10.30.2007

She inspired so very many...

Catching up on some of the blog posts that I missed while we were out of town... Lori was one of the most inspirational bloggers who wrote with candid frankness about all aspects of life after diagnosis.

She will be missed.

There s/he is!

HalfBrainBoy and I have gone back and forth on this for years. One or the other of us is always letting the less-than-sunny side of our personalities out and then the other offers up a cheery, "There's that happy optimist I've grown to know and love!" earning a much deserved eyebrow. Luckily we balance each other and we aren't typically both at the pessimistic phase at the same time.

Today I stumbled upon this little ditty and decided to see just which side of the pendulum I'm really falling these days and low-and-behold! So take that HBB. I'm solid and right in the middle.

You Are a Realist

You don't see the glass as half empty or half full. You see what's exactly in the glass.
You never try to make a bad situation seem better than it is...
But you also never sabotage any good things you have going on.
You are brutally honest in your assessments of situations - and this always seems to help you cope.


How's your disposition these days?

Let's all keep on the sunny side of life in these ever darkening days, shall we? ;)

10.29.2007

More Shopping at Mineral Point...

Results in this:

Oh NO! Now we have to put away all of this stuff!


But also, some really nice stuff like this:

pottery


and my cute new coffee mug (I'm becoming the crazy chicken lady):

New coffee mug


And some day we'll figure out where we're going to hang this cool Autumn Tree of Enchantment Spirit Orb...

Tree of Enchantment/Autumn


So relax, HBB... We'll find a place for everything and it will all be very cool. No worries. Have another cuppa latte. Kick back. No problem.

HBB really enjoys his espresso drinks...

10.27.2007

Mineral Point 10/07 Shopping

So we had a very successful day of shopping in Mineral Point today. We hit several galleries and shops and bought things for gifts and things just because we liked them. If you think you'll be a gift recipient, don't look at the photos. HAHAHA.

Here's the booty:

One day's shopping yields

This was found out at the Brewery Pottery Studio, which is one of my favorite places to go when visiting the Point. HBB hasn't ever been there before, so I was excited to share it with him this trip.

Johnston Gallery Pottery

I bought this, oddly enough, at a little shop called In the Bag, which is a store specializing in made to order purses... but now that I actually write this paragraph, and write the name of the shop, the fact that I purchased wine there isn't quite so odd to me as it seemed at the time... ;)

Vampire Merlot

We ended up eating at Mineral Spirits again this evening. If you'll recall from the trip with Mystical from last year, this was where I nearly ended up wearing a gentleman on my shoulder one evening while I was trying to eat. He kept getting closer and closer. Or rather his butt did. I honestly thought he was going to sit on me. Or perhaps just use my shoulder to lean on during his conversation. It was an interesting, loud evening.

I've happened upon a favorite beer down here this year. Spotted Cow Ale is a little bit fruity and not at all bitter or dark. So for the second night in a row, it has been my drink of choice.

They haven't had exciting desserts to choose from, so tonight we walked over to the Old Royal Inn where they served up a brownie sundae for two. And it was fantastic. Had I not been wearing boots too treacherous to walk the hilly streets, I'd have been able to walk off my dinner/dessert/beer combo, but instead, after that wonderful coffee and chocolate extravaganza, we had to come back to our hotel to unwrap all our exciting purchases and take pictures to share with folks back home.

We head back home tomorrow, but hopefully not before we head back over to High Street and do just a little more shopping. There were a couple of things that we looked at and thought about going back to check one more time after giving some more consideration to. I have a thing for glass. It sparkles and shines when the light hits it in such a way to make me smile. And there was a fish from my childhood that my grandmother had - glass, of course - that I think is what I'm reminded of when I see many of these gewgaws. So I've had my eye on several glass ornaments (like that you would see here at the Johnston Gallery) in many different colors, and we both went kind of crazy about a large glass hanging disc that had red and pink in it. So we need to go back and see if it still has the same impact on us, I think. Hey, at least we aren't always just impulse buyers, we do think about it. :)

Mineral Point 10/07 (*updated*)

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Grant and his family. Those of you who read and are in this area, the memorial service and funeral information are posted on his CaringBridge site.


