I can sleep in a little bit, but I'm going to the Caps/Rangers game in the afternoon. Hopefully I'll have some time to knit some rows on Jenny's baby blanket in the next couple of days. I'm nearly 2/3 done and I have another 3 weeks til the shower. I'll try to take a picture tomorrow.
Time for bed, just one last thing: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
Even though the trip is over four weeks away, I'm already getting excited about getting out of town. My family didn't travel alot when I was growing up so any opportunity to get on a plane and go somewhere - ANYWHERE - is cause for celebration. And packing lists. It's ALL about the packing list. Well, that and the pre-vacation shopping trip. That's what Columbus Day sales are for, eh?
The weekend's coming up and under normal circumstances, I would say it's an opportunity for relaxation. Realistically, I know I'm going to a happy hour tomorrow night, a DC United game Saturday night and a performance of Stomp! on Sunday in Baltimore. Just another exciting episode in the life and times of moi.
Well, i don't have any answers to these questions, so I'm just gonna bite the bullet and see what happens.
The name: I've been knitting for maybe 10 years or so and last year I started watching NASCAR with my friend, C. Between the two of us, Sunday afternoons became about knittin' & NASCAR. Not very exciting but the truth rarely is.