Thursday, May 21, 2009

100 for the 100th

It is my understanding that it is tradition to write 100 things about yourself for your 100th post. I am proud to say that I have reached this milestone and I have written the 100 things. I started working on this a couple of weeks ago because I knew it would take me a little while. Let the weirdness begin.
  1. I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same day, and I have.
  2. I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon.
  3. My favorite ice cream these days is Baskin Robbins World Class Chocolate.
  4. I have wanted to travel to Iceland for many, many years and swim in the Blue Lagoon.
  5. My absolute favorite guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives of New York.
  6. I grew up in a small farming town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but I am a city girl at heart.
  7. My favorite trees are Redbuds. Love the flowers, love the leaves.
  8. I love to read and do so whenever I have a spare five minutes. My Grandma Urath taught me to carry a book everywhere I go and I am so glad she did.
  9. I am the oldest of 3 children, we have the same parents but we were born in 3 different decades.
  10. I am part of a Mazda family, I am driving my third Mazda, my sister drives a Mazda and Sheldon owns two Mazdas.
  11. My first car was a baby blue '69 VW Beetle that had been bought new by my aunt and uncle when I was 3 years old. I paid my Granddaddy Palmer $250 for it in 1983 and traded it in for $250 on my first Mazda in 1988. They had kept all the gas and maintenance records for its entire life. Sadly, I didn't bother continuing the tradition.
  12. I work on the 11th floor of a building that is only four blocks from the White House in Washington, DC. No buildings in DC are over 12 stories tall, so I get plenty of sunshine.
  13. I haven't had caffeine since my teens. I can't tolerate it at all. I can only have chocolate during the day or I won't sleep.
  14. I worked in a movie theatre in my small town when I was 16. I got to see all the movies for free as often as I wanted and I even got to sit in the balcony which was off limits to the general public.
  15. I once worked in a bakery.
  16. I was a pharmacy technician for a year after high school and toyed with the idea of going to pharmacy school.
  17. I once kissed James Taylor's cousin. His name was Bill Taylor and he was a comedian/actor. We were 18. I didn't believe he was related to James Taylor until a couple of years later when I saw a picture of James and realized that Bill looked exactly like him.
  18. I took part in an outdoor production of Val Balfour's Oberammergau Passion Play every Summer from age 13 to 17. Usually I was just an extra, but one Summer I was the Sound Technician. (My daddy will be so proud that I spelled that right without having to look it up!)
  19. My first date was on my 16th birthday with a boy from out of town named David Braunshweig. It was very romantic, right down to kisses on a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fire. I wonder whatever happened to him...
  20. I read The Stand, in three days, at age 15 while I was home from school sick with the flu. Not a good book to read when you are sick, I was scared of tunnels for YEARS!
  21. I didn't go to prom. In fact I only went to one high school dance and that was because I was on the planning committee. I went with a gay guy who didn't want his parents to know yet. My parents on the other hand, did know.
  22. I didn't have a boyfriend until the second half of my senior year of high school and he was from another town. His name was Chip Anderson. I wonder whatever happened to him...
  23. I am the oldest grandchild by five years on both sides of my family.
  24. My paternal grandparents, Flossie and Palmer, had a house on Smith Mountain Lake when I was a child and I spent all my Summers there from age 5 to 12. It is still one of my very favorite places on Earth.
  25. I cannot wink my left eye.
  26. I am right-handed but I iron with my left hand because Mama is left-handed and always had the ironing board set up that way.
  27. Periwinkle is my favorite color.
  28. I had my son when I was 29. He wore me out. I can't imagine how the women who have babies in their 40's or (shudder) 50's do it!
  29. If money was no object and I could have one full-time employee, I would choose chauffeur hands down!
  30. My ex brother-in-law who never liked me, said I made the best lasagna in the tri-state area.
  31. I never learned to cook until after I left home.
  32. I love deviled eggs. I put spinach and bacon in mine!
  33. I met Sheldon on I knew he was special as soon as I read his profile, I paid to join just so I could write to him.
  34. I want to be cremated and then buried in Jerome, VA with generations of my family. I want the song "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" played at the funeral.
  35. I grew up with cats but now I'm allergic.
  36. I flew a helicopter for my 40th birthday. It was a beginner lesson and it was fabulous!
  37. I never had a Caesar salad until after I turned 40 and now that is my absolute favorite. The best chicken Caesar salad in the land is made at the Lafayette Deli in Chantilly, VA.
  38. My favorite painting is Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton. She lives in a museum in Puerto Rico. I saw her when she visited the National Gallery of Art here in DC. I want to visit her someday.
  39. I graduated from high school in 1983 and then went to Lord Fairfax Community College for one year, George Mason University for three years, Towson State University for one year, back to George Mason, then Northern Virginia Community College for ASL. I'm planning on tackling my last nine classes starting this Summer. My Grandma Urath graduated when she was 78 so I'm still ahead of her record. Miles says he won't GO to college until I graduate, so I only have three more years!
  40. It is tradition in my family to have four names. I had to get married to get my fourth name. My sister likes to remind me that when she marries she'll have five names. I'm not playing that game though. Once was enough for me.
