Monday, October 31, 2005

Always prepared

What a week it's been! Bob was out of town last weekend, and I, as I mentioned, spent Saturday trying on underwear, and Sunday doing laundry and cleaning the house. He got back on Tuesday, and we went out to dinner for our anniversary--29 years! Which means, I believe, that we got married the year Misty was born . . .

I had called and made a reservation at Stephenson's Old Apple Farm, "our place," but with everything else that was going on, I decided I didn't feel like driving all the way out there, so we went to On the Border for Mexican and had big Margaritas. Wednesday night was dinner out with Misty and her bridesmaids and another friend--two glasses of wine. Thursday was a shower, but I didn't go -- it started at 4:30 and I just couldn't get there, so instead, I worked late. And I think maybe Bob left that night to go hunting . . . it's all kind of a blur.

I know he was gone Friday, because the rehearsal was Friday night, then the rehearsal dinner afterward. It was cool out, and it made me realize that I was going to need some kind of wrap, so I got up early Saturday morning and went shopping again. I found a beautiful black velvet jacket with a cut velvet shawl collar--too expensive, but it was beautiful and perfect, and so I just decided to get it and not try to find something else. Then I ran a few more quick errands, got a quick lunch at Long John Silver's, then went home to get ready.

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The weather cooperated -- no rain -- it was cool and clear and windy. I was glad I had the jacket! Bob came to the rescue not once, but four times: he had a knife in his pocket to cut the packaging off the new extension cords for the band/sound system; he went out and bought bottled water for the band (and for me); he had a lighter in his pocket and kept the little candle lighter boy's candle lit; and he provided Misty's mother with a clean handkerchief when she started to cry during the ceremony.

I was telling David about Bob being a hero at the wedding, and he said, "As ever!" Bob is pretty much always prepared for anything. Most people don't seem to really think about it. When we were in the cave last year and the lights went out, he and I were the only ones with flashlights -- little ones that we keep on our keychains.

When I was changing purses for the wedding -- I had a small black one that I was switching to in lieu of my big brown leather one -- I remembered something I'd seen on a website recently: "CLICK." That's what you need to have in your evening bag. Cell phone, lipstick, identification, cash, keys. And that's what I took. Plus a credit card just in case, and a pen, because I always have to have a pen. I wished later I'd remembered to bring a hairbrush, after standing around in the wind for three or four hours, but then I remembered that I had one in my gym bag in the trunk of the car, along with spare clothes, moisturizer, toothpaste . . . I could easily spend the night somewhere if I needed to. I know Bob always keeps a change of clothes in his van, just in case.

In case of what, I'm not sure.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Too much information

As I've mentioned before, Misty's wedding is next weekend. Yesterday I knew I had to figure out what I was going to wear. TIme was running out.

Over the last few years I've arranged my life so that I never have to go to the mall, never have to go to the big department stores (except for Clinique gift-with-purchase events, of course, and then I just zip into the store and out, and never actually go into the main part of the mall at all). I thought I might have to do that this time, but I started out at the discount stores, and found a dress right away, at Marshall's.

It's long, long-sleeved, black, and slim, and very low cut. It's those last two -- slim and low-cut -- that gave me pause. But it's a lovely dress, and it wasn't terribly expensive, so I figured I'd spend the rest of my budget (okay, so I didn't really have a budget, but it seems necessary to justify spending $50 on underwear) on undergarments. Undergarments that, you know, actually do something rather than just cover me up for the sake of decency.

Push-up bras and something called "shapewear," that's sort of like a girdle, and sort of not . . .

I spent the entire afternoon in Kohl's lingerie department, trying on bras (and "shapewear" which is a whole other category of torture, believe me--I bought a "smoother," which is more or less just really tight underwear.).

I'd go pick out three or four bras that didn't look too bad, go wait for the dressing room, go in and try them on, take them back out, find three or four more, lather, rinse, repeat. You know what would be really good? A bra department that's closed off from the rest of the store and you could just walk around and try them on without all the constant dressing and undressing. That's the part that wears you down.

I ended up buying four bras--two black ones, one (the "push up" one) padded, one not, and two more in the same two styles, but purple, and that only because I couldn't find my size in white or beige. I figured after all that work trying them on, I should get a couple, since, of course, if my usual luck holds, they will now stop making those styles.