HalfBrainBoy and I are in one of our very favorite places to hang out this weekend. No, not New Mexico, although we hope to get there very soon, too. This weekend we are in Southern Wisconsin in the little town of Mineral Point. You've seen me write about this before if you are a repeat reader. Mystical and I visited MP last fall about this time, with a day trip to Galena, IL. And HBB and I have been here on several visits ealier, bringing Keli along with us, too.

The town has such a great feeling to it. You can see a video about it here. (It is available in two formats, one for mac, and one for windows...) I think we like it so much because of the many artists who live here and sell their work from their studios and various galleries. Shortly before HBB's brain tumor was diagnosed, we even entertained the thought of buying a building that was for sale on the main street through the down town area and having a business or two there and living above it. We also looked at several of the old homes that were for sale. They have some incredible real estate available. There are still homes here that we are interested in. We look every time we visit.

We took the long and scenic route down yesterday. (And yes, it was longer than we planned because neither of us has any sense of direction any more - I believe a GPS is on order for us this holiday season and it has become extremely necessary!)

**And now? I'm off for my turn at preparations for the day because we want to get to the cafe for breakfast! I'm not sure if we'll dine at the Red Rooster Cafe today or the Shake Rag Cafe. Either would be fine for an old fashioned greasy cafe brekkie.**

6 pm update - Turns out they've turned the Shake Rag Cafe into a simple snack bar and gift shop. So we had our breakfast at the Red Rooster. And it was good. More in a bit. With photos! Oh the shopping we did!

But first, we're off to dinner and Walgreens for a few things I forgot to pack (packing at 10 the night before is not a good idea... I need to learn to make a master packing list). I'll leave you with this photo...

High Street

10.24.2007

Grant...

Darling little Grant stopped his suffering last night at 9:40. Thank you to all of you who were praying for him and for those who visited his site to answer his questions and give encouragement.

He was the embodiment of courage and strength to many in how he lived with this disease.

Please continue your prayers of strength and love for his family.

10.23.2007

LibraryThing Meme

I try not to do meme's very often. The ones about books and reading suck me in, though. Mostly because I am curious about what they will look like when I'm done with them and then I've spent so much time formatting them I figure I may as well post them.

This one is apparently the list of LibraryThing's top 106 titles tagged unread. I've been jumping around out at LibraryThing for half an hour at least trying to find that particular area to see how old this list is and if there is a more updated one, because I would think it would change every time people put their list out there, but I cannot figure out how to build the list. I suppose in the search engine. But I'm not sure what criteria was used to create it in the first place... unread fiction of any age? Perhaps. The older titles wouldn't change that much (older meaning those at the top of the list for my purposes). But it was taking forever to try and run the search with that criteria. So I gave up and used the same list that was circulating.

The instructions read: Bold the titles you’ve read. Italicize the titles you have on your bookshelf but haven’t read. And now having done the actual formatting, I know that there are some that I need to head over to my own LibraryThing site and add to my bookshelf. That's always fun. :)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera (on my list for 2008)
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-Five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

There are so many italicized because Keith has so many of the books from his college days and I believe they are still sitting in boxes in storage from our move.

I know that if Keli and Keith did the same, their list would look much different than mine. Keli took some kick-butt lit classes in high school and really read some great stuff and had a terrific teacher. Keith had a wonderful experience at the small liberal arts college he attended in the corn field in Iowa, and also in his richy-rich high school. The boy had a great edumacation, is all I'm saying. I was not required to do a lot of reading of the greats. So they sit there on the shelves and I do not tend to challenge myself all that much. I read a lot, but it tends to be of the more contemporary bent.

How does your list look?

the girl...


Keli is making hats now. Teach her a trick and she is a whirling dervish. She does not use a pattern. Like the headbands, she was winging it and made it up. Oh but that I were so clever. I love them. She has people asking for them. I told her she should set up an Etsy store as suggested by a friend. She doesn't plan on it at this point. She can crank one out in a day. *sigh* Oh the cleverness of she.

10.22.2007

Updates...

Two of my inspirations have updated their Caring Bridge pages.

