Thursday, November 30, 2006

The neverending post

The weather here has been freakishly beautiful the last week or so, with balmy 60-degree days instead of the late-November freezing coldness that I would expect. I know that any day now it will revert to normal, but it's so nice. It makes everything more enjoyable-- my walks with Alice, even just getting to work. Every day I walk through the University grounds and past this chapel, which I just love. (I didn't take this picture, obviously. Stock internet photo.) From the outside it's like a tiny, ancient-looking cathedral, all stone arches, Gothic towers, stained glass, and gargoyles. You know, Hogwarts-y. Inside it's just dark and religiousish. It's completely different than the rest of the campus, which is all red-brick federal-style buildings. Also pretty, but not as loveable.

I've been feeling a little sick lately, nothing awful but a persistent sore throat and low-grade fever. It's probably from the sudden increase in stress and activity from the second job, working such long hours. The fever has been giving me funky weird dreams, especially revolving around my former-friend-drama from last month. Dreams in which we're shopping, having fun. Suddenly she's on the other side of the store and refuses to look at me even as I'm trying to walk over, and the store gets bigger and bigger. The logical side of my mind has decided to let the whole thing go, to recognize that there are a lot of issues involved, that aren't mine to deal with. To recognize the fact that neither the friend nor the friendship were what I thought they were. But I guess the ol' subconscious hasn't been listening to the rational.

This post has taken me days to actually finish as I have so much less time to write, or, you know, sleep, or anything. I've never been so grateful for the weekend to finally arrive, especially after yesterday's 8:30 a.m.- midnight workday. I've spent today doing nothing but resting. Don spent his day off cleaning and setting up my desk in the living room, so that right now I'm actually sitting in a chair, at a desk, to use the computer. Whatever would I do without him? We are in the middle of watching each extended-version Lord of the Rings movie, which should culminate either tonight or tomorrow. Good times, good times. I'm attempting free-hand chicken enchiladas tonight, because I'm a little homesick for Tex-Mex goodness and a little spicy will do me good.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Which is funny, because I got crap grades in high school and barely remember most of it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Over-worked and over-stuffed

Ohhh, so much stuff going on. So little energy. Started the second job this week, the bookstore/cafe shindig. Different company, different city, but it feels exactly like Borders. Same sarcastic staff, same routines, procedures, ideas. It's scarily familiar. Apparently working an espresso machine is like driving a car... you never forget. Standing behind the machine, it was like I'd been steaming milk and making mochas every day for the last 2 years. But this place is so busy that closing means getting out at or even after midnight, which is rough so far. Tuesday I ended up working from 8:30 in the morning until midnight (16 hours. Sixteen) by stupidly overscheduling myself. Not used to juggling 2 work schedules yet, but it should get better when I get everything balanced into place and get on a regular routine. My body hurts, my back. It's not used to working so long, and standing.

Thanksgiving was fun. Don and I decided to do a sort of Thanksgiving-lite, not calorie-wise (yeah, right) but just the number of dishes and amount of work. So we did the turkey, the bread, the cranberries, the mashed potatoes, the gravy and one pie. Bought the other pie, and skipped the stuffing, the yams, the green beans... it was fun, a glorious mess in the kitchen. The turkey came out a little dry (I'm totally blaming the oven for this one) but nothing the gravy couldn't fix. The gravy... soooo gooood. And with it being just the two of us, we have enough leftovers for days. I was getting kind of homesick, with it being my favorite holiday of the whole year and all. But my parents didn't even 'do' Thanksgiving this year; they went to New Mexico to look at vacation homes in the mountains. Looks like Don and I'll have a place to vacate to pretty soon!

We bought two really nice dining chairs from World Market, the night before Thanksgiving. Pretty, see?

And so comfortable. Don was actually worried that they're too stylish for us, that they won't feel as though they belong with the rest of our stuff. But they're wonderful, and on sale, so he was swayed despite their chic-ness. I'm trying to convince him that we need to buy two more, before they are discontinued or something so that we'll have a whole set, but he's not going for it yet, something about having nowhere to put them and not wanting to buy furniture just to put it in the bedroom closet.

