Friday, September 29, 2006

For the Weekend

I love the Rose is Rose comic strip. We don't get it in our paper, so I go to to catch up on it. I identify with her for some reason. She has a "let it be" leaning tree that she goes to when things get overwhelming, and I especially like her alter-ego. Here's one from a couple of weeks ago.

Everyone Seems to Have Advice on the Subject

If you said that you wanted to be a doctor, what are the chances someone would advise you not to do it. If you wanted to be a teacher, a plumber, a banker, a computer programmer, or tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, no one would question your sanity. Yet, announce that you want to work in the arts, and what are you crazy? Get a real job, then you can have your hobbies.

Now, even Margaret Atwood is advising the artistic person, in this case wannabe writers, don’t do it. Said jokingly, maybe, but still another person on the bandwagon.

Well, I have some advice of my own concerning this issue: Don’t listen to them! They’re missing a very important element of having a creative life. We don’t all have to be as successful as someone like Margaret Atwood. Oh sure, the popularity and riches of Stephen King would be nice. Not to mention the comfort of knowing you could write the alphabet backwards and it would be a bestseller. But, just to have a life doing what you love to do, that’s the wonder of it.

I had a friend in Louisiana who did just that. He was a singer/musician and was the choir director at a local high school and his church. He also gave voice lessons, which is how I met him. I remember him talking about how busy he was and all the projects he was working on and I said, “How wonderful that your whole life is filled with music.” He stopped and looked at me as if he had never thought of it that way, then replied, “You’re right. It is wonderful.”

Of course, it is easier to say “Lead your creative life” than it is to make enough money to do so. But how much is enough? And compared to enjoying what you do, what is that creative life worth? If you are happy with you every-day job and having your creative outlet in your free time, then good for you. But if not, and you struggle through, feeling restless and unsatisfied, then for crying out loud, do something about it. It’s never too late. Unrealized desires and dreams fester and destroy your soul. Don’t get trapped in that if you can help it.

So, go on! Get going! What are you waiting for? Come to think of it, I should take my own advice.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ghostly Wanderings

I admit to having an active imagination. And I admit to a fascination with the occult and love of all things spooky and unexplainable, but I tend to view it all with a healthy does of skepticism. So, did I see spirits in my new bedroom or have I just watch too many episodes of Medium?

I liked this house the minute I saw it. And once I walked in, I knew it was the right house for us. I tried to like others—ones closer to the base, smaller ones, cheaper ones—but none felt as right as this one. And I tend to go with my guts when I have nothing else to go on. It needed a little work, cosmetic mostly. My real estate agent said it just needed someone to give it a little bit of loving care. Sold! I’m a sucker for being “needed.”

My brother helped us move from Ohio and stuck around to help me paint, put up shelves, and get the house in shape before all the furniture arrived. We painted all but 2 rooms in less than a week. And once our household goods arrived, he got the whole military-move experience with the unpacking and decorating to make temporary housing feel like a home. We all collapsed at the end of each night into deep, work-weary sleeps.

Well, all except me. I’ve never been a good sleeper. As soon as I lie down, my eyes open and my brain becomes active with thoughts on the days behind me and the days ahead of me. And I don’t sleep well in a strange room, restlessly trying to relax and will myself to sleep.

Jay went home and we went about the task of settling into our new home. The hardest part was feeling at ease in our bedroom. New places have weird shadows. They were just shadows, I was sure they were. Moonlight or street lights streaming through the slats in the blinds, creating the illusion of someone standing at the foot of the bed. A man wearing a flannel shirt, with the left sleeve empty, the cuff pinned to the upper arm standing at the foot of my bed.

The next morning, I decided I was dreaming because, really, a one-armed man? This isn’t Poltergeist, the neighborhood wasn’t built on a graveyard. There were no murders in this house, none anywhere around us (yes, I checked). So, once again, my imagination was getting the best of me.

And it got the best of me every couple of nights for a few weeks. I would jerk awake, seeing an image at the foot of the bed. Al said to wake him up, but boy, is he a heavy sleeper. Plus, I really thought I was probably just imagining all this.

Then it got worse. I woke up to see a light moving in the hallway, going into the guestrooms, before coming into our room. This time it was a young woman with long, blond hair and delicate features and holding a candle or some kind of light. She was surveying the room, but that’s all I saw because I closed my eyes and got as close to Al as I possibly could, hoping he would wake up. But, he slept soundly, undisturbed by ghostly movement.

The next morning, I decided that I had had enough. Sleep is a precious commodity, and I was pissed that I wasn’t getting any. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself the next morning that my imagination was getting the best of me, it was those dark hours that I couldn’t control. So, after a little research, I decided I needed to do a cleansing. No, I wasn’t going to hire an exorcist, it was a simple procedure of lighting a sage stick and walking through the house.

We have a store here that had everything I needed—a sage stick and incense, because apparently after you cleanse, you must replenish with a positive essence. The owner of this Wiccan-supplies store told me that.

When I walked into his store, I was surprised at the size of it. I was expecting a little room with jewelry, candles, and incense sticks. It had all those things, but it also had a wall full of books and tarot cards, racks of t-shirts, robes and dresses, crystals, CDs, crystal balls, herbs, soaps, and a classroom—wait. Classroom? They host workshops—Wicca workshops, from what I could gather. It was fascinating!

Anyway, the owner, Charlie, had been on the phone and by listening to the conversation (I’m not a eavesdropper, I just happen to hear some of it), I could tell that he was definitely a business man. But when talking to him in person, it’s as if he turned off that businessman demeanor. He was very enthusiastic about his shop and sees himself as a teacher, I think. I told him about my little problem, and he got the sage stick and suggested some incense. But first, he suggested that I talk to these spirits and find out what they want…Uh huh…Yes, well…No…I don’t think so. I still wasn’t convinced I was actually seeing anything, but if I was, I certainly didn’t want to open the lines of communication any more than they already had been. I didn’t feel like I was in any danger, I just wanted to sleep through the night.

So, I started in the basement. I lit the sage stick and lightly blew on it until a steady, woodsy smoke steamed out. I outlined the windows and doorways and made sure I got into the corners throughout the house. I said something to the effect of cleanse this house and leave peace and happiness or something like that. At the time, it seemed very appropriate, but now it seems a bit silly. Oh well.

