Friday, December 30, 2005

my husband is addicted to ice cream.

Let me preface this by saying that in spite of (or maybe because of) his quirks, I love my husband very, very much. Also, this post is with his full permission, and even encouragement. So while it may seem like I am mocking him and his addiction to ice cream...well, I kind of am, but at least he said I could.

But I digress. On to the story.

My relationship with Brett began over ice cream. I guess it was a good indicator of things to come.

The first time we ever hung out, he called me up and convinced me to go to Haagen Daaz with him. This was back in high school, right before he asked me to the prom. We went to Haagen Daaz, and I had like one scoop of chocolate, and he had three scoops of mocha almond fudge. As we were leaving, he got another hand-packed pint of mocha almond fudge. He said it was for his mom. At the time, I thought that was cute. Now I know it was a lie and the ice cream was for him, but he didn't want to seem like a total fat kid in front of me. That bashfulness is looong gone, I tell you.

The second time I ever hung out with Brett, I went to his house. This was right after he asked me to prom. We were back in his room, listening to music, I think, (yes! really! we were listening to music and talking. we actually used to talk a lot. So as much as that sounds like a cover for making out, that is not what we were doing. we didn't even kiss until prom...the making out in his room came later.)

Aaaanyway, so we were listening to music and he asked if I wanted some ice cream.

I, not usually being one to turn down ice cream, said sure. Before I go any further, let me explain how I relate to ice cream. My favorite flavor, the same now as it has been for years, is Breyers Natural Vanilla, with a little chocolate syrup on top, but not too much, because I still like to be able to taste the vanilla. I like plain ice cream. Boring ice cream, as Brett calls it. The craziest I get in terms of ice cream having stuff in it is maybe if it is vanilla ice cream with Oreos in it, and even then it's only rarely that I deviate from plain vanilla or chocolate.

Also, I eat ice cream with the tiniest spoon possible, so as to savor the experience. Up until I was in college, I would actually eat ice cream with a baby spoon. (Yes, I know, totally strange. As Bree knows, I was an odd child.)

Anyway. Back to the story. Brett came back into the room with a giant mixing bowl in one hand and two giant spoons in the other. He set the bowl down on the floor, and I saw that it was filled not only with some kind of ice cream with stuff in it, but that it was also filled with some kind of carbonated beverage.

Yes. He had made a GIANT float. In a mixing bowl.

I ate some of it (he ate most of it). That was the start of our strange relationship with ice cream.

I should also tell you that Brett can eat ice cream faster than any one else I have ever met. An example would be the night we were watching CSI and he sat down with a pint of Ben and Jerry's as it started. The way CSI works is there is an opening segment, usually between 2 and 3 minutes, and then the credits. Then there are commercials, and then the show actually starts. In the time between the beginning of the opening segment and the time the show actually started, he had FINISHED THE ENTIRE PINT OF ICE CREAM.

The entire. Freaking. Pint. It's kind of sickening, really, when you think about how much fat is in one of those. But I digress.

Last night, I decided to take some photos to document Brett's ice cream habit. The concoction pictured here is one very similar to the one he brought into his room that night oh-so-long-ago. It's just in a smaller mixing bowl this time since the larger mixing bowl was dirty. Here he is, in the beginning, using a mixing spoon (with the mixing bowl) to scoop the ice cream out of the carton. Notice the nice, healthy array of fruit behind him. Does he choose to have a moderate amount of ice cream, and then maybe a banana to satisfy his sweet tooth? Of course not. He eats half a carton of Breyer's Rocky Road and a liter of Coke instead.

Which brings me to my next photo. Notice how much of the carton of ice cream is gone. I should point out that the carton was FULL when he started scooping -- rather, shoveling ice cream from the carton -- for this sugary creation. I mean, how can he eat that much and not feel totally sick? This is the man who is so picky about his food that he won't even eat Kraft cheese because he says anything Kraft is bad. And the man who turns up his nose at my enjoyment of pasta with butter and garlic, becuase, "It's gross to eat pasta with oil on it." Well, I think it's gross to eat that ice cream and coke combination...so why don't we just call it even? He can eat his ice cream-coke-sugar high, and I'll eat my fattening pasta dish, and we'll be good.

Here is the finished product. Note that the bowl is nearly overflowing with coke and ice cream. After he made the giant float, he carried it very carefully into the computer room to sit back and enjoy one of his other addictions while he ate his ice cream. That addiction is mopeds, and specifically, moped related websites. If you look closely at the next photo, you might be able to see the moped engine on the screen behind him. Alas. I guess an addiction to ice cream and mopeds isn't too terrible, right? At least it's not something icky like porn or hunting. I mean, I like mopeds and ice cream, too...just not as much as Brett does, I guess.

Really, though, I wish sometimes that I were more passionate about things than I am, that I were more like him in that respect. Because, seriously? What is it I'm passionate about like he's passionate about mopeds and ice cream? Nothing much. Maybe reading...I do read a lot. But is reading really all that great to be passionate about? I don't even read good books very often. (Good meaning thoughtful or intelligent) I suppose I should take Brett's passions as a lesson...and find some of my own.

Still, even if I think it's kind of gross that he consumes more ice cream than I have ever known another human to consume at one time, I have to admit, he's pretty dang adorable while he's doing it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

our Christmas, in pictures

Got this from my in-laws...ha. (I mean, they gave me other stuff, too, but I thought this was kinda funny.) I think it's chocolate-covered raisins or something.



Little Aud, looking crazed with all the wrapping paper and ribbon around.







Our little familiy, and all our presents, piled on our futon/bed (we've been sleeping downstairs because it's so cold upstairs where our real bed is). Brett's been keeping the house quite toasty with the fireplace lately.


Christmas Eve -- the fire roars as Brett reclines in the Poang, drinking a beer, after eating tortilla soup and about three chocolate souffles.




Our Christmas Eve guests, Anita (whom we know from Brett's school) and Brad (whom we know from Brett's work).


Mmmmm....whipped cream. Mmmmm.




The nine individual chocolate souffles I made for dessert. Yummy heavenly goodness in a ramekin.




Overall, it was a great couple of days. I got an awesome sweater from my mom (basically she found exactly what I had in mind, after probably over three months of searching for it), some very generous monetary gifts from my dad, the in-laws, and a couple of Brett's relatives, and a really sweet journal from our friend Becca.

We slept a ton yesterday (two naps!), ate cinnamon rolls and pizza, drank champagne, watched two movies (one of which was Danny Deckchair, which I highly recommend -- hilariously funny movie that has elements of a romantic quality, but very little of the cheesiness that usually accompanies that genre) and went to church. A very merry Christmas, indeed.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

merry christmas - again

It's Christmas Eve. We just ate my abso-freaking-lutely fantastic vegetarian tortilla soup, and now I'm in a period of limbo, making individual chocolate souffle cakes. I have to let the egg whites and yolks sit. So I am letting them sit. And I am sitting.

I have had 2 glasses of champagne and one beer so I am, as a result, slightly tipsy. Woo!

It's about 40 mins later now...and we are about ready to leave for church. Overall, a good evening...good food...fun company...a good time.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Feeling better

Gah. I don't know what was wrong with me yesterday. I was a mess. I felt like crap all day, until I got home. Brett was already home, and he came into the kitchen and gave me a hug. He asked me why I was sad, and I told him all of the things I said here yesterday, and more. There was one thing in particular that I didn't know how he'd react...but he was so sweet about it, I wanted to cry even more, only in a good way.

After that, I felt better, and reassured. I went to get a movie and then we had a nice relaxing evening watching Revenge of the Nerds (which I had never seen!) and Wallace and Gromit. In a grand gesture of generosity, Brett told me to get whatever I wanted at the video store, which is something that almost never happens. (Movie choosing, for us, is usually a negotiation dance of sorts, wherein we make suggestions, and offer concessions, and eventually come to some kind of agreement.) So we watched two very silly movies (well, three, because we watched both A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Trousers) and laughed and life seemed ok again.

Tonight, we're going to clean in anticipation of having some friends over for Christmas Eve dinner. I'm going to make vegetarian Tortilla Soup (a long, involved, 3-to-4-hour process, but oh-so-worth-it.) and for dessert, individual chocolate souffle cakes with fresh whipped cream. MMMM. We had that last year and it was so good I decided to make it every year we're home on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow, I'll go to the grocery store, do any last minute cleaning, and then cook. We'll have dinner with Anita (from school), Brad (from Brett's work), and maybe another friend from Brett's work. Then Brett and I will go to the 10:00 Christmas Eve service at the Episcopal Cathedral downtown. It's always a beautiful service, and a full Eucharist, so there will be communion and a (short) sermon, with lots of carols played on their gorgeous organ. I am really looking forward to it.

Christmas Day, we have no plans. We have a few movies coming from Netflix (side note: if you have Netflix, email me! I'll put you on my friends list...) and will probably just be lazy and eat cinnamon rolls. One year, I tried to make cinnamon rolls from scratch, which ended up being way too much work, and they weren't even that good. So, although I am embarrassed to admit it, I will buy the kind in the can that you get from the refrigerated case. You know, the ones that are full of fat and hydrogenated oil that you have to bang against the counter to open. Oh well. They taste good so I don't care. We never buy them otherwise, so one day a year can't hurt too much.

Anyway. I just wanted to say thanks to those of you who commented and emailed yesterday. I really appreciate having friends like you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ever read the Phantom Tollbooth?

