This will be a quickie post, as I'm exhausted. Jenny and I took Mike over to St. Pete today to visit Eckerd College. It was a beautiful school and a great day for a tour. One interesting point about Eckerd: some of their dorms allow pets! How wild is that?!
We went to see I Love You, Man today. It seemed busier than usual at the DeLand theater, and parking was shockingly scarce. We found ourselves wishing that there were some sort of public forum for shaming idiots who park like this:
I wish I had had my real camera nearby for this one, but the phone was all I had:
That's Arlo--my parents' new cat. He's a stinker but very entertaining.
Tomorrow we're getting back on the college circuit--driving over to St. Pete to visit Eckerd. I think FSU has become the standard by which all others will be judged.
We're starting to get suspicious and look around for hidden cameras. Is it possible that the people here could really be this friendly and helpful? The most recent example? Getting back to the hotel tonight and finding a THANK YOU LETTER for my tip! People have hugged us today; they have walked across the street to point us in the right direction; heck, they have walked through the pouring rain to help us get to Point B from Point A.
The FSU tour was fantastic. We started with a walking tour of the campus this morning followed by an information session. I was impressed with the formal part of the tour, but it was the stuff that happened later that won my heart. Some highlights:
Eating lunch in the amazing Suwanee Room. It looks like the dining hall at Hogwarts, and the food was amazing. The staff was so friendly and took such obvious pride in putting out a first-class meal.
Chatting with the receptionist in the Air Force ROTC office (she offered to have us come back sometime and she would show us around campus in a golf cart) and then getting information from 2 different captains about the program. And THEN having a student who is in the program escort us over to the circus tent in the rain.
Seeing the circus tent and watching the students practice. Talking to the director and finding out that students can take a circus class for PE credit and that participation in the circus program is open to any students who are interested.
Visiting the film department, learning a lot of interesting stuff, and being advised to also check out the media production department.
Visiting the media production department and watching both kids light up like the fourth of July on our impromptu tour of Seminole Productions.
I never dreamed we would spend the whole day on campus. We're back at the hotel now, jammied up and waiting for "The Office" and "30 Rock." Then it's off to bed so we'll be ready for the drive to DeLand tomorrow.
I'm SO glad we left Tuesday afternoon and stopped for the night south of Nashville. That made today's drive an easy 9 hours, which included a leisurely stop for gas and lunch (WHATABURGER!) and a fast stop at the state line to celebrate:
We're in Tallahassee for the next 2 nights, and so far we like what we see. The people have been so friendly! We're really looking forward to our FSU tour tomorrow.
A journey of 2,364 miles begins with a full tank of gas and plenty of munchies and caffeine. (Bonnie Taylor)
Let the spring break festivities begin!
UPDATE: We are spending the night at a La Quinta in Franklin, TN. I was a little nervous booking this place, as there were some reviews on TripAdvisor.com that really ripped it. The only thing I can find that's wrong is that the hot and cold water in the bathroom sink are reversed. For $59 a night, I can deal with that. Tomorrow on to Tallahassee!
Back in November I took a series of 5 private pilates lessons at a studio up in Louisville. I meant to keep going, but then the holidays got crazy, and the weather got yucky, and I got rather depressed about the deployment, etc., and before I knew it, I was a pilates dropout.
The holidays are long gone, the weather is halfway decent, and I'm adjusting, so I made an appointment a couple weeks ago to go back, this time as part of a group class ($20 an hour as opposed to $50). The night before I was scheduled to go back though was the night that Annabelle and I spent in the ER, so needless to say I canceled my class and slept that day away instead.
So last week was my first chance to get back into it, and I loved it! I was able to remember how to use the equipment, and my muscles seemed to remember a little of what they learned last time around. I swear I was a solid inch taller when I left the studio.
This is a Reformer, the machine that we use for the class, but most of the moves demonstrated in this video are way beyond me:
I can't believe we will be taking off for spring break in just a little over 2 days! The hard thing for me about getting ready for a trip is that so much of it has to be done more or less at the last minute. It's not like I can pack everything 2 weeks out, you know? I have been working around the house, clearing up little projects (like the button sewing) that I'll feel better having done before I leave. But tomorrow it's time to get serious!
