Monday, July 31, 2006

simple and straightforward

My uncle sent this today, although I've seen it before. I decided to post it.
Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel's part for whatever reason, the following two sentences really say it all.

If the Arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence.

If the Jews put down their weapons today there would be no more Israel.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Too Close for Comfort" - where's Monroe?

Today was a big day - I found a place to live! :) I will be moving into a 2BR-1BA duplex (hence the subject line above*) in Northwest Hills. Ok, so it's not Rosedale -- where I'm staying now -- or Hyde Park -- the funky neighborhood where I thought I would end up ... it's a lovely older neighborhood (both age-wise and home-wise) a little bit north and west. It's also $200 less per month than I thought I would be spending, or than I was spending in VA! :) Of course, that savings is going to get used up buying a new desk and a new bed... thankfully mom and dad are going to chip in and help with the washer/dryer purchase. :)

I will be moving in around 8/15, so now I have to call the movers up north and say, "Bring my stuff!" In the meantime, the landlady (who lives in the other half of the duplex, and has two wonderful dogs) is going to repaint, take down the icky wallpaper, put down Pergo floors... and a host of other improvements. I am so excited!

Went to the gym last night and tried *another* step class... apparently this teacher (Troy) is even more hard-core than the woman on Saturday! Imagine if you will doing all the footwork of step class - stepping up and down, or across, or diagonal, knee raises, etc - while also doing bicep curls, arm raises or overhead presses with small weights! ACK! I mean, I'm (mostly) coordinated enough to do all of that, I'm just too out of shape! I ended up sitting on the bench in the locker room again after 30 minutes, only this time, a girl (my age, I think - forgot to get her name) took pity on me and explained that a) Troy will kick your a**, and b) there's a much better class on Sundays that's a combination of spinning (YAY!) and aerobics (they move from one room to the other and back). This I gotta try!

p.s. Anyone who volunteers to come help me unpack boxes gets dinner at Roy's. (Yes, Jae/Teri/Mom/Dad/Bryan, THAT Roy's!)

* Too Close For Comfort was one of my favorite sitcoms in the '80's. They lived in a duplex. :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Survival Skills intact

So, I've now been in Austin for 10 days... in that time, I survived my first:

  • Week of work at TACC
  • Trip to the UT Campus
  • Ribbing by boss about Longhorn football (blech)
  • TACC staff meeting
  • Step class at the gym
  • Austin knitters meetup

The first week of work was really uneventful, although we did have a pizza party on my first day (not in my honor, alas) -- it was a "retirement" party for one of our supercomputers, which was being removed and will be replaced with a bigger, faster one shortly.

On Monday, I got all settled in a cubicle (ugh, haven't had a cubicle in three years!) and then got moved to another cubicle across the hall... a larger one with a printer in it, in "the library" -- so named because everyone in there is so QUIET! I wrote myself countless notes to remember my headphones, which I finally did on Friday. In the meantime, to escape the silence, I went downtown to the UT campus to get my ID and parking pass. It wasn't too traumatic, except that the map they gave me to find the parking office was so old the parking office wasn't on it! oops. Getting lost wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for the 100 degree heat. :(

At lunch yesterday (Friday), the boss started talking about UT football. He made me agree that while they didn't have to be my *first* favorite team (duh), they should definitely come in second. He even agreed he'd root for USC against Notre Dame. :) heh. I told him I'd root for the Longhorns in ANY other sport... just not necessarily football. [First USC game is on Saturday, Sept 2 -- I will actually be home in time to go to Bailey's for that one! YAY!]

Also, since I joined the gym, I have been looking at different classes to take. It's such a small gym and they told me that the instructors are very conscious of who is new to the classes... so I decided to try a step class. Oy Vey. First off, the instructor was great, but she did tell me they do a lot more complicated stuff in the Saturday class. (uh-oh...) And it turned out to be pretty crowded. But I decided to stay and try it. Why not?! ..... About half-way through I nearly died. I actually had to go sit on the bench in the locker room for about 5 minutes, just to get my heart rate down enough to go back into the room. I am pretty coordinated, but some of the stuff I just couldn't do. And the girl in front of me was doing all kinds of extra steps that the instructor wasn't doing, so I just couldn't look at her. The ladies in the back of the room were enjoying my t-shirt from the Texas Freedom Network ("10 things you can do to piss off the radical right") . :) I may have to go to bed early tonight, I'm wiped out!