  41. Stephen King is my favorite author, although I love his wife Tabitha King as well.
  42. I have been known to crochet at stop lights. I made 23 baby afghans in nine months, two years ago while commuting, for a church festival.
  43. I love to cross stitch.
  44. I drove a NASCAR race car on my 43rd birthday. I was scared out of my wits and never even managed to break 100 mph. I want to do it again.
  45. I wear Chanel Chance perfume.
  46. I don't handle stress well.
  47. I am alergic to the whitening ingredient in toothpaste. Makes it very tricky to find toothpaste these days as almost all them have whitening in them.
  48. Yellow roses are my favorite.
  49. I love M&M's, Reece Cups and Mounds Bars but can't stand Milky Way.
  50. I have been to England, France, Switzerland, Germany and Mexico in that order.
  51. I have lived in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia in that order.
  52. I have visited 25 states and can't wait to see the other 25.
  53. Other than dogs and cats I'm not a fan of critters. I'm always afraid of getting bitten or stepped on or peed on. I'd rather watch them on tv than see them, or smell them, in person.
  54. Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor is my all time favorite song.
  55. I am deathly afraid of snakes.
  56. I almost never use strange bathrooms. If I come to your house, chances are that I will not use your facilities the first five or ten times I visit. Weird, huh?
  57. I have a thing for tall guys with deep voices.
  58. I drink lots and lots of water every day and I have for many years.
  59. I had a huge crush on Tom Selleck in the Magnum PI days, but I really wanted to be TC and fly the helicopter while fighting crime.
  60. I am the adult child of an alcoholic.
  61. I have a VERY strong sense of smell and can smell a cigar 10 cars away in traffic. I cannot even walk past Stone Cold Creamery in the mall because the smell makes me nauseous. Strong smells give me a migraine.
  62. I love to play board games and card games. I don't care if I win or lose, I just like spending time with my people.
  63. My Grandma Flossie made the best fried okra ever.
  64. I love to cook. Especially in my new kitchen. With Sheldon. And my Stand Mixer.
  65. I never tan, just freckle. I used to burn but in my 40's I seem to have outgrown it.
  66. I have green eyes with golden centers, although for some reason Sheldon is convinced that they are blue.
  67. I am very chatty if I know you, but I hate meeting new people.
  68. I bought my first home computer in 1990 and had email and internet before anyone else I knew. Remember Tandy and Prodigy? I'm so glad that the rest of you caught up to me!
  69. I am completely addicted to Packrat on Facebook and have been for almost a year now.
  70. I got a unicycle for my 42nd birthday, but I haven't learned how to ride it yet.
  71. I would love to own an RV and travel all over the US. Sheldon and Miles think this is the worst idea they ever heard.
  72. I was never claustrophobic until I got pregnant at age 29, now it gets worse as I get older.
  73. I never had motion sickness until the last year or so. I hate it!
  74. I love "quest" games, Packrat, Post Hunt, Letterboxing...
  75. I voted for Obama and still get goosebumps when I hear them say President Obama on the news. It makes me a little giddy that Hillary is the Secretary of State as well.
  76. I would love to own my own tour bus/travel company. I would take busloads of people to all my favorite places. It would be so much fun. Sheldon also hates this idea.
  77. Any medicine that is supposed to help you sleep just keeps me up all night. This didn't used to be true. I loved Nyquil back in the day. Sigh. I miss Nyquil.
  78. I have never been drunk in my life. Ever. I don't drink very often at all and then usually only one. That first one always tastes so good, but I have found that the second is never as tasty and I've never had a third. I am a cheap date. This makes Sheldon very happy.
  79. I like almost all types of music but not really a fan of opera, jazz or punk.
  80. When I was a kid I really did walk 2 miles to school, uphill, both ways!!!
  81. I am a list maker...I can't do anything without a list. I love crossing things off with highlighter when I am done.
  82. Growing up I had one Nanny and three Grandmas, two Papas and two Grandaddys. They are all gone now, but I like to imagine them watching over me. I hope I make them proud.
  83. I love bacon.
  84. April and August are my favorite months of the year. I was born in April and Miles and Sheldon were born in August.
  85. My drink of choice is Makers Mark Bourbon straight up, I sip it very slowly.
  86. In the past 14 years I have collected over 57,000 aluminum cans for my local fire department. They use the money they raise to send burned children to camp.
  87. I hate to scrub bathrooms.
  88. I love to do the dishes, something about playing in the warm water and making things clean. Funny how that doesn't apply to bathrooms...
  89. I also love laundry, the sorting, the folding, the putting it all away when it is done.
  90. I get up at 4:25am in order to commute to the big city.
  91. I go to bed at 9:30pm because I need plenty of sleep to function.
  92. I much prefer Pringles and Munchos to regular potato chips.
  93. I prefer the softness of flannel sheets all year round.
  94. I like sleeping in a cold bedroom with lots of warm covers.
  95. I used to sing in a praise band at my church.
  96. I won the Miss Poppy contest put on by the American Legion in my hometown when I was 16 because my dad and his friends stuffed the ballot boxes all over town.
  97. I am a Yankees fan and I now live with a Red Sox fan. This might be war.
  98. My theory on having an only child is that if you do it right the first time there is no need to repeat yourself.
  99. I ran my own direct sales business for 3 years and loved every minute of it.
  100. I believe that Sheldon's cherry brownies are the secret to world peace, but I might be wrong, it could be the glazen raisen pretzels from Auntie Anne's.

