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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What would you do?

The situation: You own a 7-year-old car with over 100,000 miles on it. While stopped at a red light, someone bumps into you, causing some minor paint damage on your rear bumper. The person who bumped you has offered to pay the cost of repairs rather than involving the insurance company. You also have a friend who can fix it “under the table.” What would you expect from the person who bumped you? Would you involve the insurance company?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Be gone.

There I sat in our front room, my feet propped up on the recliner to give some relief from the pain in my left knee. Through the ground-level window, I saw a pair of jeans and white sneakers come up our front walk, our Sunday paper dangling in front. Our doorbell rang. I ignored it.

In general, I dislike being disturbed at home. I am an introvert, and my home is my refuge from the world. Though I sometimes invite friends for a visit, I don’t appreciate the world’s unasked intrusion.

Yet it soon become clear the person on my doorstep was not going away, and Christian wasn’t home to cheerfully greet them and gregariously converse. I figured they had probably seen my feet through the low window on the approach to the house, just as I had seen theirs. So with a heavy sigh, I cast aside my book and limped to the door. The first thing I saw was the Obama sticker on the lady’s shirt, and immediately regretted opening the door.

I hate politics. I thank God I live in a country where I have freedom and the right to vote for my government. I gladly exercise that right. But I absolutely loathe politics. I dread election season, which seems to start earlier every time. The signs posted in neighbor yards and every few feet along the roads are an eyesore. Radio and TV commercials are ridiculously one-sided and slanted. They play on emotions rather than providing facts and trusting voters to make their own thoughtful decisions. Out of a sense of duty, I tried to watch one of the presidential debates, hoping at least the candidates themselves would treat voters with respect. I didn’t realize how it tormented me until Christian pointed out I was curled up in the fetal position on the couch next to him. At his urging, I ultimately left the room. I eschew political discussions with just about anyone other than my husband. Though we often disagree, we can at least talk to each other respectfully and share what we honestly think without having to worry about offending each other. But in recent months, the politicos have been out in full force, and I cannot even get away from them in my own home, it seems.

This is not the first time Obama minions have canvassed our neighborhood, and I actually feel harassed at this point. I managed to be polite to the canvasser. Not long after she left, I saw this comic strip in the Sunday paper, which pretty much sums up how I feel.
Get Fuzzy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Success!

I finally finished reading the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 1 on October 16th. It felt really good, and I will eventually tackle Volume 2 as well as mulitple Norton anthologies I found at the book fair a couple years ago. For now, though, I am simply basking in its glow and enjoying some significantly lighter fare.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I’ve been tagged.

My awesome friend Jaime tagged me on her blog almost a month ago, but I just found it the other day. I haven’t been keeping up with blogs for quite a while, and had some serious catching up to do. Clearly, my own blog hasn’t been kept up with, either. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Jaime! Here’s how it works:

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I’m not sure who knows what about me anymore, but here are 7 random/weird facts at least some of you may not know (assuming anybody’s still reading this out there).

1. I have an indentation in the top of my head where no hair grows. It is extra sensitive to touch and pressure, but I don’t notice unless something hits it. It’s because the plates of my skull weren’t 100% correctly aligned when they fused.
2. I like naming pets after literary characters, particularly Shakespearean, but will go with other authors’ creations if no Shakespearean name fits.
3. I am a little OCD, but not so badly it interferes with normal functioning.
4. Hearing in my right ear is not as good as my left. My hearing in general is not that great. I have to turn the TV up pretty loud to understand conversations, and I often have difficulty catching what people say in crowds or noisy surroundings.
5. I’m an introvert, but can fool people into thinking otherwise when I want to.
6. Contrarily, I love being the center of attention under certain circumstances.
7. When dreaming of my future husband, I always used to imagine someone tall, blonde, and blue-eyed.

I am tagging Christian, who could stand to post a non-video entry, Linda and Kritter, who are making a sincere effort to return to blogging, and Kristi, Tracie, Stacey and Tigg, who have managed to keep up blogging with reasonable frequency but probably wouldn’t mind an extra idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You gotta know when to hold ‘em

On occasion the Hubby and I get together with some friends to play a little Texas Hold ‘Em, and it’s surprising just how competitive it can get. There are some real sharks in our little group, and there are several people who often play when they should fold and fold when they should play. Usually the same folks make it to the “finals,” and that almost never includes me. Once I made it to the final four. Once I won a smaller game after we’d already played one game and some folks had left, including the “big dogs.”