Mike did his laundry today, so Annabelle and I will take care of ours tomorrow. Tomorrow we're also going to have a blitzkrieg of cleaning so that I won't die of embarrassment when my cat sitter comes in to take care of Eddie.
One day last year when I was at Goodwill, I came across a really neat looking cranberry and green houndstooth wool overcoat. The label identified the fabric as Harris Tweed:
Unfortunately, its buttons were a crime against humanity:
Since the coat was only $5, I decided to grab it and deal with the button problem later. On my trip to NYC last November, I stopped in at Tender Buttons on the Upper East Side and dropped $25 on beautiful pewter buttons.
I brought the buttons home and set them on my dresser. Ever since then, I have been meaning to get around to sewing them on, but I never could quite get up the motivation to do so.
We're getting ready to leave for Florida on Tuesday, and I am starting to get ready. In true rearranging-deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic fashion, I decided that one thing I must do before the trip is to take care of these buttons. If nothing else, I figured that having this coat finished and wearable will mean that winter is officially over. I just hope Annabelle's arms don't grow too much longer in the next year:
Answer: Four months and 30 minutes.
Question: How long does it take me to sew on 10 buttons?
I almost forgot to blog. I can't believe that. When Annabelle and I got home from youth orchestra tonight, I turned on the TV rather than firing up the computer. Mike and I watched "The Office" and "30 Rock," and now I'm watching "Grey's Anatomy." I was thinking to myself how pleasant it was to spend an evening NOT glued to a computer screen, and then it hit me: I almost forgot to blog! So I paused GA and grabbed the computer real fast. But now I'm turning it off again. Nothing of interest to report today!
Annabelle and I took the dog for a walk the other day and decided to venture through the more interesting part of the neighborhood. We discovered that a priceless objet d'art has been stolen from Canada House:
And the house across the street is sporting some new yard bling (that hula girl is one of a string that light up):
I'm celebrating St. Patrick's Day by getting my oil changed. I dropped the car off at Sears at 9:00, but they can't get to it until 11:00. I'm waiting it out at Panera, having breakfast and enjoying the free WiFi.
There's a couple at the table next to me having some sort of business meeting. They're both nicely dressed, and the guy is wearing a coat and tie. And shamrock socks! I couldn't resist discreetly snapping a picture with my cell phone:
Tonight is pizza night. Lovely, lovely pizza night. Our standing order at Dominos.com is an extra-large ham and pineapple and a large cheese pizza. Mike and I share the Hawaiian pizza, with me sometimes getting up to 3 slices. Annabelle focuses on the cheese pizza, but Mike helps her out when the Hawaiian is all gone. He eats our crusts, and Annabelle generally has a couple slices of leftover pizza for the following day. It works for us.
Anyway, I think being able to order pizza online is easily one of the greatest technological advances of our time. I am especially fascinated by the online pizza tracker, where you can follow your pizza through its creation and delivery.
I'm starting to wonder though if it's for real. I can't help but notice that EVERY week, "Melissa" makes our pizzas. I suppose there could be a real Melissa who is on the schedule every Monday night, but don't you think she would get sick occasionally or maybe be in the restroom when I place my order? No, week after week, Melissa helps us out. The cynic in me wonders, if I were to get in my car right now and drive over to Dominos, would I be able to meet this "Melissa"?
And I would do exactly that but . . . it would kind of defeat the purpose of having supper delivered.
UPDATE: "Jan" is on her way here with our pizzas. I'm going ask Jan about Melissa!
UPDATED UPDATE: Oh, me of little faith! I'll admit it. I was feeling very cynical when our pizzas were delivered by a man somewhere in age between my dad and my grandfather. I took the pizzas to the table and then returned to the porch to sign my charge slip.
I'm sure the delivery guy probably thought I was checking him out, but what I was really doing was looking for a nametag. Finally, I decided to go for it and just blurted out: "So are you really Jan?!"
Yes, indeed he was. He even whipped out his wallet and confirmed it with his social security card. And what's more, he confirmed the existence of Melissa. In fact, it turns out that there are TWO Melissas working at that location.