Bacon Bowties

Oh Lord
Pioneer Woman does it again. I read about these little beauties on her website last week and knew they had to be made, and soon. I bought all the ingredients (three, THREE ingredients!) and waited for an opportunity to present itself. Yesterday we had a potluck at work so I knew it was time. I made my best Grandma Iny "Spice" Cake ever and then I made THESE. Oh the yumminess! You must make these and soon.

Bus Stop Chronicles - Chapter Two

My bus stop is pretty entertaining. Actually I have two bus stops, morning and evening. The morning stop was described in an earlier post as a gulag inspired firing squad set up. The afternoon stop is at a busy intersection here in Washington DC. The afternoons have been very entertaining lately and I'm not quite sure why. The weather has gotten warmer, so that is a possibility, but I have started carrying a small, folding, aluminum, 3-legged stool with me because as I noted yesterday I am OLD! Maybe that is making me notice the crazy all around me.

The first day I showed up at the morning stop with the stool the Drama Queen got all bent out of shape. The Drama Queen or TDQ is a guy who may or may not be gay, and if he is he gives all gay queens a bad name. He is bothered by all of us in the world who take up his space and breathe his oxygen. He gets on the bus every morning and sits as close to the front as possible, usually the second seat. Then he proceeds to make himself at home. First he puts his seat all the way back. Then he gets his pillow out. Then he takes his coat off and uses it like a blanket. One day I took the seat directly behind him and after he lowered his seat as far into my lap as it would reach I turned the light on overhead because I was gonna read. He huffed and puffed and put his seat back up and got up and stomped to the back of the bus to a darker seat. Yesterday a woman who got on the bus at the second stop of the day had to ask him 3 times to move over so that she could sit down, the bus was full and he was taking up TWO seats. Evidently my need for a stool while waiting for the bus is just too much for him because he sighs and shakes his head every time I open it up and sit down. I think everyone else sighs because they secretly want a stool of their own, but this guy is irritated with me.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting there on my stool tweeting my peeps and watching for my bus when a very hairy guy with no shirt on, walked past me and yelled "Ever heard of the Texas Rangers? They Knew!" He was wearing shorts and black boots and that was it, no back pack, no hat, no shopping cart. Just a shimmering cloud of body hair stalking down the street.

Earlier this week a lady walked by who had a braid down her back that reached all the way to her knees!!!! As someone who used to have hair long enough to sit on, I can tell you that I would NOT want hair almost long enough to STEP on!!

The afternoon stop is on the same streetcorner as a Starbucks. (surprise) Last Friday a lovely young lady wearing the prettiest black dress with pleats and bows and a ruffled hem rode up on her bike. She daintily stepped off of the bike, chained it to a pole, unhooked her saddlebag, went into Starbucks, came back out with coffee in hand, unlocked her bike, rehooked her saddlebag and rode off with her coffee in one hand and her handlebars in the other. It was very impressive. I took a picture of her because she was just so lovely, but I don't know how to pull the picture off of my phone and put it here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I know I'm old because...

  • I have no shame in going to bed at 9:30pm.
  • I have to use lamaze breathing to reach my legs for shaving in the shower.
  • I drive a car based on whether I'll be able to get in and out of it, not how sexy I'll look while I'm in it.
  • I have to keep snacks at hand at all times or risk passing out due to low blood sugar.
  • Spicy food gives me heartburn.
  • I need to carry a stool to the bus stop because standing for ten minutes kills my back.
  • Raking the back yard for 20 minutes has caused me 10 days of shoulder pain.
  • All standing up and sitting down causes groaning noises.
  • Snoring. That's all I have to say about that.
  • Yesterday I discovered that I need to find a Ladies Room before I find a Dressing Room, as it appears that removing garments is the signal to my bladder that relief is in sight! I found two cute tops at Ross yesterday that didn't scream MATRONLY, although I almost peed myself in the process.
  • Nothing has given me more pleasure recently than sifting dry ingredients and adding them to the wet ingredients being stirred by my stand mixer.
  • Celebrities like Meg Ryan who are older than me in years, now look younger than me onscreen!
  • I actually know how to buy cantelope.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2009 Post Hunt

Oh Lord this was fun. Frustrating, mind boggling, sunburning, head scratching fun. Go here to see what all the fuss was about. Sheldon and I went for our second year. We invited his friends T and S because we knew from last year that more brains were needed. We got four of the five puzzles without too much head scratching but the fifth one had us completely flumoxed. We had been lulled by the comparative ease in solving the the other four, even though Sheldon had been convinced they were too easy and therefore must be wrong. Between the fifth puzzle and the endgame we went to the ESPN Zone for beer, cause that always increases ones brain power right? As we headed back to the main stage we could hear Dave Barry singing "Old McDonald" so we got the EIEIO clue but we had no idea what that meant. Then we saw people streaming down the street past us, so we followed them. We were completely off-base. We weren't even playing the same game as the winners by that point and worse yet, we wasted so much time wandering from possibility to possibility that we were not even back at the main stage when they announced the winners (who won it in less than 15 minutes) and explained the whole game. Luckily we found a friendly player who told us all that we had missed. Although we had absolutely NO CHANCE at the $2,000 we did have fun, got some exercise and fresh air, spent time with friends, and we did much better than last year for speed at figuring out the four puzzles we did solve. We can't wait for next year and may even make the trip to Miami for the Tropic Hunt in October.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I heart Narciso.

I just watched the 2008 version of The Women and that is time that will never be returned to me. The movie had a stellar cast and I was really looking forward to a little "girl" time. But alas, that was not to be. The movie didn't contain any girls or any women, it only contained caricatures of people that screenwriters think are female. Well, to be fair it was originally written in the '30s, but still!

There was a saving grace however. Narciso Rodriguez. Never heard of him? Neither had I, or at least that's what I thought. Turns out I have liked his style for a while! He designed this gorgeous dress for Carolyn Bessett Kennedy which I love. And he designed this wonderful dress that Michelle Obama rocked on election night.

The Meg Ryan character in the movie is a fashion designer who finally comes out from the shadows of her husband and father and puts on her own show. Every dress that came down the aisle looked like something I would wear, so I had to look up the designer. Narciso. Check him out. I now have a favorite designer.

Common Threads

Art and I went to see a very cool exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum last week. The artist's name is Jean Shin and I really like her style. She takes cast-offs, other peoples trash, and makes it into something completely different and new and fresh. As we entered each room of the exhibit we would look at the display and think "Okay, that's interesting." and then we'd read the description of said piece on the wall and be like "COOL, that is SO cool!" We were cracking up after a while, cause we knew the description would have a wow factor. I must have said "This is my favorite." at least 3 times.