It's nice, now we have a kitchen big enough for a table and chairs, and we have chairs, too!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Take me home

Officially one whole month here in Virginia, and the homesickness is starting to creep in. I think it's because the first part of the move feels like a vacation or a grand adventure-- it's all about discovering a new place and having fun. In addition, being reunited with Don after such a long separation felt so good that it drove any bad feelings out for awhile; it was like a honeymoon and I really wasn't thinking about anybody but the two of us, as evidenced by the mushy posts previous.

By homesickness, I really just mean missing family and friends, because Texas itself... well, there's not so much to miss. I don't miss the weather, the pollution, the traffic, the utter blandness. Sorry Texas, but Virginia's gotcha beat physically. I'm really starting to miss my family and friends, though, back home. I'm very grateful that we're taking a family vacation next month, so I'll be seeing them soon, but I feel slightly overwhelmed at the idea of a two-person Thanksgiving. If only I had a really close friend who lived a few blocks away and loved to cook, so that we could spend two whole days baking and cooking for Thanksgiving while our husbands gradually drank all the beer! Oh wait, that was Vermont. Never mind. (Hi Becca!)

I wish Don was coming with me on the trip next month as we originally planned, but c'est la vie, I guess. It was much more important that he go home to his own parents at such a crucial time and there's only so much vacation time to go around. I'm just glad that my parents see him as such a part of the family now that he's automatically invited on all the vacations and everything, because I hope that this tradition of taking family trips together even as adults continues but I only want to go if Don can, too, not if it involves leaving him behind. And I like the fact that Don likes my family enough to be enthusiastic about the idea of travelling with them, rather than just taking vacations by ourselves. But on the bright side, we don't have to find somebody to watch Cathy and Alice, since he'll still be here for this one.

This has been such a tumultous year; so much has happened, so much has changed. I need some time to just reflect, to recharge my batteries before next year, because I feel instinctively that the coming year will be just as eventful, possibly even chaotic. From here on out I'll be working two jobs and a lot more hours, and while it will be nice to have the money in the bank and to meet more people, I'm afraid of not getting that time to just think, to sort everything out that's in my mind so that I can move on with a clear head. Sometimes I tend to block painful thoughts instead of working through them, or I don't revisit certain emotional areas and they come back unexpectedly. In a meeting at work yesterday, my boss told a story about her mother who is in her nineties, which made me spontaneously cry because I suddenly remembered my Grandma, who was 95 when she passed away last March. Even though I've grieved for her and accepted that she has gone, the sudden re-realization that I'll never see her again was overwhelming. Maybe Don's mother's cancer and his anxiety over losing his parents has brought my own fears closer to the surface? I don't know.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Random facts and questions

1. So far, who did you talk to the most today? My coworkers Kristin and Anisa.
2. What is the best name for a butler? George. All butlers should be named George.
3. What is the thing you are picked on most about? Hmm. I'm not really picked on much. My family teases me about being soft-hearted, sometimes they try to make me cry.
4. What was your last weird encounter? We get weirdos at the bank all the time, it's hard to pick one incident.
5. Do you remember the part from Bambi when Bambi learns to say bear? I can't remember. That movie sucked.
6. How many good friends do you have? One fewer than I thought, but still enough to make me happy
7. What’s the weirdest thing you have ever eaten? I'm such a picky eater, I don't eat weird stuff, really.
8. What color are your socks today? This color.

9. What is your favorite word that starts with the letter G? Gumption. Grand. Gabrielle. Garden.
10. Who do you blame for your mood today? Finishing my essay/ having an essay requisitioned for a REAL BOOK/ this beautiful weather/ the weekend's imminence/ getting hired at my new second job/ my pretty new jacket/ getting to vacation with my family next month.
12. What is something scientists need to invent? Better water-recycling systems.
13. What is the closest object to your left foot? My right, they're crossed at the ankle.
14. Who is your favorite President? John Adams

