Ode to the packing list

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.


There's good news and bad news...

The good news is now I don't have to worry about not getting to Dallas for MLS Cup in 2 weeks. The bad news? For lack of a better phrase, DCU pretty much bent over and grabbed their ankles for the Fire and I'm really irked with them right now. I love my boys and I'm still a DCU fan through and through but it really pisses me off when they don't even show up to play.

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.



I'm wasting REALLY good hair

I got my hair done this morning in a sort of precursor to vacation. Three hours and $100 later, it's soft and flippy and fun. Am I out at a Halloween party or having a few drinks at a neighborhood watering hole? Nope! I'm desperately trying to finish the baby blanket for tomorrow's baby shower and watching qualifying on tape delay.

Another night in the life of a rock star.


Perhaps I overreacted?

So I popped 2 fully charged batteries into my camera this morning and it seems to be okay now. I'll test it some tomorrow, too, and if it's still acting strangely I'll look into maybe replacing it this weekend. It's a little fuzzy, but that's a picture of the crappy JJ stuff I bought this week. I love Chimmie so I just laugh when I get stuff like that. There's a ballpoint pen with a helmet top, a car air freshener, and my personal favorite - the war wagon full of candy wrenches and other tools. It's so ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as the woman who had the Lowe's Racing logo put on her retainer, but then again, I don't wear braces.

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...


This cannot be happening!

So, I thought maybe it was time that I caved in and took a picture of my snazzy candy Lowe's War Wagon, not to mention my 48 car air freshener and ballpoint pen (with the helmet top). So, I dig up my digital camera and open the lens cover - nothing. I'd JUST replaced the batteries a couple of days ago, but I decided not to go nuts and just popped in a couple of other freshly-charged batteries - nada. Pulled the batteries out of the tv remote - zip.

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.


Alpha, beta, gamma, delta...

For the first time in the history of naming storms, the Hurricane Center has had to resort to using the Greek alphabet for the naming of tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes coming through the Atlantic.

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.



(singsong-ily) I'm done with the blanket, I'm done with the blanket!

*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.


Diesel's a rock star!

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.

Didn't happen.

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'
  • Punchcards
  • Beer hats
  • 'On your knees, b!tch!!!'
  • Candles
  • JRT!
  • Attack of the killer fog
  • Duelling hangovers by the pool on the ski trip
  • Jager-bombs
  • 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
Over the last three years she became one of my bestest buds. Through no scheme or design of her own (and quite a bit on the head of a certain ratbastard, Diesel ended up moving back to Atlanta. She's got a kick-ass job, will be able to afford a better place to live than up here in crazy-ass expensive DC, but there will probably be a little more time between additions to the aforementioned list.

Historically, I'm TERRIBLE about staying in touch with people who abandon me. Somebody kick my ass if I do that with Diesel.


To blog or not to blog...

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.


In Chad we trust

[front row, l to r: Jimmie Johnson, his wife Chandra, Chad Knaus, Mr. & Mrs. Hendrick]

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.

Stepping outside...

From time to time I find myself stepping outside of myself and looking at my surroundings as a stranger, wondering how it would play as a movie, wondering what others see when they look at a scene I'm in the middle of...(a scene of which I am at the middle). I had one of those moments Friday night.

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.


If a blog is alone in the woods...

I'm thinking maybe the Caps and I need a little time apart. Although they managed to dig out the win against the Rangers on Monday, they weren't quite so lucky against the Islanders tonight. Leslie gave me a call at about 4 this afternoon to see if I wanted to go play, so I said what the heck.

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.


Wishes & Kisses

"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.


The good ol' hockey game...

Holly and I went to the Caps/Rangers game this afternoon. Caps won 3-2 with the game-winning goal scored by the rookie, Alex Ovechkin. We started off up top in our actual seats, then we went down to visit Leslie in her seats then ended up staying down there for the rest of the game. Holly was so excited - she'd never been that close to the ice (not to mention HBD Halpern) before. I was just excited to be that close to Kolzig (shocker!).

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.



Just got home from seeing Stomp! in Baltimore. It was FANTASTIC, as usual. This is the third time I've seen the performance and I just love it everytime. The first time I saw it was in San Francisco maybe 6-7 years ago with my friend Steph, when we fell in lust with the lead. The second time I saw it was in D.C. at the Warner Theatre. This time, in Baltimore, the object of Melyssa's and my affection was Khalid. By the end of 'Hands & Feet' we were in luv. Yummmmmmmmmy! Jeremy was a close 2nd, but by a long shot. His pic online doesn't begin to do him justice.

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...


Sushi and Cake and Flair, oh my!

Last night my friend Melyssa and I went to dinner in Arlington. Originally we were going to head to Rock Bottom for burgers and beer, but the line was so long we decided to go to the japanese restaurant next door. We missed out on drunken frat boy people- watching, but what we saw between our miso and our entrees nearly made up for it.

Flair bartending.

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!


Love - exciting and new...

In just over a month, I'll be boarding the Star Princess for a 8 days, 7 nights in the Western Caribbean. This will be my 2nd cruise and it has GOT to be better than the first. The journey itself wasn't bad, but when you want to heave your roommate overboard, it for a difficult trip.

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.


Why start a blog?

I've been contemplating starting a blog for about a year, but I kept putting it off. Who wants to read my ramblings? Aren't there too many blogs out there these days that don't say a thing? Do I really want strangers to have this much insight into my extremely shaky psyche?

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.