He was a nice guy, long retired from the Army, and we stood on the porch and discussed duty stations for a little while. He told me a funny story about being ordered to report for duty to the Women's Army Corps. When he showed up, they asked why on earth he was there, and he replied, "I'm assuming stud service."
When I finally made my way to the table (to find half the Hawaiian pizza already gone), Mike asked, "Good grief, what took so long? Did you pay him in change or what?!"
The pizza was a little cold tonight yet somehow tasted a little better.
Annabelle had a little excitement on her journey home today when she missed her connecting flight out of Chicago. I told her that travelers accumulate war stories, and she's just got a good, early start on hers. They managed to re-book her on a flight 2 hours later and got into L'ville shortly before six. We stopped for Vietnamese food on the way home, and brought carry-out home to Mike.
Not much else to report. I'm going to spend my Sunday night with desperate housewives and desperate sister wives (Big Love).
I had to get up early again this morning (6:30) to drive Mike down to E'town for the SAT. It's a good thing I wasn't the one taking the test, as I got about 5 hours of sleep last night. I tried to sneak back to bed when I got home, but the dog didn't agree with my plans.
It's been a pretty low-key day since then. I took Mike to Panera after the test, and we dropped his guitar off to get new strings. We caught up on some TV watching in the afternoon and rented a movie for this evening.
It feels weird not having Annabelle here. Sounds like she and Fred have had a lot of fun though! I'm glad she recovered just in time to enjoy her trip.
I am pleased to report that Annabelle finally seems to be on the road to recovery. She lasted less than an hour at school yesterday before coming home and sleeping most of the day away. She was feeling OK when we set out for the airport at 5:30 this morning, and I hope it holds so that she and Fred can have a fun visit.
I had a hair appointment in Louisville at 11:45, so there wasn't much point in coming home. I went to the mall and sat in the parking lot waiting for Macy's to open. While I was waiting, Annabelle phoned in to let me know that she had made it safely to Chicago.
Once the mall opened, I helped her kill time by texting back and forth. I'm having fun with Picture Mail, so I sent her a shot of a display of Derby hats:
(I don't especially want to go to Derby, but I sure wish I had a reason to go hat shopping.)
I didn't find anything at the mall for myself (what's with all the stupid summery clothes?! I'm freezing still!), but I made an absolute score for Annabelle. I found a Tommy Hilfiger hoody that feels like it is lined with teddy-bear fur, originally priced at $100 (who pays that for a hoody?!) and marked down to $50 (still absurd) but brought down through a combination of promotions to under $30 (score!). I ran to the ladies' room and laid it out on a table in the lounge and took a picture of it to send to her:
There was a woman in the lounge nursing a tiny baby while her mom and preschool-aged son loitered nearby. It reminded me of the time when Annabelle was a newborn, and I was nursing her in the ladies' room at Nordstrom (best place for breastfeeding in Tyson's Corner Mall), and I ran into an old friend of mine from Stetson. I didn't want to go all "Sunrise, Sunset" on this poor stranger, but it hit me that that day at Nordstrom feels like yesterday, yet here I was swapping text messages with that "baby" while she waited for her connecting flight at O'Hare. Wah!
OK, enough sentimentality! After the mall, I stopped by Qdoba for a quick lunch of steak nachos and then headed off to my hair appointment. I love going to get my hair done, because my stylist and I just talk about all sorts of stuff. Today, however, we got so busy chatting that we forgot that (duh!) I've been using Retin A to try to fight off wrinkles. Turns out Retin A is the natural enemy of the eyebrow waxing, and I lost a strip of skin just above each eye:
That's how much of the school year is over as of today. End of the third quarter already? How on earth did that happen?!
Fred's school year is buzzing right along too. One of his big activities now is the Eisenhower program, in which he and 11 other colonels travel around to meet with high-school and college students. They made their first trip last month to Pittsburgh, and Fred sent me a link to a newspaper article about it: "Military elite tune into civilian concerns." The article does a much better job of explaining the program than I did!
Look at me, taking care of today's post, and it's not even 4 a.m. yet! Of course, it's likely to be the ONLY thing I accomplish today.