Connor was an honorary chair at the Relay For Life last June with HalfBrainBoy. His story was quite amazing and gets more amazing with each passing day as he thrives. You can see his latest update here and see a beautiful new photo of him. Meeting his family at the Relay and hearing his story, the universal story of survivors, fighters, well it makes me proud to do what I have been doing for the past five years as we've come together as a team since Keith's brain tumor.

Grant lit the torch for our 2006 Relay. Find his latest update here and feel free to go to his guestbook and answer his latest question. His family prints off the pages of responses that he receives and reads them to him. They are a highlight of his day.

And please include these beautiful children in your prayers.

10.15.2007

Blog Action Day

When I signed up for this, I was swept away in the heat of the moment. Emotions were high upon seeing the thing, watching the video, reading the excitement and thinking, "Hell yes! What if every blog posted about the same issue on the same day?!" That would be really something! I was caught up in the spirit of the event. It sounded like a good idea at the time, even knowing that I really had no in depth knowledge of the environment or ideas of what to write about today. Back when I put that little button on my blog I thought, "I'll have plenty of time to do some research around the web using their resources and come up with something."

HA. Queen of Procrastination that I am (another nickname for me, CursingMama...), I postponed the research part, and every time that I came here to this little blog and saw that little button, it nagged at me a wee bit. I should have put the date on that button so that I would be reminded of just how quickly it was coming up because here it is! And I'm no better prepared than I was when I signed up. But today it is and I'm committed. So here goes...

The application of poisonous chemicals to lawns and farms for pest and weed control nearly cost me my husband. Oh, I know that's a pretty big statement and I really have no proof. But I'll stand by it. He had a brain tumor removed (as any long-time reader knows) in 2001. We were told the tumor had been there, growing slowly, for many years. When he was a young man of 16 or 17, he lied about his age to get a job working for a chemical company. (He was supposed to be 18.)

His job was to drive around to the stores and go to the garden centers where he would remove the old stock (you know, the old containers that back in the 80's were more lethal and toxic than they'd get away with now and ate through the containers faster than they do now... heh) and clean up the messes. If those stores needed any restocking he would also bring that product along with him in his VW bug.

HalfBrainBoy says:

Much of the stuff was powder. So, opening a case of it often unleashed a small cloud of powder left over from packing. Sometimes some of the big glass gallon jugs of pesticides would have leaked in the crate. I'd wipe off the jugs and put them out. That kind of stuff. So, contact with the chemical wasn't specifically part of the job. Maybe that was worse. Because it wasn't part of the job, I would be cleaning up weed killer dust and pesticides with paper towels and my bare hands. Maybe if I was SUPPOSED to be in contact, I would have been given masks and gloves and such. Maybe.

I know it got to me at least. After a day's work, I would feel like the inside of my sinuses were "sunburnt". That's how I remember describing it.

But, as you know, at that time, we all really needed the money. It was good money. My oldest brother was doing the same job, so he got me in there. (Kinnicchick interjects: Oldest Brother died last year at age 42 of a heart attack.)

It felt better than flipping burgers. At the time.

And, who knows? That was a long time ago. But, it seems possible.

Or, maybe it was that history combined with the atrazine in our well that was right up against the safe limit set by the government.


Yeah, who knows? The atrazine that caused those frogs to be deformed in the experiments done at UC Berkeley. But you know, there are many scientists who are quick to point out that frogs are not people... so you shouldn't assume that just because atrazine is bad for frogs...

Whatever. There is a reason that chemicals are only handled by their makers with hazard suits and gloves. And then they put those same chemicals into products that we use every day. Like nail polish remover and hair dye. On our scalp... where it leaches into our heads and bloodstream. Tell me that doesn't have an effect on our health.

So I'm going there. I'm making that connection. I believe his brain tumor is connected to that job working for the chemical company as a teenager breathing those harsh chemicals daily and cleaning them up without protection.

I'm grateful every single day that I didn't lose my husband to that brain tumor. And every single year that has passed since with clean MRI rides.

And downsizing to this town home and away from the well with the atrazine that was just below dangerous and into the 'safe enough' limit set by the government; the move that had nothing to do with our health or trying to move to town so we could walk more and save the environment in that way, but hey, now that I think about it, every little bit helps so yeah... I'm grateful for that too.

