Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Clumsiness. It's not just for elbows anymore.

So I had Christmas lunch with a friend on Thursday. At the mall at the Nordstrom's Cafe, because we are both hopelessly addicted to their food. At lunch we swapped gifts, and I received a lovely set of Christmas plates with snowflakes and snowmen (thank you again T!)

For those who aren't in MD, it poured down rain on Thursday.

As I was walking out of the store to get to my car, I had the box of plates tucked tightly under my arm. I stepped right into a puddle on the ceramic tile floors and my feet started to skid.

First thought to run through my head was surprisingly NOT a curse word. It was "Don't drop the plates!! They'll break!!"

As I skidded and slipped people around me started saying "oh oh oh!" Why didn't they just catch me? I know I must've looked like some sort of movie clip from the Keystone Cops.

I finally stopped once I got both feet on the rubber mats in front of the doors, but somewhere along the line my ankle twisted and my shoe didn't.

A nice man came running up and asked if I was ok. I thought so until I put weight on my left foot. He helped me out the doors into the parking lot. I managed from there.

I got home and started to tell Andy about it, including the hot sick feeling I had when my ankle twisted. But I had to stop part way through since it made him feel "yucky." I don't blame him. It made me feel yucky too.

5 Days Later and the bruising finally stopped
Originally uploaded by lglendinning.

The plates are fine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Perhaps somebody stumbled?

Andy and I stumbled across this website.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Blog This

I was reading The Washington Post Style section this past Sunday, and they always have an article on some fun new kicky thing to do. At least it's always fun new and kicky to me. This past week was about creating a blog. And just for once I felt like I was cool and trendy. I already know about blogs. I've already had one for a couple of years. And then I read a little further and there were quotes from Rebecca Blood. And I get to that part and think "But I've met her!!!" We Andy and I went out to San Franciso she was at a dinner with her husband. Unfortunately, that's not a great shot of Rebecca but a nice one of her husband and of me and Andy looking completely sunburned. Picture courtesy of Photo Matt.

So now I feel slightly smug and vaguely famous as I now know someone who was quoted in the paper. Ok don't really KNOW her, but I met her and she was very very nice.

Another person quoted in the article however suggested that you blog as often as you eat. Meaning three times a day and twice a day for snacks.

I don't know about you people, but I don't have that kind of time!
The check is in the dog

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned the fear that the dog was eating the checks?

It has become so.

Ok well, not really eating them. Just ripping one. In half. It was a referral bonus because my company hired someone I told them to. I was cooking dinner and the retarded smoke detector in our hallway is incredibly sensitive and also linked to our alarm system. It persisted in going off when there was NO SMOKE. So I threw open the door to the deck to let in fresh air, even though as I mentioned there was NO SMOKE. Apparently a breeze blew in and the check floated off the counter. And while I was busy trying to pry the smoke detector from the ceiling because it was going off even though there was still NO SMOKE and the house was now a lovely 32 degrees, the dog found the check on the floor and commenced ripping.

My dog has been expensive before with his eating habit, including x-rays to the tune of about $400. I never thought though that he would cost me more than $1000 in one sitting.

I got the check away from him before actually ate part of it. And I know I really shouldn't tell him he can have a cookie when he's destroying something because he'll just learn to keep doing it that way. But please tell me what I'm to do when he's tearing up a check and not a dish towel or a piece of trash???

Today I tried to take the check to the bank. I've been dreading this because I knew they'd look at me and laugh and then I would have to spend hours on the phone with the people in my payroll department trying to explain why I let my dog treat a check like a chew toy.

The good news? The bank took the check. They said because no pieces were missing and all the numbers and everything were still legible that they would just tape it and hand process it instead of shooting it through the check machine thingy.

All I can say is that I love my bank. And I came perilously close to kissing my teller. And the dog? Well, he got his cookie didn't he?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Why did God invent elbows?

I've never quite been at one with my body, elbows in particular. They always seemed to go opposite directions from the way they're meant to. Or the direction I want them to. I've managed to break quite a few things with them. Including a countless number of glasses, plates, bowls, and, on one of my more fantastic days, a Waterford cut crystal vase that was given to my grandmother on her retirement from the telephone company. Yes, THE telephone company. Back before it split 9 ways to Sunday.

This morning I met a friend for breakfast coffee. I got there a little early, ordered my double latte (hey! would you really want to see the results of me on espresso??) and took it over to the condiment counter to add my sugar (yes, my loads of sugar if you recall from an earlier post). I'd just got it all fixed the way I like it, sat the cup on the table, and with famous elbows akimbo (yes, I just used the word 'akimbo')managed to strike the side of it. Lid flipped off, cup overturned, coffee splattered all over the table, the seat across from me, and the floor.

It not being one of my more fantastic days, it did manage to avoid me, my coat and the other patrons.

My friend arrived moments after the last drop of coffee was wiped away. I told her she'd already missed the morning floor show and not to expect a repeat performance.

I'm quite grateful to the staff at Mad City Coffee, for tolerating me, and providing me with a second cup of latte on the house this morning. I'm also ashamed to say that I don't think the tip I left in your jar was nearly large enough.

Monday, December 06, 2004

London Bridge

London Bridge
Originally uploaded by lglendinning.

Trying things out again. Another picture from Australia. This time of me and Andy in front of London Bridge. A rock formation along the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Mt. Connor

Testing testing

Mt. Connor
Originally uploaded by lglendinning.

Just testing this out. This is a picture I took when we were in Australia in the spring. I'm trying out Flickr, got inspired by Newton's Kumquat. Thanks for the idea :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Positively green

Green! Green with envy! Eric got to meet Alton Brown. Oh Alton! Why have you forsaken D.C.???

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Gotta love 'em

I have such a good dog. Today he decided at 4 AM to play with his bone, the really hard one made of cow, not the rubber one. On the hardwood. So I woke up to clatter clatter BANG!

Then he decided he was lonely and brought the bone up to the bedroom. Muffled the clatter clatter banging, but his teeth scraping against the bone wasn't what I would call quiet. That was about 4:30.

At 4:45 he wanted me to get up so he whined and whined and when I didn't move he licked me square across the face. So I pulled him up on the bed and held him and petted him until I drifted off. As soon as he felt my hand drop, he jumped down and did that not quite a bark thing for 5 minutes. I wouldn't budge, because I refuse to let him win. He KNOWS that he's not supposed to bug me until the alarm goes off (sounds crazy but he does know this).

So at 5 AM he gives up whining and then goes back downstairs. I doze off again until I hear RIP RIP RIP RIP!!! And I'm thinking CRAP! We just got some checks and they were on the table...so I go running downstairs to find he's gotten into the recycling and is shredding up credit card applications.

I just gave up and gave him his breakfast and let him out. Of course as soon as that was done he RACED back up the stairs, to the bed and went to sleep.

Little brat.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Really backlogged
Ok, so I'm a bit behind. My boss is out on medical leave until December and now that the frantic OH CRAP WHAT DO WE DO NOW bit is over I'm playing catch up on the things I haven't had time to do in quite some time. One of those things has been cleaning out my computer files. In doing that I found notes I was joting down after I got back from Australia. And I promise I'm working on finishing those posts for those of you that really need closure. Hopefully a lot more to write about coming soon.

Monday, November 01, 2004


We only had about 15 trick-or-treaters this year. Pretty slim pickings compared to last year's count of about 40. I had fun handing out the candy anyway, and now I still have some for me to munch.

We also had the re-appearance of Aragog. Or one of her children. The spider appeared as if on cue anytime people were leaving my front porch. I couldn't have planned it if I tried. What struck me as really funny though was how the kids reacted.

The three-year-old boy tried to stomp on it, the spider was saved only by a quick mother who swooped her boy off the porch.

