Friday, November 28, 2008


I haven't posted in a week.

And so much has gone on, too: teen drama, new skills attained, food eaten, and shop class.

I'll post details when I have time, right now I hope you all are well, but I have work to do (for which I'm paid).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photos for Friday

Last week Lorraine honored me in her weekly Jukebox Friday post because of my birthday. She posted a picture of me taking a picture of the grapes her daughter had just harvested. I promised to post it here. This was taken with the Nikon and the built-in flash. I wasn't really as happy with the grape pictures as I had been with those of the apples I had taken at her house, as well. But I promised, and a promise is a promise, so here you go:

This one's better. It was from a passel of pictures I took back in August while in Chincoteague, VA. I like the narrow DOF.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What the ... ?

Winter weight.

I just heard the cringing and moaning of all the women who read me. Sorry, but I gotta unload about this.

I haven't been under my Mendoza line in ages, maybe two or three months. I'm so tired of seeing that middle number on the scale every time I get on. It haunts me, it taunts me; I hate it. Every time I get close to the line, with just one more pound or even a half-pound to go, something will interfere with my progress: a birthday, a wedding, a house warming party, Halloween, and I'll have to start over again. One day recently I saw a number on my scale I hadn't seen since I was pregnant. Seven months pregnant. So utterly depressing.

I'm trying to be more aggressive about getting in shape, getting the weight off. I enrolled again for the deep water aerobics classes and try to do the weight class at the gym at work. I'm trying to be more proactive about weight-loss than just doing the 40-minute walk in the mornings, "eating better," complaining, and crossing my fingers hoping I'll lose the weight.

This morning I was pleased to see I'm back within striking distance of my "never-ever-want-to-go-over-that-weight" line. I could be under by the weekend!

Put all that aside for a moment.

Nordstroms is having their half-yearly sale and a couple weeks ago I found myself in the lingerie department after perusing the other departments' sale racks. I was tempted by a pair of $100 dress pants that were long enough for my 34" legs on sale but passed on them because I really don't want to buy clothes until I get well under the Mendoza line. Anyway, lingerie department. There was a huge rack of bras unmentionables, designer ones, pretty $50 ones, marked down to something I could consider. I tried on several and they all seemed to fit except they were a bit tight in the band. Once again I think, all I have to do is lose a couple pounds, do a couple more lat-pulls, get rid of some back fat and these will be golden. So I bought three. They still sit in the shopping bag in my closet.

Another day, another store, and as one thing lead to another as things tend to do, I got a bra fitting. Because of the weight gain I was mentally prepared for the fitting specialist to tell me I need to go up a band size to a 36. But she didn't tell me that, she told me I needed to go up a cup size. Or two. What?! She had me try on a 34D and it fit. I was stunned and stood staring at the tag. I had to see it with my own eyes. I was wearing a 34D. Me? A D? No way. I don't look any bigger than what I've looked like forever. I'm still stunned.

So, after all these twenty-something years of being a B-cup girl, I can forgo augmentation surgery, and go from a B-cup to a D-cup by getting a $79 dollar bra!




I gotta get under the Mendoza line soon, I can't afford a new wardrobe of $79 bras and the new clothes I'd have to get with them.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Stuff

First, thank you all very much for the good birthday wishes. It seemed I had a real blog party. I even won Carmi's weekly "Caption This" on Sunday. I've gotten honorable mentions before, but it was a first to get the win.

As described in Saturday's post, Dan planned for me to take Fern and her friend to a afternoon concert at the Ramshead in Annapolis. There were three acts, Curtis Peoples, Ernie Halter and Tony Lucca. The girls loved loved loved it. Tony Lucca didn't end up playing Devil Town but laughed along with us when I told him that's why we came and that he had ruined my birthday. All three acts hung out long after the show to sign autographs and talk with folks. The girls got lots of pictures; it was hard pulling them away. This is Curtis, see why the girls loved him...