And finally, this afternoon (after I recovered from step class), I went to my first meeting of the Austin Knitters meetup. The ladies were mostly my age, and not many had been in Austin more than a few years. In fact, one girl has only been here about three days longer than I have! Everyone was at varying rates of skill and project done-ness... There was one sock-maker, one skirt maker, one scarf, and some gorgeous lace at the other end of the table. This group meets every other Saturday at the Central Market Cafe that's a few blocks from here... I'm definitely going to see them again! :)

Tomorrow I see a (very persistent) realtor about a few places around town. The little houses that are for rent around here are rather run-down and ugly (at least on the outside) but there are some nice ones over on the Hyde Park side. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Delayed posting (Saturday Adventure)

So, for the last few days she was here (Thursday and Friday), M had been reading the Texas guidebook that Ann & Glenn gave me as a going away present. She suggested the Austin Farmer's Market for our Saturday morning adventure. We figured we didn't need to go for a walk in the neighborhood, cuz we'd walk enough downtown. We were wrong. Of course, it could be that we got there just after the market opened (it opens at 9, we got there at 9:30), or it could be the heat -- it was expected to hit 99 on Saturday. So, the market was about a block long, with two rows of stalls. Mostly fruits & vegetables, but a few others (coffee, honey, jams). We didn't buy anything.

On the way back we drove up Congress, so we took nice pictures of the Capital building. (This is one of M's pictures -- she took some great stuff during the week! )

After a quick stop at Starbucks/Jamba Juice, we came home, changed, and went off to Fredricksburg, to see the town and visit some wineries. One of the brochures I got at the welcome center was for the Texas Winetrail, and M read that Fredricksburg (which is right in the middle of wine country) was a cute little town with lots of shops. So, we pointed the car west. Fredricksburg is about an hour away (71 miles). To get there, you drive through Johnson City, birthplace of President Lyndon Johnson (we saw a lot of presidential birthplaces and such on this trip!).

First stop on the adventure was a cute little winery called Grape Creek. They only had a few white wines (I don't drink red), but I bought one! A Cabernet Blanc. Next stop was Wildseed Farms. This place was AMAZING. It was a giant garden center, with every kind of wildflower you could possibly want, plus grasses, cacti, pots, hangings, and a shop full of cute little doodads. M bought a little ceramic frog. [I learned that she really likes frogs! something to remember for the future!] Here's a pic of one of the enormous hibiscus they had at Wildseed. I really wish I was more of a gardener -- I have a black thumb. I just can't grow plants!

We stopped at one more winery -- all the way on the other side of town -- that was so far off the beaten path, there was a sign for "Loose Livestock" along the road! And boy, did we see livestock -- cows and horses and goats, right up next to the road. A little disconcerting, let me tell you. Anyway, this one was Chisholm Trail. They only had four wines, and tastings were $1 for a glass (although it was about half a glass, rather than a small tasting), so I had a glass of the white wine, and then we left. By then I was getting kinda hungry, and more wine on an empty stomach seemed like a bad idea. ;)

Back in "downtown" Fredricksburg, M looked down a little alley and found the Rather Sweet bakery & cafe for lunch. YUM. We had excellent (and inexpensive) lunches. I ordered lemonade -- we sat outside, and in the shade it really didn't seem that hot! -- and was pleasantly surprised to find that the lemonade had small chunks of watermelon in it. I might have to try that at home in the future. We spent a few hours wandering in and out of the little shops. There are a lot of tchotchke shops there, some women's clothing, some furniture... we didn't buy much.

My new boss (Marcia) had been trying to organize a bunch of people to go out on Saturday night. Unfortunately, nobody could make it. (they don't even know me yet, and already they're bailing! waaah!) So the three of us went to dinner at Shady Grove. It was still hot, so I was actually glad we got to sit inside in the air conditioning. The burgers were yummy. We hung out there until after 10pm... by then we were all starting to fade.