After the cleansing, I walked through again with the incense. I think I used cinnamon, but I don’t remember for sure. And it doesn’t really matter because you know what? I haven’t seen anything ghostly in this house since.

So, did my ritual really cleanse my house? Did the act of doing something ease my mind so that I didn’t see anything any more? Did the tricks of the night stop because I tricked my mind? I don’t know. I just know that I don’t see them any more.

Oh, I still don’t sleep well, but not because of shadows. Just good old fashioned insomnia. Hey, I bet there’s an incense for that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pack Up All Your Cares and Woes

Quick Note: Thank you Newt for my new banner! It's awesome!

Now, back to your reading pleasure:

He’s only going to be gone for 3 days. How difficult is it to decide what to pack for a 3-day trip? Apparently, it’s just pretty darn difficult.

Should he take one uniform or two? How many regular shirts should he take? Should he take the jacket that goes with his uniform or will he even need a jacket? Should he take his workout stuff? And the list goes on.

Then it became a question of which suitcase to take. The jacket, the extra uniform, the workout stuff and any variation there of don’t fit in the backpack he wants to take. This is distressing because that’s the suitcase he wants to take to Italy, and now he’s worried that it won’t be big enough.

He’s staring at the bag, visibly upset that these things don’t fit.

“Honey, you won’t be taking your combat boots to Italy,” I remind him.

“Well, that’s true,” he says. But he’s still staring at the bag.

“Honey, you won’t be taking two bulky uniforms with you to Italy,” I try.

“Well, that’s true,” he says again, but he’s still not convinced.

He decides he only needs one uniform, but he wants to take his workout stuff. I tell him he’ll still need a bigger bag because the combat boots, uniform, and running shoes are taking up most of the space. Will he really have time to go to the gym? So, I asked him if he really wants to take his workout stuff.

Again, he’s staring at the bag.

“Honey, it’s really not that difficult a decision. You either want to take it or you don’t. If you do, get a bigger bag. If you don’t, we’ll pack up this one.”

Still staring at the bag. He decides he wants his workout stuff, and he gets a bigger suitcase. He’s still fretting that it didn’t all fit in the backpack.

“Honey, you won’t be taking your workout stuff to Italy,” I say, hoping this will be the end of it.

And it is. Everything else goes smoothly.

He’s probably landed and checked into the hotel by now. I’m sitting here trying not to fall asleep, but getting up at 4:00 am to take him to the airport, then going to the gym, then going to an estrogen-laden quilt group has worn me out. I think instead of tea and Miss Marple, I’ll have some wine and watch something on Pay Per View.

*Yawn* Night y’all.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up

We got up early and headed out to the grand opening of the new Apple Store at Village Point. We ate at Paradise Bakery and watched as the line to get in the store got longer and longer. A group of people in their late teens and early twenties all wearing the same t-shirts were running gleefully to get in line. Must be a users group. Boy, were they excited!

We joined the other geeks, and would you believe that we waited in line for over an hour? They were cycling people out and in 10 at a time. I wasn’t sure a free t-shirt was worth this, but by God I was here and I wasn’t leaving now.

We got in and wandered around every Mac and iPod possible to play with. Al’s decided which laptop he wants, but computers are like cars and motorcycles to him—there’s always another one that’s faster or cooler.

But we got the t-shirt.


Scary Acres opened this weekend. I’m not sure I’ll be going to this. Although I love ghost stories and haunted houses and scary movies, I don’t want to actually be in one. One the website they say “Don’t touch the monsters and they won’t touch you.” Sage advice. And enough to keep me away.

Zombies, it’s always zombies. Haunted attractions always look like scenes out of Night of the Living Dead. I don’t know why I don’t have a problem with vampires, witches, and ghosts (oh my!), but Zombies scare me and I usually avoid them.

Then again, Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies and I’ll watch it over and over again. I guess zombies are ok if you can laugh at them.


The Ducati dealership has an open house, so we had out that way after the Apple Store. Ducati is a motorcycle, if you didn’t already know. It was freezing cold—cloudy skies threatening rain and wind. I wasn’t sure the promise of free pizza was worth this. But they have a “shop dog” named Cedric, so I stayed entertained watching him go from person to person begging for food.

Al was hemming and hawing about if he wanted to take one of the bikes out for a test ride. Oh no, I said. You brought your helmet, you’re wearing your leather jacket, we’re here, and you are going to ride that bike! I think that he rode the Multistrada 1000 DS, but don’t hold me to that. All these names and numbers are just a jumble in my head. He liked it ok, but he didn’t go on and on about it—a sure sign that it didn’t “wow” him. Thank goodness.

Just a little side note here. I haven’t ridden with him yet and am very nervous at the prospect of doing so. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle and have no idea what to do on one. Al asked me to get on his Pacific Coast so he could see how we fit. I got up there, and I immediately clasped my arms around him and pressed against his back. Our conversation went:

Al: (laughter) Are you all the way back in the seat?

Kell: Hell no! You expect me to actually move back?

Al: (laughter) It’s OK just move back.

Kell: No. You have to figure out a way to ride like this.

Al: (laughter) Our helmets won’t let us. Back up onto the seat. . . Are you against the back rest?

Kell: You want me all the way back there?!?

So, I’m a weenie. So shoot me.


That evening we had 2 parties to go to. Two! We go months without nothing to do, then BAM! Two parties on the same night.

As we drove to one of them, we passed an annual Octoberfest celebration at a local German restaurant. We went last year and had a great time, but I remembered that last year we were in shorts and this year we’re riding with the seat heaters on. I’m not complaining. Al is, but I’m not.

Oh, and both of the parties were a lot of fun with good beer and food, but I was ready to go home by 9:30. That’s so not like me, but it had been a long day and we still had Sunday to go.


Sunday was a day of chores. Al mowed the yard, I did laundry, paid bills, and started cleaning. Al helped clean when he was done with the yard. Not really the way I had wanted to spend the day, but now the house is clean, we have clean clothes, and the yard isn’t shaggy any more. We’re just so domesticated.

Then Al went riding, and I went to the yarn shop—rewards for a job well done.