Eventually we got to the mall and didn't get a lot of shopping done. I guess I wasn't hip enough to know "shopping" really involves spending an hour in Sephora trying on all the make-up and walking out empty handed.

Sunday was a quiet day, I'm not sure where the time went. The kids and I went to early church and stayed to be greeters at the late service. I had to bribe Kevin with Five Guys to get him to church so we headed there after our greeting duty. We had the place to ourselves since it was still very early in the business day. Their CD player was stuck on California Girls. About the third or fourth play through Fern decides it's time to learn the lyrics and starts to try to sing along. We got half-way through the first verse when they fixed the player. Oh well.

I made two blocks for the block-of-the-month project for my quilt guild. The pattern this month is a tiny 2" paper pieced heart. A heart at Thanksgiving? Huh? The BOM coordinator thought that if you made the blocks in advance, maybe the quilt would be finished by the holiday it actually represents. So the winner of the hearts should have a finished piece done by Valentine's day. Theoretically. My first block came out perfectly. The second block was done from a different copy of the pattern printed from a different printer and came out almost a quarter inch too small. Oh well. I'll have to post pictures of them if I can wrangle my camera back from Fern. That girl needs her own. Sheesh.

Sunday night Dan and I had dinner at Marcel's on Pennsylvania Avenue near Foggy Bottom. The menu lists selections in seven courses, you can pick anything from any course for a starter or entree, or you can pick items to construct your own tasting menu. Dan and I each chose a five-course tasting menu. I had a duck ravioli, Dover sole, diver scallop, lamb in phyllo, and finished with a cheese course, St Andre served with ultra thin slices of raisin toast, almonds and dates. Dan had the diver scallop, turbot, bourdin blanc (chicken & pheasant sausage), bison, and hazelnut souffle. Our waiter found out it was my birthday and also brought me a glass of champaign and an array of mini desserts. Dan and I give Marcel's four thumbs up.

Tonight Dan planned for Kevin and me to go to Cirque du Soleil, so I'll have to post about the rest of my birthday weekend tomorrow. I'll be tired though, the show doesn't start until late. I'm tired now, what am I saying?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Queen for a Weekend

My birthday started early when Lorraine posted about me yesterday.

This morning I got a bunch of goodies: tickets to a concert with Fern this afternoon to see the guy that sings the new promo song, Devil Town, for Friday Night Lights, one of the best shows on TV. Followed by shopping with my $50 gift card for Macy's. Maybe I can buy something to wear to dinner with Dan tomorrow on my actual birthday. We are going to a French restaurant downtown named Marcel's.

Then Tuesday, its Kevin's turn to take me out. We have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil Kooza at the new National Harbor development along the Potomac River.

And this isn't even a milestone birthday!

Thank you everyone. (curtsy)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shopping With Kevin

I took Kevin shopping for jeans the other day. He's in another growth spurt and is showing a lot of ankle again so I set out to cover them up.

The boy is rapidly approaching six feet tall, he's probably just a half inch shy now, and he weighs 110 pounds. Picture a light pole looming over everybody nearby, a light pole with a lot of sock glaring between the jeans and the high-top sneakers, that is. I headed to Sears so see what they had. In the Boys' department he's about a size 12 in the waist and a 20 in length. In the Men's department he's about a 25x32. However, the smallest waist available is 28". Sheesh.

I gave him a pair of regular fit 28x32 Lee's and took him to the men's fitting room. Three times I explained about going in the room, putting on the new pants, and coming back out to show me. I was apprehensive but hopeful. I waited outside the door for what seemed like forever, and eventually he came out wearing jeans that were finally long enough, but sereral inches too big at the waist and very baggy in the butt. They didn't droop too much as to violate the dress code at school so I decided to buy them. I found four pairs of 28x32 pants, each a different color and asked him to pick out two. I asked him if he wanted a belt. "NO!"