In other domestic news, I made soup this morning, which is always one of the indications that it actually is turning into winter here. When Bob and I were having our discussion the other day about what I would eat while he was out of town, he suggested I make soup and chili, and I could alternate those two meals until he got back to cook for me "properly."

My soup is pretty simple. Carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, white beans, salt and pepper, and water. I mostly just keep putting things in until the crockpot is full, then turn it on and leave it for about 24 hours. I'll have wonderful, fragrant soup in the morning to take to work for lunch all week.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, October 21, 2005

Eating vs. dining

As I mentioned yesterday, dinner at our house is often pretty weird. I hardly ever cook anymore. Since I'm working downtown and never get home before 7:00 p.m., and sometimes much later, Bob has become my personal chef. He calls me around 4:00 or so and asks me, "What should I cook you for dinner?" It's usually a piece of frozen fish or shrimp in sauce, baked in the oven, and some kind of vegetable, either creamed spinach, asparagus or brocolli. Sometimes he makes me an omelette; last night it was Eggs Benedict and fresh cauliflower. I usually eat about half of whatever he makes me, and bring the other half to work for lunch the next day.

He did sit down with me and eat last night, but most nights he either cooks an entirely separate dinner for himself, or just has a sandwich or something. Yesterday afternoon when he called and asked if I would like Eggs Benedict for dinner, I told him that he didn't have to go to all that trouble, and he said no, he wanted to, because it would probably be the only good dinner I would have until Tuesday night--he's going out of town for the weekend and won't be back until sometime Tuesday.

I asked him what he thought I'd be eating over the weekend, and he said, "I shudder to think." Years ago, when he would go out of town, I would use it as an excuse to stock up on frozen Stouffer's entrees at the supermarket, and eat those for a week. Lately I'm more likely to eat out every night--maybe Chili's one night, pick up a burrito bol at Chipotlé one night, maybe get Chinese at the grocery store counter. And then there are the nights that I have wine coolers and ice cream . . .

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fever dreams

I've had the weirdest dreams lately.

Or maybe the dreams aren't any weirder than they usually are, maybe I'm just noticing them more because I'm sleeping lighter. We've been sleeping with the windows open, which I adore, but which also keeps me from sleeping deeply through the night, so I'm always waking up.

Last night I had several odd dreams, but I only remember one of them, which was really odd. I dreamed that Bob wanted me to kill him. It was because he was out of clean underwear. He insisted that if I would just kill him, he would come back to life, and when he did, he would have plenty of underwear. That didn't seem likely to me, so I was resisting, but he kept trying to talk me into it.

When I woke up this morning I told Bob about the dream, and he said that he had had a weird dream, too. He dreamt that there were mice in the house, specifically, purple mice, and they were dropping out of the exhaust fan in the bathroom. He was trying to keep it a secret from me because he knew I would freak out about it.

I was telling Cello about both of these dreams today, and he said, "What did you guys eat for dinner last night?!?" Which reminded me of Bob's dinner. He had made a lovely dinner for me--shrimp in a cheese sauce, and asparagus--but when I asked him if he had had any dinner himself, he said he had had a can of tuna mixed with cottage cheese, and saltines with strawberry jam. He got hungry around 10:00, and we went out and drove through McDonald's, where he got a couple of fish sandwiches and some fries, and I had an ice cream cone.

When I told Cello about the 10:00 p.m. McDonald's run, he said, "Yeah, the food there is like LSD." Maybe there's something to that.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Monday, October 17, 2005

To Do

Keri Smith had a lovely graphical To Do List on her site this morning, and it made me think about what makes up my perfect day.

I really had quite a good day on Saturday. I went to the beauty shop and had my hair highlighted, colored, and cut (yes, in that order), then, because they were having a "Grand Opening" of their new location, I was offered a complimentary hand paraffin treatment and hand massage. It's always difficult for me to be comfortable with things like having my hair done--the necessity for making small talk with someone that I don't know well--but I've gone to this beauty operator for long enough now that I'm very comfortable with her and actually look forward to going, rather than dreading it.

And normally I wouldn't go for something like the hand massage, but it was nice, and it made me want to get a paraffin spa for myself, to use at home. I don't know whether I will or not, but definitely something to think about. It made my hands feel very soft, and made my cuticles (always dry) look nicer.

After the beauty salon, I went to Panera Bread and had a turkey sandwich and a cup of chai--I love their chai lattés, but I seldom get them. I indulged myself.