Al’s heading out-of-town tomorrow. Did you ever watch Mad About You? Remember the scene when Jamie went out of town, and as soon as Paul kissed her good by and closed the door, he started dancing and singing, “It’s mine, it’s mine, the whole house is mine.” That’s me. Oh, stop tut-tutting me; he’ll be back in a few days. We always appreciate each other more after these trips. Besides, I’m not the easiest person in the world to live with—he needs a break every now and then.


I don’t think I’ll be going to the movies. I got in the latest Miss Marple mysteries from Netflix. These ran on PBS recently and I kept missing them. So, I think I’ll put the kettle on, whip up a batch of scones, and get my knitting.

Oh, that reminds me! If you have BBCAmerica (and why wouldn't you, except for the outrageous cable bill that comes with it), they are going to show the first season of the new Dr. Who with Christopher Eccleston. I'm not as big a Dr. Who fan as I am a Christopher Eccleston fan. Also, Wire in the Blood is starting a new season, if you like psychological drama/mysteries. OK, that's all.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sweeping Away the Cobwebs

We were watching the season premier of CSI:NY the other night. Guess Al was getting a little frustrated with the story line because he said, “Well, I guess they get all their exercise making intuitive leaps.”

We also like to joke about the “magic flashlight” on those CSI shows. They never turn on lights, and even when there is plenty of light, they still use their flashlights, and they always, always find something teeny tiny. It’s magic.


Al can’t wait for the weekend. We are getting an Apple Store and the grand opening is Saturday! If I don’t watch out, he’s going to want to retire here—Apple Store, BMW Motorcycles, a bar with the most single malts outside of Scotland (over 500). He may never leave. But then again, winter hasn’t set in yet.


It rained all day yesterday, and I love rainy days. Unfortunately, I was driving in it, which I don’t love. But I got home as quickly as I could so that I could raise all the blinds and sit and enjoy it. I listened to the Manheim Steamroller Halloween CD and did some knitting. It was one of those days that I didn’t mind being a bored housewife.


Al goes out of town next week, and I want to see a movie. He’s not a big movie guy, and I’m behind in my movie watching, plus I really need to get out of the house more. Unfortunately, there’s not much I want to see. I’ve heard that Little Miss Sunshine is great, so maybe. Maybe The Illusionist or Hollywoodland. Or maybe I’ll just stay home and watch Harry Potter movies again.


Madrid has banned runway models who were overly thin saying that young girls try to emulate the unhealthy look....Duh. The next “Duh” moment in the article is the whining by American modeling agents, saying they’re being used as scapegoats for illnesses like anorexia and bulimia. Sorry sweetie, but you’re not just a scapegoat.


The pumpkin patches are opening this weekend and next.--a sure sign of Fall! That plus the sound of the high school band rehearsing just puts me in a good mood. We’re entering my favorite time of year, and it’s about damn time. Is it just me or does summer get longer every year? OK, it’s just me, but really, I’m so sick of wearing the same ol’ summer clothes. I’m ready for sweaters and long skirts and boots. Boots! Some women go crazy for the stappy-high heel, I got crazy for high-heeled long leather boots. I think I’ll leave it at that.


Quick Halloween memory: I was handing out candy in our San Antonio neighborhood when a group of pre-teens came up. While taking their sugary loot, one of the kids said, “Hey, she looks like your mom!” They blithely turn away and I say, “Unless she’s in her 20s and hot, that’s not a compliment!” I should have taken back their candy.


We’re watching the end of Shark, a new series starring James Woods. The teenage daughter has decided to stay with her dad instead of her mom and tells him it’s because he needs her. Then John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me” starts to play. I have a stupid grin on my face and am trying to hold back the tears. Al says, “Oh give me a break! How stupid.” And thus endeth the lesson on the difference between husband and wife. Well, at least this husband and wife.


And to give you a peek into the great Midwest state of Nebraska, here’s a sign of the restaurant that Al and the other riders stopped at on their weekly motorcycle run:

Yeah! We may not have a fancy Four Seasons restaurants or some big celebration like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but we celebrate testicles. Top that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

MEME, It's All About ME

1. Who is the last person you held hands with?
My sweetie, of course

2. If you were drafted into a war, would you survive?
Nope, not a chance. I don’t take orders well, especially if they are yelled at me like they are in basic training.

3. Have you ever drank milk out of the carton?
Ashamed to say I have and do. (And shouldn’t that be “drunk”?)

4.Have you ever won a spelling bee?
Are you kidding? But I can conjugate the verb “drink.”

5. How fast can you type?
Like the wind, baby. Um, do you mean accurately? Not so fast, then.

6. Are you afraid of the dark?
Nope. Unless of course I start to think about that play I saw about an old guy telling a young guy about this ghost who appears to people whose family she is going to kill and the young guy sees this woman in white, but when he mentions it to the old guy, he tells the young guy that he didn’t see any woman in white and that was the ghost! Well hell. Now I have to sleep with the light on again.

7. What is your eye color?

8. When is the last time you chose a bath over a shower?
I’m lucky enough to have one of those whirlpool tubs, so it’s been recent, I just don’t remember when. Guess it wasn’t that recent.

9. Do you knock on wood?
Yeah. I need all the help I can get.

10. Are you drinking anything right now?
Nope, but I just finished a Skinny Dip—New Belgium Brewery’s summer seasonal.

11. Can you hoola hoop?
That takes waaaaaaay too much coordination. And my hips just don’t seem to move that well any more. Maybe I should take a belly dancing class?

12. Are you good at keeping secrets?
Yes, except for that thing that Jay did…wait…I can’t tell you about that.

13. What do you want for Christmas?
For my mom or brother to win the PowerBall, assuming of course they’ll take care of me for the rest of my life. Otherwise, I want world peace.

14. Do you talk in your sleep?
So I’ve been told.

15. Who wrote the book of love?
Those people who wrote the Kama Sutra

16. Have you ever flown a kite?
Yes. Great. Now I’m going to sing that song from Mary Poppins (Let’s go fly a kite . . .)

17. Do you consider yourself successful?
Any day that I don’t end up in a padded room trying to spell my name with a crayon between my toes is a successful day.

18. How many people are on your contact list of your cell?
3—my home, my hubby’s cell, my mom. I have a small but tight circle.