This is the first thing that caught my eye, it is called Fringe. In the description it said that the first installation had this colorful collection of ties outdoors by a bustop and that passengers waiting for buses would actually "borrow" ties.

This one titled Penumbra is a video of the colorful fabric she made from old, broken umbrellas. It was quite mesmerizing to watching the fabric blowing in the wind, I really wish I could have seen this in person because they only showed one little piece of it in the video and I really wanted to see the whole thing, to get a feeling for the scope of it.

This display shows what a small world we live in, even in a country as large as ours. It is called Unraveling and is made up of sweaters donated to her from Korean Americans all over the country. They are unraveled and connected to each other based on relationships that their former owners have.

Then there is this one. I don't think I can even explain it. Just go look. It was very cool, definitely one of my favorites!

There was more, but I invite you to check out the rest of her website or come to the museum yourself. The exhibit will be there until July 26th, 2009. Let me know if you are coming cause my office is only a few blocks away.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ESP if you don't get it, you don't get it.

I found a tick at the crease of my knee this morning in the shower. Do I even need to tell you how grossed out I was? The weird part was that yesterday when I was walking on my lunch break in DC, I brushed under a tree in an effort to get out of someone's way and I thought at the time "I bet that tick is so happy that I happened by." I even brushed my hand through my hair to knock the imaginary tick away...and I must have knocked him down but not off.

Sheldon thinks that all psychic phenomina is total bunk, but I have had to much happen in my life to discount the reality of ESP. I have "seen" the future and the past in my life, but only in tiny glimpses. I sometimes wish I had stronger powers, but my friend Wren who has the ability to read peoples thoughts, sometimes wishes she didn't, so I will stick to the level I have.

Twice in my life I have had an overwhelming feeling of dread and of knowing that something bad was going to happen. The first time I was almost hit by a train, the second time my sister-in-law was killed in a horrible car crash. After the first incident I began paying more attention to my inner voice, but it wasn't until the second incident that I trusted the voice without question. The X believed in my abilities after that as well. All I had to say was that I had a bad feeling about a trip or a road and we would turn around and go home or take a different route.

I'll have to tell you the story of the train someday, it was a good one!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

As promised...

Here is my boy with his new/old hair. I like it SO MUCH BETTER this way.

Does he look more like a college freshman than a high school freshman, or is that just me?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Weekend

When I got home Friday Sheldon was already mowing the backyard which was literally knee high. Needless to say it was slow going. I followed behind him for a while with the rake, but I was worn out way before he was ready to stop. I went in the house and got him some lemonade and he took a short break, but went right back at it. The next time I looked outside he had finished the whole thing. I am amazed at his stamina. Not that our yard is that big or anything, but I would have had to do the job in stages and he just plowed through until he was finished.

Saturday we went to our local nursery and bought a clematis for the mailbox, 4 gorgeous rose bushes and 12 pots of phlox, and ordered 3 trees to be delivered later in the week. We went home and planted the phlox by the front door and the clematis right away. Again, Sheldon did most of the work. He dug the holes and I just watered and patted down the dirt around the new plants. Neither of us has ever had a partner to work in the yard with before and I think we work together well. I kept expecting him to fuss at me for being such a wimp, but he was pleased to have any help so there was no complaining.

I had an absolutely lovely Mother's Day. Miles called from his dad's and asked if he could come hang out with me for the afternoon. I was quite tickled as he usually prefers hanging out with his friends. I was talking to Cricket on the phone when I pulled up in front of his house, and we he came out the door all I could say was "My baby, my baby!" Cricket didn't know what was going on and kept saying "What? WHAT?" in my ear. I got out of the car and ran over to give him a hug and burst into tears. He looked beyond beautiful with his hair short. He was laughing and embarrassed but I don't think he minded one little bit. I forgot to take any pictures, but he promised to send me one to post here.

I invited Mama over to see the new house and because I wanted to make Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings for her for Mother's Day. She was very pleased with her list, but she wanted me to note for all y'all that she is aware that she snores because she will awake to find the cats staring at her. She said that she still has some of that Texas map fabric, but that she HAS thrown away all the magazines.

Cricket and her friend who is not named Christy stopped by as well. Sheldon made delicious ham and havarti sandwiches for everyone and then we dug into the dessert table. We had the aforementioned Apple Dumplings AND Grandma Iny's "Spice" Cake AND a chocolate cheesecake that Sheldon made. We were all about the desserts, although I'm proud to say that I weighed 2 pounds LESS this morning than I did Friday morning! Must have been all the raking and climbing stairs while carting laundry that I was doing all weekend.

I hope all of you had as much fun and as much good food as I did this weekend. It was without doubt my best Mother's Day ever!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

A few weeks ago I was talking to my mama on the phone and she asked what I was doing. I explained that I was working on a list of 100 things about myself as is tradition for your 100th blog post. "Goodness!" Mama said, "I don't think there ARE 100 things about me!" I told her that I was sure that there were way more than 100 things about her. After we hung up I decided to write this list for her. My brother and sister contributed. So Mama, in honor of Mother's Day, here are 100 Random things about YOU!

