Saturday, December 13, 2014


This is going to sound crazy.  It really is.  I'm sorry about that. 

Yesterday two very weird things happened to me and they both kind of freaked me out.

I finally forced myself to go and get a haircut yesterday, which necessitated a trip to the local mall.  I didn't realize that the place had opened an hour earlier than normal due to holiday shopping, so instead of going in the door I usually do (which goes directly into a department store) I walked through the parking garage to go to the main entrance.  To get to that entrance, I had to walk past a service parking area, which has some landscaping around it.  There is a small tree planted near the building, and when I walked by it, it sneezed. 

The tree sneezed.

It was loud enough to stop me in my tracks and look around, because at that moment, I was nowhere near anyone else in the parking garage. I know what you're thinking: that there was someone standing beside the tree who sneezed.  There wasn't, though! I looked!  I even looked up to see if anyone was in the tree or on an upper level of the parking garage looking down at the tree.  There wasn't anyone else there!  I'm ashamed to say that it scared me and I just noped my way as quickly as possible to the entrance to get away from it. 

There may be a rational explanation, but I'll never accept it.  The tree sneezed.

The second thing I saw wasn't as funny as that, but it still startled me.  I was at church helping to set up for the choir's Christmas dinner.  I'd been left alone while the other hostess went to pick up some of the food we'd ordered and after I'd checked everything, I sat down to check my phone.  While I was doing that, I saw a bright flash out of the corner of my eye, like someone had walked in and taken a picture with a proper camera.  I hadn't hear anyone walk into the kitchen, and I hadn't heard a camera sound, but the ice maker was kind of loud so I thought I just hadn't heard them come in.  I turned around to see who was taking pictures and there was no one there!  I'd seen the flash, there was no mistaking that, but I have no idea where it came from.  I was very uncomfortable until she came back!

That is all.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


1) We had to get rid of our couch to put up the Christmas tree!  Well, that's kind of misleading, because the couch was WAY past its expiration date and needed to be thrown away anyway.  We'd gotten it a few months before we were married, and it had been thoroughly sat upon in it's time in our house.  It wasn't even in any shape to donate or give away, unless someone wanted to risk tetanus by way of springs.  When we were trying to figure out where we were going to move things so that we could put up the tree, we just decided that it was a good opportunity to finally move it out.  We had a problem, though.  We couldn't remember how it even got into the house in the first place.  It had to be through the front door, as the garage door was broken when we originally bought the house, but try as we might we couldn't wedge it out the door.

(As an aside, I was still dressed for church when we started moving the thing out of the house. I helped move the couch in a dress and church shoes. If I'd been wearing a hat, it would have been perfect.)

We finally realized that since the couch was being thrown away, we didn't have to be careful with it, and so the only way to get it out of the house was to shove it over the stoop railing and into the front yard. Steve guided it over the edge and I pushed it until the point where gravity took over and then shoved it.  About that time, the neighbor lady turned the corner to see a couch being forcefully ejected from our house.  It never fails.  Oy.  We managed to get it to the street and out of our lives forever!  Thank you, couch, for providing seating for so many friends!

Of course, until we manage to get another chair or something, we have nowhere for people to sit comfortably when they come to visit.  Slowly but surely, we are making our house as inhospitable to others as possible!  Maybe next we can get a piranha filled moat!

2) I know I said I wasn't going to talk about Butler anymore, but I lied. I miss him so much.  In some ways, I think his dying has been harder on me than when we had to put Bear down. I honestly think I'd stopped thinking of Butler as a dog (I didn't forget he was a dog, so don't call the men with the nets) but he'd become more like a short, hairy roommate who watched TV with me and who I shared chips with.  We were bros.  I talked to him all the time and we took naps together.  He knew all my secrets.  After Bear died, we spent a lot more time with Butler inside so that he wouldn't get lonely, and I think it kept me from being lonely, too.  Now that he's gone I keep thinking that if I'd just known what was wrong sooner, we could have gotten him to the vet in time. I hate to think his last couple of hours were scary and painful. He tried to let us know he needed help, but we didn't understand in time, so I feel like it was my fault he died.  I feel less like I've lost a pet, and more like I lost a friend or family member and it's really weird because he wasn't human.  Some people understand, but others don't.  His absence is very conspicuous and I feel it every time I'm at home. I even feel bad about vacuuming because I know that his fur will eventually be all gone and as much of a plague as it always was, I don't want it to be gone.  That probably really is weird.

Another strange thing is that people keep trying to give us dogs!  I love that they are trying to help and want us not to be sad, but it's like losing an uncle or something and someone saying "Oh, I'm sorry, but here's this other old guy you can hang out with!"  We can't get another dog until I'm sure that I won't expect him/her to be like Butler, because that would be unfair.

Anyway, I miss him a lot.  Not even otters are helping me.

3) So, enough with that!  Feelings....gross.

4)  Have I ever mentioned how uncomfortable I am to go out with people who are cheap?  I'm not talking about people who are conserving their money for some reason, or who don't have much to begin with, but honestly, outwardly, cheap people. They are so rude and the worst of it usually comes out in those people when you go to restaurants* with them.

The other night, I had dinner with an otherwise delightful friend who asked how much a certain menu item was.  After finding out, they LOUDLY exclaimed that it was a rip off, and that they (the restaurant) could just keep it! Then he went on to talk about how much  it was and how he could make 5 of them at home for that price. He just kept on. I wanted to sink into the floor. I've also had lunch with someone who once got the cheapest thing on the menu, and then literally spent the next 10 minutes after the meal bragging about how cheap the thing they ate was! I wasn't sure if I should congratulate them for being thrifty or if I should smother them with a pillow for bragging.  I don't care how much or how little money a person has, we can all trim our sails in one way or another to hang out together, but seriously, don't talk about your money.  It's crude and embarrassing, and there is never a good way to respond to it.  Also, be nice to your waitress/waiter. Unless they are purposefully treating you badly, you have no reason to take out your frustrations on them!

Sorry.  Bad restaurant etiquette bothers me as much as bad museum etiquette does. Apparently, since I'm practically perfect in every way, I can judge.  Sorry!

*I realize I'm saying this as someone who once left a restaurant because of how much the set menu price was, and I will defend myself by reminding you that if I'd known in advance and was cool about it, we would have stayed and eaten there, it was just too much to spend without planning AND I didn't make a scene about it.

5) We had a guy come by today and ask the pastor about the moral implications of selling weed, as a way to raise money to start a business. I would normally no talk about things I hear at work, but that...  I don't even have anything witty to say.  That's just stupid.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Last night, we lost our 13 year old yellow lab, Butler.

We got him a year after we got married, and we've loved him so much.

I knew the time was coming sooner than later, and I tried to prepare myself, but I honestly didn't expect it to happen the way it did.

We'd just picked him up from his stay at the pet resort where he'd been over Thanksgiving. He'd been home for about three hours when he started acting very strange. Steve and I debated whether we should take him to the emergency vet, just in case, and finally decided we should. It turned out he had a twisted stomach, something the vet said was common in breeds like his. He'd have to have surgery immediately. They took him back and we waited for two hours. When we saw the vet again, she told us that he hadn't even made it into surgery. His poor heart hadn't been strong enough to handle the surgery prep.

There are a lot of people who will not understand why we are so upset. They will think: he's just a dog.

He was never just a dog to me. He never will be. I loved him more than I can explain. It hurts.

That is all I will say about that.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I have often said the phrase "I've never felt so stupid in my life."  It's one of those hyperbolic things that you'd say when you forget your debit card at Wal-Mart or forget where you park your car.  However, I've never meant it quite as much as I mean it now.  I'm fairly certain you'll agree with me.