Oh, since M has posted her pictures, you can go see some of the fun ones I mentioned earlier in the week. Be sure to look for the sign entering Arkansas (and the one for Texas), both of us at the Texas Welcome Center sign, and of course M with our waiter, Danny, at County Line. That giant thing we are holding is a fake rib. (doesn't it look tasty?)

I will end with a HUGE THANK YOU to M for: helping me finish packing boxes in Arlington, moving furniture to the dumpster, packing the car, navigating/driving halfway across the country, singing along to the crazy 80's music I played (and RENT, let's not forget that), keeping me sane (or at least almost sane), trying to cure me of my bag-hoarding tendencies, scrubbing the dead bugs off the windshield, touring the supermarkets of Austin, taking goofy pictures everywhere, and being an all around excellent companion (among other things). We should do this again sometime! (well, minus the whole packing and furniture-moving thing)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pictures uploaded

Here's a link to the pictures from the packing, the road-trip and around Austin. I'll blog about Saturday's adventure later. (you can get a sneak preview from the pictures...)

another busy day in Austin...

Friday, we got up and went for a walk again, only this time we brought a few bucks and went to Starbucks for our morning caffeine hit. :) That made the walk so much nicer!

I thought M should see the craziness that is the South Congress neighborhood. We found a parking space (lucky!) and wandered in and out of a dozen shops. I had to take her to see Allen's Boots, of course. (I bought my FRYE's there in September '04...) M didn't buy anything, but she was absolutely amazed at the selection of boots, western shirts, etc. I thought these little pink boots would look good on either Samantha or Hannah... maybe for Chanuka? They had all kinds of other good Texas gifties, too. (hmm... I should have taken a pic of them next to a full-size pair so you could actually tell that they're kid-sized.)

We also went into the most amazing costume shop... they had racks of clothes for any theme you could imagine -- 70's pimp outfits, medieval costumes, disco outfits, full-sized french fry costumes... and a room full of hats and masks! Apparently you're not supposed to take pictures, but we didn't know that, and by the time the guy told me, it was too late. Doesn't she look cute as a Viking?

We found Hill Country Weavers, my new LYS (that's "local yarn store"). While it does not have the comfy sitting area that makes Knit Happens such a great home-away-from-home, it does have an amazing selection of yarns. I will definitely have to go back and start some new projects!! They are also being visited by the Yarn Harlot in two weeks, so I put my name on the sign up sheet as long as I was there! Here's a pic of one of the rooms, full of fabulous fibers!

Then, as long as we were down in the neighborhood, I took M to Las Manitas for lunch. She tried the quesadillas with chicken. I had a chalupa-like thing with chicken also. It was very good. The quesadillas were a little different (not flattened and grilled), but tasty. and Las Manitas is so cheap! Pretty much everyone who comes to visit me will be taken there, particularly around breakfast time, cuz their migas (egg omelet with crushed tortilla chips) are excellent.

I had also been looking up a few different gyms in Austin. I really need to get going and get my butt (and the rest of me) back in shape. On Citysearch (which I think is my new best friend for a while), I found Body Business. It's halfway between my office and the house -- and even if I move to a new place, I want to live in this area -- so it's a good location. It's sort of hidden in the back of a shopping center. The woman who showed me around was a grandma. She was so cute! (She moved to Austin from Minneapolis... joined the gym and lost 40 lbs!) They have a pool (small, probably 3 lanes) and cycling and lots of aerobics classes and 40+ personal trainers! (and new members get a huge discount off personal training sessions... mom, are you listening?) Of course, in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday, the place was mostly full of senior citizens... but apparently I'll feel right at home with the age group that comes after work, in the 6:30 range. So I will go back and sign up on Monday evening after work! I'm very excited, and it's a VERY nice gym. :) (btw, it's also half the monthly fee of my gym in Arlington, with more amenities!)

We had been planning on making dinner at home, but when my (new) boss called and said there was going to be a free movie screening, we couldn't say no! Turns out it's a yet-to-be-released film from "Burnt Orange productions" -- a UT-sponsored movie studio. It's called Elvis and Annabelle. It was really well acted, and has an engaging story line. After it was over, they gave us a questionnaire and asked questions about the plot, the pace, the music, etc. It was so interesting to be a part of that! I can't wait to see the finished product! We decided that we love Max Minghella. He's very James Dean-like, with his brooding demeanor and his dark eyes, and has an excellent voice. [it's the kind of part that would be played by Joaquin Phoenix if it were a bigger movie.]