10.14.2007

Right to Privacy ranting by HalfBrainBoy

Warning: The following contains a little bit of venting and a whole lot of soapbox.

I just need to say a few things. As many times before, I have something to say about walking.

First, let me give a little background. I walk because I don’t drive. I don’t drive because brain tumors and driving often don’t mix. I’ve been told once to get comfortable with the idea that I probably never will drive again.

So, I walk. Usually, I like to walk. I’ve gotten used to it. I like the pace of doing errands at a walking pace. I even don’t mind the snow and rain. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something when I get things done in nasty weather. Usually, I have the choice of getting a ride with my wife. But, I also like the side benefits of walking. It is healthy to walk. It is a cost-savings to walk. It is environmentally sound to walk. It also can calm me to walk. So, this is not a complaint about walking in general.

No. Surprisingly, this is a diatribe about the right to privacy.

There are things about always walking that I never thought of. For example, did you know that the canvas tote bags with 3 arm straps instead of just 2 are WAY better? Did you know that a typical canvas tote can hold more weight that I can carry?

Also, I did not know that walking in the big, ritzy suburbs of Minneapolis makes a person a mark for any insults teenagers choose to hurl from their passing cars. I’ve heard all sorts of comments about my mental stability, lineage and orientation while walking down busy suburban roads. Also, when I approach crowded parking lots by way of the sidewalk, I get many wary and suspicious looks.

I must admit, years back, I probably would have had the same reaction. Now, I’m on the different side of the equation. So, I walk. I carry bags when I walk. I have found that it is easiest to combine many errands into one trip. So, I carry some bags to carry what I need.

Does this make me look like a homeless bag-person? Sometimes. Okay, maybe often. I find it kind of funny. I make a better than average living. I could sit down and have a coherent argument on Existentialism or Differential equations with the best of them. I wear decent clothes. BUT, I walk! Even when it isn’t a nice day to walk!

Usually, I laugh off the misperceptions as harmless. I even find it teaches me a thing or two about knee-jerk judgments I make on a daily basis.

But, another thing I’ve learned about doing several errands at once, is how convenient it is to have a portable storage locker to take from errand to errand. (Read: the automobile.) Think about it. You go someplace. You get stuff. You put it in the car and go other places and then only unload it all when you get home.

Hmmm. No car. But, I still want to do more errands than just one since I’ve walked a mile to get to the shopping area. What to do… Good thing I have a good backpack.

Or is it?

Today, I was just out walking on a drizzly day getting a couple of things done. I visited my daughter and her friends. I did a little work on my laptop. Then, as long as I was here, I went to a big-box, chain hardware store nearby. I needed a hinge stop for the door and a dustpan. Not critical, but again, I kind of like to walk. So, I figured I would extend my walk and get something accomplished at the same time.

I go in and I spend maybe 2 minutes in the store. I know where everything is. I get what I need and proceed to the check-out aisle. I’ve checked out and I’m bagging my hinge stop and dustpan. I am just about to turn to go and I hear, “excuse me, sir, may I look in your backpack?”

I kind of froze. Yes, I totally understand. Shop-lifting is a major problem in these places. I’m not naïve at all. I fully support a store doing what it needs to keep all their profits from going out their door unpaid. Really, I do…..

To an extent.

I know how bad it is to walk into a store carrying a backpack. I know it is suspicious. So, I always keep the backpack securely on my back. I don’t take anything out or put anything in until I’m paid up and out the door. I don’t crouch in corners or look around suspiciously when shopping. I am an honest person with nothing to hide and I want them to know it.

Still, I had figured someday, someone would want to see what I had in my bag. I’ve even pictured this moment dozens of times.

I pictured this. Knowing I had nothing to hide, I would jump up on the nearest checkout counter. I’d do my best impression of Patrick Henry. I’d yell, “Give me privacy or give me…” Either that, or a Norma Rae, but I’d hold up a sign saying “Right to Privacy”.

I mean. Just as I explained. I am super careful to look completely on the up and up. I understand what the store is up against and I don’t want to make things hard on them. But, I also don’t have a choice about the backpack. Does that mean I shouldn’t be allowed to shop? Or, rather, shop without expecting to be frisked at the end.