It was one of my favorite books as a child. We read it in the fourth grade, I think, and I loved it. It's about a boy named Milo who is bored with life, and one day he gets a mysterious package. It's the Phantom Tollbooth, complete with a little car for Milo to use. He drives through the booth, and finds himself in a strange land filled with amazing people and creatures.

Along his journey, he meets the Lethargians, who inhabit the Doldrums. They are lazy and disaffected and bored and depressed. (The entire book is full of this type of play on words, which is something I loved about it back in the day and still love now.)

Here is a copy of one of the drawings from the book, when Milo encounters the Lethargians living in the Doldrums.


The point of all of this is to basically say that I feel like I'm right there with Milo in the Doldrums today. I don't know why. I think it's a combination of hormones, worry about making it financially, and the loneliness that comes with being away from family during Christmastime.

As much as being in Oregon during the holidays is difficult because of the nine million family obligations we have, I wish we were there this year. This will be our third Christmas alone. The first two were great, because it was so freeing not to have the pressures of having to divide our time between five places. This year? I'd give my eyeteeth to have to do that.

I would love to spend just 3 hours with my mom and sister and niece and nephew, going to see Santa with them at the big department store downtown. I wish I could see their little faces as they talked to Santa. (Sh*t, now I'm crying.) My family has gone to see Santa there for as long as I can remember. It's a whole floor of the department store they turn into the "North Pole," and the same awesome Santa is there every year. Well, this is the last year they are doing it. Damn Macy's bought the store and are going to discontinue it and make effing condos. And I will never get to go there again and I will never get to take my kids there and that makes me really sad.

I wish I could spend a few hours baking with Brett's mom and sisters. I called the other day and that's what they were doing. I would love to be hanging with them, in our jammies all day, making gingersnaps and snickerdoodles and eating more than we save as we watch and laugh at trashy daytime TV.

I wish I could be with my sister-in-law and my niece and nephew on Christmas. I've only spent two Christmases with them, and that was when year my 8-year-old niece was under 2 years old. My nephew wasn't born yet. I especially wish I could be there this year since my brother has been deployed to Korea and won't be able to be with them. My mom is there, though, which is good.

I wish I could open presents with my dad and stepmom while drinking good wine as we sit in front of the fire, then go to church with them on Christmas Eve.

I wish I could give Brett's Grandma Dori a hug. She's the sweetest lady ever and the only grandma I've got left. Same with Brett's Grandpa Buz and his new wife, Gloria, and all the rest of Brett's extended family. His aunts, uncles, cousins, who have adopted me into their family and whom I love dearly. I wish I could see them this weekend, too.

But I can't. I can't do any of these things because I am 3,000 miles away. And I am going to have to come to terms with that. Really soon. Like about 4 hours ago.

It is what it is, we are here in Maine, and that is how it has to be for now. I just needed to vent all of this out. And strangely, I feel a lot better having done so.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

a car update

We took the car to a mechanic this morning to see if we could find out what's wrong with it. I found the mechanic yesterday on the Car Talk website, by looking at reviews that other people had written. This one all had good reviews, so we thought we might as well use them.

The mechanic called a little while ago. The problem is, in fact, a bad water pump. Thank God it's not the entire freaking radiator system, which is what we were afraid of after reading those horror stories on the internet.

We decided to go ahead and have them do the repair, since we don't know when Caleb would be able to get to it. It's going to cost a bit of money, but nothing near as bad as I feared, so it didn't sound too bad when Brett told me the cost. They should have the car done today, too, so we can pick it up this afternoon.

Also, a big thanks to Randy, one of my co-workers, who offered to let us use his family's second car this weekend, since he'll be out of town. He called last night and said, "I was reading your blog and I saw that you're going to be carless this weekend. You guys can borrow our car if you want." How generous of him! I was really touched.

So for now, it seems the car trouble is solved. What a relief! I just hope we can fix the other small things that need fixing so we can continue on the road of getting it ready to sell in a couple months.

Monday, December 19, 2005

awww, crap. just...crap.

We've been having trouble with our car, a 1996 Chevy Blazer, for a couple weeks. It's been overheating but we've been trying different things to solve the problem, starting with the easiest things first: adding antifreeze.

That helps for about 5 minutes and then it just starts to overheat again. And, there's been no heat in the car this whole time. So poor Brett has been freezing his ass off in addition to having to stop every mile and a half to add antifreeze.

Tonight, Brett and our downstairs roommate and car mechanic wizard Caleb looked at the car. Caleb said he thinks it's a bad water pump. Ok, not TOO bad, about $60 and a couple hours of their time to fix it. The problem? Well, problem number one is that Caleb's leaving to spend Christmas with his family in Vermont in like two days and doesn't have time to fix it before then. Problem number two is that he's taking his Kia (which I drive all week) with him, which will leave us carless. Problem number three is that Brett just spent the past hour looking up this particular problem on the internet (searches like, "chevy blazer + overheating" and "chevy blazer + no heat") and what he found has totally freaked him -- and by extension, me -- out.

It's like when you have a rash or something, and you go to WebMD and look up the condition and you suddenly are convinced you have scabies or cancer, and it turns out to be something as simple as an allergic reaction to the new laundry detergent you bought. (What? Have I ever done that, you ask? No, never! Um, or almost never...except for that one time.)

Anyway, apparently there are several comments by owners of similar Blazers that it's a problem with the entire heating and cooling system, and that despite replacing the water pump, the radiator, and, well, the entire effing system at astronomical costs, the problem has persisted for years, apparently due to a faulty GMC coolant called Dexcool that basically clogs the radiator and hoses so badly they have to be replaced. Read more here.

I really, really hope it's not that. *praying* Please, God, please let it just be the water pump. Please.

So now Brett's in a bad mood, and is totally convinced the car is going to, like, blow up or something, or at least -- as he put it tonight -- "cost a small fortune to fix." I really hope he's not right and that it is just the water pump.

Sigh. So now I don't know what to do. Should we wait it out and see if he and Caleb can fix it next week, and be carless all weekend -- even on Christmas and Christmas Eve? (I reeeeally wanna go to midnight church Christmas eve! and with no car, that won't be possible.) And what will we do for a car Thursday and Friday? We both have to get to work.

I freaking hate cars. I hate them. Well, ok, I like that I don't have to walk everywhere in Maine (it's too cold and things are too spread out for that). What I hate about cars is how they always seem to break down at the least convenient time financially. Why didn't the car break down in the summer, when we were much more flush with cash from Brett working full-time? Why did it have to break down now, just after we've spent what *I* call a small fortune on end-of-semester supplies and Christmas? WHY? It's like the car knows when it's a bad time, and decides to do things like this to spite me.

If you'll search back through the archives, you'll see we had car trouble last year at Christmastime, too. Sucks. It just SUCKS and I am PISSED OFF about it. AUGH!!!!

I hate having no money for things like this. I hate having a car that does this crap. I wish we hadn't bought the Blazer and had bought an economic, simple, fuel efficient small sedan instead. But we didn't. And I guess I can't change that. We'll probably be selling the Blazer by summer anyway so I guess the main objective now is to do what we can, be it through bubblegum and spit or through real repairs, to get the car working in order to see us through the winter and get the damn thing sold.

Ugh. I need to get back to working on work (which, yes, I am STILL DOING at 10:00 p.m.) or tomorrow is going to suck even more ass than this car problem.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

our crazy cat, our Christmas tree, and icy snow


Some of you may have heard me say that my cat Audrey likes to lick me. Upon hearing this, many people have said, "Oh, yeah, sure whatever. My cat likes to lick me, too."

No. You don't understand. My cat really, really licks me. To the point where she will stand up on her hind legs, put her paw on my forehead for support, and lick away. (And lick, and lick, and lick.) It's kind of gross but it's also funny. I don't let her do it all the time, but last night I had Brett take some photos so I could fully document the intensity of the licking.

In the photo below, you will see that I am slightly grimacing. This is because cat tongues are known to be rough and when put in contact with the soft skin on my face...it doesn't feel very pleasant. This is a good example of how she'll put her paw up on my face or my glasses to support herself.



Oh, and I really have to ask you to excuse my AWFUL, terrible fashion (or lack thereof) combination. It's hideous. When I got home from work, I was freezing, so I just put on my very gaudy flannel pajama pants and left on the shirt I wore to work. I really, really should have changed before we started taking photos of things but I didn't think of it until we were almost done. Oh well. I didn't wear it out in public, I just posted it to the whole Internet. Heh.

In addition to being licked by my very strange cat, Audrey (whom we do call Little Aud because, well, she's a little odd), we also decorated our Christmas tree last night.

My father-in-law (hi, Jeff!) told Brett it's a "beautiful tree" and I have to agree with him. Despite going through hell and back to get 3 strands of working lights on it, I have to say it's pretty cool. It's bigger than ones we've had in the past so our ornaments look kinda sparse on it, but all in all it looks pretty good.



We had a good time decorating it -- or at least I did; I think Brett isn't a huge fan of Christmas tree decorating -- as we drank hot cocoa and tea, and listened to the John Fahey Christmas record.

It's completely icy out this morning. Yesterday, we had a few inches of snow followed by rain...and then it froze last night. Everything is iced over and although it is treacherous, it's really beautiful.



This is an example of the treachery. These are our back stairs, which are coated with about an inch of ice in some places. Brett shoveled them last night, but we don't have any salt or ice-melt so they iced over. I think it's time to get some. I have already fallen on the ice this year (last night, but not at home) and I know I'm due for more falls. It's kind of inevitable when you put a clumsy person like me on a solid sheet of ice, minus the ice skates.