The thirteen-year-old boy jumped and then laughed with his buddies as they walked off the porch muttering about "that big-ass spider."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Ooops. . .tumbled over

I went out to breakfast not long ago with a friend of mine. As I related my office woes to her I referred to one grumbly co-worker as "an ungrateful cow." She stopped me mid-sentence and said "WHOA, been reading too much British literature lately?"

Thanks for keeping me honest, T. Although I do blame you for getting me hooked on Bridget Jones 2 years ago!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Please people!!!!

For the love of all things bright and beautiful, it's MANILA folders not VANILLA folders.

I think if one more person asks me for a flavor of folder I'm going to go medieval on their ass.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Home again, home again

Ireland was lovely. I got to tour the shops, eat some delicious food, drink some delicious drink (Guiness and Jameson), and all together have a terrific time.

The jacuzzi in the hotel was broken (that man from Australia must've beaten me there), and that was the only downpoint about the trip.

On top of that, my parents came home on Monday. For good this time. We're all finally back on the same continent and remarkably in the same time zone!

Monday, September 27, 2004

I never thought I could talk so well to someone who doesn't speak my language

Arrow and I have a system. He'll whine and lick my face if he wants to get up before I do (i.e. before the alarm goes off). If I don't want to get up I'll tell him "shhh" while scratching his ears.

Most of the time though I don't have to do even that. He'll whimper a little and I'll sort of sleepily pet the air around where I think he is. Usually that'll buy me another 10-15 minutes.

Sort of a biological snooze button.
Hairy, greasy, fat-man tea

I'm taking another trip. To Ireland this time. I know I know, "Another trip Laura? Do you ever stay home?"

Andy's away on business. Away in Dublin no less. He went about 4 years ago for business and I didn't get to go. Damned if I was staying home this time. So I'm off on a long weekend, just in time for our 5th anniversary. Everyone say "AWWWWW!"

So, when we were in Melbourne a few months back the hotel where we stayed had a Jacuzzi. We went down to check things out before deciding to actually don the bathing suits. When we got there, there was a large man in the tub. I don't mean slightly overweight, I mean large as in filling most of the jacuzzi tub. He was hairy. All over hairy. And he was having a ball in the tub. Splashing around and scrubbing at his chest and back. The water was hot so his face was sweating (I know it was sweat and not water because his hair, on his head, was completely dry). We chatted with him briefly, he was incredibly friendly, and said the tub was terrific!

We just couldn't bring ourselves to go in later that evening, I didn't care how often they cleaned the tub.

So the hotel in Dublin also lists a jacuzzi as a feature. I've asked Andy to go scope it out for me.

I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Double-Edged Sword

I've been flipping through some of my favorite blogs and moaning that people haven't posted anything for my amuzement lately. Then I looked at my own blog and notice the last post was over a week ago. Hmmmm....I suppose people in glass houses and all that...

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More from the Mall

About a month ago I was shopping and stopped into Victoria's Secret. The line at the register has been absurdly long every time I've been in there lately, but I had a necessary purchase to make so I waited.

Standing in line in front of me was a mother and her 30-something daughter. Listening to them giggle over the different types of stockings it became obvious the mother was Irish. After eavesdropping longer (not that I had much choice) it sounded more like the daughter was British than Irish but some words came out one way and some another so that I honestly couldn't tell if it was her accent or my hearing. While I was trying to figure this out, a woman who was actually being rung up turned around and asked the mother where she was from. "Well, Ireland" she replied. The woman said "No, no I mean where in Ireland? You see I'm a voice coach for actors and I specialize in British and Irish accents. If I had to guess I'd say you were from County Cork." (Sorry for the stereotype here I just can't remember where she guessed.)

The mother looked startled and said "Well actually I live about 10 miles from there." And slowly as they talked about Ireland and it's beauty the voice coach drifted into a thick Irish brogue. So much so that I expected the words "Faith and Begorah!" to come out of her mouth at any moment. The daughter stood there politely and added to the conversation in bits and pieces and seemed to find the whole thing humorous until the coach turned to her and said "Now you must be from Southern London." In a bizarre Henry Higgins, what are you doing so far from Lisson Grove, sort of way.

The daughter jumped and said "Well, yes I live there." The coach replied "Southern London's the best, as you well know. My son in law is from Northern London and we just don't let him live it down." (Not being from London I didn't understand this reference. Anyone out there that can explain it to me?)

The voice coach finally finished checking out (Oh yes, she had kept pausing the cashier and holding up the line that now stretched back to the entrance of the store.) After she left the mother and the daughter laughed and looked at each other. The mother said "That's what I love about America, you meet the oddest people."

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Shut Up!

Shuttin' up.

Apparently this is tension week at my office. My co-workers and I have reached a mutual state of pissed-ness. They piss me off and I apparently piss them off even worse.

Today I think will be a day for me to stay in my cube and not speak until spoken to.

Monday, August 23, 2004


I was just looking through some blogs and looked at my own list of archives. It's hard to believe I've been randomly blabbing people's ears off for going on three years. I hope you've all found at least some parts interesting. I'm sure you've found some of it bizarre (I know I have re-reading some of the early posts). Hopefully overall you've found it to be worthwhile. I know it's been a great place for me to vent when I had no other option, or sometimes even when I have!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Happy Wednesday!

That's all. Just happy Wednesday.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Not sure what to think of that

I've recently (last night) gotten my hair done. Cut in about the same style that I've had it cut many many many times since I discovered the style in 1998, but also "low-lighted."

Not highlighted blond as I've done in the past, but low lighted a lovely "Caramel." Which, oddly enough is very close to the color my hair should probably be if I ever left it alone long enough.

Since this change is recent though I'm still going through the initial shock of using much less shampoo, and "wait...how do I style short hair again?" An added bonus that I hadn't expected is that the last two times I've looked in the mirror I've thought to myself "Geez my hair is awfully dirty today!" Only to remember, "Wait I made it look this way on purpose."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I saw it coming

The cup of coffee sitting on the new coffee table...
In one of the "good" china cups...
The dog circling...
The tail wagging...


Unfortunately, or fortunately, or both, I saved the cup but not the coffee.

Thank goodness for Resolve carpet cleaner and quick thinking guests.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A TMGB Moment

From their new album The Spine. . .

Turning to drugs to help you sleep
Will only lead to sleep.
And sleeping is a gateway drug
to being awake
being awake
being awake

Monday, July 26, 2004

I've put my foot in it
Quite literally. We painted the basement stairs this weekend and I had moved the paint pan to a new location. I turned around to talk to Andy and stepped, full-foot into the paint. Then desparately trying to get away from the sticky mess I staggered forward and put a hand onto the wall. The wall I had just painted.

If they ever need extras to take pratfalls in movies, you know where to find me.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Haven't been around much...
Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, we had a bit of an emergency a little while back and it's been eating up most of my spare time.

My grandmother went in to the hospital last week and wound up having an emergency triple bypass. She's doing better now for all concerned. We've moved her to a rehab facility close to her house and close to my office so that visits after work are now a lot easier for me and my sister.

I do want send a huge thank you to all the dedicated staff at both Laurel Regional Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital. She couldn't have made it without your care, and frankly neither could I.

Once we get her back home again hopefully I'll have more time for little things, like blogging. A lot of people have been asking "What can I do to help?" The only answer I've been able to give is that thoughts and prayers are always welcome. Thanks for the offers folks, we'll get through.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

At the mall

As I walked in I was passing the "teenage" section of Nordstroms. A mother and her ~4 year old daughter were walking through looking bewildered. The mother leaned down to the little girl and said "These are big people clothes aren't they?" The little girl nodded vigorously. "Why don't we go to the kid's section and find you something nice."

Funny, I was thinking I was walking through the kid's section and needed to find myself some big people clothes. I guess I'm getting old.