I'd taken the day off last Thursday.  I was sitting in the living room eating lunch and watching TV when someone knocked on the door.  The knock was cheerful, so I thought it was the lady across the street (who incidentally is the only one of our neighbors who comes to our house, usually.)  I answered the door and two girls were standing there.  They said that they were collecting votes that would help them win a scholarship.  I honestly can't tell you why my brain didn't engage right then, I'd like to think it was because I'm just a nice person, but I think it's because I'm stupid.   I said I'd vote for them and they asked to come inside because it was so cold, so I let them in {STUPID #1.}  I didn't really understand what it was that they were asking me to do, but it turned out that they were collecting votes: i.e. selling subscriptions to magazines that were donated to a children's hospital and the ones with the most subscriptions would win this contest.  I'd had a similar thing happen a year or so ago when a girl from our neighborhood came by and asked for donations for a school thing, so I thought this was the same thing.  I realized pretty quickly that this was different all together when one of the girls pulled out a receipt book and started writing out a receipt but, I still wasn't catching on.  They were starting to make me nervous, because they kept getting really close to me and I kept having to step back.  The thought actually went through my head that I'd have to fight them off because they were close enough to stab me.  That didn't happen, of course.   One of them asked to use my bathroom, and I said OK {STUPID #2} but that's when it hit me that something weird was going on.  I stood where I could see the bathroom door as the other girl showed me the receipt, which was for way more money than I could pay her at that point, so she wrote another one for half (only one outrageously overpriced magazine subscription instead of two) and so I moved over the write a check, hoping they'd leave if I did that.  The only time the bathroom door was out of sight was while I was writing that check, but the girl had been in there a long time.  I know the girl never used the bathroom, because the toilet never flushed, and she had opened the bathroom door very quietly, because when I walked back to the door of the living room, I looked up and she was standing there in the bathroom doorway.  When she walked back to me, her demeanor was very different, so I'm fairly certain she took a hit of something while in the bathroom, which pissed me off.  I started looking at her to see if she had anything of ours on her, but I couldn't tell.  They started asking me all kinds of questions about Butler, about this and that, but I finally got them out of my house. 

I ran around looking to see if anything was missing and I didn't notice anything.  I'm very grateful that I had been wearing my grandmother's wedding band, which would have been in plain sight of the girl in the bathroom had I left it where I usually do while I'm taking a shower.  I looked up the name of the business that they said they were working for and saw that it is fairly well considered to be a scam.  The main complaints were about not getting magazines that were ordered, but since the business lives in a kind of loophole where they are technically within the law, they are allowed to operate.  I know that girl was looking for stuff in my bathroom, and I know they were trying to get a look at what we had in the house while they were in there.  They were very good at trying to distract me, but I still have no idea why it took so long for me to realize what they were doing!  Of course, now they have one of my checks and they've been inside my house.  I'm pretty much terrified that they are either going to try and get into my bank account, or come back and rob my house.  Not that we have anything valuable that we leave lying around, but still.  Ugh.  I'm so stupid.  If I can get off relatively cheaply by the business just cashing my check and no magazines getting sent, I'll consider myself lucky. 

Seriously, though...this is the dumbest I've ever felt, and if you know me, you know that's saying something!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


This happened on Monday and I'm still cringing. 

I'm really no stranger to speaking before my brain fully engages. You all know this.

Monday afternoon, while I was at work, one of our church members came in to visit with the pastor.  The church member, the youth pastor, and I were all around my desk talking while I was sorting through the mail.  I was completely on auto-pilot while doing this and I came across a letter from a medical company that has been trying to sell us an Automated External Defibrillator.  I'm all for us getting one, because quite frankly, our church is fill of old people who could short circuit at any minute and I'd like to think we could at least try and keep them kicking until a medical professional could get there and take over. However, I haven't been able to convince anyone else this is a good idea.

I hold up the letter and said "Do you think that a defibrillator would be a good investment for the church?" 

As it was coming out of my face, I knew I shouldn't be saying it, because the man I was talking to had just lost his wife due to sudden heart failure where using a defibrillator had not worked.  That was so incredibly tactless of me, and had I been thinking, I would have never asked him that.  Granted, I don't think I upset him by asking, and he also agrees we should have one, but that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

I'm just awful sometimes. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


1) My hair is pretty much back to normal, from what I can tell.  At least the blue dye is all gone. It took more than a week to get that mess washed out, and although I can't be sure, there may still be some in very small spots in the back because combing my hair is still kind of hard if I'm not careful. I went online to look at reviews of the stuff, and 90% of the reviews were people who had the same problem I did.  Perhaps I should have read those first?  I just wanted blue hair, is that so wrong?  Geez.

2) Speaking of blue, I just need to stay away from blue stuff, I think.  I ate a blue popsicle the other dayand, of course, my lips and tongue turned blue.  I didn't think anything of it until the next morning when I got up and my lips were still blue.  I bathed and everything!  My lips weren't normal again until after lunch, which made me scared to think of how much dye must have been in my body.  Also, Sunday afternoon, I had a piece of blueberry pic, and my teeth and tongue turned blue for hours.  People are going to think I have smurf DNA.  :(

3) Last Saturday, I was a lump.  Steve was going to be going out of town to help a friend move, so I was left to my own devices.  Normally I hate just not doing anything and watching TV all day, but that's exactly what I did.  There was a Harry Potter movie marathon on, so I blame that because I wanted to see them. I literally sat in my pajamas until I made myself take a shower, and I just put on clean pajamas after that and finished watching the movies. I did cook a little in between, but mostly, I did nothing.  I'm not proud of myself.

4) The funeral I sang for after the Color Run was for a woman at our church that I liked very much.  She was a member of our church, had been close friends with Steve's mom, and she was the one who made my wedding dress out of curtains. : )  Her husband, whom I once worked for briefly, asked me if I would sing a song called "Ain't No Grave" at her service.  It's a very fast, very cheerful song, which seemed a little odd to me, but I feel about funerals the same way I feel about weddings: I'll sing whatever you want and wear whatever you want, so I put the CD into my purse that morning.  Just as we were about to walk out the door, I walked into my office and grabbed a performance track to "It Is Well With My Soul" and stuck it in my purse, too.  I don't really know why I did that, except that I got a weird feeling that her husband might be sorry he didn't pick a more appropriate song and I wanted a backup, just in case.  Not that the song he picked was inappropriate, exactly, but it was and loud.  I don't know.  Anyways, when I got to the funeral home, the director took my CD to do a sound check in the chapel.  The CD wouldn't work, at all.  Not on any of their sound equipment or on the computer in their business office.  I'd used that CD many times without incident, but it wouldn't play at the funeral home.  Luckily, I had that other disk in my purse, so I didn't leave them hanging.  The next day, I took the CD that wouldn't play at the funeral home and tried it in our church's sound equipment, and it played just fine!  I can only deduce that the lady who passed away didn't want that song sung at her funeral after all!  Weirdness!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


OK, I did a really dumb thing last night.  It wasn't supposed to be dumb, it was supposed to be funny, but it turned out to be dumb and now I just have to wait it out!

For the past couple of years, I've wanted to dye my hair a wholly unnatural color.  I don't know why, but I do.  I realize I've crossed the midpoint of my thirties, and it's really not that appropriate for me to have blue or purple hair, but I thought it would be fun to do, at least once, before I turned 40.  I was actually going to do it after Sara's wedding two years ago, but because I'd just started working at the church, I didn't.

I finally talked to the pastor and asked if I DID do something like that, would it be a problem. See, at church, I don't see a whole lot of people who don't know me, and the people who do know me wouldn't think it was weird.  Well, they might, but they like me and they'd be OK with it.  However, since this IS a church, I didn't want to do anything inappropriate.  The pastor said he wasn't going to tell me I couldn't do it, but that I was representing the church when people saw me.  Basically, he wouldn't just tell me no, but he didn't want me to.  I can understand and respect that, and since having blue hair isn't really something that is vitally important, I don't mind not doing it.  We are a kind of old-school, conservative Baptist church and the only blue hair around here belongs to the old ladies, and they have earned it!

Just because I decided I wasn't going to dye my hair, doesn't mean I'm not going to threaten that I'll do it.  Honestly, I like to keep our pastor (and youth pastor) on their toes, and the fact that people with strange dye jobs and tattoos are immediately labeled as "strange" by them both, kind of makes me want to get both done just to spite them.  I usually just threaten to dye my hair (a tattoo seems a bit extreme for spiteful reasons) and whenever they start annoying me, I throw that out there.  They never know if I'd really do it or not, so it's fun for me.  I thought I'd just get a wig one day and wear it in, but I refuse to spend $50 on a joke (unless it's a really, really good one.)  So, the other day I saw this while at Wal-Mart:

It's supposed to be a very intense, but temporary, colorant for your hair.  Of course I bought it, because this was a perfect chance to play a joke on the pastor AND have blue hair, albeit only for a short time.  Steve made me promise not to put it in close to a Sunday (buzz kill), so I decided to do it on a Tuesday (last night) which would give me plenty of time to wash it out.  The box says it's supposed to coat your hair instead of penetrating it, and I've used (I thought) stuff like this before when I used to color my hair in high school.  So blue hair, freaked out pastor, all around win!  Only, it didn't work out the way I thought it would. 

