Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Luv My House

This may sound dorky but I love my house. I really do. I love how the sun slants in through the east windows and makes the gold walls glow. I love the big sturdy columns that demarc the living room from the foyer and the dining room from the living room. I love the coolness of the sage walls in the foyer and how different that is from the red in the dining room. I love the french doors in the dining room and the massive baseboards holding everything solidly in place. I love that I don't have to squeeze between table and wall to get from one room to another. I love having nine feet of dining table at which to work, play, and dine. Last summer it was the test lab for Kent's networking class.

I especially like this time of year when I begin to think of putting up the holiday decorations, the greens and reds of the garlands between the columns, the twinkly lights sparkling above the chestnut floors, listening to Christmas jazz waft through the rooms from the 1970's hifi monstrosity that was left here by the previous owners.

Oh, ya, sure, I like the second and third floors, too, I spent loads of time there. But the first floor is my favorite place to be. I wish the rest of the house looked like it.

I could take this house and drop it anywhere in the world. We didn't move here because of the neighborhood although it's a good neighborhood. We moved here because we fell in love with the house. Two years later we still love the house. It's our haven away from the world, despite the work yet to be done.

The kitchen desparately needs to be remodeled. The carpeting upstairs should be pulled up and all floors, first and second, need to be refinished. Some windows could be replaced. A door needs repainting and another door replaced. The horribly ugly fireplace circa 1950's needs to be ripped out and replaced or closed up. I'd like to finish the basement but that's at the very bottom of my list. Repaint the front porch, this wonderful 32' expanse of Fall and Spring outdoor living. Repoint the front stairs, rebuild the back porch. And a bunch of other little things. Refinish the thirteen columns on the front.

And maybe, just maybe, I should write all this stuff down and prioritize it. Maybe I should go and get that belt sander today and work on the columns. I'll bet I could make a big dent in the work while Kent is working his magic with a pork loin for an afternoon dinner. Maybe I should get serious about the bathroom decor and give it a little oomph instead of leaving it so sterile.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Chewy Chewy Scroll Buttons

We found this great website called Homestarrunner.com. There is this guy called Strong Bad who reminds me of a grungier Space Ghost in attitude. He responds to email in a on-the-edge kind of way we all with we could. Check it out.

In other news...

Cappucine, at almost 14 years old (98 in dog years), is getting slow and beginning to show signs of physical decline. She's had canine old-age stuff going on for a couple of years, but this week its getting more difficult for her to manage the stairs. She won't even contemplate going down the 20 steps from the 2nd level deck to the ground. She just looks at it and says "no way, Jose." She's been leaning against the railing as she gets down stairs indoors, but this morning she lost her footing. Nick says she actually slid down five steps. Poor girl. She got right back up like nothing happened. Her time is coming, I think, and our intention, since she doesn't have any major disease other than arthritis, is to let her go quietly on her on time and terms. I hope it isn't this year. It was really difficult losing Bart to bone cancer last spring.

I have always had such mixed feelings about Cappucine. In my mind she has always been Kent's dog just a little more than she's been "our" dog. I'm not sure why. She's been physically so difficult over the years, what with her flea allergies and thyroid problems. We stopped all her meds about two years ago because neither of us really thought she was getting much benefit from them. She's no worse off now that she was so I still don't think it was necessarily a bad idea. She had a seizure a few months ago that lasted about 2 minutes. It was a really long two minutes, scared the crap out of all of us, and she was really out of it for another couple of hours. She hasn't had another one that we've seen. But, we don't see her from about 830 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. (Update from 2005: She's still hanging in there!)

We'll all be sad, there's no doubt, but Nick and Kent are going to be the most affected when she passes away. She used to spend every night on Nick's bed when he was younger. He won't let her up now, though, because she farts so badly and regularly. And when her flea dermatitis is at its worst, she just plain stinks. It's really difficult to put any kind of anti-itch spray or steroid lotion on her to reduce the itching because she's so passionately against it.