19. Have you ever asked for a pony?
Yep but Mom always said no, as she should have. But she gave me a stuffed horse instead!

20. Plans for tomorrow?
Gym, quilt group and picking up prescriptions. Busy day for Kell!

21. Missing someone now?
Lots of people.

22. How are you feeling today?
Well, today was pretty good. Temp in the low 60s, skies blue, good hair day, didn’t end up in a padded room trying to spell my name with a crayon between my toes …

23, 23???

24. Are you black?

Let’s see. When I drink red wine or workout, I’m red. When I have the flue, I’m pasty white. When I was a teenager and laid out at the pool, I was dark brown. And when I’m happy, I’m just peachy.

25, 25?

26. What are you looking forward to?
My trip to Scotland in March.

27. Have you ever crawled through a window?
OK! I’m sorry! I thought the keys to the house where in my purse. Geez, give a girl a break.

28. Can you handle the truth?
No. Lie to me, please lie to me.

29. Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them in a boat, I do not like them with a goat. It kind of scares me that that’s the only line I remember from that book.

30. What three things do you always bring with you to places?
A wallet, a book, and lipstick

31. Any cool scars?
It’s not really that cool, but I have a scar under my right knee, but I don’t really remember what from because I was so young.

32. Do you like or have a crush on anyone?
Oh, not really. They’re more like obsessions.

33. How many kids do you plan on having?
None. I think that boat has sailed. Looking for four-legged furry ones now.

34. What do you do when no one is watching?
Well, if I told you that, I couldn’t do it when no one is watching because you’d always be looking at me to see if I’m doing it.

35. Have you ever been in love?
Have and are.

36. Do you talk to yourself?
Of course, but it’s usually in the form of a sigh and an exasperated “Kell!” followed by me having to fix something I did wrong.

37. Is there something you want that you do not have?
I’m sure there is, but I can’t think of anything right now. Although I’m sure it’s sparkly.

38. Who are you thinking about right now?
Santa Claus because you just asked if there’s something I want and I remembered that I have to make some kind of list for my family for Christmas, but I have to do it soon because nobody likes to go shopping after Thanksgiving but me. Wimps.

39. Who did you last hug?
My hubby. He’s just so huggable.

40. Where is your phone?
Wait, I have to hit that page button so it’ll beep . . . it’s on the kitchen island.

41. What is the last movie you watched?
Split Second, a not-so-good-but-I-kept-watching-anyway movie with Clive Owen.

42. What song do you currently hear?
The Good Eats theme because that’s what I’m watching right now.

43. What do you want?
See #37.

44. Would you ever date anyone on your friends list?
OK, I don’t really understand this question. Are you talking about someone that my friend would want to date and I date him instead, or are you talking about the Friends TV show where they talked about their list? Doesn’t matter either way because I’m married, and I don’t think he’d like it if I went out with someone else. He’s funny that way.

45. What TV Show are you watching?
Good Eats on Food Network—AB rocks!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (your first pet and the street that you live on)
Tippy Q

(grandfather/grandmother on your mom’s side, your favorite candy)
Ruby Peppermint

3. YOUR “FLY GIRL/GUY” NAME: (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your middle name
K Jo

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Sheep (?—guess I should’ve thought of a cooler animal)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Jo Yellville

(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom’s maiden name)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The”, your favorite color, favorite drink)
The Green Draft (I’m like the wind, baby!)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers)
Johnny John (Hey! That’s the same as Jay’s!)

9. FUTURISTIC NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite shoes)
Beautiful Stiletto

( mother/father’s middle name and the next name you hear on the tv/radio/talk)
Ann Angel

11. STRIPPER NAME: (favorite dance and favorite snack)
Samba Lays (couln't resist)

So, wanna play along? Take it, take it, it’s yours!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Better Blocks

My new sewing machine rocks! I can't believe I had so much buyer's remorse before. Just wait until you see these new blocks. No whining this time about how they are the best I could do and how eventually I'll get better and whatever other excuses I came up with for flat-topped triangles and points that don't meet. My new Pfaff has fixed a lot of that. With that sewing machine, even I am a good quilt top piecer.

So, let's get started, shall we? Here's Great Lakes Star:

The colors are so pale, it's a little hard to see. I wouldn't normally choose these colors--I'm more of an earth tones person with occasional bursts of strong colors. But I decided I should stretch my horizons and work with something I wouldn't normally, thus the pastel colors.

Here's Winding Way. Really, really proud of this one. Sure, I had to rip out a few seams, and reposition and try again. And sure, I had to go buy more material because even though I measured twice and cut once, I still goofed. Now I read the instructions at least twice, measure a few times, then cut. Oh well, operator error does happen.

Here's a close up of one of the corners. Please notice the way the points meet in the middle. And the way the big triangle point meets the small triangle point above it. Huh? Cool. It's amazing how this little thing just makes me so happy.

And a close up of the center. See how all those triangles actually have pointy tops!?! *girlie happy noise*

Still more blocks to come, and I'm no longer afraid. I might be lulling myself into a false sense of security, but I'll enjoy it while I can.

And, I'm still knitting on the shawl. I love the way this is turning out.

This first one is a little washed out, but you can see the pattern. The second pic is a better representation of the color.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

So Many Books, So Little Time?

I went to check out the website for the magazine Good that I heard about on JD's blog. I am always on the lookout for new magazines. I need that basket of catalogues and magazines by the couch to completely run over, not just topple a little.

I zoned in immediately on this article by Michael Silverblatt, lamenting the fact that people don't read any more. Not only don't they read, they don't want to read. That reminded of me of the time we were living in Bossier City, Louisiana, and a Barnes and Noble opened. This was huge for me. But Al said that he saw a guy walk in and say, "Well hell. All they have in here is a bunch of books." That's just so sad.

Silverblatt thinks people don't read because those people never really learned how to read. He has an interesting point. He says we are able to read--we learned to recognize the words but not how to enjoy reading. He references an essay by Randall Jarrell that said in the 1880s, fifth-graders (I'm going to repeat that--fifth graders) were reading Byron, Dickens, Shakespeare, Emerson, Cooper, Cervantes. When did you read books from those writers? High school? College? Ever? Come to think of it, I didn't even read Jarrell until graduate school.