I had called Bob after I got out of the salon (he had called while I was having my hair done, and had left a message) and told him that I was finished, and that I was probably going to get some lunch. I asked him if I needed to do anything for him, and he said, no, just enjoy your day off! And that made me think, well, yes. I should. I've been working a little later than usual for the past couple of weeks, and by the time I leave work and get home, it's already late, and there isn't really any time to stop and do anything on the way home, if I want to spend any time at all with Bob.

So I tend to do everything on the weekends--run errands, pay bills, do the grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. Realistically, that's what I have to do. But it is also my day off, and that's why I always try to get out of the house for most of Saturday afternoon. I usually pay bills, balance the checkbook, and update Quicken and my Palm on Saturday mornings, leave the house around noon or 1:00 to run errands, and get back home at about 5:00.

I always try to do things that I enjoy--I do enjoy my "errand circuit," really. Bank, post office, library, gas station . . . Well, who would really "enjoy" the gas station? But I enjoy being out.

I took myself to lunch and enjoyed my sandwich and tea, and read for awhile, then went to the library and checked out a couple of books. I got gas, and I washed the car. I went to the bookstore and wandered around for awhile. I went to Target and bought cleaning products and paper goods and a myriad of wings--I'm going to be in Misty's wedding in a couple of weeks and have yet to decide what to wear, but I figure wings should be a part of it, and Target had them in their $1.00 Halloween aisle, so I bought a pair of every variety--lady bug, angel, butterfly and fairy--so once I figure out what I'm going to wear, I'll have the wings to go with it!

Then I went to the grocery store for a few things that I can't get at Target, then home. Bob was going to barbeque chicken for dinner, but he wanted to soak it in salt water for awhile before he cooked it, so we didn't actually have dinner until almost 9:00, but we had snacks--cheese and crackers and nuts--and I did laundry and read one of the books that I had gotten at the library, and all in all it was a very lovely, relaxing, productive day.

Then after dinner we went back to the grocery store and bought bags of Halloween candy. One of the guys who works there--who always seems to be there--saw me and gave me a quizzical look, and I said, "Yes, I'm back! I can't stay away!" He had also sold me a lottery ticket the first time I was there that day--wouldn't it have been great to be able to go back and say that I'd won?? Unfortunately, no. Next time, maybe.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Home again, home again

We had a lovely five days off. It was cool--even cold--but it didn't rain, so it was bearable. Bob would get up early in the morning and go out and fish while I stayed in bed, then he'd come back a couple of hours later and we'd go out to breakfast, then we'd take a drive somewhere, or he'd fish some more while I sat on the bank in a folding chair and read or knitted. I had packed a tote bag with yarn and books--my two indispensibles, my talismans against boredom--and I was perfectly happy.

We ate breakfast every morning at the Bennet Spring Dining Lodge; we ate dinner there one night, ate at Applebee's in Lebanon one evening, drove into Springfield and had dinner with Bob's friend Phil and his daughter Laura last night. We saw Serenity one afternoon--it was wonderful. The whole time we were away was just great. I love this place so much. I'm so comfortable there, and we have such great memories. We've been going there for 30 years! We spent our honeymoon there, in a pup tent, showering in the public showers, Bob fishing, then cooking fish over a campfire.

We don't camp anymore, though. We had booked a kitchenette unit at the motel where we were staying, but it was only available for two nights; we had to move to a regular room for the rest of our stay. It was annoying, but the second room turned out to be nicer than the first one, really. We really didn't need the kitchenette--we weren't going to be doing any cooking--but those units are larger and it's nice to have the extra room. The room we moved to on Friday was almost as large, though, and seemed newer, or at least better cared for.

Unfortuntely, though, they were having problems with the cable television. The first room only got three television channels--two fuzzy local network channels and ESPN. Which was fine, really, since I don't care much either way about television and at least Bob could watch sports. But then the second room got three channels, too--two fuzzy local network channels and CNN. Which was crummy. No one wants to watch news all evening long, and there were games on that Bob would have liked to have watched, so that was disappointing. He watched it as long as he could stand it, then asked if I had any books that he would like to read.

I had been catching up on Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Harry Dresden is a wizard who lives in Chicago and fights supernatural crime with the help of a policewoman friend and various other cohorts, supernatural and otherwise (a vampire, a werewolf, a disembodied spirit, etc.) I'd read the first three a couple of years ago: Storm Front, Fool Moon and Grave Peril; then I just couldn't get into the fourth one, Summer Knight. I'd started to read it a couple of times, but found it hard going. Then I saw that there was a new one out in hardback, the seventh book, Dead Beat, and I put it on the request list at the library.