The next day I did some searching on the 'net for skinnier jeans. I found a place that'll make them for you for $135 but the smallest waist on their pull-down list was 28". Sheesh. Not that I would actually spring for $135 jeans for my baby, but why brag about custom-fit jeans if you're not going to make them small enough for your average bean pole?

And before you even ask, No, I'm not going to make jeans for him myself!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekend Round-up


We got back from "The Lodge" yesterday afternoon. Great Wolf Lodge is Kevin's most favorite place in the world. It's how we bribe him most days of the year. Even after we got home yesterday it was, "Do you want to go back to Great Wolf Lodge? Then go take your shower."

Since we've been so many times we get really nice rooms for very little. We got an upgrade to the Grizzly Suite (two separate bedrooms, two baths, one with whirlpool tub, living room with fireplace) this time (which normally goes for $450 per night, $699 on holidays) for $220. That included extra for an ultra-late checkout. Our keys quit working at 11:00 anyway. Grrr.

Last night I spent a long time on the phone with DirecTV. We'd gotten a flyer from Verizon about Fios, phone, internet, TV for $99/month so I called them to get the break-down about HD service and what is available and how much. $70/month for HD TV service with DVR.

Then I called DirecTV and asked about upgrading our standard service to HD and told them what Fios would be. They were going to give me $20 off my bill/month for 6 months and a couple other perks to keep me as a customer. But then it wouldn't go through because the regular sales department isn't authorized to give more than $150 total in incentives.

Then I got passed on to the Disconnect department. Those folks are authorized to give a lot of incentives to keep folks from disconnecting service. Eighty-three minutes later, I'd been scheduled for HD installation with a free (Sales wanted $99) 200/50 hour HD-DVR (200 hours in standard def, or 50 hours in HD) and my monthly bill will be about the same or even less than it was before. There's also something about almost free on-demand programming, too, like $0.01 per show, if we have internet.

Tonight is voting night for our challenge quilt at our guild meeting. I didn't finish mine so I won't be submitting it. The theme was "The Sea" and the fabrics did not talk to me at all. I finally came up with an idea but the execution was beyond my capabilities in the remaining time. Maybe I'll finish it anyway.

Meanwhile, my fabric reorganization challenge continues. There are still baskets of fabric everywhere. I'm starting to get lazy with where I "file" the newly folded fabric. Instead of putting it in the drawers with similar colors, I'm just putting the whole stack of folded pieces in one drawer. Argh, that's going to drive me crazy.

Did I mention I played hooky from work on Monday to golf with Dan? I played OK, not great. The wind was chilly and I kept thinking about quitting. The highlight of the day was hitting it over the water on the third hole. It's very wide water and as a beginner I had never made it over. Monday I did.

The line just illustrates tee to green, I got there in four shots. Yay me! Photo courtesy of Google, thank you very much.

Oh, and one last thing, I've gotten several comments in person about the size of the varmint I photographed last week. Many folks thought it looked too large to be a mouse. It was a mouse, believe me. Chalk it up to the perspective of a wide-angle lens on a phone camera.

By the way, the mouse count is four to date.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's that time of year again!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Mouse Patrol

I was tired of opening my blog to yesterday's picture so I'm posting this. It is from a 6/17/08 trip to the National Zoo.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Hate Waking Up to This

Monday, November 03, 2008

Home again, Home again, Jigity Jog

First, this just in: I just spoke with the senior administrator at the high school this morning. When I called the school I asked to speak with "someone in charge," the secretary wanted to pass me along to the cafeteria manager. I told her I wanted a principal; I was tired of getting passed around about Kevin's lunch situation. The administrator did not know about the situation, would check into it and call me back. And he did. He said Kevin and his classmates will be receiving free lunch from now on until the system gets fixed. He said the fact that the food service will not be getting money should wake them up to the situation. Hallelujah! I'm not so much excited about the free lunch, but that someone is addressing the situation and the principal knows about it too.