  1. She has the most beautiful blue eyes.
  2. She reads every book she gets her hands on.
  3. She volunteers at the town library.
  4. She snores like a freight train but denies it.
  5. She is the oldest of three children.
  6. She gets terrible sunburns.
  7. She is left handed.
  8. She is on her third set of replacement knees and has endured at least 20 surgeries in the past five years.
  9. She was an elementary school teacher for 30 years.
  10. She had three children in three different decades.
  11. She made my wedding dress and all the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding, I worried that she would be hemming my dress while I walked down the aisle, but she finished it before the music started.
  12. She loves cats beyond all reason.
  13. She suffered a spontaneous systemic staph infection two years after her first double knee replacement. She was the first patient in medical history to have this happen and is a case study.
  14. She hates to ask for help but she will give you the shirt off of her back.
  15. She lives in a beautiful, white, Queen Anne Victorian house that was built in 1907. She bought it because of the view.
  16. She has the most beautiful, wavy, white hair.
  17. She looks much younger than her age.
  18. She loves liver and onions and always orders it if she sees it on a menu.
  19. Mounds is her favorite candy bar.
  20. She used to listen to Spitzer's House Party which was a radio show on WSIG back in the 70's that featured polka music, on Saturday morning when she cleaned house.
  21. She is a great travel companion because she will go where ever you want to go, eat whatever you want to eat, see whatever you want to see and never complains.
  22. She is on her church council.
  23. She has a fabulous, commanding, school teacher voice, that can bring a room to silence in a split second.
  24. She had to learn the alphabet backwards to teach slow learners back when DISTAR was the approved method.
  25. Blue is her favorite color.
  26. She used to sew me the cutest clothes when I was a kid.
  27. She sewed me the cutest maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Miles.
  28. Her younger brother and all his children are dentists.
  29. She is a fabulous gift-wrapper.
  30. Her father was a banker and a farmer.
  31. Her mother was a teacher.
  32. Her mother lived to be 96 and her aunt is still alive at 101.
  33. Her cousin Frank Buckles is 105 or 106 and is one of the only World War I veterans left, he is still sharp, you see him on the news now and then.
  34. When I was a kid she would smoke when she was stressed and she always exhaled through her nose which I thought was so exotic. (Cricket never knew this until a few years ago when I mentioned it in passing and she was SO shocked!)
  35. She used to love Jean Nate, do they even make that stuff anymore?
  36. She traveled cross country when she was a child with her parents and siblings, she saw the great redwoods. I hope I get to do that someday.
  37. She married my dad when she was 20 and had me when she was 21.
  38. She met my dad when she lived in the same dorm as his sister at Shenandoah College in 1963.
  39. When she taught school she kept hair bands and barretts in her drawer for the little girls whose parents sent them to school without brushing their hair. (These days teachers are not allowed to touch their students, much less style their hair.)
  40. Her birthday is November 27th which is often Thanksgiving weekend.
  41. She is a Red Hat and has tons of fun with her Red Hat friends.
  42. She taught me to always check the oven before turning it on because her mother stored pots and pans in the oven and had trained her to check for them.
  43. She taught me to knit when I was five, but I have never known her to knit or crochet.
  44. She has boundless curiosity which she inherited from her mother and passed down to me.
  45. She always takes in stray cats, dogs and people. When I see a homeless woman on the streets of DC with young children I always want to pack them in my car and take them home to Mama.
  46. She was raised Episcipalian but now she's a Lutheran.
  47. She and my dad eloped and didn't tell anyone until 6 months later when they got pregnant with me.
  48. She calls the mid-day meal lunch and the evening meal supper, but you out to dinner.
  49. She pronounces it to-mah-to and my dad always used to give her a hard time about it, so the rest of us say to-may-to.
  50. She drinks hot tea in the morning and iced tea the rest of the day, I'm not sure I have ever seen her drink anything else. Cricket says that she drinks coffee now because Cricket makes a pot every morning before work and Mama hates to see anything go to waste.
  51. I take that back, I have seen her drink something else, when she was grouchy a few days out of the month, my dad used to make her a gin and tonic and she would cheer right up.
  52. She thinks babies should always have a hat on, my sister and I have been brainwashed to believe the same thing as adults, although we both thought she was crazy when we were younger.
  53. She is a member of a weightloss group called TOPS, but every Tuesday after their weigh-in they eat at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in town, so I don't know how serious they are about losing weight.
  54. She only has one grandchild, so far.
  55. Her grandma name is Grandy.
  56. She falls asleep watching tv, but she and Cricket have TiVo so Cricket has to check to see if she should delete a show they have finished watching.
  57. She really loves pedicures.
  58. She can't get rid of old magazines, I think she still has every Family Circle and Woman's Day since 1972.
  59. She moved into her house in 1977, and it'll take more than an act of congress to remove her from it.
  60. She has a great laugh and it is fun to give her the giggles.
  61. She introduced us to a fabulous breakfast food called Egg In A Frame a long time ago when we were very small, and it remains a family favorite into another generation.
  62. She likes driving a mini-van, though all her kids are grown. She just finds them easier to get in and out of.
  63. She once made seat covers with pillows to match for our '67 Chevy Bel Air out of a cloth print of a Texas road map.
  64. She can drive a stick-shift, and likely learned to do that on a tractor.
  65. 13 years into retirement from teaching, and she still can't stand gum-chewing.
  66. The wedding ring she wore for all the 20 plus years she was married had moons and stars on it. My dad bought it for ten bucks in a bar. I love it.
  67. It took 20 years and 4 colleges to get her degree but she never gave up!
  68. She loves plants and flowers and has a gardener to plant what she wants where she wants. She usually manages to kill houseplants though.
  69. She wore black cat's eye glasses all through the '70s.
  70. She had very easy deliveries with all three of her babies which was thankfully passed on to me.
  71. When her dark brown hair started to turn white back in her 30's she had a white streak near the front that people often thought was done on purpose. I have the same white streak now, but mine is all across the front.
  72. She has had her children under roof for the last 44 years, except for the 4 years Cricket was away at college.
  73. She went for 9 months last year with no knees in her body.
  74. She has no tattoos and I'm not even sure she has ever seen one up close.
  75. She's never been one to take pictures and certainly never be in them, when she does take pictures she never gets them developed.
  76. She didn't get her ears pierced until after I did when I was a teenager. She wanted to borrow all my "cute" earrings.
  77. She doesn't care for swimming but she does walk laps in the pool when her knees allow it.
  78. She is ridiculously frugal about her own needs but very generous with others.
  79. She prefers to pay with cash and especially with correct change.
  80. When she had no knees she invented a new way to get in and out of bed by herself and we had to demonstrate it to all the docs and nurses cause no one believed she could do it until they saw it for themselves.
  81. She wears those big "old lady" sunglasses that fit over your regular glasses and wrap around your face.
  82. She once wore said sunglasses while driving in a tunnel and kept complaining about how dark it was. Cricket and I almost died laughing when we realized what was causing the problem.
  83. When she was able to sit in a chair, she would always let me take a nap in her hospital bed when I'd go visit.
  84. She has fantastic handwriting.
  85. She doesn't like to drive at night, or in the rain.
  86. She loves to play Scrabble.
  87. She buys eggs every single time she gets groceries.
  88. She reads her local newspaper all the way through, every day, including the classified and ads. She even reads circulars for stores that are not nearby.
  89. She loves red shoes and red wallets.
  90. She wears a gorgeous diamond and gold man's ring on her middle finger, that she inherited from her father. It is believed to be a Civil War relic. When she was in the hospital I asked to wear it as a remembrance and because I didn't want it to get lost. Every time I spoke to her on the phone she would ask after the ring.
  91. When she was a child she had a pony named Twinkle.
  92. She gives the best hugs.
  93. She'd rather sit on her own front porch looking at the view than any beach or famous vista you can name. (Preferably with tea, the newspaper and a cat close at hand.)
  94. After she retired she got her Nursing Assistant Certification and began caring for the elderly.
  95. She calls all three of her children Sarah/CAB/Cricket cause she can never remember which name she wants.
  96. She is almost always early.
  97. She adores Golden Seal Magazine.
  98. She dreams of traveling to Italy one day.
  99. She is terrible at remembering names, especially sound-alike names. All through middle school she called half of Cricket's friends Christy. Cricket had no friends named Christy, she had a Kristen and a Kristina, but no Christy. Cricket has NEVER had a friend named Christy.
  100. She thinks of others first to such an extreme that once she was in a terrible three car pileup on the interstate and after she was CUT OUT of her van and put into an ambulance she composed herself enough to call her elderly mother and tell her she'd gotten home safely because she knew that Grandma Urath would be waiting by the phone and watching the time. She later called Cricket who was away at college, she made small talk and asked what Cricket was doing the next day and if she would drive home (2.5 hours) to drive her to her TOPS meeting because people were counting on her as the record keeper and she didn't want to let them down. Cricket had to pry the details of the accident out of her one by one. She tried to downplay it so much she nearly described it as a fender bender. Actually that story is basically Mama in a nutshell.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Baby Got Back