I actually watched some videos of people using it, just to make sure it worked, and everyone seemed pretty happy with it, so I went into the bathroom and started putting it on my hair.  It had really strange directions.  It said your hair should be dry and untangled (check) and you should section off what you want to color.  Then when the stuff was dry, you comb your hair, don't shampoo it and voila!  Unfortunately, the stuff is very liquidy and it doesn't have an applicator of any kind, and trying to keep it in one place was impossible, so it got all over my hair.  As I waited for it to dry, I noticed a problem.  My hair was blue, a dark blue owing to my own dark brown hair, so no problem with the color, but my hair felt like I'd rubbed glue all through it.  I mean that literally.  My hair was stiff and sticky, and when I went to comb through it, the comb got stuck.  Not only that, but my hair was sticking out all over my head.  I looked like the bride of Frankenstein, but blue.  I tried combing it again, but I couldn't get the comb through it. I managed to get some of it brushed, but the underneath part wouldn't budge.  It was like trying to spread a sheet over a bed full of pine cones!  I knew that I couldn't go to church like that, and no joke is worth looking like Lady Gaga on a bender, so I washed it out.  Actually, I tried to wash it out.  A lot of the color came out, but my hair got really sticky.  Whatever this stuff is made of must have come from the bowels of hell, because I can't get it to come out!  Also, once my hair dried, I saw that it wasn't dark blue anymore, it was gray-blue on top of brown!  I still can't properly brush it, because it's still stiff and sticky, and so it's all wild and tangled looking.  Steve said I look like someone who was stranded on a deserted island and didn't have a brush. Nice.  I honestly don't care what color my hair is, so even though it turned greenish brown this morning when I washed it again, the thing that bothers me the most is that I can't brush my hair.  I can't even get my fingers through it!  Ugh.

Karma got me before I even got to play the joke.  Not cool.

On the bright side, my hair would really look awesome if it was blue.  Maybe I'll get it dyed after all.  :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


(TL:DR- I did a fun run. Now go about your business.)


So...guess what I did!  I participated in the Color Run (The Happiest 5K On the Planet!) (TM)!

What?  No, seriously, I swear.  Stop laughing.


Anyway.  I'm not really comfortable explaining my motivations as to why I decided to do a 5K.  That sounds mysterious, but really, it's because my reasons embarrass me.  Let's just say that I had a moment (while in Disney World earlier this year, which happened to coincide with their marathon/10K) where I realized I had no excuse not to at least try.  It was as simple as that.  I also knew I needed a goal of some kind to work on, because y'all...I don't do anything.  *Try to disguise your shock, please.*  I have nothing to work towards.  I stay busy a lot, but really all I do is work and go to church, and God forgive me for saying it, but I need something somewhat enjoyable to throw in there on occasion or I'm going to get sick of both of them. Although a race isn't something I'd necessarily consider enjoyable, I'd already decided that would be what I'd do. Who knows, maybe I'd love doing it and I'd have a new hobby.  Anything is possible, right?

Now, I'm sure if you look hard enough, or at least know what you're doing, you can find a 5K going on somewhere all the time.  Alas, I'm really clueless about those kinds of things.  Also, I'm fairly sure that even if I found some random race going on, any serious, or even semi-serious, runner doesn't need a novice like myself getting involved in a race if they have no idea what they're doing, because they'll just get in the way.  Randomly, and trust me on the fact that I was sure it was a long shot, I decided that if I could find "one of those races where they throw colors on you" I'd do that one. Those looked way less intimidating than others, plus, you know...colors.  So I sat back, somewhat certain it would be a while before anything like that happened, and prepared to forget about it.

Less than a month later, the ad for the Color Run showed up on my Facebook feed. I took it as a sign. Oy.

To give myself a little credit, I didn't punk out on it.  I saved the information and when the day came to actually sign up and pay my entry fee, I did it.  In fact, I did it on the first day so that I wouldn't have time to talk myself out of it.  At the time I didn't know it was considered a "Fun Run," but only because I thought a 5K was a 5K.  I didn't know the difference.  It was also a fundraiser for the Arts Council, and hey, I like art, so win-win!

I had to start totally from scratch on this one, and by that, I mean I had to Google "5K" and see what that equaled in American.  No, I'm not kidding, I had no idea how far a 5K actually was.  Turns out, it's 3.1 miles.

That's....actually not that far.  Not really.  Now, I say it isn't far, but I only know miles in terms of driving, so 3.1 miles didn't sound completely un-doable.  I began going to the gym more often to see if I could actually run/walk that far without dying.  I had to train a little bit, I knew, because I'd never done anything even closely resembling a run before.  I called what I did training, albeit an imperfect kind, because I know running inside of an air conditioned building on a treadmill isn't exactly a great way to get ready for an outside run.  My allergies, however, insisted on this kind of thing.  Apparently, I'm allergic to everything with leaves, and sometimes just driving home with the windows down is enough to seal off my sinuses and give me migraine strength allergy headaches. So, I figured that I'd just run inside and then see what happened outside! 

I actually did get much better.  By the time the actual race was close, I could run almost half of it, which for me is huge.  Not great, not Olympic qualifying, but for me it was great!  Baby steps, right?  I was getting excited about it, which for me is like getting excited about getting an injection. It was confusing. However, I was informed by a lady to whom I happened to mention I was doing the Color Run to, that it was really not a big deal at all. She literally shrugged.

Her words made me go all Sad Monkey inside.
I hate going Sad Monkey.

Understand, I wasn't looking for her approval or anything, and I know I'm not so sensitive that everyone needs to give me a big ol' pat on the back for doing something that can be done by a six year old, but I'd been WORKING towards this, damnit!  To me it was at least kind of a big deal, if only because I was stepping way, way out of my comfort zone to do it. I rarely ever do that. By the point I'd talked to her, I knew the race itself wasn't serious, but it was still something difficult for me, and when she said that it made me feel less excited and more...I don't know...dumb.  I felt dumb for being excited about it, and for considering it to be an accomplishment of any kind. Stupid, I know, but she totally harshed my buzz.  I know she didn't mean to be dismissive on purpose.  She is one of those people who doesn't have a mean bone in her body, but she also doesn't have a great deal of tact, so I won't hold it against her!  THANKS, BUZZ KILLINGTON! :)

Anyways, it kind of took some of the fun away, but I was still going to do it.  Don't let the muggles get you down, right?

The closer it got, though, and I started to wonder if I'd actually do it!  Not because of what that lady said, but because it was such a weird thing for me to do. Honestly, they are called comfort zones for a reason.  I don't usually do exercise things.  I certainly don't make it a habit to just sign up for stuff like this without someone else talking me into it, and really, this kind of fun run is something you do with friends or with your kids or whatever.  I was beginning to feel very nervous about the whole thing. I wasn't worried about actually running/walking the thing, but it was more about it not really being a "Me" thing to do. Does that make sense?  Anyways, I kept thinking "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" and I kept answering myself by saying "You aren't wasting the money you paid to do this, now shut up and quit being a weenie!"  I don't always get along with myself, so...yeah.  Anyways, I was asking myself what I was doing right up until I was walking up to the starting line. Really, I was very confused.  

Although the fun run isn't timed, I still ended up having a relatively small time frame I had to be finished in, because I was supposed to sing at a funeral later that morning.  Within a couple of hours I'd have to do the whole run, get home, clean off whatever colors I was covered in, change into something appropriate and be at the funeral home before the service started.  Great.  I couldn't even just be lazy and mosey my way through.  OK, then.

Steve dropped me off at the starting place and I made my way through a sea of white t-shirts and people wearing tutus and colorful knee socks.  I don't really understand the tutus, but they actually sold them in the Color Run shop, so I guess they're a running thing? You got me. I was surrounded by strangers!  Eek. I was also trying to get near the front so that I could go out in the first wave of runners so I could get done sooner, but there were thousands of people there and I was stuck in the second wave.  No big deal.  I saw a lot of funny stuff.  A person in a full on Unicorn costume (he was a mascot of some kind) and a guy wearing a rubber horse mask, people wearing funny hats and things like that.  People watching was a lot of fun. Music was being played LOUDLY while a guy who sounded like a morning-drive DJ shouted things like "WHEN I SAY COLOR YOU SAY RUN..."   If it tells you anything about the people around me, one of the songs they began blaring was something called "Cha Cha Slide" or at least one of those kinds of songs you hear at wedding receptions that give you directions.  A girl in front of me shouted "Oh, my God they play some really good music!"  Oy.  I really just wanted to get started!  I don't like shouting one thing when someone else says another thing, or waving my hands like I don't care. I just wanted to run and get color thrown at me!  Also...funeral. I had to get out of there in time to do that!  After the national anthem, they let the first wave start.  I think they waited about 5 minutes, and then my group was allowed to start. As Forrest Gump once said:   I. Was. Run-ning.