And now back to the regularly scheduled weekend round-up.

I already posted about the Quilt Show that I went to on Thursday. Friday I headed off to play golf at River Pointe. It's a lovely course with lightning fast greens. We've got slower northern grass up here, different from what they've got down there. I had 24 putts on the front nine and got the hang of the greens so only had 16 on the back. My score: 60 + 52 = 112. I'm very pleased with my play on the back, I hit the ball pretty well.

Saturday I took a drive around the country south of town. Something I've never confessed here on my blog, I "collect" counties. There are 3200+ county-equivalents in the U.S. I'd been in 1145 before this trip, and added eight in Texas and one in Arkansas for a grand total of 1154 counties. I'd never been in Arkansas before so my state count is now 47.

Pictures from this drive (subtitled: Abandonment Issues)

The abandoned sugar plant in Sugar Land, TX

Abandoned rodeo arena near Kendleton, TX

Abandoned railroad bridge near Simonton, TX

The poisonous coral snake I saw while walking back up the path after taking pictures of the bridge (in flip-flops!) Sorry it's not a better picture, he and I were both in a hurry.

Saturday afternoon was my cousin Jen's wedding. It was small and nice. After the ceremony I hung out in the sanctuary while the bridal party had the pictures done. At one point I plopped down next John, Jen's brother. (Yes, that would make him my cousin, too.) I said to him, "Do you know who I am?"
After a long glance, No
"I'm your cousin."
No way.
"Yes way."

That was fun, messing with his mind a bit.

My grandmother, my mom's mom, had five children but only two lived long enough to have children of their own. Two died in infancy, and Uncle Ray died when he was 36 from pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs). My aunt married her second husband and moved to Texas in the 70's so I have two cousins whom I don't see much at all. The last time my brothers and I were together with John and Jennifer was in 1986.

Anyway, I reconnected with John and met his wife and their two little boys, exchanged email addresses and web pages. They invited me over to their house after the reception, which turned out to be about a half-mile from my hotel. We swapped storied and tried to remember things from our childhoods. I got some scoop about their mom, my aunt, and her third husband and why they weren't at the wedding. I'm not sure whether to sad or glad I don't live closer to that part of the family. I want to know more but am glad I don't live close enough to worry.

Jennifer and Stephen

Jen's youngest tastes the (alcohol-free) champaign

My cousins once removed

My husband's friend has a trick for car rental return and checking golf clubs. You drive up to departures and do a curb-side check-in, then return the car. That way you don't have to lug your bags and clubs from your rental to the rental van, then to the ticket counter.

So I'm all set to try this out when I arrive at the airport to fly home. Except the line at curb-side was way long and security was tight so I couldn't leave a car at the curb long enough to get rid of the bags. So I took the car back to rental returns and asked where to wait for the shuttle. The nice guy directs me to the shelter but I see other folks walking in the other direction. I've got a $5 ready for a tip to the driver for help with the golf bag. The driver finally shows up stopping in the opposite direction of normal traffic so I have to walk around the van to get in. And she offers no help. And no apology for pulling up in the wrong direction.

When she gets us to the terminal she drops us off at arrivals, not at departures, again no help with my clubs or suitcase. Grrr. I've got to make my way past baggage claim and up to next level for check-in. Thank goodness the golf bag had wheels so it was bearable, just awkward.

On the flip side, the parking shuttle guy at home not only helps me with my bags, he puts them into my trunk when we get to my car. I'm not sure $5 was enough.

And finally, I opened my suitcase (on both ends of the trip!) to find a love letter from TSA. My suitcase has a cool laptop compartment. I didn't feel like carrying my laptop with me at the airport so I locked it in the special compartment in the suitcase and checked it through. The notice of inspection was in with the computer in the locked compartment. I wonder if the TSA guys had seen a compartment like that before? I'd guess most people carry on laptops and not check a bag like that. Just my guess.