Until Saturday night, that is. There was some good fortune involved, but I think I may have finally learned something from all the mistakes I’ve made. Not once did I find myself “short stacked” — a predicament I’d often endured previously, sometimes multiple times in a game. I was playing smarter. I won a big pot early on, then caught myself “on tilt” after that, managing to reel it in. A while later, I won another big hand, taking out two other players at once, including a table veteran. I started shaking after that hand, but kept my head. Elation and adrenaline are powerful; I was fighting to control my nerves.

Finally we were down to three. After going around several times with all three players being dealt crappy cards, we started to get face cards again. And then it happened. It was the hardest hand I’d played all night, and also the most incredible. The flop was King, Ace, Ace. The first round of betting was minimal. The turn was a Jack. I was holding a King and Nine. The community cards were of all four suits, so a Flush wasn’t possible for this hand. I knew the high Two Pair I had was a good hand, but an Ace in someone’s else’s hand could beat me. If anyone had a Queen and a Ten, they’d take it all. And we still hadn’t seen the river card. The first player to act checked to me; I placed a small bet to see what the others would do. The next player folded, and it came back to the one who had checked. After a long pause, I nearly fainted at the words “all in.” His stack was about 25% of the chips we were playing with, and I was terrified he had an Ace. I briefly considered the possibility of a Straight, but dismissed it as less likely. A Full House was almost out of the question. But the Ace bugged me. Why didn’t he bet big after the flop? Was he “slow playing” to draw more chips into the pot? This particular player is The. Biggest. Shark. at our table. He has the highest win record of our group, and his face gives nothing away. I had maybe 35% of all the chips, so if I called and lost, I would still be in the game, but probably not for long. We’d been playing for hours, and it was almost 1 a.m. I was fairly convinced I had the better hand, but I was also tired and partly thinking we could go home sooner if I lost.

I called.

Christian, who was the acting dealer at the time, walked to the kitchen where most of the group had gathered to chat while we finished out the game. As I moved columns of chips forward to meet the bet, I heard him quietly say “you guys gotta come see this.” They all came back to the table just as we turned over our pocket cards. The Shark had a Queen and a Seven; I breathed a sigh of relief. The odds of the river card being a Ten were slim, and he could only beat me with a straight. I held my breath as Christian turned over the last card: an Eight! I had taken the hand! I had taken down The Shark! I could hardly believe it myself! (He told me later I wasn’t supposed to call the bet — he was trying to scare me off.)

So then it was down to the heads-up face-off, and I had a considerable advantage. More than five hours since we’d first started, I ultimately won the night. But it was a quiet win, somewhat anticlimactic after The Big Hand, though still exciting. I think, too, I was tired and emotionally drained. The chips were soon put away; it was time to go home.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bed and Breakfast

At the end of May, Christian and I took a little mini-escape. We spent a night at a bed and breakfast in Maeystown, IL, called the Corner George Inn. Our hosts were attending a wedding rehearsal and dinner that evening, so they had asked us to go to dinner prior to checking in. There was some failure of communication, however, because we thought the restaurant they suggested was only a few blocks away. The proprietor had said it was “just up the hill and around the corner.” I guess I didn’t fully comprehend from what. We decided to find the inn while it was still daylight, then head to dinner, and the inn was actually situated at the bottom of a hill. So we tried going up that hill and around a corner, but found no restaurant. We saw another road leading uphill a couple blocks away, so we tried that one. After ascending for about 5 miles, we figured we were heading in the wrong direction. And by this time, we were losing daylight. After trying yet another hill with no luck, we decided to stop and ask for directions. It was then we discovered the restaurant was actually in Waterloo, a town we had passed on the state highway on the way in. Finally, we found Gallagher’s, which was indeed up a hill and around a corner. All the effort was definitely worth it, though, as it was an absolutely fabulous meal from start to finish. I jokingly asked if I could get the recipe for one of the appetizers and the unique bread they served; I was shocked when our waitress indicated they might send them to us if we filled out a comment card and included an email address. I was even more shocked when the recipes actually arrived in my inbox!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Beware of cats

***Warning! Graphic descriptions. Pictures below the break.***

I love our cats. They are wonderfully sweet and often cuddly. It’s a wonderful feeling when one of them curls up on my lap or next to me in bed, warm and snuggly. Unfortunately, all that time we spent away from home over the last couple months was stressful for them, too, and they started fighting with each other. We kept them separated for the last couple weeks of the musical, but after a week of back-to-normal for us, I waited to see what would happen when they managed to get on the same side of the door Friday morning. At first it seemed like they might be OK, but then Phoebe, ever the aggressor, started hissing and growling at Tybalt. I distracted Phoebe and got her to turn away, then picked her up to put her in the bedroom. Before I could even get a decent grip, she went ballistic, hissing, spitting, flailing and growling. The scene as I tried to control her would probably be a great slapstick comedy. Meanwhile, her antics sent Tybalt into a frenzy; he jumped up and bit my legs. (The vet said later that when they get worked up like that, they don’t think, they just attack.) I dropped Phoebe, but not before she managed to scratch my arm. They tangled with each other, growling and snarling all the way to the bedroom, while I limped after them, bleeding from three limbs.