I actually started off really strong.  I was running and thinking...hey, this isn't so bad!  Someone on the sideline gave me a high five.  People were cheering and it was awesome!  I don't know how far I got, but it wasn't that far, when my lungs said "NOPE."

I imagine they looked something like this, only they were also giving me the finger.

My allergies to outside have caused me to develop a mild, but nonetheless annoyingly persistent, adult onset form of asthma.  I'm usually fine, but occasionally I need my inhaler.  I usually go ahead and use the inhaler before I do anything that might require me to breathe a lot (shut up, you know what I mean) and I completely forgot to use it before this run.  My lungs locked up fast and hard, and since I wasn't getting enough oxygen, my leg muscles also clamped up, so I had to slow down to a walk.  Dad-gummit.  I actually had a moment of panic thinking that I couldn't breathe at all, but I got that under control. I didn't want to be the first person in Huntsville (maybe even history) to die doing a fun run. How embarrassing. Not once while running inside did I ever lose my breath like that, but outside it happened fast.  Oh, well, I just figured I'd walk until I could catch my breath and then I'd run again. It took a LONG time before my breathing eased, but it was partly because I walked as fast as I could.  I was able to kind of jog through the first color station (yellow) but breathing in cornstarch didn't do my lungs any favors.  I walked through the second (purple) and then there was a long stretch before the next station (pink).  During that stretch people were passing me, and I was passing others.  I began feeling a little irritated at myself that I was still walking, but if I can't breathe, I can't run.  Also, I was getting distracted because the route went right through the historic district and I kept looking at the houses along the way.  I couldn't help it!  It was the HISTORIC district, of which I am endlessly fascinated.  It got fairly hot and humid, which is never any fun, but I finally managed to pick up the pace a little.  Just as I was about to turn the corner, someone handed me a bottle of water.  That was nice, and the water was very welcome, but it's really kind of hard to run while holding a bottle of water if you aren't used to it.  I kept looking for a place to throw it away, but there wasn't anywhere, and I didn't feel right about throwing it down on the ground.  So, I had a Kanye West moment where I was resentful that I had to be responsible for a bottle of water.  The pink station came up and the lady throwing the color basically squirted me right in the face with the stuff.  They are supposed to keep the powder fairly low down, but I think she got distracted because it hit me right in the ear and floofed all over my face.  Yuck.

By that point I was breathing a whole lot better, and I managed to alternate running and walking more often.  I was getting hot and tired and I'm fairly certain I'd begun to hallucinate a little.  I swear I saw Andy Gibb on the sidelines, and unless I'm mistaken, he's dead.  I didn't stop and talk to him though because I was almost done!  Right before the last color station (blue) I saw Steve again!  Yay!  He took my picture as I rounded the corner and he got a couple of pictures of me there.  I went through the blue and onward to the finish line!  Just before the end, there was supposed to be a photographer, and I'd mentioned to Kenny that I was afraid any pictures that they took of me running would wind up looking like this:

However, he (a seasoned triathlete who gave me a lot of good advice about running my sad little fun-run) told me to find the photographer beforehand and basically be prepared to ham it up as I passed him.  So that's what I did.  Just as I reached the inflatable rainbow that signified the finish line, I put on a ridiculous smile and ran past him as if I was not hot and winded and had NOT just seen a deceased member of the Bee Gees!  So even though I felt like this:
Ok, so maybe with a little less dangling intestine...

I looked much happier crossing the finish line!  See?

I'm STILL holding that damnable bottle of water, too!

So I was finally done, and it felt really awesome to cross that finish line because I'd never done that before!  Yay!  I wasn't able to stay for whatever shenanigans that were supposed to happen once everyone got back in, so I handed someone my packet of color powder and headed home to get cleaned up.  It was very fun, and I'd like to do it again!  I'd also like to eventually run a real race of some kind, but that probably won't happen any time soon.  I'll work on it, though! One step at a time!

So there is the grand, sweeping saga of how I, inexplicably, decided to run on purpose!  YAY!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Do you want to know what happened to us this weekend?

Yellow-jackets! That's what happened to us. 

Stupid, evil, vindictive yellow-jackets.

Do you remember a couple of entries ago, I mentioned that I got stung by a bee while mowing the lawn?  Well, it turned out it wasn't a bee.  Unknown to us, a very large colony of yellow-jackets had built a ground nest near the edge of our property.  It's right up against the property line with our neighbors, so it isn't a place we spend a whole lot of time hanging out and we had no idea  it was there.  The last time I mowed, I guess I just barely disturbed them because I was only stung once, and because Steve said there were some bees hanging around the crepe myrtle, that's what we thought got me.  This time, though, I apparently did more than disturb them.  I must have disturbed them and said something horrible about their mother, if their reaction was any indication!

Since getting stung last time, I was careful to wear blue-jeans when I mowed.  I should have worn tennis shoes, too, but I didn't.  I thought that jeans would be enough, because really, statistically, how often can expect to get stung while mowing your lawn if it's only happened once in 14 years?

So I'm working on the last section of our yard, which is the big part in the front.  I usually start by going around the entire perimeter, and then sectioning it off.  This time, I was doing that, but decided that I needed to go over the same ground since I missed a spot, which was apparently the wrong thing to do.  I hit the nest twice, and as I went over it the second time, they came after me.  The first one got me in the ear!  THE MOTHER-EFFING EAR!  As I sat there, holding my ear, I got stung on my foot, my hand and my calf.  I panicked.  I literally couldn't figure out how to get away.  I realized, way too late that I was on a riding lawnmower, which I then managed to drive into the center of the lawn.  I was still in a panic, so I couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so I just jumped off and ran into the house.  For all I knew at that point, they were still following me.  I ran through the house, stripped off my clothes and I jumped into the shower to drown anything that was still on me.  Poor Steve had no idea what was going on, so he walked over to where I had been and he got swarmed.  While I was in the shower, I heard him running through the house and getting into the other shower.  He'd been stung 11 times on his legs.  He'd still managed to get the lawnmower inside and the garage closed, so points go to Steve in this instance.  We are so lucky that neither one of us is allergic, but we still popped Benadryl just in case.

Y'all, I'd like to say I was stoic and able to deal with the pain with no problem, but I'd be lying.  I always believed I had a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I was proven very, very wrong.  I'd only been stung 4 times, and I think the three on my hand/foot/leg weren't that bad, but it was the one in my ear that nearly drove me insane.  Imagine someone stabbing a needle into your ear and wiggling it around for hours without stopping.  The pain wouldn't back off.  The longer I sat there, the worse it got.  Steve said that his stings hurt, but they weren't that bad.  Me, I just laid down and cried.  I did everything I could think of to help them: we put Neosporin on the stings, we crushed up aspirin applied that, baking soda paste, cortisone cream, but nothing helped.  I finally decided that if I could just go to sleep, I could get away from it.  But I couldn't go to sleep.  My muscles were twitching so bad that I couldn't even doze off.  I tried icing my ear and applying heat to it, but nothing helped.  I even kept trying to take Tylenol and stuff like that, but nothing touched it.  We finally had to go to Target and buy some kind of after sting stuff (that did nothing) and I bought some Z-quil because I figured that if I couldn't go to sleep on my own, I'd drug myself into it.  By the time we got home, my ear was hurting a tiny bit less, but my hand and foot had begun swelling up like balloons.  I did fall asleep, which was a blessing, but I didn't stay asleep for long.  I finally just got up, took the sleeping stuff, and went to sleep for real.  I was going to avoid the pain as much as possible.  That probably doesn't speak well about my coping skills!  Steve said his stings had stopped hurting, but had started to itch like crazy, so he stayed in the living-room all night so that he wouldn't wake me up while he scratched. 