There's a rumor that my baby is back. My son Miles is a teenager. Need I even say more? When he was little he had light blond hair and I always kept it buzzed cause it was just easier to take care of. A few years ago he decided to grow his hair long. Last year he decided to dye it black. He has had long black hair for a while now. I hate it but I let him do it because hair grows back and I am saving all my NO's for tattoos and piercings. Last night my ex-husband called to tell me that my baby was back. I had no idea what he was talking about and I was a little startled at his words and the emotion in his voice. He said that Miles had asked for a haircut, he wanted it all cut off. The X said "Why don't we wait til Sunday?" Miles said "No, let's do it now before I can change my mind." They went to the Haircuttery and he got it all buzzed off. His roots were light brown. The X says that he looks just like he did back in the day. He said that the women at the shop were all making a fuss over how handsome he is and how he shouldn't have been hiding his face behind all that hair. The X was almost tearful telling me all this. I can't wait to see my baby! I have to admit, I do like this picture of him though.

Bus Stop

I have entered a brave new world by moving to the boonies. I am now taking a transit bus from the boonies to the big city. I have taken public transportation for years, but I used to drive 8 miles to the subway station (we call it Metro here in these parts), park my car and then take the train to my office downtown. The train would be packed with people, some of whom didn't smell so good. Sometimes the trains broke down and we'd have to get out and cram ourselves onto the platform and wait for the next train. Sometimes in the evening I would have to stand the whole way home, which killed my back. The morning trains were usually quiet cause everyone was half asleep, but the evening trains could get pretty rowdy. There was constant starting and stopping and door chimes. Now I drive 3 miles to a Park and Ride lot and get on a cushy motor coach that whisks me downtown in silence and comfort. I am at the second stop of 3 that the bus makes so i always get a seat. We each have our own reading light but most people just sleep so the bus is dark and quiet in the morning. The drivers are all professional and courteous. So far everyone has smelled just fine.

The most interesting part of this whole new world is the morning bus stop. There is a definite code of conduct that you can only learn by watching the others around you. The weirdest thing that I still haven't gotten used to is that we do not line up single file facing the person in front of you. The first person stands facing the street and the next person stands to the left about a foot away also facing the street. As each person arrives they stop and turn and face the street. Some put their bags down, some hold on to them. Some grip travel coffee mugs like their very life depends on it. When the line reaches the end of the building the next person stands behind the last person and the line continues to the right. The line snakes around this way, usually three rows deep by the time the bus arrives. When the bus pulls up the front line turns to the right and files onto the bus but the rest of the line stays in place and waits for the end of the line to get in front of them, at which point they just walk forward. It is the weirdest thing I have ever witnessed. On top of all that we are facing a row of abandoned buildings and there is a spotlight shining on us. I always feel like I'm in one of those prison movies and I'm waiting for the firing squad to arrive and pick us off one by one.