Annabelle and I just got back from the ER. The final diagnosis was that she passed out due to not eating and drinking enough because she has felt so terrible the past couple days. We don't know exactly why she has felt so terrible the past couple days, but apparently it's not strep or any other bacterial thing. Don't know about flu, as they were out of the testing swabs. But they did an EKG and a host of lab work and an IV, and she seemed perkier by the time we left, albeit quite tired.
Annabelle has been sick for a couple of day. Tonight she fainted, so I brought her to the ER. That was 2 and a half hours ago, and we are still in the waiting room. She's more or less OK--just eager to get home and crawl into bed. I am starting to doubt that we will make it home before midnight, so I decided to type up my blog post on my cellphone. Now I need to go find a place where I can get a signal, so I can upload it.
Bleah. I hate springing forward. Sure, it's nice to get that extra daylight at the end of the day, but this change always messes with my sleep big-time. The dog and I curled up together for a nice nap this afternoon, which felt great, but now it's 10 p.m., and I don't feel the least little bit sleepy. I also don't feel terribly motivated to do anything though. Looks like a spider solitaire kind of night!
Gold Rush turned out to be lots of fun! After 3 years with the horses, it was fun to sit in the hallway with my friends Tina and April and work the Ways & Means table. We could see everybody but were spared the noisiness and the heat of the rooms where all the action was.
I heard April and Tina discussing an older gentleman who had a really cool hat with a snake head on it. When I saw him walk by, I gave my camera to my friend Gabi and said, "I need to get a picture with my new boyfriend." He seemed tickled pink:
A few minutes later he came back by and motioned for me to come over. He took the hat off and let me wear it!
(Don't worry, Fred--you're still my one and only boyfriend, even if you don't have a snake hat.)
The temperature was already in the mid-60s when Annabelle and I left the house this morning. We spent a couple hours in E'town working with some of her youth theater peeps to clear storm debris for the wonderful couple who run the theater program. I figured that given how truly miserable the weather was that caused the mess, we were owed perfect weather for cleaning up, and we got it!
Now I'm getting ready to leave for Gold Rush. I haven't been involved in the planning this year, but I'm going tonight to help my friend Teresa run the Ways & Means table. I'm sitting here in PJs with my hair still wet from the shower though. I think I had better get going!
Tonight was the public performance for "Cats and Dogs." I was really impressed by the turnout! I had expected the audience to be mostly family of the cast, but lots of people came out and brought their little kids with them.
The show was excellent! I could hear Annabelle loud and clear.
Pongo's mom gave us a disk of photos she took the other night at dress rehearsal. Here's a cute one of Pongo and Perdita:
I forgot to take my camera tonight, but I did manage to snap a couple after the show. Annabelle with her flowers:
I finally got around to dropping Fred's scarf off at the post office, and it arrived in Pennsylvania safe and sound. In this self-portrait, he is modeling the scarf I made as well as the hat we gave him for Christmas:
Chilly chaperone is more like it. I "worked" backstage at the dress rehearsal for Annabelle's play tonight, and it was c-c-cold. I say "worked," because really all I did was hang out backstage chatting with the other adults. And when they did a complete run-through of the show, we got to go out and be the audience. Tough job, but somebody has to do it.
The play is called "Cats and Dogs," and it's really 2 mini-plays, one of "Aristocats" and the other of "101 Dalmatians." Annabelle is an alley cat in the first show:
And the mother dog (Perdita) in the second:
I didn't get any really decent pics from "Aristocats," but here's a taste:
And here are a couple of Pongo and Perdita as well as some of their pups:
Here are a couple of brief (very brief--I was running out of room on my memory card) video clips from "101 Dalmatians." Here are Pongo and Perdita summoning the dogs of London using the twilight bark:
And here is a snippet of "Dalmatian Plantation":
They're doing the shows for Hardin County school kids tomorrow and Thursday. Then on Friday night, Mike and I are going to the public performance. Can't wait!
Oh, I wish this were a 3-day weekend. I could really use another day of nothing in particular. Instead, tomorrow we dive into a crazy-busy week. Annabelle's musical theater group is having the performances for their new show, so it should be fun at least!