I woke up at around 4:00 that morning, and took more Benadryl, which was not smart on top of all of the other stuff I'd been taking, which made me too drunk to go to church!  Steve was not hurtinganymore, his bites were itchy but he was ok, so he went ahead to church and had to run the sound for me.  I slept for a long, long time.  When I finally woke up, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, guys, my ear was 3 times bigger than an ear should be!  It was so gross!  I had a cauliflower ear, for real! It was so swollen that I couldn't even bend my earlobe!  My foot and hand were also swollen up so badly that they didn't look like they belonged on my body.  You know how babies have those little fat, boneless looking hands and feet?  That is what I had on one side of my body.  When I'd walk, my foot looked like a water balloon being compressed.  YUCK! So much yuck!  I WAS A MUTANT! 
Artist's Rendition 

I hid in the house for the rest of the day like I was the Elephant Man or something.  I probably could have gone to church that night, the pain was all but gone, but I was afraid everyone would be staring at my ear.  Seriously, it was like freak-show big.  It was still really swollen when I went to bed, but it did go down a lot during the night so I was able to come to work today. Besides, I can stand three people looking at my ear, but not dozens and dozens of them looking.  

At any rate, now we are mainly just very itchy.  My hand a foot are still swollen, but that is getting better.  I'll be glad when I can wear a normal shoe again, though.  We'll be lucky if Steve has legs left after he finishes scratching them. He really did get stung a lot, but he was able to stand the pain much better than me.  I felt like such a weenie.  

So, that was my weekend!  I hope yours was much better! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not deeply and irrevocably flawed, or maybe just an enormous jerk or something.

I go onto Facebook every day.  I'm pretty sure that the cool kids don't do that, but I'm not going to lie about it.  I get bored and I want to pretend I'm hanging out with other human beings, so I go on Facebook and see what everyone is doing. Most of the time I see the requisite "Oh, my kids are awesome" or "Look at this place I visited! My vacations are fantastic!"  I'm OK with that.  That's what Facebook is for: mostly living vicariously through people we barely remember from high school and pretending like we talk to our actual IRL friends more than we really do.  That's OK! It's good we have at least that little bit of communication with people these days! 

Occasionally, though, I come across these...I dunno...odes (for want of a better word) to people from their family members/significant others in the status updates and sometimes it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  Now, let me be specific: It isn't across the board uncomfortable. Like when someone dies, or is born, or if there is some kind of really special/significant thing that happens, I'm fine.  There is a time and place for holding someone up, and I recognize those things.  Mostly it's just the over the top birthday wishes, or mother's and father's day essays, or (and this one is the absolute worst to me) the husbands or wives getting on there and just, oh dear God, gooping the place up with their anniversary wishes, or birthday wishes, or *shudder* just the "oh how wonderful you are" mess that people do. You know, feeeeeeeeeeeelings.  It's gross.  It makes me feel gross.  I actually have to scroll past those things really fast because I become physically uncomfortable knowing that it is just out there for everyone to read.  It's like when you're watching a movie with your parents and a particularly graphic sex scene pops up, and you know that you want to run screaming from the room, but you can't because that would mean acknowledging it, and the last thing you want to do is react, so you just sit there until the scene is over, wishing you were dead instead of watching this movie with your parents?  That feeling.

Now, before anyone accuses me of jealousy or sour grapes, I assure you, that isn't true.  If Steve, or anyone else (you know, one of my various secret admirers), got on Facebook and said goopy, personal things about me in such a public forum, I might actually die of embarrassment. I'd feel my face catch on fire and I'd probably fall into a puddle of boiling, writhing, discomfort. I don't want that.  If you love me and want me to know, just tell me.  Do it in person, over the phone, or in a letter. I even accept YouTube videos set on Private.  I'll probably still be embarrassed (pleased, but embarrassed because I have a very hard time taking compliments) but I'd be OK with that.  Of course, if I die or something like that, you have my permission to say whatever you want about me on Facebook.  Heck, take out a billboard.

I know this is kind of weird and out of nowhere, but I just saw something so personal on Facebook from one spouse to another that I feel like I need a bath. It also bothered me enough that it made me write this.

That is all.  Carry on with your day.

Monday, September 08, 2014


1) I don't know why I'm thinking about the movie  "Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this morning, but there is a scene where Butch has to rescue both Indiana Jones and Marian from the quicksand and has to use a huge snake as a rope to pull them out. Why didn't he use his jacket, or maybe his pants?  Is no one willing to use their clothes as tools to get themselves out of bad situations? You'd better believe I'd be stripping down if the only way I could get everyone safe is to use my pants as a rope or something. Why am I thinking about this this morning?

2) I've had a couple of weird experiences at work lately.  One morning, when I knew I'd be the only one there for a little while, I was walking downstairs to heat up my breakfast when I saw a body laying in the church's breezeway.  It scared me, because the last think I want to do is walk up on a dead person when I'm the only one there.  I mean, I wouldn't want to walk up on one if the place was full of people, but at least I'd have moral support.  I kind of snuck up to the glass doors and tapped on them and the man (thankfully) opened his eyes.  Now, I did a really dumb thing and opened the doors a crack and asked if he was ok.  He said he was homeless and was just sleeping.  I didn't have the heart (or cajones) to tell him he had to leave, so I told him it was fine and went back inside.  The poor guy slept there for a while afterwards, but it really freaked me out. I mean, he picked a really smart place to sleep, but it's disconcerting to have a stranger camped out on the literal doorstep of the place I work.  Luckily my coworker showed up earlier than I thought so at least I wasn't alone.  The man didn't ask for anything and he left an hour or so later, but still.  I wish I could have given him something to help him, but I didn't have anything.

We also have a man who has been showing up to church on Sunday nights that kind of freaks everyone out.  He's apparently functionally, well, kind of, mentally ill in some way.  He may be homeless or he may be under the care of one of the places in our neighborhood, but he shows up with a backpack during the middle of services, he talks out loud to himself and to others, gets twitchy and he tends to get up and wander around the church.  He tried following one of the ladies out of the service once, to ask for money I think, but another one of our members grabbed one of our deacons and they stopped him.  The pastor says he knows the man and that he isn't dangerous, but the policeman that goes to church with us isn't so sure he isn't unstable.  I don't know.  It's honestly such a fine line between wanting to minister to people who obviously need help and protecting ourselves and our congregation.  You can't really tell people they aren't welcome to come to church (definitely not what Jesus would do ) but how do we know when we might need to put a stop to something like that?  As far as I know, we've only ever asked one person to stop coming to church, and that was because she was starting to threaten people. 

I just love our church and I love the people in it, and I want them all to be safe.

3) You want to know something that bothers me? It's completely irrational, much like a lot of other things that bother me.  I read a lot of foodie stuff on the internet because I really, really like food.  Occasionally I'll come across these blogs or Pinterest pins that talk about how you can make a homemade, healthier version of some commercially available product.  My problem is that sometimes the people who write these recipes/directions say something to the effect of "I've found this great way to make home made Cheez-Its without all of the crap in them!" It makes me mad when people say that some food thing they don't like for one reason or another is full of "crap."  I can't even explain why, really, because it isn't the idea that they don't like the ingredients that bothers me, it's simply the fact that they use phrases like "Without all the crap in them."   It isn't even the specific word that bothers me, but it's like someone putting a cigarette out in my eye every time I read that sentiment.  I think it's partly because it sounds so pretentiously snotty or something.  It's completely irrational.

4) I got stung by what I'm pretty sure was a bee last week and it almost ended me!  It's been so long since I have been stung by anything (thank goodness) that my brain almost couldn't process what was going on.  I was mowing the lawn, and all of a sudden it felt like I'd been shot in the leg.  Quite literally, my mind went blue with the pain that shot through me!  I jumped off of the lawnmower and ran into the garage and grabbed the first thing I could find out of the freezer - a pint of ice cream- and put it on my leg, but it didn't help.  I went inside and tried the baking soda trick, which helped for a minute, eventually just put ice on it, which helped a lot more, but holy Moses did it hurt!  I realize how much like a weenie I sound, but unexpected pain like that just took over me.  Luckily I'm not allergic, but my leg swelled up and a weird, red, bloody dot popped up where I'd been stung.  My leg muscle actually contracted and didn't let go for a long time.  It was weird.  I was going to be filming a wedding that night, so I had to put pantyhose over that spot (which was not pleasant) but eventually the pain settled down to a manageable level.  My leg was very hot where it was swollen, though.  It finally stopped hurting the next day and now it just itches like fire.  Bees suck!  Sorry for admitting what a pansy I am. :(

Monday, August 11, 2014


1) Well, we finally found out that Steve's last day will be January 30th!  At least now we know, so we can figure out what to do from there.  Please keep your fingers crossed that he finds another job PDQ. : ) 

2) We've been redecorating the bedroom, and so far it looks great!  This has been a project a long time coming, and I'm just relieved we're finally making some progress.  We knew that we needed more storage in our room, but it was too small to add another piece of furniture. We decided to get rid of our old bed and order a new one with drawers underneath.  Since we were going to be doing that, we decided to repaint, too, because we've been sleeping in a beige room for nearly 14 years. Beige. Seriously, how did I wind up with a beige room?  Bleh.