Later that same day

Sitting and eating my lunch a woman across from me gets a phone call. She begins talking, realizes the reception is bad and paces slowly around her table. Not wanting to leave the table to go outside because the cafe is jammed, and she's alone so she can't leave her food to hold the table because it'll be cleared away by the time she gets back. I should have been nice and told her I'd make sure they don't take the food away ... but I didn't. So I was treated in a minute to the most unusual cell phone positioning I've ever seen. The woman squatted over her chair, never quite touching it, while bent forward in half, hair hanging down and touching the floor, one finger in one ear, cell phone glued to the other, while she spoke loudly and frantically about the deal that was she was supposed to be closing, had she decided to go in to work that day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I swear I'm not fishing for compliments!

I'm wearing my glasses today, combo of lack of sleep and very annoying contact lenses. And even though I bought trendy cool little frames I keep having this asinine saying run through my head every time I look in the mirror:

Boys don't make passes at girls wearing glasses

With my hair up in a bun today as well I certainly feel very intellectual, I also just somehow feel...well...ugly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Help! I'm surrounded by Republicans!

I pulled into the office parking lot this morning and saw a car with the following bumper sticker: War is God's way of dealing with sin here. Hell is God's way of dealing with sin hereafter.

So let me get this straight. We're fully justified in killing you because you have sinned, and us killing you isn't a sin because God is on our side. And after we kill you, you will go to hell because you've sinned, which is why we killed you in the first place.

I'm guessing whoever this fellow employees is, they weren't one of the 50-something% of Americans who think the war in Iraq was a mistake.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Slow and painful

Getting the details out about our trip to Australia has been incredibly slow and I apologize if you're one of the few people actually interested in reading it.

In the meantime let me fill you in on our recent trip to San Francisco. Yes, I went on another vacation. The people at my office couldn't quite get over it either.

We went out to San Francisco early Sunday morning. And when I say early I mean we were on the road to the airport by 4 AM. Security at that hour was not what you'd expect. It was bogged down beyond belief. We waited in line for about 5 minutes before an airport official came and rounded everyone up for the 6 AM flights. We got quite a few nasty looks and one gentleman who snarled at us, why didn't you plan better? Sorry sir, I didn't intend to spend the previous night sleeping in the terminal.

We got out to CA and stopped off at our hotel, and then headed back out to a party with some friends. We got to meet Carolyn, and I got to meet everybody. Andy already knew some of these people.

Next day I got to do all the tourist things. We saw Union Square, took a cable car, walked to Fisherman's Wharf, looked over at Alcatraz (all the tours were full) and then we Biked the Bridge. I haven't been on a bike in 6 years, so this was quite the experience for me. It's an 8 mile ride to Sausalito, and on the way across the bridge we noticed smoke that was getting bigger and bigger. The brush fire being contained on the other side of the bridge threatening to make me bike back the 6 miles I'd already come had me close to tears. It was hard enough for me to get here, don't make me go back now! Happily the police gave us an alternate way to get down to the roads leading to Sausalito so off we went. If I hadn't known better I could have sworn that Andy had signed me up for fat camp, some of those hills getting into town were ROUGH. Ok so I walked up them pushing the bike, but by mile 7 can you blame me?

Sausalito was a cute place, we had a nice dinner then caught the ferry back and dropped off the bikes. Did we get commemorative t-shirts you ask? Hell yes we did. Along with commemorative matching sunburns requiring a stop at Walgreens on the way back to the hotel for aloe and sunblock for the next day.

Tuesday we hit the streets again, slathered in Banana Boat. We went to Ghiradelli Square which was cute but not as impressive as I thought it would be. I guess I was picturing something a little more Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque. Why I don't know, but when you've never been somewhere and you get taken to a square named after chocolate you expect there to be a lot of chocolate. Not to say we didn't got to the Ghiradelli shop and buy a bunch. More sea-lion viewing at Fisherman's wharf followed. Along with lovely sourdough items for lunch. Then we relaxed for a while back at the hotel and went to the main reason we came. Dinner with the web folks.

Dinner was at Crepes on Cole. The whole concept was new to me. A crepe restaurant. How cool. Same reaction I had when I found out they had fondue restaurants. The Melting Pot has been one of my favorite places ever since. Maybe there's a crepe restaurant around here somewhere? Next on to the after party at a house in The Haight (how cool do I sound? Do I sound like an official San Franciscan?) and eventually back to sleep to get up in time for our 4:30 AM pick up to go back to the airport. No we didn't luck out on the way back, 6:30 AM flight home was about as easy to get up for as our 6:15 AM flight out, which is to say, not at all.

For all the folks I met, it was lovely to meet you all. Molly I'm especially glad I finally got to meet you! I had a blast!

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Vacation Day 11 - Kangaroo Island Part 2

The next morning we had a new bus driver, Ron Buick. After he found out we were from America he told us how he was related to the founder of the Buick company. A great great great something or other. Unfortunately, he said his American relatives seem to have forgotten to send the money home.

Our first stop of the day was the Emu oil distillery, which made, you got it emu oil. Actually, the main product was eucalyptus oil which is supposed to be good as an antiseptic, cough syrup, paint remover, and millions of other uses. It also makes soap smell very nice, if a bit medicinal. While there we got cornered by the very talktive owner who had very strong opinions on American politics, Bush, and the war. He kept talking to us all the way onto the bus. Lots of fun but we started holding the tour up. Ron stepped in and told him to let us go. He finally conceded, but yelled goodbye to us as we pulled away. Ron said he was a good guy but never knew when to shut up. And he said on the side, that he was perfectly allowed to say such a thing because the man was his cousin! Lots of folks on Kangaroo Island were related, almost like the island was a giant family compound.

On to Remarkable Rocks, that were really remarkable. Naming conventions are not very original in Australia. If it was a landmark it was Great something or other or Remarkable something else. If it was a building it was So and So's building. They've got so many really cool big things that I guess after a while they became desensitized. The Rocks were very cool. Huge formations that had been carved by water and wind. We spent some fun time climbing around like we were kids on a jungle gym and taking pictures, and then we were off.

We made a stop at the tourists center for tea and Andy and I each tried a ViceCream. There was a big stink over these ice cream novelties a little before we came. The flavors were things like Kahluha and Screwdrivers, and Cranberry and Vodka. The opponents argued that these would make kids think alcohol was fun, and addict them to it at an early age. The makers argued that it wouldn't and hasn't rum raisin been a popular flavor for dedcades? So of course we had to try some. We both had a cranberry vodka, which just tasted like cranberry because vodka doesn't taste like much, epecially in an ice cream bar.

Last stop was the Sheep Dairy. It was funny watching the sheep come in to be milked. Apparently each sheep had their own assigned spot. Self-assigned according to the dairy worker. If they couldn't get in their spot they'd go back out and wait until the next batch was let in. Very stubborn animals, sheep. The cheeses were fantastic, making me wish we could have brought some home.

After the dairy it was a long drive to the ferry, then an hour ferry ride to another bus back to Adelaide, then a taxi ride to the hotel, from the previous hotel where we'd left the bags. Then collapsing on the bed to sleep.
The Vacation Day 10 - Kangaroo Island

The next morning we got up, checked out and checked in our big luggage at the hotel lobby, puddle jumpers don't take a lot of weight. Next it was on to the airport. Thankfully this was our last flight in-country before our final flight home. After flying from BWI to Charlotte to LAX to Sydney to Alice Springs to Adelaide to Kangaroo Island within the span of 2 weeks, to say we were tired of flying was a bit of an understatement.