This is an example of the beauty, although I don't think this photo does it justice. The way the sun is shining through the ice on the branches of this tree is lovely. I was out early this morning, taking photos for work at an event in Westbrook, and it's really breathtaking when a whole vista of trees are rendered silver by the sunlight shining through their ice-covered branches.

Now, I have to get ready for the day, clean the house a bit because Kahlil and Laura are coming over for dinner (yay! It's been ages since we've seen them), and then go to the mall to meet my friend Katie and do a little shopping. I just have a couple things left -- a present for my nephew Kevin and possibly something for a couple other people who I won't mention here since they read this blog. Also, I am going to see if there's anything I can't live without, since I do have that work bonus burning a proverbial hole in my proverbial pocket.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's another snowy day, although where I am at work -- about 30 mi south of my house -- it's turned to sleet. Ugh. (My snow romanticism is gone. I told you it would be gone soon...and now it is. I hate winter in Maine.)

Tonight, Brett and I are planning to have a nice, quiet evening. He has his final critique in his photo seminar class today, and then tonight, we are (I am) going to make a yummy dinner (potstickers, stir fry, and rice), decorate the Christmas tree, listen to the Frank Sinatra Christmas album, drink hot cocoa, and watch a movie. It will be a lovely evening, I hope. We certainly need it. The past few weeks have been crazy where Brett's schoolwork load is concerned.

Tomorrow, I have to get up early and go take photos of this Toys for Kids event in Westbrook. Bah. I hate getting up early on Saturdays, especially for work-related things. Oh well. Then, in the afternoon, I'm meeting my friend Katie at the mall to do a little shopping. Should be fun. In the evening, we may have our friends Kahlil and Laura over for dinner. I'd like that; it's been a long time since we've seen them.

Sunday, we'll probably sleep in and then go to church in the evening. No big plans there.

So, not a very eventful weekend, but it should be a good one. I'm looking forward to having some time to chill out with an un-stressed version of my husband.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The search begins...


The search begins...
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
So cute. ;-p

"Take the picture, Leen."


"Take the picture, Leen."
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
What a man. Traipsing through the snow to find his wife a Christmas tree, despite the mounds of homework he has to do.

Timberrrrr!


Timberrrrr!
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
Brett fells the tree.

The Christmas Tree


With the tree again, closeup
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
Here we are with our Maine Christmas tree that we got Sunday afternoon. It's about 6 and a half feet tall and is really pretty!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Before...(the beginning of the storm)

I took this at about 8 a.m., just after the snow started.

(Pardon the mess in the front yard. It's part of the landlords' never-ending retaining wall/stair project. They started in *july* and aren't done yet. At least the snow is completely covering it now.

After the storm...


Lots of snow
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
This should give a good idea of how much snow we got in roughly a 7-hour period. It started snowing about 7:30 or 8 a.m., and stopped about 3. Brett took this photo at the airport last night about 5:30 as he was plowing the snow into piles.

Big pile 'o snow
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
A big pile o' snow. Brett took this last night at the airport as he was plowing.

Brett and Leen
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
Taken last night, at home, after my company Christmas party.

Brett with the plow truck
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
Brett took this photo this afternoon. He drives this truck, with the 9-foot v-plow, all over the parking areas at the airport
A plane flies in over the Portland airport, about 24 hours after the snow has stopped.

Friday, December 09, 2005

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

The first snowstorm of the year has begun and it is really coming down. They're calling for 6-12 inches where we live. I have to admit, my some of my snow romanticism is still present (i.e., thoughts of, "Oh! Pretty! Snow!", although I doubt much of that romanticism will be left by the end of the day today.

Driving here in the little, tiny Kia was a bit of an adventure, but I made it, even if it took me about twice as long as usual. I was late to our staff meeting and had to walk in after everyone else had started.

I'm going to make some phone calls from work this morning, and then head back up toward home as soon as I can, stopping in Westbrook on the way.

Then, tonight, we have to come back down to Biddeford for my work Christmas party, which, should be fun once we are here. Free alcohol, the rumor of Christmas bonuses, dinner, dancing, a gift exchange -- I've heard it's actually a really good party.

Even without the snow, it would have been a crazy day. With it, well, I am just playing everything by ear.

In other news, our new computer came yesterday. It's a 2GB, Mac G5. It's screaming fast. WOO-HOO!!! We set it up with minimal hassle -- I was surprised how easy it was -- and stayed up until 2 a.m. playing with it. Heh. We both had a hard time getting up this morning but that's ok. It was fun. The screen is *huge* -- it's a 20-inch cinema display (so it can play widescreen DVDs at the correct ratio). It is totally badass.

I'll post some snow photos later. Which, really, are not that exciting, but oh well. (I mean, I ask you -- how exciting can snow really be? Answer: Not very.)

I do need to make some phone calls now and get a little work done before I leave.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Warning: really kind of gross, but also? Really hilarious.

I may be the only one who finds this funny, and if that's the case, so be it. Most of you will probably think I should be reported to PETA or something, or else you'll just think I'm sick and twisted. Which, I kind of am. Be that as it may, I just about died laughing when Brett told me what happened to him last night when he got home from school.

First, some background. Our cat, Audrey, (whom, I must say, we do love dearly, despite her recent naughty behavior) has been bad lately. She's been peeing on anything and everything that we leave on the floor. My black wool coat? Check. Brett's Timbuk2 bag? Check. My handmade winter hat and scarf that fell off the coatrack? Check. The bathmat? Check. My long sleeved black shirt that fell off the chair? Check. Any laundry I have sorted on the floor? Check.

It's really nasty, and frankly, has us worried. We are going to take her to the vet to see if something is wrong. We've also tried some different litter, and tried giving her more water, which seems to be helping matters. But I digress.

So she's been peeing on all of our stuff lately, which is totally frustrating when (like myself) you go to put on your coat, hat, and scarf, and find yourself gagging at the smell of cat pee. Yes. Fun. (Not.)

So. Last night, I called Brett on the way home from a city council meeting. The following conversation ensued.

Brett: Hello?
Me: Hey, it's me. I'm on my way home.
Him: Oh, good. Hey, guess what? I got revenge on Audrey for peeing on all of our stuff lately.
Me [thinking, "How the hell do you get revenge on a cat?"]: Oh? What did you do?
Him [giggling a little]: Well, um, I kind of accidentally peed on her a little bit.
Me [starting to laugh too]: You WHAT? You PEED ON HER? How do you kind of accidentally pee on a cat?!?!
*Note: I will now paraphrase, becuase I don't think my husband wants me broadcasting any more about his bodily functions to the Internet.Essentially, he was about to do his business when Audrey jumped in front of him and he couldn't stop before he hit her.*
Me [now DYING of laughter, tears rolling down my face, about to pee my pants]: What did she DO?!
Him [also dying of laughter]: Well, she went, "MrOWWWW!" and jumped out of the way, and then sat right outside the bathroom door, lickign herself violently and kind of going, "Ech, ech, ech."
Me [laughing harder than I ever thought possible]: You should -- HAHAHAHAHA -- You should brush her or something, to get the pee off.
Him [also laughing extremely hard]: I tried -- BWAHAHAHAHA -- I tried -- BWAHAHAHA -- [talking really fast to get it out before he laughed again] I-tried-to-wipe-her-off-with-a-paper-towel.
Me: A PAPER TOWEL?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Anyway, Audrey doesn't seem *too* scarred, I hope. Brett felt really bad, I think, once he was able to stop laughing.

Oh, and any suggestions about cats peeing on things and how to make them stop would be most appreciated. (Becca, let this in no way discourage you from getting a cat...it's worth it; I promise!!)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

the iPod has arrived...and baby cuteness

Thursday morning, at about 8:30 a.m., the FedEx guy woke me up by pounding on the door, which scared the crap out of me, but I don't really mind because he had my iPod. Which...is so cool. It even has solitare on it. Solitare! Woo! (I have no idea why that is so exciting to me, but the fact that it has solitare just blew me away.)

I started downloading my CDs onto it from my work computer, which I understand is not smart if I want to use my home computer for it, too...it's this whole thing with automatic updating and my iTunes library....I don't really understand it but I guess I don't really care because I didn't want to wait a week until our computer comes to be able to use my new toy. I'll just take the instant gratification and reap the consequences later, I suppose.

Now, the biggest challenge is finding the cover/case/tube thing I want for it. I've got it narrowed down, but am having a hard time deciding. I kind of want pink, but if Brett ever borrows it then that would look stupid, and also I am worried that pink would get dirty. So I might get electric blue (which glows in the dark!) instead.

In other news, we went to our friends' Shepard and Jamie's house last night for dinner. I grew up with Jamie in Oregon, and she moved to Maine because Shepard's family is from here.

They have two kids, Autumn, who is two, and Corbyn, who is five monts old. He? Is so. Freaking. Cute. I held him for a while last night, and gave him his bottle. He made the cutest little sounds while he was eating. And then he snuggled with me. And then Brett stole him from me because *he* wanted to hold the snuggly baby.

*whispering* Holding him? And seeing Brett hold him and read Autumn her bedtime story three times? Really made me want one.

Alas, I will just wait...which is ok, because I like sleeping in, and reading for fun, and being independent. But still. I look forward to the time when we have our own kids, who look a little like us. That will be fun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My dear friend Annie, whom I have known since we were about eight, sent me this lovely poem today. I thought some of you might enjoy it, too.