I picked up a towel and finally managed to separate them, but I think by that point I was in shock. The whole episode lasted maybe five minutes, but it felt like a terrifying eternity. They really wanted to kill each other, it seemed, and since I had the misfortune of being in the middle, they wanted to destroy me, too. I have had pet cats my entire life and never experienced anything so violent. The emotional trauma seemed worse than the physical; I couldn’t believe Tybalt - my baby - had bitten me like that.

The commotion had woken Christian, and he could see how shaken I was. He helped clean and dress my wounds, and insisted on calling his father (the doctor), despite my protestations. Our cats spend their lives indoors and they’re healthy - I didn’t think there was any more danger than any other household minor injury. I later had to tell my husband “you were right; I was wrong.” I repeated it just to drive home the point for myself.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ghost Light

Saturday night was our last performance of The Baker’s Wife, and we went out with a bang. All the hard work eventually paid off and everyone we knew who attended said they enjoyed the show. Yesterday was strike day, when all the costumes and props are put away and the set is taken apart and put in storage to be reassembled in a different order and repainted when it’s time for the next show. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that will fit together in various ways to create a different picture each time. When the work was finished, the cast, crew, and their families sat in a giant circle where the orderly rows of audience chairs stood not long before. We feasted on pot-luck bounty: baked ham, chicken wings, pizza, chili, a variety of salads and sandwiches, with cookies, ice cream, cake, and a chocolate-raspberry trifle made by yours truly for dessert. It was all delicious, and by the end I couldn’t possibly have eaten another bite. Meanwhile, there was much chatting, laughter, and tearful good-byes among the adults as the kids played on the now empty stage. Eventually the very live room began to grow quiet; families needed to get home and get the kids to bed; those without young children also had other places to go and things to do. None of us has had a clean home in months. The director brought out the ghost light with a superstitious “Never turn off all the lights in a theater.” And then the room went almost completely dark. The last of us filed out quietly, contemplating the magic left behind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Baker’s Wife

The musical opens Wednesday of next week. Rehearsals this week have been an endurance test; I feel like I’m failing. And next week will only bring more of the same. I heard a rumor that company members will be dismissed early tonight, though, with only the major characters remaining. Perhaps I will be able to get to bed some time before midnight, which would be a welcome change. Trying to keep awake throughout the workday without any caffeinated soda is a tough order, and I’ve almost caved in once or twice. I happily report, however, I remain successful in that endeavor.

The extended text explains a little about the show. I didn’t write it, but why reinvent the wheel? Christian directs the music and leads the band; I am a nameless villager who sings the really high notes. I also play the cat. Come to the show - you’ll see what I mean. wink

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bound and Determined

So I’ve been busy. The summer musical, which opens a week from tomorrow, has been occupying the bulk of my not-at-work time. I was also out of town a few times in the last couple months, including a trip to Washington, D.C. with the lovely Linda for Memorial Day Weekend. I’d like to write about that at some point. And work - well, I was insanely busy at work pretty much all of April and May, wrapping up two major projects. Work, at least, has calmed down in the last couple weeks. I was also home this past weekend, which gave me an opportunity to do laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping, just a few of the household tasks which have been languishing for months, just like this blog. But I’m starting to feel like a human again. And while rehearsals for the musical are now every night (tech week), it will all be over by June 22nd. And then - yes, then - my life will be my own again. In the mean time, I’m trying to reclaim some of those things I love to do but haven’t found time for in quite a while.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake!