Getting to the airport was no problem. Once at the airport, checking in was a little more hectic. We were wrangling with our itinerary up until the morning that we left, between a combination of last minute changes, and the Easter holidays in Australia so that all the offices were closed both Friday and the Monday before we left, some kinks stayed kinks. The travel agent assured me we were booked on the flight, the counter guy assured me there were seats on the flight. The problem between the two was that we had pre-paid and I was not willing to pay again for seats that were already booked for us. In the last-minuteness of it all, the travel agent in Adelaide had booked the seats for us, but hadn't put our names on them. After about 20 minutes of waiting and id checking and a lot of phone calling we got checked in and went through security.

We checked our departure time on the tickets and saw plenty of time prior to leaving so no worries there, we stopped and got some breakfast. After looking at the tickets again I noticed that the depature time in Adelaide was after the time we were scheduled to be picked up on Kangaroo Island. Double checking at the counter at the gate, he assured us the flight was on time and that it was just a mis-type from the front counter. Calling up to double check he found out that no actually the flight was late, and we would be arriving almost an hour after our scheduled pick up. 'Shoot' doesn't begin describe the word that wanted to come out of my mouth. On the pay phone next to the travel agent on Kangaroo Island to explain that our flight was now delayed and to find out if we could still be picked up at the airport in time for our tour. No worries, he'd just let the driver know and we should still be fine for the tour.

Boarding the plane was fun. We got to wait in line to be escorted out onto the tarmac onto one of the tiniest planes I've ever seen. There were a total of 24 seats, 12 on each side. When I say puddle jumper I wasn't kidding. The flight took all of 25 minutes to get up in the air, fly across the bay, and land on the island. We never got up so high I couldn't see the ground and the scenery getting there was beautiful.

Once we landed we waited for the luggage to unload and be brought over on a cart. Then we had to wait for the driver to take us into town. He also ran the rental car business in the airport and some of the people on our plane had rented vehicles. I forget the population of Kangaroo Island, you can look it up, but it was reasonably small. Everyone knew almost everyone else. There were only 3 policemen on the entire island, and most problems got dealt with by speaking to so-and-so's parents if the troublemaker was a youngster, and maybe if they weren't so young as well!

We got dropped off at our hotel, a cute old place overlooking the sea and had exactly 10 minutes to set down the bags, put on some warmer clothes, grab the cameras and get back down to the bus. Mike was our guide for the day and we were the last on the bus full of tourists. I don't know where most came from but I do know three women were from China, we had some experiences with them later in the day.

Mike was a terrific guide, he went along with us everywhere we went and first stop was a nice beach that you had to know was there to find. We got out of the bus on a rocky shore and Mike pointed us towards a pile of rocks with a passage between them. You walked the path and came out onto a beautiful sandy beach with the bluest water and waves that crashed nicely just offshore.

Next on to an animal park where Mike tormented the tour guide who was apparently very used to him. The park was home to the original Babe the pig, who is now enourmous and not so cuddly cute anymore. As we stared at Babe one of our fellow tourists leaned over the railing for a shot and managed to drop her sunglasses directly in the water trough. She just stood there looking bewildered saying "Oh no" over and over getting slightly louder each time. Mike our hero said "Ah, no worries!" and reached over the railing and stuck his entire arm in the trough and handed the glasses back to her. She somehow didn't seem inclined to put them back on immediately.

Lunch was at a farm on the island where we had our first and only taste of kangaroo. Yes I mean ate some. It was smoked and not too bad actually. It's what I imagine venison would taste like, had I ever tasted venison before.

Next was Seal Bay to see the Sea Lions. The Sea Lions were terrific. They had just gotten back from 3 days at sea fishing, and were spending their first day sleeping. They don't sleep while they're out in the water, the sharks will eat them, so after 3 days they get pretty tired. Mike spent some time talking to our nature guide and some more time kicking sand into girls shoes. Andy got him back though.

On to the Kelly Hill Caves. Caves all pretty much look like caves. There were beautiful formations, and these caves had the distinction of being one of the few in Australia that were dry.

We rode around from the caves towards Clifford's Honey Farm. Isn't funny that falling asleep on a bus is universal. It was about a 45 minute drive to see the bees and each and every tourist on that bus fell asleep. I suppose it helped that Mike put music on and didn't keep up his previous steady stream of jokes. The honey farm was cute, we actually got to watch them melting off the wax from the trays and then on to the shop for honey ice cream!

That night we got to see what I had come here to see. The Little Penguins. Tiny little things that were incredibly squawky. They nest on the shores of the island and come in from the sea at night. They were everything I expected and quite a bit noiser.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Some funny things

Andy's been after me to blog some funny things so here they are:

Funny Thing #1 - My friend's dream, proving that my dreams are not the worst there are, and again proving why I keep her as a friend (one of millions of reasons T!). No matter how bad my day is she can send me an email an cheer me up. This one had me laughing for hours.

I had the WORST dream last night! Martha Stewart was a serial killer and she was crucifying people and dislocating their arms and other gross stuff. And all she kept saying as she did it was "it's a good thing" and other creepy Martha stuff.

I finally got a knife and tried to kill her, but she wouldn't die. Then I woke up. Blecch. I used to be a fan (down with the man!), but now, heck no. She is psycho-beast!

Funny Thing #2 - One of the women in my office (I'll call her D) is leaving the company. Usually when that happens, we get a gift certificate, a card, have a group lunch, and do some minor "roasting." She's asked that we not do any of that for her, to just keep it quiet, no fuss. So a simple happy hour, invitation by word of mouth was agreed upon. Another woman in my group (call her L) came up to my desk and wanted me to send out an email. The following exchange occured:
L: We have to send out an email about D's thing
D: NO we don't!
L: Go on send it, I'll tell you who to send it to.
D: NO! Please please just honor my final request!
Me: She's making faces at you back there.
L: We don't have to listen to her threats! She won't even work here after next week!
Me: Well...
L: Do you want me to send it?
Me: *Nodding vigorously*
L: Ok *starts to leave*
D: Don't you dare! *Takes can of cake frosting and sprays a glob on her finger*
L: You don't scare me.

They both leave my desk, and by the time I get to L's desk she's hitting send on an email, D is licking her finger and there's a bright red frosting blob on L's cheek.
Me: You really did!
D: Yeah, but she wasn't any fun, she just sat there and kept typing!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Vacation Day 9 - Out to Adelaide

The next morning we went back into town. Mailed the postcards I'd written along the way, picked up some Aboriginal paintings for my Uncle, and had one last look around the city. By late afternoon it was time to go to the airport.

Saying goodbye to my folks wasn't as hard this time as it was when they came to visit us almost 2 years ago. For one thing I was still going to be in the same country, they could still get to me in a reasonable hurry if I really needed them to. For another, they'll be home soon, only a few more months. That's all not to say I didn't cry some when the plane took off.

The plane ride was uneventful, we slept and read and ate what they brought us. I forget if it was this plane ride or the one on the way to Alice if we were forced to watch Mona Lisa Smile. If you haven't seen it yet I can tell you, don't. It's not worth the money. The whole thing was tired and predictable, and ends exactly the way you think it will. Atleast I assume so. I only watched the first hour before ignoring the world around me entirely and reading my book. But Andy said it was pretty awful.

We arrived in Adelaide later that evening and went straight to the hotel. Unfortunately, we had to rearrange our luggage a bit since the next morning we were headed back to the airport to catch a puddle jumper to Kanagaroo Island.
The Vacation Day 8 - Uncle's Tour

The next morning we got up early-ish, cleaned up, packed up, and headed to breakfast. Yes, a nice full breakfast, toast, eggs, bacon, and baked beans. There's a comedian who makes a joke about British food, after having asked for eggs and getting them smothered in baked beans. He asks the waiter "Was there an accident in the kitchen? Perhaps somebody stumbled?" Hard not to think of that when breakfast comes out complete with baked beans. They were tasty though.