Anyway, we've been collecting parts for a long time.  We ordered our bed months ago (It has been in the garage since it came in. We've only had it for a couple of weeks, but it's got to be assembled and we haven't had a chance to put it together yet. Steve's been so busy with work stuff that he hasn't had time, and the pieces are in 3 boxes, 2 of which are taller than me, so I've been too intimidated to try and do it myself) and we also got a new ceiling fan because our old one stopped working correctly. We couldn't do anything with those until we repainted, though, and paint was the last thing we decided on.   

Last Friday, we began moving everything out of the room.  There is just something about Steve and I that doesn't mesh when we're trying to do a project like that. We start trying to move a thing, we hit a snag, and when Steve is off trying to figure out the logistics of how to make it work, I just end up moving it myself.  Granted, he's probably trying to figure out a way to move it without destroying it, and I'm just trying to get it out of the way.  At any rate, trying to move furniture around with Steve greatly multiplies my desire to beat him to death with my shoes.  He told me the feeling was mutual!  Ha!  Luckily, we managed to clear out everything without a homicide! 

While I began painting (a lovely greenish-blue that the paint guy made fun of) he began working to put up the fan.  Unfortunately the wires, which are as old as the house, began to fall apart in his hands as soon as he started working with them.  Neither one of us knew what to do!  We'd had to cut the power, of course, and we were going to need some kind of light and power on that end of the house before Monday, even if the fan couldn't be installed. We also couldn't very well leave live wires dangling from our ceiling, so we had to find an electrician that would come out on very short notice, not to mention on a Saturday. Luckily we found someone and he was able to fix the wires and install the fan for a reasonable amount of scratch.  One thing about the fan, though, is that Steve and I didn't measure how big the old one was before getting the new one. We just guessed and grabbed one. The new fan is HUGE! It's intimidatingly huge. Sleeping under it makes me think of some kind of elaborate James Bond villain death trap. We haven't even been brave enough to turn it up as high as it will go for fear that our bedroom will take off like a helicopter.  It's a nice fan, just kind of scary.

After the electrician left, I was able to start painting again, and I've learned some things about myself.  I'd turned on my iTunes playlist, and I learned I work much faster when I'm listening to music!  Well, I would if the whole thing didn't break into a musical complete with dancing and arm movements.  I can't just listen to it, I have to EXPERIENCE it.  I also learned that I have no actual idea what is on my iTunes playlist, and the fact that it jumped from One Direction (just one song, shut up) to something about lonely women making good lovers that I don't remember adding, disturbs my inner chi.  I never think to weed out that playlist, so every time I turn it on is an adventure.  :) I also can't keep paint off of the carpet, even with a drop cloth. Luckily it was only two tiny spots, but one spot kind of got bigger when I tried to vaccuum it up thinking it was a piece of paper.  Oy.

At any rate the room has been painted and now I need to move whatever furniture I can back into it to get it out of the rest of the house. It's like playing an annoying game of Tetris in our house right now.  More stories about the room as they arise.

3) I think I'm too old to stay up late these days.  When I get really sleepy, it's almost like I'm drunk. I get really honest, slurry and very silly.

4) Last night during church we were doing "congregation requests" during the music time.  That's self explanatory, right? Anyway, while I was trying to find a certain song so that I could pull it up on the screen, I uncrossed my legs and my foot hit dead center on the computer's power button and the whole thing shut down.  I couldn't have done that if I'd been trying, but I did manage to do it by accident in front of the whole congregation. *Facepalm*

5) There was another thing I was going to put here, but I can't remember it.  :(  I'm sure it was both charming and entertaining, though.  To make up for it, here is a picture of Groot.

He is Groot.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

This is lovely.  Sad, but lovely.


This is just a quicky, but embarrassingly, I was excited and had to share!!!

I have an Instagram account.  I usually won't follow people unless I know them personally, or unless their posts are relevant to my interests.  I certainly don't make a habit of following celebrities, but I made one exception to this rule: Jorge Garcia.

This is him.

He is an actor who was on Lost.  He was my favorite actor on Lost, as a matter of fact. I have a small, plastic figure of him in my house in a place of honor. I feel weird about that. Probably not as weird as I should.

Anyway, I began following him on Instagram a while back, and recently he posted a list for something called a 30 Day Drawing Challenge.  The list gives you a subject for each day and you're supposed to draw a picture of that thing and post it to your picture feed. You're also supposed to use the hash tag so other people who are participating in the challenge can look at your stuff.  I thought it looked fun, so I am doing the challenge.  Not many people are currently participating, so I shouldn't be surprised that he's seen my pictures.  But he did comment on one of them!  He thought it was funny. I sqeed. I squeed so hard that I pulled a muscle.

Look, the normal, grown-up part of me knows he's just a guy who happens to be an actor, he likes to draw, and he's seen my picture.  No big deal.

The other part of me (the part that most of you know) is the one currently writing on my blog that he commented on my picture. It is also the part of me that sqeed.

Don't worry, I didn't try to engage him in any sort of contact.  I see people do that a lot on his feed and it embarrasses me.  I don't want to be that guy! 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


July 20, 2014

Today was pretty much just packing up and leaving town.

We had one last breakfast in the hotel restaurant (yum!) and we spent way too much time trying to figure out what to use our hotel credits for in the tiny shop in the lobby.  Each day you choose to be "Green" and allow housekeeping to skip your room, they give you five dollars credit for the store.  We skipped one day on purpose and one day on accident, so we went and spent it on snacks.  It was either food or toiletries, and we were going home, so food it was! I'm not 100% sure what a Luna Bar is, but I have one now.

Nothing exciting happened on the way back through the airport, except that we got to use accelerated security (meaning we got to keep our shoes on) and we finally got some souvenirs (I have the WORST time spelling that word. I never get it right and spell check has to come to the rescue)  at the Smithsonian Store.  I, of course, got cookbooks: one with recipes from the restaurant at the Native American museum, and one about recipes common during Abe Lincoln's days. I have no idea why I keep getting cookbooks, though, because all of my cookbooks are still in giant boxes in our now defunct guest room.  I can't, in good conscience, even really call it a guest room anymore.  It's a storage pod with a bed buried underneath the stuff we still haven't been able to redistribute since the remodel.  SIGH.


We were actually really, really early for our flight, and because we were on a small flight, we shared a gate with 6 other planes and it was very crowded.  There was a K-9 dog at the gate with a military man, and I wanted to pet it, but it was a pretty big German Shepherd and I was afraid it would try and eat my face.  I did wave at it, though.  I think we were there for a couple of hours, but finally, we got called.  We were in the very last seats on the plane, but I kind of liked that because no one was kicking my seat!  The bad thing about where we were sitting was that the bathroom was right next to us but, mercifully, few people used it.

We got back to Huntsville, got our luggage and went home. We have to go get Butler and learn how to give him shots tomorrow!

It was a great trip!  :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

If you've visited my blog for any period of time, you'll know that when I'm sad, I post pictures of otters. My line of thinking is that if there can be something as cute as otters in the world, things can't be all bad.

These otters aren't for me.  They are for one of my most favorite people in the world who unexpectedly lost a very loved, very special, grandmother.  I can't really do anything useful, or helpful, to make his loss any easier to bear.  I wish I could.  All I can do is let him know that I love him and his family so much, and that they're in my heart while they're dealing with this loss.

If you've got any extra prayers, or good thoughts, please send them their way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


July 19, 2014

Oy, we are tired people.  We kind of overslept this morning.  Not that we were on a schedule or anything, but we slept much longer than we should have!

Ever since the unfortunate Disney World Flip-Flop Incident of 2009, I am always careful about wearing the correct kind of shoes when I'm going to be doing any significant amount of walking. but even without blisters, my dogs were still barking from the day before!  Luckily my leg wasn't hurting nearly as bad as it was yesterday.  (I forgot to mention that in my last entry.  A guy almost plowed into me coming out of the subway and I twisted my knee and my ankle dodging him. Luckily a couple of ice packs strapped to my leg in strategic places fixed me right up!)