As it turned out, we had dinner at home anyway, because nobody else was hungry when the movie ended. Good thing we had been to the supermarket!

Time flies when you're having fun!

So, Thursday was the day to find "supplies." First, we took a short walk around the neighborhood and checked out the architecture. It looks like a lot of them were the small Sears-house type abodes, and then were expanded or rebuilt. Many of them have large, 2-story attachments built onto the back, but the same small one-room looking structure in front. There are some really beautiful homes around here.

After showering and making a test-drive up to my office -- it should only take about 15-20 mins, but we'll see what it's like in rush hour tomorrow!-- we went to Target for the basics -- everything from shampoo and sponges to garden clippers and gloves. It also occurred to me (after I started filling the pitcher without them) that I needed BRITA filters. duh. I kept having these moments of "I have that" and M would say, "No, we put that in a box for storage." Oops! So there's a running list of things I still need (like coffee filters, which would have been good to get when I bought the coffee on Thursday).

Then, since I had been telling M all about it, I took her down to the massive Whole Foods at Sixth and Lamar. It's such an overwhelming supermarket... it was sensory overload. But we didn't buy anything there, we were thinking that we'd go to Central Market instead, since it's basically across the street from the house. (well, ok, it's about 7 blocks, but it's really close). :) We drove over to Sixth street so I could show her the whole live music area and the Driskill hotel, which is gorgeous. We walked up and down Sixth and then got back in the car to go to the market. M recognized one of the bars as being the one that the "Real World" kids hung out in. Apparently it's one of the *least* cool bars in the city.

As it turns out, Central Market is basically a cross between Whole Foods and the regular supermarket, HEB. (I miss my Harris Teeter!!) We knew it was a little too fancy for us when M couldn't find the regular Lay's potato chips. heh. But we got a lot of stuff anyway - I have to have my Lactaid, after all!

With a car full of groceries and a 90+ degree day, we had to go straight home. We made lunch at home and napped for a while. It's amazing how exhausting it is to be out in this heat. And it doesn't even feel that hot, because there's no humidity. (I know you don't believe me, but it's so much cooler in the shade, it's amazing.) M definitely needed a nap, because after lunch she made good use of the clippers and gloves that we bought, and trimmed back the overgrown bushes out in front of the house. Thank goodness she likes to do that stuff, b/c I couldn't have done it! (well, I suppose I could have, but I wouldn't have liked it at all!)

Then, I wanted to check out the Barton Creek Square Mall, which is just south of town. Turns out it's a Simon mall, so it's just like Pentagon City and a host of other malls I've been to around the country. It has a Chico's and a Coldwater Creek and Nordstrom and Lane Bryant ... so I might end up shopping there pretty often. ;) But then there's also the Arboretum by my office (also a Simon mall)... so there's plenty to choose from.

For dinner, I took M to my favorite BBQ place, County Line on the Lake. I'm practically a regular at this point! M was quick to make friends with our waiter (Danny), and has pictures to prove it (which she will send me asap so I can post them). She had the prime rib and a giant baked potato with all the fixin's. I had the pepper turkey breast (never had that before, YUM!) and some brisket. It was sooooo good!

By then it was time to crash, and plan for another big day on Friday!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Crossed the finish line!

The odyssey continues. We left our hotel in Little Rock (after complaining to the front desk about the noise from the basketball hooligans) and headed for the River Market, which we had seen on the way in the night before. We missed the farmers market (Fridays only), but we still got to look around and had some tasty coffee and breakfast. From there, we headed for the Clinton Library & Museum. I was already having second-thoughts about going into the library, if only because of the time it would take to see everything properly vs. the number of miles still to go on our way to Austin. In the end, we took pictures of the building and then went straight to the gift shop. I got a cute magnet that says "I miss Bill" :)

Following the signs south toward Texarkana, we headed out. We passed Hope, with its big sign for "Birthplace of President Clinton" but it just didn't seem like we needed to stop. Again, the road was 2 lanes in each direction, trees on either side, and blue sky above... Just us and the 18-wheelers. It's amazing how monotonous that can get!