Then I figured I'd better get with it and get caught up so that I would be reading them in order. So I took Summer Knight, along with the fifth (Death Masks) and sixth (Blood Rites) books in the series with me, and read them all while we were gone. Summer Knight picked up after awhile, although it's still probably my least favorite. Death Masks was very good--I enjoyed the story more--and that was the one that I gave to Bob to read. He read the entire thing last night, in three or four hours. I'm not as fast a reader as him, although I guess I did read about one a day.

Anyway, now I'm up to speed and ready for Dead Beat whenever it's ready. I'm next on the list, so it shouldn't be too long. I guess if Bob is really interested in the series, I might end up buying it. He wants to go back and read them from the first so he can see how the characters develop, and obviously that would be the ideal way to do it. Although a lot of times I'll read the latest installment of a series just to see if I like it enough to go back and start from the beginning. What fun, though, to find a new series character that you enjoy and get to go back and read five or six (or more) books all at once.

It's always fun, too, to have Bob read something that I've read. It doesn't happen all that often. It was nice to sit in the room with him, both of us reading, and hear him chuckle over a humorous passage, or have him ask, "Who's Bob?" (Bob the Skull -- an "air spirit"/Harry's "research assistant" who resides in a skull on a shelf in Dresden's workroom) or ask him, "did you read about the Archive yet?"

The books are apparently going to be made into a Sci Fi Channel television show next year, according to this article in Variety, produced by Nicolas Cage:

Story follows Harry Dresden, a wizard who makes his living as a Chicago-based private eye. Using his extraordinary abilities to see the paranormal forces behind crimes, Dresden helps the police solve their more baffling cases.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Couple of things

As I mentioned over in the Weblog, I've been having a terrific time building my library at LibraryThing. Liora introduced me to it, and I've been entering books whenever I think about it -- right now it's mostly books that are either within my eyesight either at home or at work, or are ones that I just think of randomly, and remember that I own. I'm up to about 150 now, I think.

One of the cool features of LibraryThing is the ability to see other peoples' libraries; one feaure that I particularly like is sorting them by similarity, so I can peruse people who have a lot of books that I also have, and maybe find some new books that I might enjoy by virtue of the fact that we appear to share interests. It doesn't always work that way, of course, but it's sort of like being able to look through someone else's bookshelves and getting an idea of their personality through the books they own.

My bookshelf is here; if anyone builds a library there (it's free for up to 200 books, $10 for more than 200), I'd love it if you'd send me the link to your library so that I could add you to my list of "watched" users.

Bob and I are going down to Bennett Spring for a few days so he can trout fish and I can knit and read and hopefully relax a little bit. I won't be posting anything here until we get back (I don't think the motel we're staying at even has phones, but I intend to post some pictures at the Mobile Blog from the (cell) phone periodically.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Monday, October 03, 2005

Halloween surprises

I had the best surprise when I got home tonight!

When I called Bob to tell him I was in the car getting ready to come home, he said I had a box from Yankee Candles. Okay, actually, what I thought he said was, "You have a package from Naked Candles." I said, "What? Naked Candles? I have a package from Naked Candles?" and he said, "No! Yankee Candles." "Oh," I said. "I don't remember ordering anything from them, either."

Then I thought, well, I remember looking at the site a couple of weeks ago, and thinking about ordering some things . . . could I have placed an order and forgotten? Could I have put some stuff in my shopping cart and somehow managed to order them without even intending to? It was a mystery. But I figured even if I had ordered something accidentally (not likely), it would be okay, because I adore Yankee Candles.

But no! It was a surprise! It was a darling little black cat tealight holder with a box of yummy "Witches Brew" scented tealights, two amber colored glass candle holders with copper outer holders pierced with stars, and a bag of "Trick or Treat" scented votives, all from my friend Val in Indiana. I've never met Val, but we've corresponded for years, and she sent me this surprise out of the blue because she knows I love Halloween. I was actually having kind of a bad day, but that snapped me right out of it.

I think I'm going to take the little black cat to work with me and put it on my desk in my office. My office is looking really cool lately. I've got two light-up jack-o'lanterns, this sign on my door:

Clings on the window:

and you can just barely see the Halloween garland above the white board in this picture.

Kurt came in this morning and said, "Your office is really scary!"

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month