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

snow and technology

We got our first snowfall of the year last week, the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving day, mostly. It was the earliest in the year that it's snowed in the three years we've been here. I really hope that's not a sign of an extremely bad winter to come.

I am trying to post a picture but it's not letting me, which is annoying.

Of course, the snow is all melted now. In fact, today it's about 50 degrees and pouring down rain. Strange. Not normal weather for this time of year at all. But I'm not complaining, really. I hope we get another nice dusting for Christmas, and then after that, I hope it holds off for a little while longer.

I suppose I should appreciate the picturesque nature of the snow while we're here in Maine, but that might be stretching it a little too far for me. The most I can do, I think, is to try not to loathe it.

Also last week, we finally bit the bullet and ordered a new computer! Brett's parents said they'd help out, so we decided to just do it. We got an Apple G5, with a 20" flat panel cinema display monitor. It's pretty dang fancy. Or at least that is my impression, since the actual computer hasn't arrived yet. The monitor is scheduled to be delivered today, but the from the information on the website, the computer hasn't left the facility in Shanghai (yes, China) yet.

We also ordered me a little something since we were getting free shipping and an educational discount anyway...a 30g, black, video iPod. YAYAYAY! I am so excited. I have been obsessively pressing the refresh button on the Fed Ex tracking page, watching as it makes its way from China...to Anchorage, Alaska...to Memphis, Tennessee. Right now, it's somewhere between Memphis and here. I should have it in my hands Thursday or Friday. Yahoo! I am totally stoked to get it and to play with it. Tres chouette!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving thoughts...

Brett and I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. In fact, he was at work till 3 p.m., plowing snow, so it was really quiet for me. I read a bunch (in bed under 2 down comforters, a quilt, and another blanket, of course, because the rest of our house was freaking freezing since we haven't turned our furnace on yet to try to save money) and then cooked.

Since we don't do the turkey thing, I pretty much just made the trimmings, which was fine with us. Apple-walnut stuffing, peas, salad, some very good mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Quite good. I have leftover stuffing, peas, and pie for lunch today. Yums!

So, what am I thankful for? Lots and lots of things. I'll share a few.

1. My husband. He has been so great lately. I'll be honest; the past 2 years here in Maine have been really hard on us and our relationship, but the past month or so has been wonderful. For instance, this morning, he cleaned the snow off my car for me before he left for work. Aww. :)

2. Our families. Our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...they are wonderful. Despite the fact we're so far away from them, we love them very much and I definitely miss them all.

3. Having a car that works. I have had too many crap cars that break down...it's so nice not to have to worry about whether my car will start when I go out in the morning.

4. Our friends. We've made a few good ones here in Maine, and I'm so glad for that. I'm also thankful for all of the friends we have who are now spread all over the country and the world. I was thinking about it the other day, and we have friends in three countries and probably almost every state. It's wonderful.

5. This is going to sound weird...but I'm very thankful for what you might call my internet friends, the Snarkies. It's so strange, but they are true friends who I am thankful to have. They go beyond just being so-called Internet friends. I don't know what I would have done without them the first year or so we were in Maine, when I didn't have friends here yet. Now, they are an ingrained part of my life.

6. My job. Yes, sometimes I am frustrated with it, and although I feel underpaid at times, I love what I do. I get *paid* to *write* and talk to people all day. It's great. There's not really much else I'd rather do, except be a stay-at-home mom someday.

7. 180 days. That is all I have to say. *grin*

8. This is strange-ish, but I'm thankful for our cat, Audrey. She's so snuggly and cute and I just really love her. I never thought I'd be this attached to a pet...but I am.

9. The Internet. I love the Internet. Email, blogs, message boards, netflix, endless information at my fingertips, etc, etc, etc. It's fantastic. I love that I can write all this here and my family in Oregon, my brother in Korea, my friends in DC can all read it and know a little bit about what's going on in my life.

There's so much more I could say, so many more things I'm thankful for. But that's enough for now. I need to answer some emails and start planning out my work for the week.

Monday, November 21, 2005

procrastination...it's so much fun.

Oh. I am so procrastinatory tonight. (I have no idea if that's a word, but if it isn't, it should be.) Anyway.

I got home from the Westbrook council meeting at a record early time, about 8:45, all ready to write the three stories I need to take care of before I go to bed, since our deadlines are screwed up this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yeah. Well, good intentions didn't get me very far. I came home, listened to Brett talk about the new computer he asked his parents to buy for us, made some dinner, listened some more, ate my dinner, listened some more, and then finally, the computer was mine.

And, fool that I am, what the hell have I done during the past hour and 15 minutes? Write my stories?

No. Of course not. First it was checking my email, and my Snarkies board, and the Moped Army board, and then looking up monitors to go with the computer Brett wants, and then looking up the iPod I want, and then looking up the Bose docking station for the iPod I want, and then going to the Seattle Times website to read about the shooting in the mall in Tacoma, and then doing a real estate search to see if there are any apartments I want to rent in the greater Seattle area (there aren't, and it's a moot point anyway since I'm 3,000 miles away), then looking up the hours of the store in Seattle where we bought our wedding rings to find out if they were open (they weren't) so I could call them about getting Brett's ring re-sized, then checking the blogs I read regularly, then linking to a blog from the comments on www.amalah.com, then reading that blog, then linking to another blog and reading all the back posts of that blog, then wanting to write on my blog...

And here I am.

I managed to (sort of) write my column in the midst of all that, although I am not happy with my column this week, but at this point, I don't really care.

I also realized that I left the notebook with the interview I need for one of my stories on my desk at work. Yeah. Not smart.

Sigh. I guess I can't win 'em all.

Also? I bonked my head TWICE today on the kyack (how the heck do you spell that anyway? I have no idea) rack on the car I'm borrowing this week, so that I have twin bruises calling even more attention to my gargantuan forehead. It looks like I'm going to sprout horns or something. Ew. I should have bought that new MAC concealer I was eyeing at the mall a few weeks ago, after all.

I know Brett is going to come in here soon and ask me if I'm almost done...so I suppose I should do some more real work. It's so much more fun to blog...

Ok, he just came in and threatened to take the ethernet cable away from me, so I had better work now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

close call

Brett and I have sold some stuff on ebay recently, mostly moped parts and that kind of thing. Tonight, we were packing up three things we sold so he could mail them tomorrow. I had just finished taping up the last box (which was needing a lot of tape, because it was an old box, so I'd taped every freaking seam, edge, and corner on it), when he looked up with a really strange look on his face, kind of a half smile/smirk.

Him: Uh, oh.
Me: What?
Him: Um, my wedding ring isn't on my finger anymore.
Me: You're kidding, right? It's really in your pocket, right?
Him: Uh. No. I'm not kidding.

We proceeded to tear apart our storage room upstairs, where he'd been getting boxes and packing material, and the staircase, and the landing...and we didn't find it.

We looked at each other and he said, "Well, I guess it must be in the box." By that he meant the box I'd just taped up, on every single edge.

So we had to unwrap the whole box, take out all the shredded newspaper packaging, and lo and behold, under the moped gas tank we sold, there was his wedding ring.

Whew. I'm so glad he realized it before we mailed it...or some girl in California would be getting a nice chunk of platinum in addition to the rusty old moped gas tank.

We'll be looking into getting it resized (or something) asap.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's back.

The cold...is back. Blech. This is now week nine of my marathon illness. I had 4 or 5 days of bliss last week and weekend, enough to get me through my fabulous DC weekend, and now it's back with a vengeance.

I went to the doctor yesterday. Again. For the third time in almost as many weeks. She perscribed another anitbiotic and told me to stay home from work. So I called work. Yeah, that didn't go so well. They pretty much told me it was a "problem" to stay home. Well, screw that. I have 6 sick days, and I am using two of them. It doesn't change the fact that next week will be horrible, catching up, but at least I get to rest for 2 days. Or so I thought.

Because last night, after I got home from the doctor (where I've spent $60 in three weeks) and the pharmacist (where I've spent $75 in three weeks on perscriptions alone, not counting NyQuil), Dave-the-landlord was in here, making an ungodly mess in my so-called dining room. He's spackling and sanding the ceiling that has now been a mess for 40 days, since the great dining room flood of 2005. The dust from the sanding is all over my kitchen, my living room, and -- horror of horrors -- my precious KitchenAid mixer. Grrrrr....

Oh, and might I add that he's in here again right now, just after I fell asleep for the first time today, and now he wants to come in tomorrow.

I'm not sure how to type the feelings I wish to convey. Some swear words come to mind, but I already swore up the internet yesterday on the Snarkies board, (which I'm kind of ashamed of, by the way) so I've mostly got that out of my system.

Partly I want to just lose it. I've hit the wall. I want to just cry and say it's not fair and I want to be a kid for a few minutes and let someone else deal with all this crap for me. But I'm a grownup. And I guess that means I have to deal with it myself.

So I just told him he could come in from noon to 4 tomorrow. Meh. I don't want to but I really want my dining room back before Thanksgiving. I guess I can't have my cake (get a real day off to rest and be alone) and eat it too (have my dining room back before Thanksgiving).

I"m going to go take another nap now. He's gone so maybe I can sleep for a bit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I *heart* DC.