I'm into my second week of school and damn is it hard! Networking isn't my forte and writing the two papers and the post for the discussion board this last week was the hardest I've worked in a really long time. I will say I've turned into a decent writer (not that THIS is any indication!) and I've learned better how to learn. Sometimes it pays to wait until you're almost 40 to return to school, but I'm not sure I recommend it for everyone.

Over and out, time to get ready for work.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Isn't that a song?

Been a long time. Been a long, long time, been a long... Isn't that a song?

Ya, well, I dropped off the face of the earth, it seems like - at least in terms of this blog and my not-in-Virginia family. I had my first class at AIU-Online (got an A), a hurricane (Isabel), and a Toastmasters Competition in Baltimore (made it to the regional semi-final, didn't place for the finals). And that pretty much took up the bulk of my world from July through Now.

I'm not feeling very motivated or creative at the moment, either, mostly because I have two sprained ribs (probably, will see doctor on Monday) and they hurt like hell and make moving about somewhat uncomfortable, and sleeping is really awful. The doubly awful thing is K. Ok, I'm in pain and yet I'm STILL running around doing errands. Every try to drive with sprained ribs? It's no treat. So I'm pissed off after going to get cash and smokes, I come in the door and he offers to make breakfast for me. Dammit, there's the problem. I'm ready to get all mad and he goes and does nice stuff. Offers up his desk so I can use my laptop while he is out doing yardwork. I hate it when that happens.

I'd meant to sit here and do work - real work, work on the sharepoint portal server, work on the project tracking thing, but I've been up and around for four hours and I'm tired. My body is tired from compensating for these two or three ribs that are out-of-order. So I'm ready for a little nap. I feel like such a scuzzy lame-o. I hate hate hate being in pain.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Oh To Be Inspired

I am too serious a baker, I realize that now. I just take the entire prospect of baking to a level of seriousness that takes the fun and inspiration out of baking. I bake to impress. I've never baked just for the fun and enjoyment of the final product. Not usually, anyway. Strawberry shortcake, that is for fun and enjoyment. Chocolate fudge cake with dried cranberries...that is to impress, despite the fact that it's a seriously great cake done well. I want to regain the fun in baking.

I enjoy making pasta dishes. That is fun, and I love the result. I love the preperation of the ingredients, using my favorite knife to chop up or slice or dice or chifonade the veggies, add the garlic at just the right time to avoid it burning. Using my favorite pans. I feel like I know what I'm doing! And I have fun.

Here are the things I like to bake: Pumpkin Bread, Overnight Sticky Buns, Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread, the shortcakes for strawberry shortcake, biscuits, Cherry, Apple, Blueberry Pie, Boston Cream Pie, Cheesecake. Cheesecake is a challenge that I swear I'm going to master, without the crack down the center. Someday. Still looking for the perfect "tip" on that. I've tried cheesecake a thousand different ways. I have a chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache that is outa this world. But still. Too serious.

K made a Bisquick coffee cake today. It was perfect. Moist, extra struesel topping. I'm jealous. He just does it, doesn't think about it or impressing anyone, he's making it because that is what he is craving right now. It's fabulous. He added a tablespoon of oil to the batter. How did he know to do that? What am I missing in this equation?

I'm really not an inspired cook or baker. I follow the recipe exactly. To the letter. I don't know how not to. It's alot like coloring inside the lines. I don't know how to go outside the lines. I don't know how to veer away from The Recipe and do something REALLY EXCITING. He's very good at "winging it." I'm not. On the other hand, I'm really good at other things, and am inspired other ways. I'll figure this thing out. Truly I'll figure this thing out.

And yes, as always, it IS all about me.

Friday, July 18, 2003


I am so exhausted. I'm pooped. I don't know why, maybe it's from working so hard to get a new build of my application in production. Maybe it's from dealing with my employees low moral. Maybe it's from all the change at work. I come home and want to sleep sleep sleep. Maybe it's from knowing there are things I need to do, bills to pay, things to fix around the house, and I feel too overwhelmed to deal with them. I wake up and every bone in my body aches. I have to go back to the doctor for a checkup and I keep forgetting to call until late in the day when they've already closed. I want to slap my self in the face, like Cher from Moonstruck - "snap out of it!" I have to think of a speech for next Thursday for Toastmasters. Maybe I should talk about exhaustion, and little things you can do to combat it.