After breakfast we headed back out to the subway station (we are old hands at it now) we went back downtown to the International Spy Museum!  It was so much fun!  We had quite a wait in line, but they were playing clips of Golden Eye, so it wasn't boring!  We were ushered into a room where we were told to choose a "secret identity" and remember it because we would need to know it later. So Steve and I dutifully memorized our new identities and we moved onto watch a short film and then on to the museum.  I'll be honest, I picked this museum because I thought Steve would enjoy the Villains of James Bond exhibit, but I enjoyed it myself.  I never really thought much about spy stuff before, but now I want a camera in my buttons and a knife in my shoe!  I don't really want to be spy, but something about all that gear speaks to my inner "survivor" type personage.  Not that I want to go live out in the wild, but I always like to be prepared for anything (including international espionage, apparently.)  It was a very entertaining place, but we never actually had to tell anyone our secret identities.  We saw one little boy being "interrogated" by one of the museum staff, so we assumed that it was something just for kids.  Oh, well, at least I have a fake identity ready if I need one.  I'll just need to learn how to speak Italian! The James Bond exhibit was very cool, and they had one hallway decked out like the interior or a submarine with big screens on each wall. A little sign said to tap on the glass, which I did, and a giant, computer-generated shark slams into the "glass" and shatters it.  I almost wet my pants.  The gift shop was full of all kinds of neato stuff, but I didn't get anything. I've realized that the secret of me not spending money on vacation is knowing that whatever I buy will need to be carried long distances. Lazy > Souvenirs.

After leaving there, we went back to the Mall so that we could visit the American History museum.  It was a lot of fun, too, only there were a lot of those very rude museum visitors there as well.  I almost punched a lady.  Hand to God, I had to walk away.  I'm not a violent type of person, but I can be provoked, and that lady almost got a face full of what happens when you piss me off.  I decided to be sweet for Jesus and left her unscathed.  Barely.  Other than that, I enjoyed myself immensely!  I saw some of the things I'd seen before, and a lot of newer stuff I hadn't anticipated. There was a whole exhibit on The Civil War that I'd never seen, and, I got to give General Nathan Bedford Forrest's hat and sword the finger. Yeah, burn the south down, huh?  I'll...basically make a rude and ineffective gesture in front of complete strangers to show my disapproval.  The museum was like a black hole, though, because we were in there for hours.  I had no idea how long we'd been in there until my blood sugar started doing that "oh,'re getting dizzy and grouchy" thing that it does.  Unfortunately, the food at the American History museum was not as good as the Native American Museum. It was basically SpRocket (ptooey) quality.  Bleh.

We'd planned on touring the war memorials after we left there, but we were just too tired of walking.  If we'd been smart, we'd have joined one of the segway tours (we were too late) or we could have called Rickshaw Steve, but we were just ready to go.  We got back on the train and headed to Reston.  While we were driving back to the hotel, Steve said he wanted to explore the next little town, which was called Herndon (I think).  It was very small, and had some lovely homes scattered around. It seemed to have a very large international population, too. We saw a place called "World Fresh," which was a multi-culti market, and decided to see what they had.  Yes, we go to grocery stores for fun.  Shut up.   It was a regular grocery store, but they sold products from all over the world.  Not just touristy kind of stuff like Pocky, but real products that the people of this community probably couldn't get anywhere else.  We got a few things to try, although most of it was just candy and stuff.  I got some fresh rambutans, which are like hairy plums, and they were surprisingly good.  I also got some fresh lychee and they were gross.  One thing we didn't count on was that we wouldn't have utensils for either opening the soda that we bought nor cutting up the fruit.  We had to go full on boyscout mode.  We managed to get the cap off of the soda with a carabiner, and we flattened out the edge of the bottle cap to cut up the fruit.  I put on Facebook that I felt like a monkey on the National Geographic channel using rudimentary tools to catch ants.  We probably could have just gone to the restaurant and asked for a bottle opener and a knife, but where is the fun in that?

After all that, we packed as much as we could.  We're leaving tomorrow. :(  It's been a very fun trip, and as much as I want to see Butler, I wish it could have lasted a little bit longer! There is still so much to see!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


JULY 19, 2014

Today was our real adventure day! 

While getting ready, I was having some trouble finding something to wear. I brought my go-to Yellowstone t-shirt, but I wasn't sure if the unwritten laws of stupid stuff prevents a person from wearing a tourist shirt from one place to another, different tourist place. It's kind of like not wearing the shirt of a band to their concert. None of us want to be that guy. Anyway, I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear it anyway. I was still feeling kind of gouache about it when we went to breakfast and I saw a business man (a relatively young man who seemed to be fairly proud of himself and the way he looked) wearing a black and white flowered shirt only buttoned to the top of his stomach, underneath his suit jacket, and another man wearing a full business suit with a giant, red, Sherpa backpack and a Whole Foods bag. After that I felt ok about my t-shirt.

We drove to the metro station parking deck and had a little trouble figuring out what to do. Parking out here just kind of a nightmare. every space seemed to be reserved for someone. The thing is, we wouldn't have had this problem if we'd been here a week later, because they're opening a metro station just down the street from our hotel! BOO! Timing is everything! :) We finally just left the car in one of the spaces and crossed our fingers that it would be there once we got back. 

-Now let me pause here to make a pronouncement: if you are sitting at a red light (behind someone else) and the light turns green, and if you start honking your horn the split second the light turns...not giving them time to move their foot from the break to the accelerator, you are an a**hole. If you are proud of the fact that you do this are an a**hole. If you come from a place where this behavior is acceptable, then everyone in your town is an a**hole. By this Logic, Washington DC is full of a**holes.

Moving on.

We got on the Metro and headed towards the National Mall. Riding public transportation is kind of weird. Everyone very studiously avoids everyone else they don't know and most people just plug in headphones and stare in one spot til they get off. Is this true for trains in all places, or just really big cities? Granted, you probably don't want some random subway person getting cozy with you, but I couldn't help but think that if my hometown had a train, none of that ignoring stuff would be going on. By the time you went from one end of the line to another, you'd know the names of everyone around you, know which college team they cheer for, the names of all their kin folks, and the recipes for squash casserole they swear by.  The train kept getting more and more crowded, and just about the time it got so full that I wanted to start screaming and clawing at the doors, we arrived at our destination!  I was so excited!!!!!

The museums we really wanted to see today were all around the Mall, so we started at the Smithsonian Castle.  I had no idea what it actually held, but it turned out to have a sample of stuff that you could find in all of the other Smithsonian museums.  A Reader's Digest Condensed version of the museum experience, if you will.  Unless I missed a whole lot of stuff, it was fairly small, but still interesting.  They had an exhibit of different kinds of souvenirs, which I thought was cool.  It wasn't like t-shirts and stuff, but things like a napkin from Napoleon's court and pieces of the Bastille.  I guess it was what people used to take a souvenirs before you could buy snow globes. I have no idea. Anyways, what I thought would be awesome was if they had souvenirs of the souvenir exhibit!  There was actually a book, but I didn't get it, although that would have been funny.  Souvenir-ception!

We next went to the Air and Space Museum, which was crowded beyond crowded.  I didn't realize at the time that we were just a day away from the 45th (I think) anniversary of the moon landing, which probably explained why it was nearly shoulder to shoulder in there.  They were checking bags at the door, which slowed everything down to a crawl.  They weren't checking very hard, so I'm not sure what they were looking for.  We also had to go through metal detectors.  Were they looking for guns?  Probably.  I guess it would be easy to take down a lot of people if you wanted to go postal in a place like that, but it still makes me kind of sad that it's a possibility.  The museum was interesting, but too much like the Sprocket (ptooey) for my taste.  I guess it's because the USSRC and the Air and Space Museum had a lot of the same type of things, although we had the Saturn V and they didn't (NYEAH!)  We did see a lot of cool stuff, though, and there was a section where we got to make a very good Star Trek IV joke AND sing a verse of "Danger Zone" which was worth the whole visit right there!  Hee! 

Next we went to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the Native American, and it was amazing!  I hadn't even known it existed until a day before we left on our trip.  It was a really beautiful building, and there was some kind of festival going on where they had dancers and speakers.  It was very cool.  I've always been proud of my Cherokee heritage, as much about it as I knew of it, so seeing the exhibits was a great experience.  I wish we could have spent more time there, but it was very crowded as well, and we still had a lot we wanted to see.  We did eat at this museum, though.  There is a restaurant there called Mitsitam, which is apparently "Let's Eat" in the language of the Delaware.  They have food from five different regions of native peoples (it's so hard to be PC, since I just want to call them indians, but I realize that it's cool) in the western hemisphere.  You could mix and match food from all of the different places, but the room isn't very well laid out, and since you can jump from line to line, there is a whole lot of chaos.  I finally just jumped into a line and got turkey and some kind of rice salad from the "Northern Woodlands."  It was delicious, but it would have been better if you weren't having to essentially play Frogger with a million people to simply get lunch!