Okay, you might think this a hyperbole. And, you’d kind of be right. But, with my background, this seemed very important. I was in the USSR once. I saw what total lack of privacy is like, and what it does to people.

I was raised very liberal. I went to a very liberal school and I stood in peaceful protests and waved signs for liberal causes.

And, I don’t feel I should be put upon even more because of issues arising from brain damage from a tumor.

Many would say, “what’s the big deal, there is nothing to hide. It’s a condition of entering the store.”

I would say, “Yes, but I should have a right to shop without little kids rummaging through my bags and finding embarrassing things, like my complete collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs.” Stuff like that. It’s never clear cut. But, allowing it to stay so vague allows for a lot of slipping of the line.

So, I’ve been ready. I’ve had my speeches ready for when someone asks to look through my things or check out my person. I was ready to make a little stink. I was ready to win one for the right to privacy.

I’m so disappointed. And, maybe, relieved.

So, here was this, maybe, 17-year-old kid. He was just doing what he was told to do to make his hourly wage.

And, here was I knowing I had nothing to hide, tired and just wanting to head towards home.

My reaction? After all these daydreams of taking a stand on the right to privacy?

“Sure, no problem. Here, let me take it off so it will be easier.” ..easier to blur that bill of rights thing.

He told me it was no problem to keep it on. So, we stood in the doorway as other shoppers walked by un-frisked. He opened the many compartments and rummaged through my stuff. I stood still with my head down feeling something similar to having a doctor exam in the middle of a busy store.

Quicker than it felt, he was done. As I left, he said, “Thank you.” I actually thanked him back.

He added, “Next time, it might be good to leave your bag in the car or at the service desk.”

Deep breath.

“Thank you.”

I thought, “Oh, yeah, the CAR! Why didn’t I think of THAT??” And, “Never in a million years am I going to leave my bag at the service desk to be tended by a bunch of distracted teens.” As often, I was carrying a client’s very expensive computer, and some important medications. I had the computer so I could do a little work before walking to the store.

Don’t worry. I understand the overreaction going on here. And, again, it may sound otherwise, but I really do like being forced to do walking I wouldn’t do otherwise. Really. Maybe this situation just hit a raw nerve that started with all the suspicious glances towards the suburban bag-guy. Or, maybe the nerve that was rubbed more when almost hit by drivers only looking for cars in the crosswalks. Or, maybe, I’m kind of afraid of what happens when we start to think too many little things aren’t important.

But, now I’ve gotten it all out. Thank you. I really feel much better now. Now, I think I’m going to go for a walk. This time it will be along the pathway that leads through the forest and next to a pond – a place where cars and store security guards aren’t allowed. Aren’t allowed even in my thoughts.

10.11.2007

Lisey's Story Review

A quick review for the RIP Challenge...

I didn't want the department of complaints write up I did here to be the one and only thing I wrote about this book and therefore the only thing I could link for Carl's review site, so I thought I would write up a quick little review.

I had some difficulty getting involved in Stephen King's novel, Lisey's Story. But I don't believe that was anything inherently wrong with the book itself. To be quite honest, I think the problem was more me wanting to get back to the Twilight series. I made the mistake of reading Twilight first and having three completely different books for the remaining challenge books when what I really wanted to read instead was New Moon and then Eclipse. I didn't want to have anything to do with another author or set of characters. My head was still wrapped up in Edward and Bella. I had chuckled my way through a completely off the wall book with Coyote Blue, but now King was expecting me to look at relationships and love and death and something more real life...

Once I took a look at the calendar and saw that I had started book three of the challenge on the fourth of September, however, I took a breath and gave myself permission to relax about it and promised myself that if I would just settle in and read it and give it a chance, I could take some time away from the challenge to finish the Twilight series before going on to book four. (I knew that would take about three or four days out of my time, so what was the big deal? And realistically, they were part of the genre and would count toward the challenge if I needed to swap them in for part of it anyway...)

So I settled in to Lisey's Story. The tale starts two years after the death of Lisey's husband, a novelist of some regard. (A stretch here for a King story, eh? ;) A writer character!) She is beginning to reach a place where she can start to face saying goodbye by closing up his writing study, part with some of his things and face his darkness.