I always sit as close to the front as I can and on the right side of the bus because there is a partition behind the driver and you can't see out through the windshield. The afternoon stop is much more typical although no one can seem to decide which way the line should go, so some days it goes one way down the street and other days it goes the other way. I am usually the first one there, so I let the rest of them fight it out.

I have fallen asleep every day on this bus. Morning and afternoon. It is lovely to get another hour or so of sleep. This raises two concerns though. One is that I am terrified that I will sleep through my stop, but so far I always wake when the bus gets off the highway and begins stopping at stoplights. Secondly it has been reported by Sheldon and Miles that I snore. I have never snored before in my life. My ex-husband who slept in the same bed with me for 16 years assures me that I never snored when we were together, so I suppose this is a new and lovely by-product of old age. So every day I worry that I am snoring while passed out on the bus. So far no one has pinched me or poked me, but I'm curious to see if people stop sitting by me. I'll keep you posted.

John Lennon is Alive!

Okay, not really. But he communicated with me this morning. At least I think it was him. For all I know it was Napoleon or my Nannie. Years and years ago I read an interview with Julian Lennon where he described his relationship with his father. He and his father made a pact that whichever of them died first would do everything in their power to communicate from the other side. The plan they came up with was to send a feather floating down in front of the one left on Earth to let them know that they were okay. This morning while waiting for my 5:37am bus a feather came floating down from the ceiling of the bus shelter and landed about a foot in front of me. I was so relieved to know that John Lennon was safe and happy in Heaven. Then my distaste for critters kicked in and all I could think of was that what this really meant was that there were birds nesting in the rafters of the shelter and said birds might poop on me. I didn't know which way to move to avoid the impending poop bombs, so I just stood very still and hoped that the other people around me looked like better targets to the birds above.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

April Resolutions - Epic Fail

Okay this month was an Epic Fail. But hey, I was moving! I have also decided to change up a little on the choices, cause hey, they are my resolutions and I can do whatever I want!

April To Do List
1. Meet someone new - Lots of new neighbors!
2. museum - fail, although I did try to make a plan with Matt.
3. paint - Sheldon painted the kids rooms in the new house, does that count?
4. spend time with an old friend - fail
5. new recipe - oh a big YES for this one...Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings!!! YUM!!!
6. dancing - fail, sad, this is probably the one that I want MOST to actually do!
7. sushi - took Miles one night during the move, but he wasn't speaking to me at the time so it wasn't very enjoyable.
8. sell old stuff - fail, but I am determined that MAY is the month for this one!
9. lose 5 pounds - fail, again!
10. quality family time - played a game of Sorry! with Trixiebelle and Sheldon the other night.

For May this is the list:
  1. go to a museum
  2. spend time with an old friend
  3. try a new recipe
  4. spend some quality family time
  5. make Sheldon watch one chick flick
  6. visit my Mama
  7. exercise
  8. go letterboxing
  9. sell something I don't need anymore
  10. crochet or cross stitch something

Randomness on a rainy Thursday

  • When I got home yesterday Sheldon immediately wanted to know if I had blogged about the dishes. I knew he wouldn't care, but I was surprised that he wanted to know. Turns out that he had discussed it with the female teachers in the work room and for the most part they were in agreement with me. I think we almost understand each other now and are much more willing to compromise. We ate out last night, so no dishes to test my theory yet.
  • We ate at Hooters. Hooters Lots a Tots. Need I say more?
  • We are having our two story foyer, family room and powder room painted. I have a migraine from the paint fumes. My head hurts and I am nauseous, but the colors are gorgeous! The foyer and family are a warm golden brown that I adore. The powder room is a blue that was supposed to resemble the sky to coordinate with the gorgeous butterflies we got as decoration for in there, but it seems a tad bright at the moment. It may have to change.
  • I make Sheldon watch Steel Magnolias last night. Somehow he has managed to avoid all the classic chick flicks. I intend to rectify this situation. His response to SM? "That was cute." CUTE! He called the best southern movie since Gone with the Wind CUTE!
  • Have I told y'all how much I love sheets I bought at Costco a few weeks ago? I forget the thread count 400, 500, 600, but they are satiny soft with damask stripes. They came in several colors but I chose the chocolate brown.
  • Seamus the poodle made himself invisible the other night. We put him in his kennel at night because Sheldon can't stand him walking over him in the night. I usually put him outside and then into the kennel at 9pm when I am headed up to bed. A few nights ago he was asleep on the couch with me watching baseball and when I got up to put the computer away and head for bed he didn't move so I forgot about him. When Sheldon came to bed a few hours later he must have stayed put because Sheldon didn't even know he was loose. The next morning when I went downstairs he sat up and looked at me all sleepy-eyed. He had stayed loose and quiet as a mouse all night long!
  • I have eaten one of Sheldon's cherry brownies while I have been writing this and my headache seems to be dissipating. If I have found the cure for migraines I will let you know!!!
  • I think that is enough randomness for one day, but I could be wrong...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dishes, Dishes, Dishes!

Oh the DRAMA. Who knew that dishes could cause such gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair???

Sheldon and I have hit a brick wall when it comes to dishes. While on most things we can communicate fairly well, when we discuss ways and means of daily dishes we might as well be speaking two entirely different languages. I am not writing this post to beat up on him, or to garner sympathy for myself, but this is a conversation we have had over and over in the past 10 days and this is what is on my mind.

Let me start off by saying that Sheldon and I are both in our mid 40's and were both married before for more than a decade. We each spent several years as single people before this new blending of households began. I say this because it is important to understand that we have done things our own way for many years. We each tend to think that the way we do things is the RIGHT way. Period.