We crossed into Texas at Texarkana, at 1:50pm, and had to pull over to take a pic of the sign (also on M's camera, not mine). This time there was a lot more traffic, but there was a Texas Welcome Center 50 feet ahead, so we just coasted into their parking lot. I picked up a bunch of brochures and maps, including one of Dallas, since we were going to go through there next. We got out the Frommer's Texas guidebook (thank you, Ann & Glenn) and the "Texas Curiosities" book (thank you Sally) that I was given on Saturday. Unfortunately, most of the oddities were a bit too far off the beaten path -- or were just too odd! Although at some point I think I will have to go see "Stonehenge II" in Hunt, TX. (about 2 1/2 hours away)

By 4pm, we had made it to Dallas. Since I was now navigating, I managed to steer us over to Dealey Plaza, so at least I could take a picture of the Book Depository (unfortunately, there was a bus in the way, and the guy behind us was honking!). Apparently there's a Sixth Floor museum there, with the area around Oswald's window perfectly recreated. I have no doubt that I will be back in Dallas at some point, so I'll go there and check it out. We were surprised that there weren't many people on the street (well, some of them were at work, I'm sure), and didn't really find a downtown area to walk around in. So, we stayed in the car and kept going! Plus, the temperature reading in my car was consistently in the 3-digit range.

We pushed on down highway 35, and let me tell you, when they talk about the "homogenization" of America, it's never more apparent than when you go from town to town to town, and each one has a McDonald's, BK, Wendy's, Cracker Barrel... and Wal-Mart. Any time there was a clearing and we started to see a group of buildings that looked like "civilization", the biggest building of all was a Wal-Mart. Amazing. and sad.

Just after 7pm, we shifted into the northern suburbs of Austin. I started to get really excited. After a slight detour through the UT campus (I got off at the wrong exit -- I've never come in from the north before!) -- we made it to Randall's house/my temporary abode. The previous visitors had left the A/C at a tolerable level (~80) so it wasn't too bad. I am astonished at all the stuff that M had crammed into the car! Seeing it piled up in the living room was a bit of a shock! It also occurs to me (in hindsight) that I didn't really need to bring as much clothing as I did... I could have put more stuff in storage. But that's ok. I'll use the big suitcase as "storage" for the time being.

We put 1,552 miles on the car. [there, that's better.]

We unpacked, I put some stuff away, and we rested for a bit before venturing out to get some dinner. (We've been eating at odd hours, I'm going to have to fix that next week!) At this point, my adrenaline had finally subsided and the exhaustion was setting in. I know mom called at some point around 9-ish, but I barely remember what I said to her. It's starting to sink in that I live here now. hmm... and let me tell you, I slept like a dead person in the big comfy bed!

Texas or Bust, day 2!

We made good time on Day 2 of our journey -- which was helped along by the fact that we crossed into the Central time zone and got an hour back at about 12 noon. :)

We had a tasty breakfast at Perkins in Knoxville, spent a few minutes scrubbing the bugs off the windshield, and headed west on Route 40. This road basically goes all the way across Tennessee, through the major cities, so it gave us a chance to stop and be tourists.

Along the way, we saw signs for a winery in Crossville, TN (Stonehaus), so we decided to stop. Well, it helped that there was a small outlet mall on the other side of the highway, at the same exit. :) We bought a bottle of their Cumberland Gold wine, which has a decidedly peachy taste to it. Yum. The outlet mall was small and relatively empty. M got some fun Texas-themed underwear, which we will have to showcase for you later. ;)

We made it to Nashville around 1pm, and managed to find the downtown touristy area (Broadway and 2nd street, in case you're wondering). Since M is going there for her birthday next month with the fam, we didn't have to see everything, but we did walk around, and had to go into a boot store, where M tried on a variety of interesting cowboy hats. Thing is, she actually looks good in them!!

Left Nashville and got back on the road, headed for Memphis.

M's friend who lives in Memphis was actually in Pennsylvania this week, but when she called him, he recommended the Blues City Cafe on Beale Street. We managed somehow to skip Graceland (went the wrong way around their version of the Beltway), but found our way into town, and walked around Beale street and downtown for a few hours. I suppose we could have gone back to Graceland afterwards, but it was 20 minutes in the wrong direction (back towards Nashville), so we decided against it. Guess I'll just have to go back to Memphis someday! ;) Here's a pic of Beale Street -- pretty deserted on a Tuesday night.