As I looked into selecting a new novel from his works and read some reviews on this piece before making my purchase, I noticed that others said this was a personal book for him that had a lot to do with his relationship with his wife and things he has been through or emotions he has been through since his accident. I don't know about that, but I do see this as a very different kind of novel from others he has written. There isn't a physical thing that is bad, like so many of his earlier works (I'm thinking here of Cujo and Christine, The Firestarter, etc.). This has more of the inner demon theme going.

10.09.2007

The Latte Jig - by HalfBrainBoy

How do you do the Latte Jig?

This is my version, tonight:

Put a venti Pumpkin latte in my right hand.
Put a double espresso, brownie and napkins in my left hand.

Walking back to work from Starbucks, a driver stops for me at a stop sign because I'm in the crosswalk.

To acknowledge such a rare and noble act, I raise my right hand in a sign of thanks.

This ejects pumpkin foam on to the left leg of my black pants.

Quickly, to avoid it soaking in, I use the napkins in my left hand to brush off the foam. This pours half the espresso down my right leg.

All this while convulsing across the street in front of the stopped car.

I think this driver is very happy she stopped. I think I may have made her evening. Next time, I think it would just be easier to flip her off. :)

10.07.2007

The Weekend - HalfBrainBoy

It's Sunday night already. How did that happen? Okay, how many times do you hear people say, "Hooray, it's Sunday night, I've had too much weekend"?
I'm going to test my memory and see how this weekend was.

Left work early. That's always a plus. Keri and Keli picked me up early so we could get a good start on our weekend. Have I ever mentioned how I love the flexibility of my current job? And, have I ever mentioned how I like being an hour car ride away from home instead of... a 2 hour car ride, a 3 hour flight, AND a 45 minute car ride...away from home?

When I travelled for work, I would have to leave work on Friday morning at 10am to make it in the door at home by 7pm. So, I might still be gone from home all week, but things are better.

That's just getting home. Then, there was settling in to home, making sure we got our dose of chuckles with an episode from the first season of SNL.

Saturday, we started out with coffee at the new coffee shop the daughter wields caffeine. The coffee was good. It was very good. It was so good, daughter suggested I lay off the coffee for a little while lest my head start to spin. So, I did. I waited 15 minutes before my next cup.

That evening, we had our own version of iron chef at home. Daughter and her boyfriend made a kale, potatoe, celery soup. My wife and I made gazpacho. (My wife would rather distance herself from the results, so I'll clarify that I did most of the gazpacho.)

We sat. We ate. Good laughs. Good company. Good food. Well, some good food. Some good food. Some interesting food. Maybe we aren't gazpacho people. Maybe my version of gazpacho is ahead of its time. Maybe I'd better not enter the restaurant industry any time soon.

But, it was much fun. And, it would be nice to repeat the experience. Next time, I'll make spaghetti-o's.

After dinner, we watched another SNL episode. Then, Keri read a horror story to me.

Today, I spent part of the day testing my caffeine endurance back at Keli's coffee place. It was nice to spend quiet time talking. But, now, a horde of customers would be nice, too.

Keri and I took to the kitchen again, today. This time, we took on something bold. We took on baked potatoes. No accidents. No fires. They tasted as they should. We laughed. We were full. All in all a success.

After dinner, there was even table-side entertainment. Keri continued reading a book to me. A good book. A book with laughs. Uhhh. She'll have to tell you the name. I forget.

Keri's reading to me is a tradition started back during my brain surgery recovery. I couldn't read much then. Movies mostly made me dizzy. But, there was lots of time to pass. So, she started to read to me. She read and read. Out on the screen porch she read to me. In the car waiting for appointments, she read to me. As I tell people this, I realize how cool this is. I mean, when was the last time you were read to since become an adult? But, wasn't it fun as a kid? And, wasn't it fun to have someone want to share a book? And, doesn't it sound great spending hours sharing the same story and same laughs? Yeah. It's like that. It's as good as you'd imagine. Maybe a bit better. Have I mentioned lately how lucky I am?

Then, we got back into reality. I'm back at the apartment preparing for work tomorrow. Keri is home getting ready for her busy week with truffles and all.

I know it's a long post. But, I'm just trying to eke out a little bit more weekend before I head towards bed.