Sheldon believes that dishwashers were invented so that we should never do dishes by hand again. He refuses to wash anything by hand and refuses to own anything that is too delicate to be put in the dishwasher. He grew up with a dishwasher in his house and never even a saw a dish draining rack on a kitchen counter until he was in college. He maintains that no one under the age of 65 ever washes by hand, except me. I think he just called me old.

While I do enjoy the benefits of a dishwasher I do not believe that everything should be put in there and I do own things that are not dishwasher safe, like my collection of hand carved wooden spoons. I do not mind washing my wooden spoons by hand. I also have never put my metal pots in the dishwasher and seldom wash my glass baking pans in the dishwasher. This is not so much because they will be ruined in the dishwasher as it is that they take up too much room. I'd rather wash one pot and leave room for 4 more plates and bowls. Plus the dishwasher does take the finish off the pots and they don't look pretty anymore.

So, when I am done with a big dinner I put all the dishes in the dishwasher and I hand wash all the pots and pans and any dishes that didn't fit. I leave all those items on the counter to air dry. I sit in front of the tv, or the computer and enjoy my leisure. The next time I wander into the kitchen to cook or eat or visit with whomever is in there, I put away the clean dry dishes. The sick is empty and clean. The kitchen is clean.

When Sheldon is done with a big dinner he loads as much as he can into the dishwasher and starts it. He leaves the rest in the sink to await the next dishwasher load. He can't stand the clutter of clean dishes on the counter, but he doesn't mind the dirty stuff in the sink because he thinks of that as a holding pattern, not clutter.

Do you see the disconnect? Can I just tell you that we have spent no fewer than 3 hours of our lives discussing this issue in the past 10 days? There has even been yelling and crying. I can't tell if the children are worried or delighted when they hear the ruckus. We have tried to think of a system that pleases both of us, but so far nothing is working. We have attempted to NOT do the thing that drives the other person crazy, but so far that is not working either because although I don't remember leaving stuff on the counter for well over a week, he assures me that he has had to put away clean dishes on at least four occasions.

I'm sure this will blow over with time. Everything is an adjustment. I just hate the daily tension over something so minuscule. I mean Yankees vs Redsox, that is a fight I can see happening, but dishes?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I don't even know who his favorite team was

I am sitting here watching baseball with Sheldon and Trixiebelle.  The two teenagers had other activities this lovely May evening.  I can't watch baseball on tv without thinking of my Grandaddy B.  When I was a kid I lived with my paternal grandparents every summer.  My mom was a teacher and she had to take college courses every summer, so my brother and I stayed with my grandparents all summer long.  It was a fabulous childhood as my grandparents lived in sleepy Roanoke, Va and had a house at Smith Mountain Lake which is about an hour away from there.  Back in those days SML was VERY sleepy, but not so much these days. 

My family lived just outside a tiny town in the northern Shenandoah Valley.  We had no sidewalks or even paved streets in our neighborhood, so it was extra special for us living in Roanoke because we were surrounded by the best parts of life in the suburbs.  We had lots of friends in the neighborhood, paved streets for riding bikes, lots of big back yards with tons of hide and seek choices.  During the week we would go down to the lake which meant lazy days of swimming til we were ready to drop and then eating fresh fish that Grandaddy caught for our dinner.  My Grandma B. was an excellent cook and grew most of our veggies in her acre garden.

My grandfather loved baseball and always had the game on in the evenings.  I would play outside with my friends in the neighborhood until darkness fell and we were all forced inside.  My grandparents house was air conditioned which was a novelty for me as the homes I grew up in never had AC.  I remember shock of coming inside the cool, quiet house after being outside playing for hours in the heat and humidity with the crickets and cicadas and birds and children making a ruckus outdoors.  My grandfather would be in his favorite chair working on a cross word puzzle and watching the game.  He didn't say much, and I don't remember him reacting to the game at all.  I think it was just background noise for his puzzle.  I'm sure he was paying attention, but I never heard him react to things like the guys I have watched games with as an adult.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Make a U-Turn You Idiot!

While Sheldon and I enjoyed dinner on date night last night we got into a conversation about GPS voices. I drove his car to pick his daughter up the other night cause he was too sick to get off the couch. She was at Sylvan Learning Center being tutored in math. I had been there with him before but I didn't know how to find it on my own. He reminded me that he had GPS in the car before he passed out again. His son and I went online and found the address of the place and then I went out to the car and programmed it in. This all seems faintly ridiculous as I have lived and worked in this metro area for the last 25 years, but I'm just not that familiar with this part of the county. I got on the road with the GPS guiding me out of the neighborhood turn by turn. I actually turned the volume up and turned the radio off so that I wouldn't miss any instructions. I was driving on route 7 eastbound for a while (10 minutes, tops) and the woman hadn't said anything. I desperately wanted her to say, "You are doing fine, keep going straight." Or something equally comforting, but she remained silent. When she finally started giving me instructions again, I was so relieved. When I found my destination, she informed me that I was there and then she turned herself off. Again I was disappointed. I needed some love. I wanted her to say, "Hey, Good Job! You found it! You're not the idiot you thought you were!"

Could I be anymore needy?

I was telling Sheldon this and he laughed and said that he would want the opposite. He would prefer that the voice be somebody mean like Stewie from "Family Guy" who would tell him that he was an idiot. "You missed the turn you Douchbag! Make a U-Turn you Idiot! How many times do I have to tell you to get in the right lane?!"

We decided that someone should invent a programmable GPS where you could change the voice to say whatever you wanted in different celebrity voices. I got online at work this morning and found...that someone already has...check this out. Course they don't have Stuart Smalley or Oprah saying "Good Job, I knew you could do it!" But maybe they'll make one just for me.