Silverblatt also talks about how part of reading is incomprehension. He says, "The greatest books are the books that you come to understand more deeply with time, with age, with rereading." I love that. I have books that I tried to read in college but just couldn't get into them. But I have since realized that I just wasn't able to comprehend them yet. This is especially true of poetry.

There's a great scene in the play Vanities where Kathy says that she made a list of all those books they were supposed to read in high school and college, and she's been reading them--"And they're actually good." I do the same thing. I have a lists of books that I really think I should have read or that I should reread because I don't think I really appreciated them during the first reading. Ulysses by James Joyce is my white whale. I really want to read and understand that book. It's a huge list, by the way, that I don't think I'll ever get through. Especially since every time I start one of those books, a new mystery comes out or I hear of a new writer that I just have to read first. That's why I usually have 2 or 3 books going at once. I think I have a bit of an attention span problem.

Like the people in Silverblatt's article, I'm always saying, "I don't have any free time to read." Well, that's not true. I do have free time to read, but for some bizarre reason, I feel guilty if I'm just sitting around reading a book. It seems like a luxury to me, and when I indulge, I think that I really should be cleaning or doing all those things I need to do around the house but always put off or just working on something more tangible. Sad, really.

So, let's make more time for reading and not feel guilty about it. But I don't think you necessarily have to go back and read the Western Canon. I still believe that just because something is a classic or is in an anthology does not mean you have to like it. Whether you read for fun, read to learn, or read to pass the time, you're still going to have likes and dislikes. But I do think it is possible to not like something but still appreciate the skill behind it. But you don't have to like all of it. Personally, I'm not going to read Moby Dick. I don't like Melville. I read Billy Bud in college, and of all the American literature I've had, that is the book that was torture to finish. Now, maybe if I tried again with my now-life experiences I might have more appreciation, but I don't care. I don't want to read Moby Dick.

Oh, and the really cool thing about Silverblatt's article is that there is a sidebar with resources, so if you don't knew who David Foster Wallace is (and I didn't) he gives you a little information on him.

So, read any good books lately?

Friday, September 15, 2006


You wouldn't believe how long it took me to do this MEME. I know, I know, a lot of people have already done it and moved on. I'm gonna make up my own MEME one of these days.

Oh, and thanks everyone for your kind concern. I'm feeling better and am going to try not to turn this blog into a how-the-MS-is-doing-today journal.

And, here we go:

1. Three things that scare me:
Clowns (this is Jay's fault)
My car breaking down on the side of the road
Carneys! (Thank you Austin Powers)

2. Three (non-internet) people who make me laugh:
Billy Connolly
Jon Stewart
Ellen DeGeneres

3. Three things I hate the most:
Liver and onions

4. Three things I don't understand:
People always on their cell phones
How airplanes stay up in the sky (But don’t tell me—let it be magic)
Paris Hilton’s popularity

5. Three things I'm doing right now:
Working on a To Do list instead of actually doing
Drinking a cup of tea

6. Three things I want to do before I die:
Fly first class
Sing in a band
Remember to get everything I need from the grocery store in one trip

7. Three things I can do:
Answer the Arts and Leisure questions in Trivial Pursuit
Pat my head and rub my tummy
Crafty things

8. Three ways to describe my personality:
Analyzes too much

9. Three things I can't do:
Remember phone numbers
Be a size 6

10. Three things I think you should listen to:
Your grandparents’ stories
Music that moves you

11. Three things you should never listen to:
Your inner demons

12. Three things I'd like to learn:
Spin wool into yarn
Dog sledding
French/Italian/Latin/Gaelic—any language, really

13. Three favorite foods:
Indian food
Pie—any kind of pie
Warm bread, with really good quality butter

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:

15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mystery Hour
Wonderful World of Disney
Starsky and Hutch

16. Three people I'm tagging:
Anyone who needs something to blog

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Here We Go Again

My leg hurts. Dammit. I haven’t increased the weights of my workout nor have I increased the intensity or duration of my aerobics. Know what that means? Yep. It’s the MS. Again. But this time, I’m not scared and I’m not feeling sorry for myself—I am Pissed. Off.

Do those 5 stages of grief work for diagnosis, too? If so, I’m going backwards. I accepted the diagnosis very early, then the depression hit. I didn’t do much bargaining—that’s a waste of time. Now I’m just angry. That means denial is next. Well, that should be fun.

So, I’m having muscle spasms down the top of my left thigh. Sometimes, it’s in the back of my thigh. And there’s a cramp in the hip flexor area. It’s known as spasticity. Al asked if I’ve told the MS nurse I see. No. Wanna know why? Because she’s going to ask me “Are you on your period?” And I’m gonna say, “Why the f*** do you wanna know????” So, the answer would be yes.

See, this is one of the reasons MS is so frustrating. Nothing I do seems to bring on the symptoms; otherwise, I could do a better job of stopping them. No, it’s things I can’t really control. Infection—even some small harboring infection that I don’t even know is there. Extreme heat—I can wear a cooling bandana around my neck, but I can’t completely avoid the summer. Menstrual cycle—Oh the wonders of being female. Can’t control that one either. Well, I guess I could. I could take my birth control pills continuously and deny myself the period that some doctors are saying I don’t really have to have. But that just seems wrong. Besides, I’ve never been one to consider that time of the month as my “curse.” What a horrible euphemism that is. Makes it sound like some Victorian ailment that proves the inferiority of women.

And there’s really nothing I can do about this symptom, either. I’ve never had a pain that I couldn’t just take an aspirin and knock it out. With spasticity, the prescription is for muscle relaxants. The ones that completely knock me out and make me loopy for a long time. The ones they want me to take 3 times a day. Three times a day! The last time this happened (the time that it scared me), I decided that it was a mind game and that I wasn’t going to let this slow me down. OK, so maybe I have slid into the denial stage already. Anyway, I went to the gym, I ran every errand I could think of, I cleaned, I cooked, I basically did more that I normally do. Then I read in one of my books on MS “really, the only thing you can do to help spasticity is to rest.” Well, hell. So, this time, I’m still working out and doing the things I need to do, but I’ve slowed down a little and decided I don’t really have to be super-MS-patient-woman-person-whatever.