My Mom had arranged for us to go on a 4 wheel drive Bush tour, so we met our guide. A man named Uncle. He told his real name, which I promptly forgot since he said that everyone called him Uncle except the people he didn't like. So Uncle he was. We finished up brekky and hopped/climbed into the vehicle and off we went.

Uncle took us around different parts of the cattle station, stopping to show us nice views of Mt. Connor. On the way we saw a flock of wild Cockatoos which was astounding in itself since I've only ever seen them in pet stores, but also they apparently go for A$200,000 a piece. On the black market of course. We also saw a few of the livestock, several kangaroos, and a Honey Ant nest, although no Honey Ants.

As we stopped each time we'd get out and take a little walk, Uncle pointing various things out and telling us the history of the area. He showed us a ton of different plants, half of which I don't remember, almost all of which looked alike. To me anyway. He showed us what you could eat to survive and what would kill you in 2 minutes if you ate it. Again I swear they were the same plant. In other cases, it was the same plant, just the different soil type in that specific area made the thing toxic. Biggest lesson I learned is to never ever ever go out in the Bush by myself. I'd never survive.

After the tour it was back to the roadhouse for lunch and then on the road back to Alice. That night, once we were home again I got to do laundry! Seems weird to be excited about it, but a week and a half in, after been through some hot weather, getting laundry done was a thrill. You mean I don't have to smell like the zoo anymore??

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

In case there was any doubt

I cleared up a question that has long been hagning around. In my sleep the other night I told Andy that, yes indeed, "Yoda is older than you."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A Most Humiliating Morning

I stopped by Starbucks this morning. I ordered a coffee and decided to treat myself to one of the muffins. The chocolate one with cream cheese. Named a "Blackbottom Cupcake."

At the register I told the clerk what coffee I had ordered and then asked "Could I also get a Blackbottom?" He stared at me and started laughing. I finally got it, blushed and paid.

Over at the condiment station I opened up my coffee to put in my sugar. Remember how before I told you about feeling self-conscious about the number of sugars I use? Well, as I put two packets of sugar in my coffee, the guy standing next to me said, "Boy, you sure like it sweet, don't you?"

The day just isn't going to get better is it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Vacation Day 7 - Out to Ayers Rock

The next morning we got up early and packed up the car and hit the road heading out to see Ayers Rock, or it's official name, Uluru. Along the way we found out that if there was any kind of unusual rock formation or tree of any kind, it was considered sacred by the Aboriginals. Considering they were roaming around the land for thousands of years before any one else got there, they've had a lot of time to build stories around distinctive landmarks.

Along the way there we stopped at a roadhouse for breakfast. I should explain that in the outback things are few and far between. If you own a cattle station your nearest neighbor will not be a few miles away, they'll be a few thousand miles away. So the buildings along the roadside become a sort of jack-of-all-trades type of place. Usually including a restaurant, store, campground, hotel, public park, anything that someone passing through might need; because the next time you see someone else may not be for miles, and depending on your mode of travel, days. So back to the story, we stopped at Stuart's Well Roadhouse, which aside from being a lovely place to provide a hearty breakfast is home to Dinky the Dingo. Dinky has a rather unique talent. He sings and plays the piano. Just click the link for the full story, but in short we got to meet and hear Dinky.

After breaksfast and quite a bit of driving we got to the park with Uluru, and lesser known (at least to me) The Olgas. We hiked up a path between the Olgas and got our first real experience with the flies. Flies in the outback are not like ours at home. They're smaller for one, and a lot more annoying. We were lucky that we were there in the fall, apparently the summer is a lot worse. What do they do you ask? Well, there's not much water in the desert, so when people come through the flies follow them. And try to get in any orifice that might offer some water. Ears, nose, mouth, eyes, they fly at them, repeatedly. And persistently. My Dad has a theory that each fly is assigned to one person. There may be more than one fly assigned to that person, but once they find their target they stick with them until the person gets back inside.

After the Olgas we drove over to Ayers Rock. It's a lot bigger in person and is incredibly neat. It honestly looks as if someone has dropped a rock from the sky. It's all one hugely consistent piece. Up close and personal the different nooks and crannies give each section its own feel. The aboriginals have different stories about different features of the rock, some specific to men, some to women, some to the people as a whole, some to various heroes and legends. I'd heard that before we arrived, and after seeing it I can honestly believe it. The rock changes how it looks from each angle as you walk around. Sunset was actually cloudy the day we were there, so we only got a taste of it, but it was good to experience anyway.

We drove part of the way back that night and stopped at a roadhouse to get dinner and some sleep. You really shouldn't drive through the outback at night. It's DARK. I mean pith black. And there are a lot of nocturnal animals running around at night, some of them rather large, and they really would leave a nasty dent in your car. Especially, the roaming cattle.

At the roadhouse we ate a full meal. The roadhouses certainly don't skimp on the food. We you ask for breakfast they bring several pieces of toast, eggs, bacon, usually a roasted tomato, and coffee or tea. Dinner wasn't any different. I got Chicken Parma (short for Parmesan). As a side note, the Aussies seemed big on shortening words. Breakfast was brekky, football was footy, mosquitos were mozzies, crawfish were yabbies, and on and on the list goes. After dinner it was off to our rooms where we promptly passed out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I know I know...

But catching up at work has taken so much more time than I thought it would. Eventually I'll get around to posting more about the trip.

In the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS are in order to Ken and Jenn expecting their second little one!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Vacation Day 6 - Alice Springs

The next day in town my folks took us out to some of their favorite places. First the Desert Park.
It was packed full of different exhibits, native animals, and birds. You simply cannot believe the huge variety of birds that in Australia. Big, small, most of them brightly colored. And birds of prey. Huge Golden Eagle, small, quick Hobbies. I remember watching a documentary on the Disney channel when I was younger about the wide variety of life in the desert. It's not a joke.

After the park we went to Standley Chasm for some lunch and a nice hike. All I can say is that it was a beautiful and relaxing place. And that when you order chicken tenders there, you need to tell them how many tenders you want. Otherwise you just get one.

Next back in to town for my favorite bit. Shopping. We went to several places, including a souvenier stand where I picked up some Vegemite (more about that later), and then off to The Gem Cave. The Gem Cave is a local store in Alice that specializes in opals. Now opals aren't particularly popular here in America, other than for folks with October birthdays. After having seen the opals in Australia, I think I've figured out why. Such a huge variety of colors, sizes, shapes. It was truly amazing. And amazingly expensive. Opals are extremely good in Australia. They also extremely popular. Maybe in South Africa diamonds are incredibly expensive as well. I thought the closer you got to a source, the cheaper it would be. No such luck. But, thanks to sweet, wonderful, kind, good, loving, (is that enough dear?) Andy, I got a lovely pair of earrings, that everyone here seems to think are turquoises. Since that's the color of the opals I got.

Returning back to the house we rested and cleaned up and then got on the way out the door back in to town for a Didjeridoo show. First dinner out, at an Italian place naturally. Then to the Moonlight Dreaming Theatre where we watched a local (now a friend of my Dad's) play about 20 different types of Didjs. Incredible just about covers it.

A few things I forgot to mention about our first night in Alice:
We went to a hotel/campground that backed to a large hill. On the hill lived a large colony of Rock Wallabies. The hotel sells bags of alfalfa pellets that you can then use to feed the wallbies. So we did. It took a little convincing to get them down off the hill, but once they came up and grabbed hold of your hand with their paw, they weren't about to let that food get away. Paws with surprisingly long claws I might add.