15. Do you have an inside joke that has to do with numbers? No. My jokes are all word jokes.
16. What is the longest amount of hours you have slept in a row? About 17.
17. What story do you tell most often? I re-tell ALL my stories... it's part of my charm. It'll come in handy when I'm an old lady
18. How do ugly people make you feel? Either compassionate or disgusted, depending whether they're just unfortunate-looking or like really grungy and gross. Hygiene and grooming count for a lot.
21. What are the posters on your walls? No posters yet but approximately one kajillion framed photos of family, friends, favorite places, family, vacations...
22. Say two words that rhyme: silly-billy.
23.Do you use online terms in real life? OMG! TTYL! No, not really.
25. Do you think this year will be better than the last? Absolutely. I have a feeling of impending change and wonderfulness.
26. Who is the 1st person on your incoming call list? My little sister.
27. Do you know who Salad Fingers Is? I didn't, but I just Wiki'd it. Looks very strange.
28. What is the stupidest thing you have ever done? Oh my goodness, I have to CHOOSE? How about locking my keys in my car? Getting my days mixed up and missing an exam in college? Forgetting about Daylight Savings Time and showing up an hour late for work?
29. What is your favorite commercial of the moment? I hate all commercials.
30. What are you looking forward to? My vacation in December with my family. Getting married next year. Buying a house with Don. Starting our family. Tonight and tomorrow.
33. What do you like to do when you are alone? Mainly read. I read all the time. I've been writing more. Sketch floor plans of my future houses. Daydream. Take Alice on long walks.
34. Who are your 2 favorite characters on Coupling (the British version)? Jane and Jeff.
35. What is missing from your life? Babies. Lots of cuddly babies. And real estate.
36. Would you be ashamed if you wore hippie clothes? Heck no.
37. Grab the closest book, what does the 7th sentence on the 23rd page?
38. When was the last time you slept with a stuffed animal? Maybe 3 nights ago?
39. If it was your last day on earth, what shoes would you wear? Whichever... I don't think I'd think about it.
40. Do you own a Super Nintendo? Never have.
41. What do you think of Law and Order? One of my favorite TV shows. It actually shows the difference between solving the crime and getting the criminal successfully prosecuted. The other crime shows all make it seem like once the police know who done it, the criminal will spontaneously confess and go to jail.
42. Can you name all 7 dwarfs? No.
43. Have you ever pretended to be Jewish? Why pretend when you're the real deal?
44. What was the last thing you thought you lost? My sanity.
45. What were you doing at midnight last night? Trying to sleep.
46. If you had a ball of clay what would you mold it into? A tiny dragon.
47. Do you have any famous relatives? I hope not.
48. Have you ever been cool enough to:Press all the buttons on an elevator? How is that cool?
Bake with an easy bake oven? Ditto.
Gone to school when you didn’t remember you had the day off? No.
Ever owned a Spirograph? Yeah, I love those things!
What was the last....TV show you watched? Alton Brown's Good Eats
Thing you bought? My lovely new corduroy blazer-jacket-thingie from Eddie Bauer. I wanted it in Dallas but it was too expensive. Then I came here and it was on sale!
Person that spent the night at your house? Probably my little brother, when our parents were out of town.
Song you sang out loud? ACDC's You Shook Me All Night Long. It's "our song".
Time you ate ice cream? Last night... This Be warned that the brownies, while delicious, aren't very 'magical'.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It's funny, but sometimes when I set out to write a post it comes out completely different than what I meant to convey. Like last time... I meant to describe my weekend: Don and I wandering through the university Friday night, so that he could see where I work; driving around the countryside Saturday and discussing the possibilities of buying a house way out there in the country; of going down town later for gelatto and getting caught in the rain, huddling in a doorway with our gelatto and watching everybody in the street make a run for it; going grocery shopping on Sunday "just to get something for dinner" and walking out and hour and a half later with meals and meals and meals' worth of food, just to stock up. I meant to convey the coziness of having a rare, complete weekend together, and instead I said something like, Don and me had fun! Blar blar blar!

Ah well. He cooked a great dinner tonight, pork chops. It gave me time to work on my STUPID ESSAY which is DUE TOMORROW and is NOT GETTING FINISHED. WHY am I doing this again? Ok. Panicking over with, back to work. Soon.

I've decided that if the bookstore decides to offer me the position, I'll take it, even with the low sad pay. 25 hours at (low sad pay) is still more than nada zip, and it looks like a fun job.