I lived in northern California for a year without experiencing any earthquake activity. I’m kind of glad for that since they can be pretty scary on the West Coast, but was a little disappointed I had “missed my chance.” I was unaware of fault lines in the Missouri vicinity until early this morning, when our whole house started shaking. We could hear it rattling, and our bed - with us in it - felt like the “magic” beds you might feed a few quarters in a cheap hotel room. We ran downstairs to look for any clues out the front door, thinking in our half-awake state perhaps a big truck had rumbled by or a plane was flying very low overhead, but found nothing. We headed back to bed once the shaking subsided, our hearts and minds racing. Christian told me about the New Madrid fault very familiar to St. Louisans, and we decided it must have been an earthquake or possibly a big explosion somewhere that caused a shock wave. The lack of emergency sirens had us pretty convinced it was the former. After a couple more hours’ sleep, I had to get up for work, and Christian checked the news to confirm our suspicion: Earthquake measuring 5.2 rattles St. Louis region. Is it wrong to be a little exhilarated this morning?

I’ve hunkered down for a category 5 hurricane (Andrew) in Florida, seen and breathed the effects of wildfire (Hayman) and dug out after blizzards in Colorado, and now I’ve felt an earthquake in Missouri. While I’ve seen the sky turn green (also in CO), I’ve never actually seen a tornado, and I’ve never been anywhere near a tsunami. I’m happy to live the rest of my life without adding the last two to my list, but I still think it’s pretty cool I’ve experienced such a wide variety of natural phenomena without personally experiencing any significant damage. I have seen what they can do, however: I participated in clean-up teams in the areas hardest hit by Andrew, and cared for evacuated horses during the Hayman fire. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we are not masters of this earth, but stewards.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caffeine-free Me

I finally did it! Well, mostly. I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I’ll sip brewed tea on occasion. But my focus here is the soda addiction that has haunted me for longer than I can remember. It’s easy to see where it came from: my parents always had a few sodas in the morning to help them wake up, and they’d drink it fairly continuously throughout the day, as well. I remember when doctors told both of them to lay off because their blood pressure was way too high. They’d slow down for a while, complaining the whole time, but eventually go right back to consuming roughly 4-6 liters per day. Each. It was amusing that Dad would only drink Diet Coke and Mom only Diet Pepsi, so there was always a ton of both in the house. I switched back and forth between them for years, but evenutally decided I like the taste of Diet Coke best. It has been both a comfort and the bane of my existence for years.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Brief Update

The blog has been sitting fairly silent, I know, and I’ve been late on the last few colorblog entries. Just wanted to let everyone know I’m still here and I still want to blog, I just haven’t been able to find time for much. I started a new diet/exercise program a few weeks ago to help me make a lifestyle change, and I really feel good about it. But it’s taking up more of my “at home” time in the initial stages; hopefully it will even out once it’s become fairly routine. And my job is changing, which means I’m training again. But I’m still finishing up a couple projects for the job I’ve been doing the last 2 1/2 years, so work is exceptionally busy for me right now. And as if I didn’t have enough going on, I’ve been invited to audition for DuBourg’s summer alumni musical. It’s been years since I’ve worked with a stage production, so I’m looking forward to it, though I know it will mean a lot of work and more nights away from home. But there’s a certain thrill from being on a stage—even just as a face in the chorus/crowd—that will keep me glowing for quite some time. So I’m not disappearing, just trying to keep up with everything. Bear with me, dear friends.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pilot Blue

This is more than a week late, I know, for various reasons. And it may seem, given the circumstances, that this is a hastily thrown-together entry just to get something posted. But in truth, I was planning to write on this subject early last week; I just never got around to it.

Blue, in many shades, is quite possibly my favorite color. There are certainly many blue things I could have written about for this entry: articles of clothing (blue is rather flattering on me), the blue topaz in my mother’s birthstone jewelry I inherited, the post-it notes and flags on my desk, or even the cobalt blue Fiestaware dishes and serving pieces we got from our wedding registry. Instead of any of those, though, I choose to write about pens. That’s right, I said pens.

If given a choice, I typically choose to write in blue. I don’t think it’s just my affinity for the color, though. Blue ink makes it easier for me to locate and read what I’ve written, especially if I’m making notes on something printed in black-and-white, like all the reports I read for work. But it’s also more readable than other colors like red or green, which make my eyes hurt in large quantities. Currently, my favorite is the Pilot Easy Touch retractable pen, medium point. I tend to lose pen caps, and I also feel like they get in the way. The medium point width is just right, and this particular ink offers lovely, smooth writing. It also has a comfort grip so I can keep ahold of it, and my bony fingers don’t get sore.

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I won’t go to quite the length of some others in praise of their favorite writing instrument, so there you have it. And I just figured out what to write about for my purple entry, so that one should be coming along soon, but may not be until early next week. Another busy weekend approaches!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Proud to be Floridian

Got this in a recent email from a friend I grew up with. My comments are in italics.

You know you’re a Floridian if…

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