We walked across the mall to the Natural History Museum!  This was the one I was most excited to see, because I've only been there once and that was when I was a 7th grader.  It was also crowded beyond crowded, and I didn't get to see everything I wanted, but I still got to see a lot!  I had no recollection about how huge that place was.  I'm sure I missed entire wings of things, but I saw what I could.  One specific thing I really, really, really wanted to see was the gem and mineral exhibit. That's where the Hope Diamond is, as well as a room of other huge and/or significant pieces of jewelry that I had been rushed through when I'd been there before.  Steve and I found the Hope Diamond right away, and I almost had to punch a little kid in the head.  See, the diamond is in a small case on a rotating platform.  If you want to get a good look at it, you have to get close and wait for it to turn in your direction.  People were crowded around it, and when they finally moved, Steve and I stepped up to the glass to see it.  Right as it started to turn towards us, a little kid ducked under my arm and stood  right in the way of it, so we couldn't see it.  She was much too young to be there by herself, which means that there was a parent off to one side letting their kid be rude.  I did not punch the child, of course, but we ended up having to stand there for another full rotation of the platform to be able to see.  That put us in the position of having to stand there longer than we normally would have, which kept other people from seeing it until we walked away.

I moved on to the gem room, which was very crowded, and I realized pretty much right away that things weren't going to be easy to see in there.  People were so damn rude, which meant I had to be rude and wedge myself into a non-moving wall of people just to get a glimpse of the things I'd come to see.  Literally, people crowded around the cases and wouldn't freaking move.  I get it, these things are amazing, but when there is a line of people behind you, don't just stand there.  Look and move!  I was stuck between a man who very clearly seemed to just want to stand and lean against the wall, and a kid and his grandmother who knew everything. EVERYTHING.  Neither her, nor her grandson, shut up nearly the entire time they were behind me.  Also, the kid kept coughing on me.  Full on, right on my arm, coughing on me.  He also kept trying to get in front of me, but I kept my hand on the wall to block him.  I suppose I can't really blame kids for being rude, because mostly they don't think of things like being polite when they're excited about stuff.  The adults, however, I can blame all I want.  The woman and man in front of me just basically stopped at each case and stood there without moving often enough that I (genuinely) came within an inch of saying "FFS!" (expletive abbreviated)  and bodily shoving them out of the way.  I finally stepped out of the line to walked around them, and suddenly they sped up to get back in front of me!  Grrrr. I had to skip some things, which I shouldn't have had to do, but unless I wanted to start spitting on people's necks to get them to move, I didn't have a choice.  I felt I was much much ruder than I probably should have been (although my version of being rude is probably like being "Canadian Rude" in that I just say "excuse me" louder than I normally would.)

OK, here is where I get a little indignant and it may sound like my whole day was ruined.  It wasn't, I had a great time, but I did get very irritated.

People really need to learn some kind of museum etiquette. Trust me, I know people go to museums to see all of the awesome, historic stuff that they contain and they get excited about it.  It would be wonderful if we could go to them and take a much time as we wanted pressed up against the cases, staring, reading and re-reading the little card, posing for pictures and tweeting about what we're looking at.  If the museum isn't busy, you CAN do that.  However, and I can't stress this enough, if the place is busy and there are people crowded around something, hoping to see it, you shouldn't be that mouth-breathing-window-licking-gooney-bird backing up the line. That is just bad form. BAD FORM.  You have to make yourself as small as possible, turn sideways if you have to, and no matter how much you'd like to study details on something, if you are mashed full-frontal onto the exhibit case for minutes at a time, you need to understand that people are going to be plotting your death.  Read, glance, and move on.  Go back later if you can, but don't sucker-fish yourself to something and refuse to move if other people want to see it.  Also, you also don't have to take a picture of/with everything you see.  Seriously, lighting in museums is usually not conducive for photography unless you have specifically equipped cameras, so the picture of that thing you had to pose next to that took your buddy so long to take with the iPad the size of a cookie sheet that had to be unfolded out of the giant crowd-control Sherpa backpack he'd been wearing is going to turn out badly.  Take a few pictures, fine, but if you have to stand open mouthed and peace signed next to every exhibit, you should be punched.  Also, don't stop in front of  a crowded exhibit to start texting a friend or start messing with your phone, or to have a conversation with your family about where to eat lunch.  I realize that I know these things because I once worked at a museum, but most of it should be common sense AND common courtesy.        


There was more to see, but due to the crowds and the fact that we'd been walking for several hours made us decide to go back to the hotel.  We did have a bad moment when we had stepped outside to look at a map, when one of those bicycle-cart guys started trying to convince us to go on his tour.  We'd already been quite clear we weren't interested, but he wouldn't back off.  I finally took down his number just so he'd leave us alone. If you need a bicycle cart tour of Washington D.C. let me know and I'll give you Rickshaw Steve's phone number.  It's in my phone.  We jumped back onto the subway and went back to the parking garage.  Luckily, our car hadn't been towed!  Huzzah!

We went to Chipotle for dinner, which was the first time I'd ever been to one.  We have one in Huntsville, but it's always crowded, so I'd never been.  It was pretty good.  We also stopped by Target to buy some essentials we needed.  It had been a great day! :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


 July 18, 2014

I don't know if it was because we ate so late last night, or if it was a nightmare, but I woke up in complete Crazy Town early this morning, freaking out that I'd lost my grandmother's wedding band. I hadn't, as it was still on my hand, but I was convinced it was gone. I'm sure Steve appreciated the abrupt wake up, but that's one of the perils of being married to me!

Maybe it was the residue of the anxiety meds still in my system, or maybe it was because I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go on an epic adventure looking for a ring that was actually on my hand, but after I went back to sleep I ended up sleeping until about 10:00 this morning. I don't usually sleep that late ever, but today I was a lady of leisure.  Steve's business meeting was today and I was on my own.  I had planned on maybe going into the city to look around by myself, but that wasn't possible due to the fact that Steve had the car and our hotel is actually in Virginia, just far enough away from public transportation to make it a bigger hassle than it was worth. I didn't mind, though, our hotel is nice. After finally getting up and getting ready, I explored the place,
bought a soda, and relaxed back in the room. I didn't get bored, though. I watched two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix! I also brought yarn (because of course I did), and I crocheted while I listened to another audio novel. I think crochet must be slightly hypnotic, because time seemed to fly by while I was doing that.

Once Steve got back from work, we left to get something to eat.  One of his coworkers recommended an Italian place at Reston Town Center, which is a really nice shopping/dining area.  It's several blocks long, and has higher end shops and restaurants lining the streets.  The restaurant was great, although to be honest, I'm not sure I have a very good basis of comparison with Italian food. All the same, I really liked it.  We walked around a bit after we ate and looked around. 

There were a lot of people walking their dogs and I wanted to pet them all, but I didn't! I had some self control! Barely.

When we were ready to leave, we went back the way we came in, which was through a walkway in a building. It had two glass doors with brass handles, one on each side of a glass revolving door. Steve went to one of the regular doors and I went to the revolving one.  Before I could push the revolving door, Steve grabbed the handle of his door and ripped it off! It went "clllllaaaaang!" And the handle on the other side let go and fell on the inside. Unfortunately, those doors were located just next to a crowded outdoor eating area, and everyone got quiet and they looked over at us! I am not proud of myself for this, but my first instinct was to run away, and I tried, but the revolving door wouldn't budge.  It was locked! Steve just stood there looking like a muppet. I ran towards the other door and tried to open it, but it had also been locked, so I just walked away laughing. Steve had to catch up with me. I know that makes me terrible, but there is no honor in unintended vandalism.  At least no one chased us down.

We went back to the hotel and went to the pool area. Steve got into the hot tub, and I sat on the side with my feet in.  It was nice, except that the water wasn't that warm, so we didn't stay long.  We came back and ordered snacks from room service. I love room service. Just pick up the phone and someone brings you food!  I need to install it into our house! I'm going to gain 10 pounds on this trip if I'm not careful.Seriously, though...yummers.

After that we watched a movie and made our plans for tomorrow!