I've figured out something about this town that makes it feel so different than Burlington, when on the surface they seem pretty similar... it has to do with the location of the respective universities. In Vermont, the school is right up the street from downtown, and the downtown mall/ Church Street area is a mix of the student-friendly and the upscale-touristy, especially when it comes to places to eat. The Red Onion, Halvorson's, Joe's, and Rira's sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the fancier, pricier places like NECI Commons. Here, there's just enough distance between the school and the central downtown mall that while the street looks just like Burlington, it's missing the casual, less expensive, student-y places. Those all exist on a street across the street from the school called The Corner, that's separated from downtown. It leaves Main Street feeling rather over-priced and snooty, as though it caters more to the tourists and well-to-do locals than to the university crowd; too many art galleries and financial planners, too few Irish pubs and pizza joints. Downtown Charlottesville just doesn't have the great eclectic feel that comes from mixing different walks of life together, which is why Don and I have been tending towards the Corner lately. It's still interesting and fun, though, especially if you've already eaten and just want some gelatto and window-shopping.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hmmm. It does seem that when Don is home I have less time to post entries into my blog. Too much time taken with having fun, I guess. We had a great weekend together, exploring again and getting stuff done. We tromped through several parks with the dog, looking for possibilies for our wedding... didn't find anything there but we did find the river that borders town, a dog park, creeks, fields... We drove to the Monticello area Saturday, drove around the countryside, ate lunch at the famous Michie Tavern. Today we were just running errands, shopping, the usual Sunday stuff. This weekend just flew by. I have a job interview tomorrow at the bookstore, which I'm not sure about because the pay is so low, but we'll see. It may still be worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lovesick Rambling.

It's pretty obvious that I don't talk about Don much in my blog, except in passing: brief mentions of what he's making for dinner or where he's travelling on business... Don as a person, hardly at all. This is basically intentional, because he's a very private person. While I have an online journal, he would never do that, so I don't share much about him. Same thing with my parents and siblings. But at the moment, I'm itching to break my own rules. (So sweetie if you read this, I'm sorry but it had to happen.) I've been really mulling over how wonderful he is, and that what we have together is everything to me. It feels like our relationship has deepened even further in the last few months, which I didn't even realize was possible at this point. Maybe partly because making a move like this is part of a continuing commitment, and maybe because of all the weeks that we spent apart. It's not exactly true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but sometimes it leaves room for reflection, focus and reconnection.

I don't think that there's anybody in the world who could understand me as well as he does, and vice versa. 'Understand' as in he gets me, and understand and in understanding, empathy, and trust. We're so different in some ways, and yet that understanding underlies everything. I can tell him everything and don't have to censor myself, because he understands, and it works both ways.

One thing that amazes me, though, is his incredible work ethic, determination, and quiet ambition. He is extremely hard working, but it's much more than that; so many people work hard without ever really amounting to anything. Don's efficient and effective, so that his hard work makes a difference; he becomes indespensable wherever he goes. He takes every opportunity to learn, to grow on the job and become even more useful, so that moving up to the next level seems practically inevitable. When we met seven years ago, he was working as a shift engineer. When we moved to Vermont 2 years later, he became a Chief Engineer. Back in Texas: Assistant Director of Engineering. Here, Director. He has gone from being an hourly employee, (albeit a highly skilled, highly paid one), to being upper-management, using nothing but sheer hard work and intelligence. Even I hardly noticed the upward motion; it just kind of hit me the other day that he's 'up there' now: the paid relocation, the free stay in the hotel for 6 weeks while finding a house here, the monthly bonuses, the free drycleaning.

This drive impresses me more than I can say, especially because his motives are unusual, I think. He's not doing it for the money or for material possessions, or even for the respect and the job titles. Don would say that he just "gets bored" with the position that he was at. I think that it transates more that as long as he knows that he can be better, that there's a bigger challenge that he can attack, then he can't be satisfied with where he is. Once he knows his job forwards and backwards, then there's nothing left to learn, nothing left to really test him: then it's time for a bigger challenge. I'm not like that at all, so I find it fascinating.