Maybe it's just that my depression is flairing up and I just need to get through it.

The other day I was in the elevator complaining about the heat. The other woman in the elevator commented, "Well, duh, coffee and long sleeves..." I thought two things: 1. you're a complete stranger why are you talking to me like that and 2. it's 95 degrees outside it has nothing to do with my coffee and long sleeves. I could be drinking iced tea and wearing a tank top and it would still be hot. In fact, the sleeves were 3/4 length and the tunic was a beathable lightweight fabric. Later in the day I said something similar about the heat and yet another woman nearby said "Duuuuh, long sleeves...." What is this: the less you wear the more comfortable you'll be? I should show up to work in the skimpy kind of clothes that the call center reps show up in? No thanks. I don't care for that woman anyway. She's a bit too cynical even for my taste. Lots of negativity. Ha! Looks who's talking.

"Duh" has crept back into our speech; grown adults sounding like a teenager with the vocabulary of a gnat.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


I love this photo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

6:30 Every Morning

There is a wonderful light that happens at 6:30am, where the greens are really greens and the birds are going crazy with their songs. It's "first cup of coffee" time of day and I wish it could be that time all day long. Maybe I shouldn't be so specific about time. What I mean is that 90 minutes or so after sunrise, overcast or sunny there is a sweet quality that seeps into my very being, makes love possible, and hope isn't just a silly thing. That's why I'm a morning person.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Gorgeous Fountain

I didn't take this picture. It isn't even my home. But if it were it's what I'd do. K wants to do this in the side yard to block Ms. T's awful backyard. She parks her two monster sedans and her F150 in the back yard. I don't care to view it. I'd like to tell her to take her damn cars and park 'em on the street. She's 80 years old and lives alone. Why does she need three cars anyway? But this is what we would do if we had the time and the motivation.

Blonde Matchsticks

I started writing about blonde matchsticks last night and my connection hung so it didn't post to the blog. Shame, too, because it was full of wrath and venom for those twiggy little 18 year old girls who wear platform flip-flops that make them appear to be Frankenstein's baby sister. The point of the thing was that after they, the cashier (guy about my age) and the bagger (another guy, about my age) and the cop finished their three-item transaction that took ten minutes, flirting and giggling the entire way, the cashier started chatting up the woman BEHIND ME IN LINE. And, fuck, when did I become invisible, eh?

It would be so easy to say that once I hit size 16 I dissolved into thin air like the majority of the population who is overweight and apparently don't exist for the likes of Donna Karan and so on. That seems to be cheating, though, and trite to boot. And yes, it's all about me so if you don't like it go somewhere else.

It seems to be a distinct thing with sales people, this situation. I don't have this problem at work, or with my neighbors. They are most likely to assist the younger thinner ones, forgetting that the mature ones probably have more money to spend. Ah, but, we're also intelligent and not likely to be taken in by their sales pitch.

I walked into Blockbuster yesterday and was promptly bombarded with a sales pitch about late-fee-free games, all you can rent, for the modest monthly fee of $20. As it happens I only walk into Blockbuster twice a year or so because I'm a die-hard Netflix subscriber, proudly renting as many movies as I can choke down every month. This guy really pushed, too. No, thank you, I'm a Netflix subscriber. No, thank you, I don't care for another monthly entertainment subscription. No, thank you, talk to my kid he'd probably enjoy it during the summer but he has restricted time for PS2 games during the school year.

Why can't they read my mind? Why don't they get it the first time? No wonder some guys have such a difficult time understanding what "NO" means. There are lots of books telling you how to "sell yourself at work." There's one called "Getting To Yes." You don't have to read the book to be influenced by the titles. How about one called "Understanding No."

Yes, yes, of course I'm ranting, duh, because even though that's the way of the world doesn't mean I have to LIKE it.

Posted by erin at July 13, 2003 10:41 AM