Also that night we drove out of town off road, away from the city light (what little there was). Out there we saw the stars. Not like you see them here in DC. I mean we same them big bright and in person. There is definitely a Milky Way up there folks and it is gorgeous.
The Vacation - A few side notes

A few things from Sydney I forgot to mention:
Coming in to the airport getting our baggage there was a sniffer dog. Sniffing mainly for drugs or plants that shouldn't be coming in to the country. It was an adorable beagle, who was very serious in his duty. Sniffing bags here and there. Stopping at a baggage cart the dog started sniffing like mad. He stood on his back legs and sniffed up towards a plastic bag at the top of the bag pile. The guard took him all around the cart but he just kept sniffing that bag. The guard took it down and let the dog get a better smell. The beagle sniffed at it and started walking away but just kept coming back. The guard called to the woman still waiting for another bag, "Ma'am do you have any plants in here? Any food?" She thought for a moment and replied "Just some donuts." The guard rolled his eyes, pulled on the dog's leash and mumbled "Donuts. Come along you. You weren't trained for donuts!"

There are bats that come out at night in Sydney. Very, very large bats. In fact the first night we were there one flew over our heads into the nearby trees. I sort of shrieked and said "Look a Flying Fox!" A local passing by happily corrected me. "Oh no, those are fruit bats. Flying foxes are larger." If it had been any larger the tree would have toppled over when it landed. That sucker was HUGE.

A delicious note about Australia in general:
They seem very fond of flavored milk. It was anywhere that you might stop for a snack. All flavors, strawberry, chocolate, banana...YES! Banana milk. Nestle Quik banana flavored milk. Like we used to have when I was little, but that you can't find here any more. Anywhere. When we stopped at a grocery store I picked up a canister, yes the old style canister that you have to use the spoon to pry the top off of! I'm happily drinking a glass of it right now as I type. This will be my birthday request from my family. Forget the other things Australian that they can send to me. While they're there I want them to send me as much banana milk powder as they possibly can. And while they're at it, they can toss in a few of the other fun flavors, like Chocolate Orange.


Monday, May 10, 2004


I logged in to Blogger for the first time in a few days and all is new and shiny!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Vacation Day 5 - Sydney to Alice Springs

Alice Springs was next, so we hopped on a plane and headed to it. Why you might ask did we go to a little town of no more than 30,000 people in the middle of a desert? It's where my parents live. They've been there 3 years now and since they'll be home in the fall, what better excuse did we have for flying out there? We're only going to get that reason once in our lifetimes.

My folks met us at the airport with large smiles (it'd been a year and a half since I'd seen my dad, 6 months since I'd seen my mom) and we went for a little drive out to the Tropic of Capricorn. So yes, we took the necessary pictures showing us straddling the line, I was an all out tourist and I don't care.

The rest of the day zipped by, ended by dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town. Significant for two reasons. First, Andy and I have eaten at a Chinese restaurant in every country we've ever been in, excluding those we've been through en route to somewhere else (ie Switzerland because we were on a train). And second, a man I work with used to come out to Alice on business and he claimed that restaurant was his favorite. He gave me a picture of himself standing in front of the restaurant to show to the owner to see if she remembered him. She certainly did. She remembered that he ate there a lot, and that he would order dinner, and lunch for the next day, and DINNER for the next day. Judging by how much he eats around the office, I was convinced she certainly had the right man in mind.
The Vacation Day 4 - Sydney meets the flaming croissant of death

Our last day in Sydney I decided at breakfast I needed a bit of a change. I thought I'd warm up my croissant by using the conveyor toaster that the hotel so conveniently provided. I learned a valuable life lesson. Croissants should not be warmed by conveyor toasters. Mid-toast part of the croissant caught fire, which I slyly tried to blow out while praying the staff and smoke detectors wouldn't notice.

It mostly turned out alright, I just had a very dry, and slightly black croissant.

After that terrific breakfast, we went out to the Circular Quay (the Aussies pronounce it 'key') to see the Sunday Market. Anything and everything you could possibly want was on a stand. And quite a few things that you probably wouldn't want after the heat of the moment died and you found yourself with a googly-eyed walnut complete with plaque saying "Welcome to Mooseport" painted on the bottom.

We ate lunch at the Lowenbrau Keller and I sampled Mango Beer. Not joking. Beer flavored with mango syrup. A bit odd, but I rather liked it. While we were eating the Oompa band came out and serenaded everyone eating in the restaurant. They were pretty good for a German Oompa band in Australia, although we could have sworn the trumpet playing came from New Orleans.

Next, off to Taronga Zoo. We spent the afternoon enjoying the animals and catching the tail ends of shows, such as the Seal Show and the Birds of Prey. We missed the penguin demonstration because the pamphlet said 2:30 and the sign at the exhibit said 2. Can I stress the importance of keeping your printed materials up to date?

It was a lovely zoo, and will have more than doubled in size in the next year or so, they were building a ton of new exhibits. You can stop and look out over Sydney as you walk from the elephants towards the tigers.

Thoroughly thrilled with our glut of animals, we headed back to the hotel to rest up and prep for the next day.
The Vacation Day 3 - Sydney

Day 3 was an all day trip to The Blue Mountains. Ron, the driver of our 4WD vehicle, what the Aussies call a 'Ute', was terrific. He was a bit dissapointed I think that Andy came along. Aside from him, the rest of the vehicle was filled with girls.

The Blue Mountains were incredible. It was almost as if someone had taken Arizona and filled it with Eucalyptus trees. Tons of different kinds of them.

On the way up we stopped at a small park, Featherdale. I got to scratch a wombat's belly, and be scared by a man holding a wallaby. He yelled "Look out!!" just as I started to scratch the baby wallaby he was holding. Of course I shrieked and jumped back 5 feet. That seemed to amuse him to no end. The wallaby didn't seem to care either way.
The Vacation Day 2 - Sydney

Day 2 was a free day, meaning no scheduled tours, nothing to rush to, just sleep until we felt like getting up and then doing whatever we felt like doing. Of course we woke up at 3:30 AM. Eventually I dozed back off until the very late hour of 6:45. What woke me up was nothing less than astounding. It was Andy getting dressed. Those of you that know him in his alter ego of Porter, KNOW that him getting up early is not something he does unless necessary. That he was up and dressed before me is something I think has happened maybe twice before in the 5 years we've been married. On to breakfast.

Australian breakfast is like English breakfast. In other words VERY different than what I'm used to. Slices of bacon taste and look like slices of ham. Eggs come with a topping of baked beans, and sausage is what I personally would call a hotdog. Same flavor, same size, only slightly different consistency. Not that it was all bad. The yogurt was excellent, the breakfast pastries were superb, and the hashbrowns were very yummy.

Our hotel was located next door to the Chinese Garden. We could look into part of it from our room so that was the first logical place to go. It was incredibly relaxing. The atmosphere was lovely, and you couldn't tell you were right in the middle of a bustling city, until you climbed a hill and found yourself eye-to-eye with a stop on the monorail.

Next on the list was the aquarium. Sure I've been to our aquarium in Baltimore, but here even the local fish were exotic. The seal exhibit and the shark exhibit were amazing. Walking in long underwater tubes and watching rows and rows of huge fish with huge teeth swim on top of you was an experience.

Next off to lunch. What to eat? Although I was shocked by the healthy number of Italian restaurants, we decided to go with another favorite, a good curry. Guessing that since breakfast was very British in nature, native Australian cuisine would also have a similar tinge, we ate what we ate in England. Indian food. And it was delish.

Later that evening I had some good Australian beef and my first taste of Sticky Date Pudding. I have yet to taste anything as yummy. With a butterscotch sauce and praline ice cream on the side that made me think I was in heaven. Am I researching recipes right now as I type? Oh yes.
The Vacation Day 1 - Sydney

I say Day 1, but it was more like Day 3. Having left Baltimore mid-day on Tuesday and arricing in Sydney bright and early Thursday morning. We lost Wednesday somewhere over the Pacific. Getting there was pretty thrilling for me, having never been as far West as California, and then going past that. And overall 12 hours straight on the plane wasn't too bad. Of course I was still excited at this point. The flight back for the same amount of time was an entirely different story.