You know that old cliche, 'still waters run deep'? It basically describes Don. He's really hard to get to know, almost impossible. He can be casually friends, laugh and joke and have a beer, but very few people have ever gotten to know him on a deeper level. Sometimes I try to re-trace the beginnings of our friendship, to figure out when that changed with me, when he decided to let me in. I still don't know, and our entire relationship seems so serendipitous sometimes: right place, right time, for two strangers with seemingly nothing in common. I was nineteen, a college student living on campus, totally new to this whole 'adult' thing; he was 35, divorced, a former military man. How we ended up playing Monopoly and talking until sunrise, playing pool in places that didn't card at the door, listening to all of his old CD's, going bowling, I don't know.

I think that in a funny way, our age difference ended up bringing us together because it kept us apart for long enough, first. Because we didn't see each other as having "relationship" potential, our friendship was much more open and honest than it would have been otherwise; we talked about things that I would never have shared had he been some 19-year-old guy that I was interested in, and that he would never have talked about with someone less "safe". We did things that would have been weird if there hadn't been that unspoken, platonic age-barrier, like spending the night at each others' apartments, going camping together, and discussing our sexual and dating histories and currest love-interests. For maybe 6 or 8 months we were practically inseparable, until, age difference be damned, the fact thatwe were attracted to each other got in the way with a tickling-match-turned-very-suddenly-into-kissing-match. And I resisted. Not because he was older, but because I knew, from the very beginning, that it would be serious. I knew that Don had let me into a part of him that was locked to everyone else, and that if we moved from friends to boy-friend-girl-friend, that ever ending it would be devastating. I wasn't sure that I was ready to get into what would be such a serious relationship; it's not like you can go from being super-close, share-everything friends to 'casually dating'. In the end I succumed, mainly because he was so cute and the sexual tension was unbearable... it worked out pretty well.

Some politics with your bagel?

It's not exactly Frodo destroying the One Ring, but yay! Democrats back on top. Even if they don't fully get the Senate, there will at least be a balance now. Actually, I kind of feel bad for some of the Republicans because they're all being tarred with the Bush brush, whether they deserve it or not-- so many voters seem to be saying, "You're a Republican just like Bush! This is ALL YOUR FAULT!" even to some of the Reps that don't follow the president's lead much at all. He seems to have messed things up for a lot of the more moderate elephants, and some of them do seem quite reasonable. And some of the new Democrats seem... un-Democratic. Like that new Pensylvania guy, and even Webb here in Virginia-- they both seem so conservative that they may as well be Repulicans after all. But, maybe it'll be these party-benders that meet in the middle and start to un-polarize the whole place? Who knows. What I can't wait for are the 2008 elections! Bring them on!

There is an establishment here in C-ville called Bodo's Bagels. I don't know what the 'Bodo' is-- somebody's name, a nickname, an abbreviation? All I can think of is, Frodo's Bagels! Bagels for the Shirefolk! Right next door to the Green Dragon! It just sounds very middle-earthy. You with me on this one, Ben? The first time Don and I saw it, we sort of exchanged glances like, "Are you thinking something dorky and LOTR-based, too?" Silly minds think alike. They have great bagels though, and cheap too, since it's a student establishment.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Habits

Don's mother came through the operation wonderfully, she's already back at home. So far it looks as though everything went smoothly, thank God. Don claims that she loved the cookies, but I'd be surprised if that were true, I didn't think that much of them. They weren't bad, just not great either. He sounds like he's having a good time being back in his hometown and with them... I really wish I could have gone with him. Stupid job!

I shouldn't say that because actually, the job is going great. Doing the same thing I was in Texas but for a higher pay, which is nice, and with nicer customers. I don't know exactly why, but the customers here are just much more easy-going than what we got back home. It might be because they're better-off and so they don't have as many issues with the bank, just drop off the checks from Mom & Dad. Or maybe they've just come to expect things like holds on their checks or whatever. Either way, they're very understanding and polite. Well-mannered. I'm even getting used to working either 4- or 6-hour shifts instead of the old 8 or 9; I can wear heels to work since I'm not on them as long. All in all, it ain't bad!