So, my leg hurts. Dammit. Oh, I said that already, didn’t I? Well, so maybe there is a little self-pity. And maybe there is a little bit of fear. The MS nurse has told me several times that just because I’m having symptoms, even symptoms I haven’t had before, does not mean the MS is getting worse. It’s just the way the disease is. In other words, ya gotta live with it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But my leg still hurts.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kate and Pete

I admit it. I’m a Shakespeare geek. I like to read the plays, I like to watch the plays, I like to talk about the plays, I like actors who regularly perform the plays, and I love Stratford-upon-Avon and all it’s Shakespearian tourist traps. I fondly remember sitting in The Swan theatre in Stratford and listened to an actress from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) lead a seminar about the why she portrayed Isabella in the latest production of Measure for Measure (a very disturbing play) the way she did. I don’t care if he really wrote the plays or not, I like them any way.

But I’m not a snob about it. I think alternative interpretations are great and don’t have to see men in tights professing loudly in iambic pentameter. I love seeing different versions because it’s always interesting to see how a director/actor/screenplay adaptor interprets the work. A production at my college had A Comedy of Errors set in the Wild West, and a production of Taming at the Shrew here in Nebraska was set in the 1950s of Las Vegas.

I love The Taming of the Shrew; it’s one of my favorites. I think it’s hilarious, and feminists and chauvinists who think it really is about taming a woman aren’t paying attention to what’s written (my take on that to come later). And a fantastic adaptation ran on BBCAmerica recently as part of the BBC’s ShakespeaRe-Told series. It ran in England in 2005, so we’re getting a little late, but thank goodness we got it! And BBCAmerica, by the way, is the only reason we have cable (well, that and the Speed Channel for Al).

So, anyway, in this version, Katherine (Shirley Henderson) is a successful politician, being primed to take over as leader of her party, by suggesting that she get married. She’s also wildly outspoken and all emotion, usually anger. Pete (or Petruchio—Rufus Sewell) is an eccentric rogue whose family fortune is gone and who needs to “wife it wealthily.” (By the way, if they do a bio-pic on Freddy Mercury, Sewell is a shoe in.) Katherine and Pete are a perfect passionate match. Henderson and Sewell are amazing in these roles, as are all the actors. Sally Wainwright has written one of the most clever adaptations I have ever seen. She’s interspersed actual lines from the play, which seem completely natural for a crazy but educated Pete to say. All of the plot lines and scenes are there—Bianca falling for Lucentio, Katherine’s mother (in this version) who obviously prefers her beautiful and famous younger daughter, Pete showing up in bizarre clothes to the wedding, the country house where Pete “tames” Katherine, Harry (Hortensio) losing Bianca but marrying a wealthy widow, and even the final monologue where Katherine scolds her sister and mother for not treating her husband as “her lord, her life, her keeper.”

But in this 21st century adaptation, when Bianca challenges Katherine’s last speech and tells her to put her hand beneath her husband’s foot if she truly feels that way, Katherine says she would if he asked, but he wouldn’t because she would not ask the same of him. Pete and Katherine, man and wife, are on the same level. Of course, when they are alone in the elevator, Katherine tells Pete she is pregnant but he’ll have to stay home with the kids because she is not giving up his career, which he readily agrees with. So, who tamed whom?

Now, whether you like it or not, I’m going to indulge in a little literary criticism here and tell you why I think this is the only way The Taming of the Shrew can end. In the final scene (Act 5, Scene 1), Petruchio and Katherine have come home for Bianca’s wedding. Petruchio bets the other newly married men that his wife is more obedient than theirs. One at a time, the men send an order through a Page to come to them. Bianca tells the Page she is busy and will not come. The widow sends the Page back to say, “She says you have some goodly jest in hand:/She will not come: she bids you come to her.” Katherine has heard all of this and has seen the Page come twice, now, to ask the same thing of a wife. There is no doubt in my mind that she has figured out what is going on, since this is just the kind of test that Petruchio would have given her. So when she is called, she comes, and when he tells her he doesn’t like her hat and to take it off, she does. Then she drags those ungrateful wives in and gives her over-the-top speech on how women should honor their husbands—those hard-working husbands who ask nothing more than “love, fair looks, and true obedience.” The speech is indulgent and hits on every aspect (or stereotype) of what it is to be a woman and a wife. And because Kate does this, her husband wins the bet, another dowry, which she will most certainly benefit from. Petruchio and Kate kiss and are off, victorious as a partnership.

Does Katherine really believe this speech? I don’t think so. As has been set up in other scenes in which Katherine and Petruchio try to outdo each other in outrageousness, this seems like another contest. The difference is that this time, they win as a couple against the others. And Katherine knows this is a contest when she enters the room because she has seen her sister and the widow turn away the same request from their husbands. And, she gets one up on her family and the town, and revenge is oh so sweet to Katherine.

Besides, do you really think Shakespeare would have written a serious treaty on how a woman should behave with Queen Elizabeth in the audience? I don’t think so. I think he found the balance of stating what the masses want to hear but making it so outrageous that there’s no way the speaker can mean what she is saying.

Oh, and that hat that Katherine takes off? Many times the scene is staged so that as they are leaving, Katherine points to the hat, which Petruchio quickly picks up and hands to his wife.

But don’t take my word for it. See it! Rent it! Read it! Revel in it! Then make up your own mind.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Wasn't Going To Do This, But . . .

I feel that I shouldn’t let the day go by without some comment. I’m not really sure what to say because to be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel. I haven’t categorized or analyzed my feelings about 9/11 too much. So, maybe this would be a good time to do that.

I’m disgusted. It’s impossible to have any kind of tribute to the memory of the innocent people who lost their lives on 9/11 without that nagging feeling that it’s all an act. Oh, I’m sure there is some emotion in these politicians and pundits; you’d have to really be cold-hearted not to have some kind of emotional response. But I can’t help thinking that while all these tributes were being planned, election advisors were consulted on what to say, how to look, and on the best way to use this moment for political advantage. That’s not just being cynical, that’s just the way things seem to happen in this country. But you can bet Bush won’t have his sleeves rolled up this time—nice somber suit. Funeral-like but respectful.