10.04.2007

Delurked

You may have noticed the button up there on the right with yesterday's date on it. I mentioned it in yesterday's fine print. I was truffling yesterday from 2 in the afternoon until 7:30 last night at which point I drove to Chan to pick up HalfBrainBoy and then began the drive back to our place, stopping off at a grocery store to get the pieces of our dinner. When we got home, we assembled that dinner and finished it around 10. By the time I got back to the blogroll it was around 10:30 and HBB was having some connectivity issues and was trying to do some work so I was trying to see if I could figure out that little problem and didn't get much further than I had been.

Therefore, I'm going to continue on visiting all of you on my blogroll and commenting everywhere. Because as noted elsewhere, now that I'm reading from a feed reader most often, I sometimes don't always make the extra few clicks to go to your site and comment if I don't have something important to contribute. (And let's face it, this is blogging so how often does that happen?) I want you to know that I'm still reading, even if I'm not often commenting. Because you are important to me.

10.02.2007

Candy Man

There just aren't enough photos of rats on the internet.

Candy Man

I know, right?



(I'm also well aware that the place is a mess... in the process of a little redecorating so what else is new? I wanted to put up a banner that was a little more personal and a little less, well... blogger. As soon as Keli's computer is functioning again, I'm going to see what she can do about using her mad photoshop skillz toward making something that fits up there a little nicer for her pop and me and we'll have this place looking good as, er. Better than it does now. And if you'll notice the extra button up there on the right, you'll see that I won't ONLY be visiting you during this 24 hours and reading and slipping quietly away into the ether. I'll actually be leaving some mark of my existence. I'll be lurker no more! Today anyway. Click on the button and say hello to Schmutzie. If you please.)

Happiness Points

Gratitude? Happiness Points?

Sure. Why not?

  • They finally have some Traveling Wilburys out on iTunes. This makes me happy.
  • I woke up during the night (okay, technically it was some time this morning since I didn't get to sleep until well past 2) with an idea for NaNoWriMo. I actually had the presence of mind to write it down in the notebook I had beside my bed. (No, I will not tell, so do not ask... I am superstitious enough to believe this will jinx me...) I typically do not go into November with an idea that sticks. The idea I end up with at the end of 50k is something that comes about three or four false-starts into the month sometime a week or so in. This makes me wonder if I should save this one until I've made a few different attempts.
  • I did not make it through the Lovecraft book over the weekend as planned. I'm on page 41. And I'm beginning to think that the stories get progressively creepy/gross. This one is terrific for that.
  • Happiness is the new scone at Dunn. White and dark chocolate chips. And the previous new scone, raspberry white chocolate. Wasn't I the one who once (okay many times) said "White chocolate is a sin against nature!" in my best mommy voice?

And now I'm thinking if I shouldn't be saving this material for CursingMama's Smiles on Wednesday...

Six Degrees in the Coffee World...

I went to bed half an hour ago with the best intentions of getting more sleep tonight than I did last night (when I ended up watching the first episode of the new season of Grey's Anatomy online - don't get me started about that...) and here I am online...

Might have something to do with the coffee I mainlined (kidding) today bouncing between The Mighty Dunn and The Green Tree, the all organic fair-trade, shade-grown coffee shop where my daughter is now employed. (I just learned that October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness month, but also Fair Trade month!)

It suddenly popped into my head as I was lying here thinking about coffee and various people that I have met in my travels far and wide to various coffee shops that while I am spending most of my free time and some work time too, if that work requires long uninterrupted spans of computer or writing time these days hanging out at the Mighty Dunn, my daughter will now be spending many of her hours kitty-corner across the street at her new coffee bar. And I find it funny (maybe it is the lateness of the hour) that she is dating Michael, who is the brother of Justin, who is dating Leah... who works right across the street at yet another coffee bar 3Hats. (Which coincidentally, was my former haunt prior to TMD coming along and where I happened to meet my good buddies, Michele and Wes, who now work at... The Mighty Dunn!)

Okay. It isn't Kevin Bacon or anything... But I think it's pretty crazy. And as I told Keli in an email before I wrote this, I'll probably delete it later today when I wake and remember writing it. (If I remember writing it.)