This past weekend, I went to Washington, DC to visit my friends Julie and Carolyn. How do I know them, you ask? Well. This has been something I haven't talked about to people in the past, but I'm ready to come clean now. I am sure some people won't get this...but we met on a message board.

When Brett and I moved to Maine 2 years ago, I was so bored and lonely that I started hanging out on the Knot.com's message board. The Knot is a wedding-planning board that I had discovered when I was planning our wedding.

Shortly after I found the Knot board, about 30 of us formed a private, subscription-only board called the Snarkies on MSN. Julie, Carolyn and I were three of the original members (the board has now grown to about 42 girls) and we are now the managers of the board.

I know this sounds weird, but I am friends with these girls. For a while after we moved here, they were the only friends I had. We are online together pretty much every day, we email, we talk on the phone. We have shared the best and the worst moments of each others' lives since March 2004. Weddings, divorces, the deaths of parents and grandparents, the death of one woman's niece, the death of one woman's husband, illnesses, recoveries, promotions, raises, being fired, miscarriages, pregnancies, births...just about every day-to-day joy, sorrow, or frustration you can imagine. I hope that gives you some idea of the depth of our relationships so that it doesn't sound like some random message board.

Anyhow, I have met two of the other girls (Andrea, in Portland, OR and Minda in Seattle) and decided I really wanted to meet Julie and Carolyn. The feeling was mutual so I used a bonus from work to buy a plane ticket to DC for this past weekend.

Not only was the city great, but so were Julie and Carolyn. It didn't feel like last weekend was the first time we had met in person. It felt like we'd known each other much longer. And really, we have. The three of us agreed that the "girls on the board" know us better than many of the people we've known in so-called real-life for years.

So why is that? I think part of it is that it is so much easier to be brutally honest about yourself and those deep, dark things inside you with people you can't see. And on the same token, it's easier to respond to that kind of a thing when the person isn't right there in front of you.

If I ever go to grad school, I'd love to write my thesis on how the Internet is changing and redefining community. But anyway. Enough theorizing.

We had a great time. Here is a photo essay of the weekend:

In the front: Julie, Katie, me
In the back: Julie, Carolyn
This was at our ill-fated Thai dinner on Friday night. I will have to post about the hilarity and weirdness that was our dinner another time.














Notice the typo on this menu...the so-called "blush" wines are referred to as "brush" wines. We laughed so hard when we saw this.


















Airplanes inside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum













Julie and Carolyn ponder the oft-thought-of, rarely asked question...how do you go to the bathroom in space? Even after seeing this exhibit, we still weren't sure.














We prepare to see the 3-D IMAX movie, "Magnificent Desolation," narrated by Tom Hanks. It's about man's journeys to the moon. The glasses, as I am sure you'll agree, are oh-so-sexy. ;p (l to r: Julie, me, Carolyn)














The Washington Monument and Smithsonian Castle from in front of the Air and Space Museum


















Carolyn, me and Julie at the Smithsonian National Zoo













Me, in front of the elephant fountain at the zoo.




Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church. Unfortunately, we couldn't go in the nave because there was a concert, but we got to walk through the garden and go in the bookstore. It was really beautiful.


















Carolyn shows off our amazingly tasty bruschetta. It was this soft, crispy pizza dough, topped with cheese, olive oil, baby arugula, pesto, marinated tomatoes, and parmesean shavings. It was incredible. The picture does not do it justice.



Me, Julie and Carolyn at Paolo's, the Georgetown restaurant where we had our last meal together. It was so good!



I had such a great weekend. It was really nice to get away and be somewhere different, to get a bit of a vacation. I hope I will get to see Julie and Carolyn again soon.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'm back from yoga.

Holy cow. It kicked my butt today. I can tell I didn't have enough water before class, either this morning or yesterday. I had to sit down several times (which I've never had to do before) becuase I was afraid of puking.

I guess that's what I get for bragging on my blog how hardcore it is and how I can do it without feeling sick. Heh.

Oh well. I talked to the instructor afterward, and he said that drinking more water would help a lot, and that I did a great job for it being my first time in a long time. Whew. At least I know the poses well enough to be able to do them without help.

I'm definitely going back on Wednesday. I have to just jump in and do it again without thinking about how hard it is.

After class, I went to Wild Oats and got a slice of cheese pizza and a smoothie. So good. And I did some grocery shopping and spent WAY too much money on two bags of groceries, but I did get a box of Satsumas for $5 and I got 4 containers of soy milk, since the brand we like was only $2.50. (Not that you care how much I spent on soy milk. This is more me justifying to myself why I spent the money.)

On my way home, I called my mom's house, where my 2-year-old neice Adeline and 5-year- old nephew Zachary had spent the night. I talked with them for a minute. Zachary asked what I was doing. I told him I was on my way home from the store.

Him: What did you get?
Me: Oh, soy milk, satsumas, tomatoes, avocadoes, granola, yogurt, some chips, macaroni and cheese --
Him: That's my favorite! Macaroni and cheese!
Me: Yeah, I like it too.
Him; [mumbling something] MumfmfMFf.
Me: What?
Him: Did you get any pineapple?
Me: [thinking, Where the heck did that come from?] Um, no.
Him: Ok, bye!

I don't pretend to understand that one.

Ok, it's now becoming difficult to type since the cat is sitting on my arm. Ugh. I need to get up anyway and put the groceries away and clean the house up a bit before I babysit this evening.

I'm off to yoga.

I finally went to the yoga studio and bought a package of classes yesterday. I had a coupon for 15% off the purchase of a package, so I took advantage of it and bought 10 classes. I am going to try to go twice a week from now on.

I cannot spend another awful Maine winter sitting on the couch and eating pie while I watch re-runs of South Park and That 70's Show and The Simpsons as I feel myself get fatter. Something has to change. So, I am going to try to go at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Oh, and this isn't just regular old plain yoga. This is hardcore Bikram Yoga, which is a series of 26 asanas that take an hour and a half to complete and are peformed in a room heated to about 106 degrees. (See www.mainebikramyoga.com for more info.)

I love it. I come out feeling cleansed and awake and alive, albeit sweaty. The first few times I did it, I surprised myself by being able to do all 26 poses without having to rest, as many first-timers do. Brett had major issues (ie, puking in the bathroom after the class) but I was ok. It's surprising to me how well I did and how much I enjoyed it. I guess it's just not for some people, which is fine.

Ok, I have to go now unless I want to be late, which would mean I couldn't get in since they lock the front door when class starts. I hope it's as good today as it was when I went the last time, back in August.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm not sure what to think...

Yesterday, my boss told me he thinks I use my cell too much for personal calls at work. I hate conversations like that. It wasn't too bad, I guess, but just awkward and I could tell he felt weird saying anything. He was totally nervous and kept asking me indirect things about my cell phone, to the point that I wasn't sure what he was trying to say at first. I had to ask him, "So, are you saying I use my phone too much at work?"

This all sprung out of the fact that I had a long-ish conversation with my mom two days ago while I was sitting at my desk. Sigh. Usually, when I call my mom, I go outside, which I told him. The one time I don't...and this happens.

In retrospect, I don't think I defended myself enough. I don't think he knows that I use my cell phone for work-related calls all. the. time. despite the fact they don't reimburse me at all for those calls. I also don't think he knows that probably 70% of the time when I'm on my phone at work, it's for work-related things.

Now, the question is, do I tell him this? Say something like, "I just want to clarify, becuase I wasn't clear yesterday, that I do give this number out as my primary contact number for work, so a lot of the time, I am talking about work-related things."

I feel all weird about the whole thing now. Alas, I can't change it, so I'd better just deal with it, I guess.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Things have been changing...

Well, I did it. I finally bit the bullet and chopped my hair off! This is something I'd been debating for a long time. I started growing my hair out a few months after we moved to Maine, mostly because it was too expensive to get it cut every 6 weeks, and the one time I did try, I paid $40 for a really crappy cut.

My hair got longer, and longer...and it finally started pissing me off because it wouldn't curl anymore, it would only frizz. So I decided it was time to go back to my old, short-haired self. I went to see my friend Becca's amazing hair lady, Tracey, and she worked wonders.

What does this new do look like, you ask? And how long was my hair before I cut it? Here are some photos. The before photo was taken over Labor Day weekend in New York City. My hair was probably a bit longer, more like touching my shoulders, when I got it cut. The after photo is a grainy image from my camera phone taken the day of the cut. (That's our friend Ben in the background, being extremely silly.)

BEFORE:












AFTER:













It's been a good change, and I'm happy the old Leen is back.

Friday, October 14, 2005

It's official. I'm a terrible blogger.

So shoot me. I haven't updated this blog in far, far too long. I was doing great for a while there, and then I got a job writing for a newspaper, and the last thing I wanted to do in my spare time was more writing, so I just stopped. I'm sure any of the readership I had (finally) built up has now given up checking my blog for updates. I hope that in time, I can build up a new readership. Maybe.

I think I've now hit a place where I can bring myself to start posting here again and writing for fun. So, for my first post in months, I will post this whiny -- and I hope slightly humorous, at least -- bit about why my day sucks.

People/entities that can bite me today:

1.) This cold I have had for THREE WEEKS. The sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, plugged up ears and waking up in the middle of the night with my mouth feeling like sandpaper all combine forces to make me want to scream. If it weren't for NyQuil and its wonderful cousin, DayQuil, I would have gone postal by now. I have probably singlehandedly, through my purchase of their products in recent weeks, raised their earnings expectations by 10%.