I’m angry. What have we learned in the 5 years since 9/11? We’ve learned that there was not a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, nor were there weapons of mass destruction being built; therefore, there was no justification for the thousands of lives lost in a war in Iraq. And we’ve learned that while they deplete our military sources in other countries, our government is unable to take care of its own during a devastating natural disaster. And we’ve learned that all you have to say is “I take full responsibility” and we’re all supposed to bow down and pretend that everything is ok now.

I’m conflicted. I’m stuck in the middle, and I don’t like it. I live in a military world, and I can tell you honestly that you all have a lot to be proud of in your military. They are the hardest working, most honorable, and most sincere people I have met. They believe they are working for their country and trying to make the world a better place for all of us. I support the military, but I don’t support this administration, and that puts me in an awkward position. Retired generals can come out against the handling of the war, but active duty people and their dependents shouldn’t. Oh, it’s ok to have an opinion, it’s just not a good idea to voice it too loudly. Mainly because the majority of people are not going to agree with you, any way. And I’m very good at keeping the peace and just towing the line.

I’m sad. For all those who lost loved ones and those who lost their lives, I feel that pain. I remember turning on the news and watching the plane crash into the Twin Towers and the feeling of unbelief that came with that. I knew it was a different world now and that things would never really go back to “normal.” The base locked down, and I fielded phone calls from scared family and friends, telling them that Al was fine, no he hasn’t gone any where, and no, I didn’t know any more than they did.

I’m proud. Well, I am. I’m proud of the way we as Americans flew flags proudly and showed a united front in the face of terrorism. I’m proud of a military that puts their lives on the line. I’m proud of those who are left behind—military families and those who lost loved ones during the attacks—for continuing to fight for some kind of normalcy, while trying to be strong for those who are depending on them. And I’m proud that there’s a way for people to voice their opinions, whether on a blog, in an essay, or on a soapbox.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Test Proves It

I'm a Wit! Who knew? What are you?

Thanks Lisa for the link!

the Wit

(71% dark, 34% spontaneous, 26% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

- it rules -

If you're interested, try my best friend's best test:
The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 94% on darkness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on spontaneity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on vulgarity

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Was Just Thinkin'

I love those "identity theft" commercials--the ones where the victims have the voice of the person who stole their idetity. I especially like the two old ladies talking about their new motocycles, shoot. Yeah, shoot.


House is back on! I love that show. I don't always watch it, but then again, there's nothing that I always watch any more. Thank Goodness for DVR--I can set it to record the series, then I don't have to remember when it's on. It also helps when I missed the final episode of Charmed (aaarrrrrggghhhh!) because I set the recorder to tape it, and by God, I will see that final episode. And life will be good again.


My favorite quote in the article about Path to 9/11 in the New York Times:

It’s not the inaccuracies of “The Path to 9/11” that make ABC’s mini-series so upsetting. It’s the situation on the ground in Afghanistan now.

Umm, yeah, it kind of is the inaccuracies that are upsetting. This really isn't something you want to take "dramatic license" with, is it? Do you really think Joe Average is going to pay attention to the "fictionalized" statement with the miniseries? Or do you think he or she is going to take it all as gospel since it's on TV?

I won't be watching it. Actually, I'm probably not going to turn on the tv at all from Sunday until Tuesday. I'm sorry if it sounds insensitive, but I don't want to see all the 9/11 drama replayed for me, and the politicians profusely pontificating.


We have good friends coming in on Monday to stay for the week. We'll be planning our trip to Italy! Unfortunately, Al can't get any time off work like he thought he could, so it'll just be the three of us. Just between you and me, I think Al prefers it that way--go to work, come home, and all the work's done! He's really so easy-going that he doesn't care where we go, what we do, or where we stay. Our friends are flying up in their plane. How much do they suck? I'm hoping they bring their dachshund, Milo, but Milo doesn't travel well. He doesn't get sick, but he whines very loudly all the time he's in the car/plane/whatever. But he's so cute.


I'm enjoying my new sewing machine (you knew I would, didn't you). There's a Pfaff club at the store I bought it at, so I went to my first one today and learned how to bind a quilt using the 1/4-inch foot with a guide. Cool. Not that I ever seem to finish a quilt to the point that it's ready for binding, but it's nice to know that when the time comes, I can do it!


Do you ever feel like no matter what you do it's never good enough? You work out, but you really should "step it up" to get a better work out. You watch your diet, but you should drink more water or eat more vegetables and fruits. You dust and pick up the clutter around the house, but you should have vacuumed and mopped, too. You try to be a good person and go to church, but you should be bringing unsaved people to church with you. You try to cook good dinners, but you really should eat those leftovers so you don't throw out any food. Geez! I hate the word "should." Really, who's to say what I "should" do? OK, so I put more pressure on myself than anyone else, but really, I shouldn't. Wait. No. But really, I am not going to do that any more. And I'm going to start by cutting "should" out of my vocabulary.


I had flashbacks to the 70s this week. I watched Jaws and All That Jazz. Yeah, they're a little dated and pretty much stuck in the 70s, but I still love those movies. Hmmmm, maybe it has something to do with Roy Scheider? Oh, and it's always kind of cool to watch those movies as an adult because now I get all the jokes and allusions that I didn't get as a kid. Like when Quint says his toast "Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women." I never go that as a kid. Yeah, I was that naive.


One last thing. One of my best friend's mother passed away on Monday. By Wednesday, real estate agents had started leaving their cards on the front door of her mother's house. Vultures.

Well, that's enough. Have a great weekend everyone. Posting may be a little sparatic next week. But I'll still be checking in on you guys!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pollock WannaBe

A good friend sent this to me, and I'm having way too much fun with it. Create your own Jackson Pollock masperpiece. Click on the link and move your mouse to get going. It took me a minute to realize that it didn't "start" until I moved my mouse. Clicking on the mouse changes the colors, and the speed in which you move the mouse makes changes too. ALSO - you can change colors by stopping your mouse and then restarting.

I love Jackson Pollock, and this was a lot of fun. The only downfall is that you can't do much actual splatters, more like streaks and blobs. Still fun though.

Here's the link:

Did you ever see the movie about Pollock staring Ed Harris? It was amazing.

So, how did your masterpiece turn out?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Needles Flying

I've had a block about what to blog about. There's nothing going on, I'm not in a reflective mood, and I'm staying busy with other things.