Once we arrived in Sydney and got to our hotel, we settled in and waited for our tour time. About an hour before the scheduled time we walked/meandered our way from our hotel to the wharves in Darling Harbour where the lunch cruise was to leave from. Seeing the city from the water was a lot of fun, even if the food left something to be desired.

After lunch it was straight off the boat onto a bus, for a driving tour within the city. Aside from the obivous jetlag, I was having a hard time distinguishing what country I was in. Sydney is a multi-cultural city and it certainly shows. We'd drive to one area and I was convinced we'd entered Italy. Another I could have sworn was Paris, parts that looked like Germany, and a chraming section that gave Prague a run for it's money.

We stopped up on a cliff and Andy and I ran out to the edge to get some nice shots with the sun setting on the bay. It wasn't until we were walking back to the bus that I noticed that the path we walked on went under some spiderwebs, and the biggest damn spiders I have ever seen. Not being a huge fan, I made Andy go first then I basically stared at my feet and walked as fast as possible back to the bus, praying that those things would not choose that moment to venture down from their homes in the trees.

Dinner that night came from McDonalds. I know, very tourist, but we made up for it later. We were tired, and just wanted something quick and easy and on the way back to the hotel. McDonald's was easy enough. Portion sizes in Australia are very different. You actually get the smallest size cup they have when you ask for a small soda. It was incredibly refreshing. I did however have to ask for ketchup to get some. And I had to call it tomato sauce.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

We're back

We spent 27 hours in airports and on airplanes on Sunday. Very very tiring, but we're home. More details to come later.

Monday, April 12, 2004

No posts for awhile

We're off to a land down under. Tell you all about it when we get back!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Not feeling as guilty

I'm not really a coffee drinker. I drink the foofy girly versions of everything, and if I drink "regular" coffee it has to have a lot of cream and sugar. This morning I needed something to wake me up so I went down to the cafeteria to get a small cup of coffee. I hate putting all the condiments in the cup while in the cafeteria because I feel like someone is going to laugh at the absurd amount of sugar I put in it.

As I was standing at the table trying to surreptitiously slide a few packets of sugar in my cup a man walked over. He grabbed, 5, yes, I counted, 5 packets of sugar and proceeded to pour all of them in. Followed a generous dose of half-and-half.

Somehow after that my 3 packets, and dollop of cream doesn't seem so bad.
Have I mentioned...

That we're going to Australia? Can you tell I'm excited?
Have I mentioned...

That we're going to Australia? Maybe once? Well we're going. In less than a week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It's not easy bein' fluffy

Also at the mall, I witnessed a pep talk being given to the sales team at Build-a-Bear.

Apparently it's hard to be cheerful when you sell teddy bears for a living.
Why am I being penalized????

I went to the mall this evening to pick up a pair of jeans. I headed to my favorite place to get jeans, Eddie Bauer, and started looking through the racks. They're currently having a sale on jeans, buy one pair, get one 50% off. Even better, now I'm excited. I tried on several pairs and found the style I liked. They only came in "stretch" but that's ok, they're for our upcoming vacation, more room for indulgences.

Problem Number one. The "regulars" I tried on were 4 inches too long. With my shoes on. I know I'm not tall at 5' 1", so I came out and asked the clerk if there were any petites.

Problem Number two. "The petites are only available through our catalog."

If had wanted to order clothes from a catalog I would have done and not bothered coming to the mall in the first place. Second sentence out of the sales girl's mouth: "If you place a phone order here in our store they won't charge for shipping. You only have to pay a flat $3 handling fee."

Now, I'm not cheap, I realize $3 is minimal but this hit at just the wrong point today. WHY must I be forced to order clothing through a catalog and pay any additional money simply because the store does not wish to stock several cuts of the same style?

Why do I have to pay more simply because I'm not 6' 3" tall??

I'm not even going to go into the conversation I had with the salesgirl who then tried to talk me into a different style, of which they ALSO did not carry petites of in the store.

Time to get the eyes checked

Driving to work this morning car in front of me had the most adorable stuffed animal I'd ever seen. A bright red pig with a white snout. I thought it was so sweet.

As I pulled up behind the car at a stoplight I got a closer look at the pig. It was a Maryland Terrapins hat, with the brim tucked into the back of the hat to keep it curled.

Definitely time for the eye doctors.

Friday, March 19, 2004


Riding in the car on the way to lunch with a co-worker, I was playing a No Doubt CD.
Her: Oooh who is this?
Me: No Doubt
H: OH I like them, I've heard the song on the radio

Several songs later
Her: I don't like No Doubt, these don't sound like the one from the radio.

For all the world I could only think of the time Tigger ate Pooh's honey.
"Tiggers LOVE honey!" After tasting it and getting the sticky stuff all over his paws... "Yeeuck, Tiggers do NOT like honey."

Thursday, March 11, 2004

It's official

I'm sorting through my dried cranberries picking out the plump ones and setting them aside. I eat the dry flat ones first and savor the juicier ones last.

Dieting sucks.
The Greatest Love of All

Yes, one of the famous ballads of the 80's. What I was forced to sing, along with 20 other children, during an elementary school assembly. This fantastic song is being sung. Loudly. By the woman in the stall next to mine. In the bathroom.

At the office.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Day of the bras

Ok I know. Sort of a weird subject. But it came up a lot yesterday.

I went for my swim yesterday and afterwards went in to the locker room to get cleaned up to go back to work. Now, this is a community pool, and a LOT of older women come here to swim. A LOT of immodest older women. I'm sorry madame, but I haven't hit that post 55, completely unabashed, walking around the locker room stark naked-stage yet. So I try to avert my eyes as much as humanly possible. Yesterday this became impossible. An older woman followed me to the back corner where I was changing (she had walked across the room from the showers naked), and she proceeded to talk to me. Now when I talk to people I tend to like to look at them, I think it's rude to stare at the floor when someone asks you a question.

Believe me, I have never been so politely rude, as when I stared straight at the floor while this woman talked to me. Everything flew out the window a few minutes later when she asked for me help fastening her bra. The poor thing just couldn't reach around and fasten those little hooks. She warned me before I helped that she'd had a mastectomy. I got her fastened in, and wished her well and headed on out to work.

Later last night, I was trying on bras (I've been needing a new one). I can't tell you how glad I was that I'm able to hook them myself, and that I could try on versions that didn't need a special pocket to insert a prosthesis. Even if I still haven't found the one that I'm looking for yet.

Monday, March 01, 2004

The world

You've seen my map of the US, now it's time for the world.

create your own visited country map

I still have a lot to see. I also cheated a bit and already marked off Australia, even though I won't get there until next month. Have I mentioned that we'll be going to Australia? Maybe a few times?
It's that time of year again!

Everyone be sure to say hello to Andy. And tell him how OLD he's getting!

Happy Birthday my love.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

hey, Hey, HEY!!!!

Pulling in to the parking garage this morning in font of me was one of those absurdly large trucks. With the extended cab, and it had been raised so it was even taller than normal. Believe me I'm sure the man that owns it is, ahem, all man.

Anyway as I was coming up the ramp he was in front of me trying to pull into a space. Being incredibly large he couldn't fit on the first try. As I was passing him he threw the truck into reverse. Straight back towards me. I slammed on the brakes and horn both as hard as I could. Still he came back, not being able to see tiny me in my SUV. Quick thinking and gear shift into reverse got me out of his way. He didn't see me until after he backed all the way across the ramp.

If I knew I wouldn't see him here at work on a semi-regular basis I would've gotten out and given him what for. Or a least a choice selection of one of my fingers. As it was however, I had to be content with as evil a glare as I could muster.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


I'm a little behind the times but I just found this and thought I'd share what parts of the country I've been in. Check out my map

create your own personalized map of the USA
or write about it on the open travel guide
And you may ask yourself, my God, what have I done

I've signed up for a 5K. You know those things where you run? I don't run. I've tried. I just don't do it.