2.) The 30 candidates running for City Council or School Board in Westbrook and Gorham. I spent *hours* this week calling people, compiling a list of their email addresses, and emailing a survey for them to fill out of their positions on the current issues. This is free advertising for these candidates. Those hours I spent were apparently completely effing useless. Few people could open the survey, and of those who could, only THREE actually filled out the survey I sent. The rest sent me either a note saying "I can't open it" or their two page, rambling, poorly-edited, grammar nightmare election fliers. I don't have time to edit thirty of these cheesy missives, hence the (apparently un-openable) survey.

3.) Whoever decided to make Mac documents incompatible with PC documents. This probably means Bill Gates, but I don't really know. Whoever it is, they can BITE ME. I am so pissed that I spent hours this week preparing this survey and now no one can open it and I am now working on a VERY tight deadline and I now have about 52 emails in my inbox with snippy notes saying, "I can't open it." Also, if I resend it in another format, I am going to look like an idiot. *Sigh*

4.) My landlord. After the fiasco with the rain/flooding in my dining room last weekend, the whole cieling in that room needs to be replaced. Now, my landlord wants to come in tomorrow morning and put new drywall in. NOOOOO!!! I. Want. To. Sleep. In.

5.) My husband, with his obnoxious Netflix habit. The man is addicted. He has spent hours in the past two days filling up our queue with things like "John Cage, Live" and "Aguirre, Wrath of God." (blech.) These now occupy the first, I don't know, hundred movies on our queue, while my additions -- good movies like Pride and Prejudice and Gosford Park -- are at positions 143 and 144.

6.) The local CBS affiliate, for experiencing "technical difficulties" during the climax of last night's episode of Without a Trace. I was left to look at their logo for TWO MINUTES of the damn show, missing some key elements.

7.) The lady at the library yesterday who snipped at me because the copy of "Goodnight Nobody" I took out last week got damp when our roof leaked. It's not like it's unreadable or anything, the pages are just a little wavy now. She bitched about it so much, I finally gave up trying to smile and nod and apologize and just said, "Well, what do you want me to do about it?" She made me feel like an awful person for having my roof leak all over her precious library book. I'M SORRY! IF I HAD MY WAY, MY ROOF WOULDN'T HAVE LEAKED TO BEGIN WITH, LET ALONE ON YOUR PRECIOUS BOOK!!!!

The saving grace in all this is that it's Friday, it's Brett's payday so there's money to be had, we have (what I hope will be) a decent Netflix coming today, I might go to the mall tomorrow to escape the ceiling replacement, and the DayQuil seems to be working. Yahoo.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

rainy Saturday

It's totally rainy. But I kind of like it, because it's the soft, misty Seattle rain that you don't even hear hitting the window. I want to be in my house, baking brownies or doing something else cozy.

Alas, I am at work. Blech. Every day I realize how I am more and more ready to be done here, and how glad I'll be to start my new job. Only a few days left, thankfully. The only thing I would change at this point is volunteering to work at Princeton on the 4th of July Holiday weekend. BOO. Now I'm stuck doing that, and I really. Really. Really don't want to. Oh well. I was trying to do the right thing and I need to follow through on it.

We had a fun night last night. Brett called me at work around 4, and asked if I'd be up for going to hear a musician play at some club in Bridgton. I was feeling more spontaneous than usual and said sure. So after work, we headed to the Big Kahuna Cafe in Bridgton to hear Jon Shain play. Brett had called to find out what time it started, and they said probably around 8 or 8:30. We got there around 8 and went inside...to find that we were the only people there, other than the bartender, Jon, and his wife Marie. We sat around and talked with them for an hour or so, which was really fun. I just like getting to know new people.

Anyway, then Jon played, and it was great. Luckily a few more people showed up. He's going to be there tonight and tomorrow night too. If you like folk/blues music at all, check out his website and give him a listen: www.jonshain.com. Good stuff. And Big Kahuna was awesome! It reminded Brett and me of a McMenamin's -- good beer, fun atmosphere, good music. We'll be heading back up there. It's about an hour from us, so not too bad, and it's a pretty drive up past Sebago Lake.

Once again, I'm feeling exhausted today. Gr. I just want to feel normal again! Not sure if I should go back to the doctor and request bloodwork or not. After my visit a week or so ago I'm a little put out with her because of her dismissive attitude toward my concerns. Something isn't right: I just want to sleep...and sleep...and sleep. But I wake up by like 7:30 every morning, not feeling rested. It's frustrating.

I just got hung up on by a woman who thought she had an appt today, but she's not on the schedule and I'm booked solid so I can't go show her something. She was pissed. She said she drove down from Bangor because she'd been emailing with someone in our office (I think it was the intern) and she'd had an appointment at 11. Well, it wasn't on the calendar, and I am booked solid today, so there was no way I could show her anything. Ugh. She was very pissed. I don't blame her, really, but what a freaking crappy situation. I'm just annoyed that I had to deal with it.

Well, I should do some work. Only 4 more hours and I can go home and be cozy. Yay.

Friday, June 17, 2005

getting excited...

I'm getting really excited (and nervous!) for my new job. Last night, after dinner and CSI, I got in bed with my AP stylebook, my Contemporary Editing book, and my Newspaper Designers' Handbook. I read the chapter of CE about headlines. I think, oddly enough, that's what I'm most nervous about. Headlines, though seemingly simple, are actually really tough to write well. Writing stories and even designing pages are fairly intuitive for me; I'm confident that once I get on a computer and write or mess around with Pagemaker for an hour or so I'll be fine. It will all come back like riding a bicycle. But headlines? Yikes. They freak me out.

Anyway, T-minus 3 days and counting until Tuesday, when I get to go in for my first day. Woo!

Haven't mopedded in over a week. Boo. First, my sister was visiting with her kids, and then it's been rainy since. I miss it.

My house is a mess. I hate it. It was clean when Melissa came, and we managed to keep it fairly neat while she was here, but her last night we just didn't clean up dinner and just relaxed, and it's all gone downhill from there. Brett keeps saying he'll clean the kitchen up, but somehow it hasn't been done yet (I'm hopeful we'll get to it tonight). It just really needs to be deep-cleaned. I've actually considered hiring someone to do it, but I have very mixed feelings about that.

Pros:
-- I wouldn't have to clean
-- I wouldn't have to nag Brett about cleaning
-- I would have less stress in my life
-- We have such a big house; it takes me forever to clean and I'd have more time on my days off to just relax

Cons:
-- It's expensive
-- I feel bad hiring cleaners, because many of them work such crappy jobs for such low wages that they can't even survive (think Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Eherenreich), www.nickelanddimed.net
-- I'd feel like such a slacker, guilty that I wasn't just taking care of it myself
-- It's kind of weird and borderline embarassing to have someone else cleaning your toilet, your dirt, your filth, don't you think?

Yeah, it's truly not feasible financially and I think it's not something I want to do anyway because of the social implications. I guess I'll just have to live with a semi-messy/dirty house for now.

Anyway, I should get back to work. Lots to do today in anticipation of my last day next week. Loose ends to wrap up, and all that.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Just a little overwhelmed...

I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed and stressed right now. This is my schedule for the next month or so...

June 13 - 20 -- Work for Princeton, EIGHT DAYS in a row
June 21 -- OFF from Princeton, start at Newspaper
June 22 -- OFF from Princeton, start at Newspaper
June 23 -- Work for Princeton
June 24 -- "Last" day at Princeton
June 25 & 26 -- Go to Boston for mopedding
June 27 -- First official day at Newspaper
June 28-July 1 -- First week at Newspaper
July 2 &3 -- Work holiday weekend for Princeton
July 4 -- DAY OFF, THANK THE LORD
July 5-8 -- Work at Newspaper
July 9-10 -- Go to New Jersey/New York for mopedding

Then we have like 3 weeks and we go to Oregon for Ben and April's wedding. Sigh. WHERE is this summer going?

And to top it all off, I am still feeling sick. I'm about ready to lose it. I wake up with a sore throat and stuffy nose every morning, I'm exhausted all the time, no matter when I go to bed, and I just feel like crap. Still. I went to the doctor last week, and all she had to say was rest, drink water, try taking Claritin. Grrrrr....

Anyway, Melissa and the kids left yesterday after their week-long visit. It was so much fun, although too short. It was really great to hang with Melissa, and the kids are so funny and cute. Zachary does this thing when he's talking to you on the phone, when he's ready to hang up, where he says really fast, "I love you I love you buh-buh- BYE!" Yesterday, when they were getting ready to leave, he told me that he wants to live right next to me. And Adeline is just the cutest thing with pigtails. She got a sunburn on Saturday, and in her little girly voice, sounding so proud of herself, she kept saying, "I have a tunburn." The first morning she noticed it, she came downstairs and said to Melissa, "Mommy! Mommy! My chirt's hurtin' my skin."

Well, I have work to do...and then I'm going to lunch with Becca. YAYAYAY! What a treat. I need a break...

Friday, June 10, 2005

wow. how quickly things can change.

I am sort of stunned, reeling in shock. One week ago today, I woke up thinking I would go to work at Princeton Properties indefinitely, that I would lease apartments and deal with Brian and just go about my business. Little did I know that I would read this ad in the newspaper last Friday afternoon:

REPORTER NEEDED - Full time for weekly newspaper covering Gorham and Westbrook. Benefits included. Experience preferred. Photography experience helpful. Could develop into editor position. Call Carolyn or David @ xxx-xxxx.