I walk with Alice almost every morning to this wonderful little coffee shop that's just over half a mile away. Their mochas = so yummy. They allow dogs inside, so I don't have to tie Alice up outside, and they have a resident cat hanging about. I love Starbucks as much as the next person (ok, probably more), but it's a nice change of pace to go to this independent, funky, neighborhood place instead. The walk itself is great, too; I'm getting to know my neighborhood and there's so much to see--- interesting older houses, the foliage, mountains in the background. While it's not exactly a 'workout', walking a mile and coming back with the drink is a nice way to wake up, clear my head and be ready for work. Alice, of course, loves it too.

I know it's too soon to judge, but I have a great feeling about this place. I think that Don and I have done something good for ourselves by coming out here; that wonderful things are happening. This city is promising.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Unique by name

In a country of approximately 300,000,000, this makes me very happy.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday night update

Don's gone for the week, staying with his parents for his mom's operation and etc. So for the week, I'm utterly on my own, in a town where I know nobody and am only working 25 hours! What fun. Actually I don't think it will be too bad, because I've got a ton of stuff to do. There are still parts of the house (ok, most of the house) that need unpacking and organizing attention, including MY room-- the study/office/guestroom/second bedroom/whatever. I've got some vague plans for a sewing table in there, something really simple. And I've got an idea to brighten up the kitchen, which is entirely stark white. And I'm writing another essay, by request this time. So between that and the lovely Internet surfing, the week will go fast.

I've been reading other peoples' blogs lately: I'm just discovering this enormous blog-world out there, not blogs like this one that are written sort of privately, but those that are really written for public viewing, with tons of hits and comments and ads. Some are really good; 'real' writers you might say, funny, deep, touching. Some aren't. I know that a lot of people don't want to share the real names of their kids, spouses, etc but some of the 'code names' get really annoying and hard to follow: initials, random words, Busy Baby, Thing 1, The Man, etc. It makes it kind of hard to get interested. It's so much better if they can use a name (not necessarily the right name), or nick-name that makes sense.

I've been trying to step back from the whole 'former best friend' situation and get some perspective, but it's hard. Mainly because when I really care about someone, there's this warm fuzzy feeling when I think of them, whether it's my mom, a friend, Don. Just a random, flitting thought, accompanied by a warm feeling. It's like an instinctive, physical reaction rather than a rational thought. I keep getting this dull ache and I forget why, and then I remember, but there's this disconnect: it's like I'm thinking... "why do I feel so bad, oh yeah because of [her] but ... She's the warm-and-fuzzy-,-best-friend-feeling not nasty-bitter-feeling-in-pit-of-stomach" ... I can't reconcile it emotionally, the switch from 12 years of thinking of someone as a close, trusted friend to thinking of her as the bitter and hostile woman who wrote the email. I know it takes more than a week to get over a relationship that lasted over a decade, but I'm not used to mulling over something so much.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More Important Things

I guess the universe has its ways of letting you know what's important and what's not. On Halloween, while I was still mentally rehashing and re-analyzing the previous topic, Don found out that his mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. He's driving back home on Friday and is going to spend the week there, to be there when she undergoes the operation on Sunday.

As far as things go, it doesn't look bad... she's healthy and takes good care of herself, early stages, blah blah blah. It doesn't change the fact that it's cancer, though, and Don's understandably really upset. He's such a stoic, reserved kind of guy, so when the floodgates of emotion open up... watch out! We dealt with the news as any normal red-blooded couple would by going out drinking. Rather, he drank and I watched because I forgot my ID. You'd think at 25 I could get an alcoholic beverage without a driver's license. Don's so worried about his parents, and I'm worried about him. I wish I could go with him and be there, too. I talked to his mom on the phone last night and she told me not to worry because it's "not life threatening". Right... that non-deadly kind of cancer. Nice of her, though. I told Don all the usual things, don't worry, she's going to be fine, etc etc etc. With his usual brilliant cut-through-the-bullshit, I've-been-taking-Yager-shots he said, "I know she'll be fine now. But someday it won't be, and what'll I do then?" I don't have an answer for that, sweetie. It's what we all face, consciously or not.

It turns out that his biggest fear now is me dying. I never knew that before.

As an aside, thanks to everyone and anyone who went out of their way to make me feel better after my last post, and who reminded me who my real friends are. Anyways. Off to make get-well-soon-with-pecan-cookies for Don to take back home with him.