But I got conned into it. A bunch of friends are going and you get a t-shirt. And because it's the Shamrock run, you get free beer. Not that I'm up for a dixie cup of watered down Miller Lite, but hey the t-shirt sounds cool.

And I was promised lunch afterwards. I think I can manage to walk/jog/run a little better than 3 miles if there's the promise of food at the end. At least I hope I can.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Health nut

I'm back on the fitness wagon, sorry to be a bit repetitive. One of my first blogs was observations about people at the gym, and the statement that onehundredCOUGH-ty-eight pounds was too much weight for my height. Oh what I wouldn't give to be back at 1COUGH-ty8.

So, an increased interest in what I put into my mouth has developed. How much and what type of thing now playing much bigger roles than they used to. I found a terrific tool that's been helping immensely. fitday.com keeps track for you of what everything "costs." You just have to be rather religious about filling it in.

The bad part about all this? With the tool keeping track for me, it's becoming increasingly more tempting to do something bad. Like say what happens if I don't eat breakfast or lunch, can I eat the entire box of Samoas sitting in the pantry?

Of course there's that wedding coming up, and the trip we're going on soon, and that 10 year class reunion that I would really like to look stunning at... maybe the samoas aren't the greatest idea.
In my head

Some things never come out quite the way you think they should. When I was little I learned very quickly that I wouldn't become a great artist, because the beautiful drawing in my mind never quite made it's way out onto paper. The tree looking more like a stick, the river more like a blue line. Along a similar vein, my sister and I both took piano lessons and since she was only slightly behind me it was inevitable that we would eventually play the same songs. One day during highschool I walked through the room as Ellen was playing and asked her what it was. It sounded so beautiful. It was the song I had played a month earlier. It had sounded nothing at all like the song she had just been playing. I'm still wondering why my music teacher passed me on that one. Maybe she was sick of the way I was playing it.

Tonight I cooked. Now don't get me wrong, I can cook reasonably well. I can whip up some killer turkey burgers, and the one dish I invented, Nillson Chicken (after the late great Harry Nillson, because you put the lime in the coconut) I can cook superbly, although it tends to taste different every time I make it (If you want the recipe just write me). But tonight I wanted a good square meal, what my Grandmother always called a home cooking. Pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn, and broccoli. And oh yes, fried apples on the side. You can't have pork without apples. Ask any southern gal.

In my head, the dinner was going to be fantastic. In reality there was something a little wrong with each thing. Not that anything tasted bad. Nothing got burned, just a little too salty, a little too gummy, a little too mushy. Except for the corn. That came from a can.

I guess I really should put an apron on more often than once every five years. And next time my Grandmother cooks pay a little bit closer attention.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Back on the horse

I used to swim. In fact I used to swim a lot. As a kid, over the summer, for school, on a USS team. I was super-chlorinated most of the time. If it wasn't swimmer's ear, it was blonde/green hair.

I swam in college for a month, then quit. I swam the following year for a week, then quit. Finally my senior year I swam the whole year.

For 2 years in the working world I didn't go near the water. Then I found a swim buddy and we swam a couple times a week at lunch. Then I changed jobs.

Add on another year, another job change, and add on one more year. My swim buddy just started swimming again. Since I'm close to the pool again, this week I decided to join him.

It sure felt good to be back in that water again.

Maybe I've just been going through chlorine withdrawl.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Kids are the greatest

A woman in my office is pregnant with her third (and LAST she says) child. Her two boys are 5 and 3 years old. The other day the 3 year old came up to her and asked "Mom, when is the baby going to be gone?"

Confused she asked "Do you mean when is the baby going to be here?"
Shaking his head, her son said "No, I mean when is she going to be gone? You're taking her to the hospital to get rid of her, right?"
Her older son gracefully stepped in at this point and explained to the 3 year old "No Joe, she's going to come here and live with us."
The youngest then scowled and said "But I don't want her to!"

How this woman kept a straight face I have no idea. I guess its a parenting skill you pick up along the way. I personally was dying laughing as she told me the story.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I think Dante was right

Hell is not fire and brimstone. It's freezing and icy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The VUE is not so rosy

Just over a year ago we bought a beautiful new Saturn VUE. It was what they now call Rainforest Green (at the time it was "Medium Green.") And it was certainly not their new color Lime Green, that looks like a bottle of Mountain Dew threw up.

On Friday, I had my first problem ever with the car. It died on me. I was driving home on 32 and went from 55 mph down to 20. In about 10 seconds. I frantically signaled and pulled onto the shoulder. Trying not to panic I took a few deep breaths, turned the car off and let it rest. It was REALLY cold on Friday, and thinking I hadn't given it enough time to warm up before hopping in and heading home, I restarted the car and let it run for a few minutes. After feeling assured that the whole thing had been some kind of fluke, I got back up to speed and merged back onto the highway.

The same thing happened. I went from 55 to 20. Noticing I was close to the exit for my Grandmother's office I pulled off and hobbled the poor car up the road. Hurking and jerking the whole time and praying over and over that I wouldn't stall in an intersection and that somehow my Grandmother would be at work even though it was her day off, and it was now almost 5 PM.

No such luck, well about my Grandmother being there anyway, I managed to get there without stalling. Now was the time for my night in shining armor. I called Andy. And aside from a rather severe lecture about changing the oil properly (next time I call you from the side of the road frantic about my car being broken sweetie, a lecture might be able to wait!), he was incredibly helpful.

I called Saturn and spoke with a man who has become my best buddy over the last few days, Joe. I explained to Joe the problem, where I was, and asked what I should do. The final answer, call Saturn's tow line and have the car brought to the dealership.

Being only 5 minutes away from my own office, I once again made the poor car hobble. It was too cold outside for me to sit where I was another hour!

Walking back into my office an hour and a half after I had left brought a bunch of "What are you doing back here?" and "Why didn't you call me???"s coming at me.

The good news was that I was in a building where I felt safe, and it had heat. The tow truck was on it's way and so was Andy. The bad news? The tow truck would be there in about an hour and a half. Putting it's approximate arrival time at 7 PM.

The truck finally came and we got the car to the dealership. They took the keys and someone would look at it on Monday.

I won't go in to the rental car kafuffle, but I currently have one, a Nissan Sentra *Loud Raspberry*

Checking in with my best buddy Joe today the following will be replaced in my 1 year, 1 month old car:
The ignition module
The spark plugs
The wiring
The coil module
The catalytic convertor
The rear oxygen somethingorother that he said too fast for me to write down

Everything's all covered under warranty of course, and happily it's supposed to be ready for me to pick up this evening. But I didn't realize how attached I've already become to MY car. I want it's height, I can't see anything in the rental car, it's too low to the ground. I want it's armrests, I want to know where all the controls are. And most important, I want my all wheel drive back. It's sleeting outside.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Why do they do it?

Why do department stores insist in putting out spring clothes in January and calling them "Cruise wear?" Do they assume the entire world jets away to the Bahamas for the month of January? The high is supposed to be 7. I don't want to look at capris and tank tops. I want wool sweaters!

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Feeling slightly amused

A co-worker just called me with a number which I jotted down quickly. Realizing after I hung up that I couldn't recall if the last digits were '991' or '911' I called her right back. As she looked up the number again for me she responded with a phrase I'm guessing she hasn't used since her daughter was in diapers "Messy, messy, messy, hold still."

I couldn't help but laugh. And feel like an unruly toddler at the same time.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Disney poised on the brink of world domination

I like the movies (most of them). I don't mind the stores. The clothing is kind of cute. But please, don't mess with my food.