Well. Something inside me said to call, so I did, leaving a voicemail. Only minutes later, David called me back and we chatted for a few minutes. He asked me to fax some writing samples and a resume, so I did that on Saturday, after work.

Sunday afternoon at 1, I had an email from David wanting to meet with me ASAP. We scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. on Monday. I drove down to Biddeford, met with him, and left itching to work on a newspaper again, but not really knowing what my chances were of actually getting the job.

I got home about 8:30 and checked my email -- there was one there from him, clarifying one of my references. The next morning, I had an email from one of my references saying that he'd called her and she wouldn't be surprised if he offered me the job right away.

Not 20 minutes later, David was on the phone, offering me the job. I accepted, but had to wait until today to give my notice at Princeton since I was out of the office Wednesday and Thursday.
So, I start work as a real-life newspaper reporter on June 27! Wow! I really never thought I would get the chance to do this, to write and get paid for it. Now that I've finally given my notice (which I was dreading) I can relax and get excited and have fun and look forward to it! YAHOO!
I am nervous and excited and thrilled all at once. I know that once I start doing it again, it will all come back, but I feel so rusty and unused right now. I want to practice with layout, especially. I love laying out pages; it is a fun challenge for me. Maybe I could go into the newspaper office and practice during some evenings before I actually start full-time.

Once we're online, I'll post a link here to the newspaper. The first issue will be published in 2 weeks from today, so I likely won't be a huge part of that, but that's ok.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The voice is back...sort of.

Well, I don't feel quite as bad as I did last night. I went to bed and slept for about 9 hours, which was good. My voice is a little better today; I just sound pretty raspy and my voice keeps breaking. I can't talk for long periods of time, yet, but hopefully if I try to be quiet this afternoon and tonight, I'll be ok tomorrow.

This whole experience has made me think about what it must be like to not be able to talk at all. It would be so bizarre. I guess you would have to write or sign whatever you wanted to say...which would be so frustrating.

Hung out with Becca and then Melissa Pelkey last night. Becca and I got dinner at Panera and then went to the mall (yes, a bizarre place for the two of us to go) and walked around for a bit, then went to Borders so I could buy a book I've been looking for. After that, we headed down to Wells to Melissa's house. It's neat -- it was built in 1703, and there's even a tunnel underneath it from when the settlers had to hide from Indians. We had a bonfire and ate chips and salsa and strawberries with chocolate and just hung out. Good times.

Brett played poker with the guys from church again last night. He got home at about 11:30, and I was in bed reading. I guess one of the guys came home with him to hang out, which for some reason annoyed me more than it probably should have. I had just been so looking forward to hanging out with him and snuggling with him, and I didn't feel good, and so I was just irritated that my plan hadn't worked out, and our house is a mess, so I don't want people over until I have time to clean it up... And then I snapped at him about it, and he got mad...and it was just no fun. Sigh. Oh well, it's over now and I can't change it.

I should get on planning our trip out West for this summer. I had put off looking for plane tickets because they were expensive, and I was hoping the costs would go down, but it's not looking like they will. It's so confusing; we have to fly into and out of different cities, so it drives the price up really quickly. I'd be all for using up the airmiles we've accumulated, (we have enough for 2 domestic tickets) but Brett doesn't want to. He wants to keep saving them to go to Japan. I ask you, when will this ever happen? We had hoped for this summer...but no, and then next summer if we move back to Seattle we certainly won't be able to go to Asia, and then the NEXT summer, there could be all manner of weddings and babies and grad school to deal with. So that is why I think we should just use them up and not save them for Japan. It's like never using the china or wearing lingerie because you're waiting for a "special occasion."

Ok, work is beckoning. I need to email some people who are looking for apartments...fun, fun.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Wheezy


chrs_wheezy
Originally uploaded by kwalker513.
In the past 18 hours or so, I have completely lost my voice. I just can't talk at all. I sound like that penguin character on Toy Story, Wheezy, or like Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, when he gets a nodule on his vocal cords. It's as though air is just barely squeezing through a tiny opening in my lungs and it's only by a great effort on my part that it's getting through at all.

Sigh. And the worst part? I am at work. Once again, I am sick on my weekend. Blech, I say! And it's beautiful out, probably about 80 degrees, and I'm missing a moped ride and I am just grumpy!! ARG!

I hope my voice gets better tonight -- otherwise, tomorrow at work is going to be miserable. I called the on-call doctor at Martin's Point (the clinic where my doctor has her office) and he basically said that things like this are viral and that I should avoid talking and drink fluids and be in a humid environment. Yeah, right. Talking is kind of an integral part of my job; it can't be avoided.

[drumroll please] In other news, after months of searching, Brett and I found a decent Mexican restaurant in Maine! We had given up all hope that we'd find one after living here for over a year and a half with no luck, but last night we went up to Brunswick and ate at Rosita's. It actually reminded us of our favorite Mexican place in Seattle, Gordito's. I had a bean tostada, and Brett had the enchilada plate. Even with chips and salsa and guacamole, it was still only about $15. My only (small) complaint is that the salsa was not very good. I think it was canned. :( Alas, you can't win 'em all, I guess. We will definitely be going there again, though.

After dinner last night, we went to Videoport (where we had a *$15.00* fine...grrrrrrrrr) and rented 2 more of the CSI DVD's, then went home and watched 2 episodes and ate ice cream. I had seen one of the episodes we watched last night, which was probably a good thing as I fell asleep while it was on.

I should get back to work...I have some people to call back but I just don't know if I have the energy to be on the phone for a long time. Sigh. I guess I should at least try.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Man, the bbq was fun

What a weekend. Whew. I'll be recovering for a while...I still feel exhausted and it's been like 3 days!

We left Portland last Thursday after work to drive to Moped BBQ 11 in Kalamazoo, which is about a 17-hour drive from Maine. Dan drove his truck with three peds, and we drove our Blazer with a trailer, pulling 5 peds. After loading up in Boston (Josh Dahl, Fred, and John from RI), we were on the road. The trip out was uneventful, if a little long. I read quite a bit and slept very little, which I'd kind of anticipated just because I have a really hard time sleeping in the car.

We got into K-zoo about 1 pm, and proceeded to work on mopeds until about 7:30. Luckily, Brett got both bikes running ok -- he'd had quite a time tuning them this spring, since it rained for 10 days straight for the week or so before we left for the BBQ. It was good to have that afternoon in K-zoo to work the kinks out.

After that, there was a potluck sort of dinner at the Rocketstar (a coffee shop owned by some of the Decepticons). A bunch of people were going on a ride afterward, but I was SO tired (having only slept about 30 mins in about 38 hours) that I went back to Miguel's house and went to sleep while Brett and some others rode.

Saturday morning, I slept in a bit and then we got up and went to the Rocketstar and hung out for a while. Marci and Caleb and the rest of the Seattle contingent had arrived, and it was great to see them. Around noon, about 60 people on mopeds all rode out to some park outside town, where we had the Mo-Lympics. HA. It was really fun! There were all sorts of contests, things like relays, and pedal contests, and carb assembly, and longest skid mark, etc, etc. Brett participated in the Solex Toss. (A Solex is a brand of moped -- it is really more like a bike with an engine tacked on. They kinda suck -- they go really slow.) He didn't win but it was hilarious to watch him trying to throw it.

Then, there was a moped trick contest. I was sitting on a hill with Marci, and some other girls, and some of the Seattle people, including Brendan. He decided he was going to do a couple tricks, and he got up and went over and started doing them. All was well and good until he decided to jump the hill we were sitting on. It dropped off sharply behind us, and what he didn't know was that a car had parked down at the bottom just minutes before.

He began his jump, and he was literally like 20 feet in the air, when we all realized that he was going to hit the car when he landed. He hit with this sickening crunch/thump, and Marci and I watched as his body snapped and he was thrown about 6 feet. I was too shocked to do anything: I just stood there as everyone ran in a wave over the hill to him. Thankfully, he was ok -- his front forks on his ped were smashed up against the engine, and his knee was very swollen and stiff, but he is alive and walking and that is a blessing.

After that, we went to Miguel's and had dinner, which he was very kind to make for us. He was an awesome host, by the way -- he was so welcoming and I felt very comfortable staying at his house. It was really nice to have a clean, comfortable place to crash at the end of a long day. His kitties are sweet and fun, too -- Sophie and Annie. Man, I woke up one morning and Annie was just snuggled right on my chest. I <3 kitties. And it was fun to talk about Lord of the Rings and Tolkien with someone who appreciates it as much as I do and who knows the books and the history well.

Anyway, Brett headed out shortly after dinner to work on his bike, and I hung around with Miguel until about 9, when we headed down to the old 1977 Mopeds for the party. Initially, I felt really awkward, just standing around. I'm not much of a party person, really. I can't dance, I don't really get too wild, I don't drink much. However, that all changed after Marci and I went to the liquor store. I decided that because I was on vacation, I would indulge myself in some gin. So I bought a bottle...I guess it must have been a fifth...and I proceeded to drink quite a bit of it. Of course, the party was great fun after that. Heh. I talked to lots of people and just hung out and watached Josh and Miguel box, and other people box, and then the police came and told us to stop boxing outside, and I don't really remember much else.