So, here's one of the things I'm busy with:

This lovely shawl-to-be is called an Aran Pocket Shawl and is in Folk Shawls. It's also my grandmother's Christmas present. I hope you can see the pattern; it's really pretty. But, the pattern is in sets of 18 rows and I'm not used to it yet. So, it took me over 3 hours to knit 5 inches. This shawl is 87 inches long. I'm in for a lot of knitting. Luckily, this yarn is gorgeous to work with. It's Jo Sharp Silkroad and is made up of wool, silk, and cashmere. And even better, I got it on sale! There is a downside to that, however. As I'm knitting, I'm looking in my sack of 16 balls of yarn, worrying that I'm going to run out before I finish. And this yarn was on clearance. Maybe I should do a search on the web and get a couple of more. I still have so much to learn about knitting, and one of those things is to know how much yarn to get if I'm substituting a different yarn. Oh well. It'll be beautiful anyway. And my Nana would love anything that I made, that's what Nanas do best.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Phoebe's Gone Home

It was a lot of fun having Phoebe stay with us. It's different having a big dog in the house, since we're used to smaller and medium-sized dogs. Big dogs are much easier to pet--when Phoebe sat by me or lay down next to the couch, I didn't have to stretch to far to pet her. And she loooooved to be petted.

She loved to play and was very demanding. But at night, I'd say, "Bedtime!" and she'd grab one of her toys and head upstairs to sleep at the foot of our bed. And the retreiver in her manifested in that every time someone came home, she'd greet them at the door with a toy in her mouth.

Alas, if we all harbored ideas that this would make Al want to get another dog, it didn't. He was ready for Phoebe to go home a day before she left. But considering that we've got trips planned next year, it's probably not a good time to bring in a new dog, just to leave him/her for 2 weeks at a time in a 2-month period.

Anyway, here are a few more pics of her. She's just so darn cute!

A little bit of separation anxiety

This is one of her "wanna play" looks--see the ball on the floor? She just barked at me to get my attention.

This is the "up close begging" to play position

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Three Rs

The latest SAT scores are in and they aren’t pretty. As a matter of fact they’re low, lower than anyone wants to see.

This is an unusual situation in that it’s a new test and a new essay writing section has been added. I don’t doubt that those factors played a part, and we probably shouldn’t jump to too many conclusions.

But what’s the fun in that?

OK, so I was a senior editor at a publisher who produced, created, wrote, and graded these kinds of standardized tests for individual states. Coming from that point of view only, I have a guess of why this happened. Because state standardized tests are created by administrators, who also set the curriculum, and teachers have to teach to that test. So, real knowledge is not being taught, and the kids are suffering when it comes to these national standardized tests.

Before the big push came for states to set exams for students, a standardized test was used. It was a commercial test the school system or state could buy for all their students to take. The kids in California took the same test that the kids in Alabama took. But now, that kind of general test isn’t good enough. School administrators and local Department of Education people want a test specifically created for their state. Millions, and I mean millions, of dollars later, they have a test that has been approved by the DOE and administrators. Oh, teachers have some input along the way. That is IF the school district will give them per diem and not dock their pay and give them the day off in the first place to come to the big meetings where the items (or questions) are reviewed.

But, knowledge is knowledge you say! These kids should be able to pass the tests no matter what their state tests. Yeah, except that there are many different testing companies putting out these tests. And each company has its own way of doing things and wording things. Plus, the administrators have their own standards for how things should be worded.

Let me give you a little example. One of the states we did a test for had strict rules for the stories that had to be specifically written for their reading comprehension. Some of the rules (I’m paraphrasing, but you’ll get the idea):

No single mothers.
Grandparents must always be seen as energetic and healthy.
Fathers cannot be alone with daughters.
No adult males, including fathers, should hug or otherwise touch the girls in the story.
If a mother is not mentioned in the story, a reason for her absence must be stated, such as she’s gone to the store, so that the children do not seem to be abandoned.

In addition to those parameters, we were constantly told to rewrite items that contained items not everyone has. So, no questions about cars, homes, certain toys, etc. were allowed. One item was thrown out because it was about a bookcase, and not everyone can afford a bookcase.

I hope you get the idea why this quickly turns ridiculous. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all that the scores are lower than in the past for the SAT. It’s not nearly as well controlled as the state test.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Promoted to dog-sitter

We had a great day yesterday. Al has been promoted and everyone is happy. The parties, both of them, went well. The sub and the cake went fast at work, then the chili and everything else went fast that night.

During promotion ceremonies, the commander gives a little speech about the person's accomplishments. I sat there thinking, "I didn't know he did that!" Well, maybe I did, but I had never heard all of it described with such impressive adjectives and facts. For Al, it's just his job and he quickly will tell you that it's not him, it's the help he gets from his co-workers and luck. But that's one of the things that makes him special. He thanks the people he works with and that work for him first. Well, actually, he thanked his wife for putting up with him for all these years, first.

Then, instead of giving me the obligatory (his word, not mine) roses, he gave me something he knew I would like more--a Mont Blanc pen! Holy shit! He announced to everyone that I have a pen fetish, which is true, then he gave me this lovely pen. I'm almost afraid to write with it. Almost.

I am unworthy of this marriage. Now, don't try to make me feel better, I'm serious. As I listened to the colonel talk about Al's accomplishments, I realized that in the last couple of years, I've become apathetic. Apathetic to military things, to his job, to what comes next for us, and to my part in it. Granted, Al's had his moments, too, when he's a little apathetic, and I know we can't always both be totally attentive all the time, but I think I've fallen down on the job here, so to speak. So, now I just have to do something about it. Does anyone have a time machine?

On a happier note, we are dog sitting this weekend! She is the sweetest boxer mix, and her name is Pheobe. She's 11 years old and about 70 pounds and is so well trained. When I woke up this morning, I wondered if she needed to go outside yet, and about that time I heard her jingling as she came upstairs to find us. Oh, and she was carrying one of her stuffed toys with her. She's so cute. And she has already realized where her cookies are being kept and leads us to them regularly.

Here are a couple of pics of her:

Isn't she cute?!?

Have a great long weekend everyone! I think we're just going to hang out with the dog.