Brett told a friend last night, "I found Kathleen in the parking lot of the moped shop at like 2:30 in the morning, wandering around and saying, 'Now I've had A LOT of gin...' before she'd start a conversation with someone." I finally decided I needed to go to bed, so Miguel was going to ride home with me. We got out to the bikes, and I got on to try to start the green bike, and almost fell off it. Heh. That was when we decided to walk back. Miguel was very kind to walk me home. I got in bed and fell asleep, though woke up when Brett came in about 3:30. I felt sooo sick at that point; I almost broke my record of never being so drunk that I puked. It was touch and go there for awhile, but I can still say I've never gotten so drunk I puked.

The next morning, I woke up with the suprising absence of a hangover. Brett went to the captain's meeting (which I wish I'd gone to also because I do help him with the captain duties quite a bit). I met up with him at the Rocketstar later, around noon, before the big ride. I talked to Becca from the Mosquito Fleet for awhile and realized that we both went to SPU, and even weirder, she worked at the IDX Tower when I worked there. It is a very small world.

Anyway, the ride was awesome. 106 mopeds...it was amazing, so cool to be a part of something so large. Riding with that many people is really cool -- we took up like 2 lanes and stretched at least 1/2 mile, and when we'd come to a stoplight, 3 or 4 guys on fast mopeds would ride out and block the other lanes of traffic so we could pass in one group. Sometimes that would take several cycles of the light. It was definitely swarming at its finest. We went and got ice cream in this town called Plainwell; I had a double-decker cone with strawberry and chocolate. Yum!

On the way back, I was riding the green Puch. I was near the front of the group, right next to the yellow center line, when the bike just died. I was giving it full-throttle and nothing was happening. It was really scary, actually -- I looked back and saw about 75 mopeds coming, between me and the shoulder, and behind them, a line of cars. Marci said later that I looked really scared. She gave me a look like, "AAAK! I am so sorry you are stopping and I wish I could help but I can't stop!"

I finally made it to the shoulder by darting across in front of the cars. Jordan of the D-cons was there in a flash, radioing on his walkie-talkie, "I've got one down!" I wanted to laugh at that; it seemed so serious and hardcore. Anyway, we soon discovered that the spark plug cap had come off, and that it was not holding a proper seal inside. We jammed it back on and the bike started, thankfully. We caught back up with some of the stragglers, and were riding with about 6 people when one of them accidentally cut Jordan off, sending him flying into a grassy ditch over his handlebars. He was ok, the ped was ok (albeit grassy: there was grass stuck everywhere, in his handlebars, headlight, wheels, etc), so that was good and we were on our way. Shortly after that, as we were trying to catch up to the main group, we were on this side road, way out in the country, when we passed (going the other direction) a very old, toothless man with a bit of hay in his mouth, wearing denim overalls with no shirt underneath, riding a black Puch with a milk crate on the back. I laughed so hard; it was such a random and surreal image. I wish I had a photo.

After the ride, we went with about 20 people and got pizza, and then afterward, Brett and I went with Dave, Amber, Wayne, Dan and Chad to see Pinback at Kraftbrau. It was a really good show, although there were so many people and it was so packed I never did actually see the band. I guess that's what happens when you are short and in a crowded room. The room the show was in was SO HOT. I was sweating and just overheated. We actually left a little early because it was so uncomfortable. Anyway, it was a fun evening overall, despite the crowded-ness of the room. It was fun talking with Amber, and the show was good too.

Afterward, we rode to the old shop where the party was happening. It was late -- about 1, I think -- so I didn't stay long. I was beat. The riding, the gin the previous night, the cumulative lack of sleep...I just didn't have it in me to party all night. Brett and I rode about 5 miles out to this store called Meijer, which is like a Super WalMart and Fred Meyer all rolled into one HUGE STORE. I wanted to get some ingredients to make Mango Salsa the next day (to take to the bbq), and he needed some bolts. So we didn't get back to Miguel's till probably after 2, I think, at which point I did some laundry (thanks, Miguel!) and we went to bed.

Monday was actually fairly anticlimactic for me. The actual bbq was just basically everyone sitting around eating and talking, like we'd been doing all weekend. But no, I don't mean to be negative. It really was fun. The highlight was the race, I think. Bret H was first, Matt (Marci's brother) was second, I don't remember who was third and fourth, Marci was 5th, Chad was 6th, and Brett was 7th. Woo! He was really excited that he got 7th -- there were probably 45 people racing, so that is pretty dang good.

After the race, Dan took us into the basement of the shop, and showed us the lot of NOS (New old stock, so they're brand new but from like 1977) Yankee Peddler mopeds they'd gotten. Oh man. He offered us a great deal, so we kinda had to buy one. I really wanted to...the bike only has like 80 miles on it, so it will be really reliable. I want to start leaving my car at work and riding to and from, so it would be nice to have a reliable moped. Also, when we move back to Seattle, I want to have one I can commute on. I mean, I love the Snark, and it will always be my favorite ped, but it's not always so reliable.

It was pretty late in the day after that, so while Marci and Caleb were getting matching Mosquito Fleet tattoos (that's so hardcore) we loaded up the car and trailer and truck and were ready to hit the road. We said our goodbyes, stopped at the Taco Bell on the edge of town, and headed out.

I drove from K-zoo to Erie, PA, which is almost 400 miles. I was sooo tired by the end. It was hard to stay awake. I tried to sleep after that, and I did -- kind of. It was very off and on. About 5 a.m., somewhere near Utica, NY, I had to start driving Dan's truck, because only three of us could drive a stick and Dan needed to sleep. We drive for about an hour and a half, the Blazer was ahead of us about 10 miles. Just outside of Albany, about 8 a.m., we got a call from Brett. They'd broken down and were sitting on the side of the highway next to a toll booth. We gave them the number for roadside assistance, and I drove like a bat out of hell to catch up.

We pulled up and could see them, just on the other side of the tollbooth. We paid the toll and pulled up. The drive shaft (which connects the wheels to the engine and makes them turn) had come disconnected. It was just hanging down, touching the ground.

After much confusion, a tow truck finally arrived. See, I guess that on the New York State Thruway, if you break down, there is only like one company who can tow you -- since it's a toll road, the toll people have a contract with the tow people...so it took them a while to come. In the meantime, I nearly had a breakdown when I called the local Chevy dealership and they told me it was going to be TWO DAYS before they could even look at the car. I started crying when the guy said that (remember, I was going on little-to-no sleep here) and he kind of freaked out. I felt sort of bad, but you know, two days to look at the car is absurd.

Anyway, turned out that the place the tow truck was from could look at it right away, so we had it towed there. Brett rode in the Blazer, which was on the tow truck...it was very bizarre to look up and see him hanging out in the car while it was being towed.

While we were waiting for the car to be fixed, we formed a new branch of the MA -- The Drive Train Branch of Kinderhook, NY. We unloaded the peds and rode all over these tiny towns while they were fixing the car -- from about 11 to 3. We had lunch in this tiny diner that I swear has probably not been updated in the least since like 1955...and then rode to the Presidential home of Martin Van Buren. We had been seeing these signs on the highway and then on the roads around the garage pointing us to the Martin Van Buren Historical Site, so we decided (pretty much as a joke) to go check it out. I thought it was interesting, but I think the guys were bored by it. By the end of the tour they'd all wandered off to sit by the peds and wait, and I was the only one still with the guide. Ah, well. I do have to admit that Martin Van Buren is not the most fascinating of presidents...it kind of seemed like he didn't really do much at all so they had to tell us about the escapades of his son (I think) who almost got in a duel with someone...I don't know. The details are a bit fuzzy.

After the car was fixed, we were on our way again. It was not too expensive, thankfully -- only about $150, so that was a huge blessing. We got into Boston and dropped Josh off, then went to Fred's where we unloaded his mopeds and I took a shower. It felt sooooo good to be clean again.

Brett and I left Fred's about 9, and started back to Maine. This should have been the most uneventful leg of our journey. But no. Of course not. I had fallen asleep somewhere around Portsmouth, and woke up right near the exit for 295 to Brett yelling, "Oh SH*T!"

I said, "What!? What?!"

"I think we just ran out of gas."

"You're kidding me...uggggggg."

"Nope, I'm not kidding," he said, as we rolled to a stop on the side of the highway, only 9 miles from our exit for home. So close...so close.

Thankfully, we were right next to a hotel, so we climbed the fence and went inside and called Caleb (from church) and he came and brought us gas. We finally got home about 11, (12 hours after we should have been home) and I crashed immediately.

Overall, the weekend was great. I had such an awesome time. It was really cool to meet so many people, and to hang out with the Seattle group. I am so, so excited to move back to Seattle now. (Not like I wasn't before, but now there's just one more thing to look forward to.) Less than one year, and I'll be there. I can't believe it. That's not too far away...I so look forward to being back in the city and riding my moped to work every day and to church and to Moped Monday and having other moped girls to hang out with...oh, good times. It's almost tangible to me; I feel like I can finally let myself imagine being back there, start planning what we'll do and where we'll live and where we'll work. I cannot wait.

Oh, and another funny note -- I had told Brett before we left that I was not looking forward to spending 16 hours in the car each way with like 5 other guys. Actually, it ended up being really fun, even if it did feel like I was in a locker room for 15 hours each way. What funny and fun guys they are! It was really a pleasure to travel with them; I enjoyed myself quite a bit, laughing at their antics and male-ness. I think I learned quite a bit about the male psyche this weekend...so thanks, guys! Here's to trock and the Drive Train and what makes a girl's boobs attractive! Heh.

Ok, this is a complete novel. I think I just need to stop writing and post it...hopefully it makes sense, even if it is long!