We also walked over to the Peabody Hotel and went inside. It's beautiful. M was a little skeptical when I told her about the ducks (we missed them, they parade through the lobby at 11am and 5pm). Across from the Peabody is Autozone Park, where the Memphis Redbirds play (STL Cardinals AAA farm team). I think the park was designed by the same folks that did Camden Yards... the architecture and color scheme are nearly identical.

Driving west from Memphis, you cross the Mississippi River, past Mud Island River Park (if you saw "The Firm," Tom Cruise takes the monorail over there to escape the bad guys). The Tennessee/Arkansas state line is right in the middle of the river! (Unfortunately, I was driving at that point, so the picture of the "Welcome to Arkansas" sign is on M's camera and will have to be uploaded next week.)

We made it to Little Rock around 10pm. Again, without a map of downtown, we managed to locate the hotel and get ourselves checked in. Unfortunately, there was a basketball tournament going on in town this week, and one of the teams was staying on our floor. All around us. When they hadn't gone to bed (and were still screaming and cursing at each other in the next room) at 2:30am, M called down to the desk for the 3rd time. At that point, they [finally] offered to put us in a different room, but at that hour, who wants to move? UGH. I'm glad I had my trusty earplugs.

Needless to say, we were exhausted. Day 3 report, including the Clinton Museum, crossing into Texas and FINALLY getting to Austin, coming soon!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And away we go!

I didn't really sleep Sunday night. I was too excited and nervous and I knew there was more packing to be done. Here's how the pile looked at 1am when cousin Michelle and I went to bed.

I sat up at 3am and wrote notes to myself.... and I jumped out of bed at 7, before the alarm had a chance to go off. I sent dad to the Uhaul place to get more boxes before he came over. Mom came over and fretted and paced and made noise about how much was left to be done, and how I shouldn't say anything about Bryan's last minute packing. HA! I nearly fell over. So after a while of that, she had to leave. At least she was wonderful enough to stop at Starbucks on the way over to bring me some iced tea. :)

I looked out the window and saw the moving truck at 9:45am, but then it didn't pull into the driveway... so I ran down the street and found them in the other driveway, and had them come back. They managed to park right in front and open the ramp from the truck right to the stairs. They officially started at 10am, and were done at 1pm. The lead guy, Delaware (yes, that's his name) was great. But he didn't do much lifting, he had two other guys to do that. One of them(Victor, the French guy) had a long cotton strap that he used to tie the boxes to his back. Ingenious... except my cousin kept calling it his "strap-on." heh.

While they were finishing the move, Michelle started packing the car. She's very good at packing things in an organized fashion. We can't see out the rear window when we drive, but everything fits!! I have no idea where some of the stuff is, I just know I threw stuff in bags to make sure it came with us. ;)

So, after getting rid of the bookcases and the desk at the dumpster, round about 2:30pm, we piled ourselves into the car, cranked up the A/C (it was 94 degrees) and drove away. We made it as far as Fair Lakes and stopped for lunch at Wendy's. It took an hour to get out 66 to 81, but basically we've been flying along ever since!

Yesterday we began to discover that Virginia and Tennessee have lots of funky-named State Parks -- Hungry Mother State Park, Frozen Head State Park... and interesting town names. (And many town names in common with other places, like Carlisle, Emory, Morristown, etc.) Along the way, Michelle made friends with the guys from the volunteer fire department of Staunton (VA), who followed or rode next to us for quite a few miles.

Snacking in the car is hard, even when you're not driving. I managed to dump the crumbs from my granola bar package all down my shirt. I was still finding granola bits in my bra hours later. UGH. In my own defense, I was REALLY tired.

After dinner at Ruby Tuesday's and a quick visit to a deserted outlet mall, we crossed into Tennessee at 11:15pm! (we had to pull over to take a pic of the sign)

At 11:45, we were in our hotel room in Knoxville(thanks, Joan, for the discount!) and in 10 minutes we were basically dead asleep. From Lee Hwy in Arlington, we had put 480 miles on the odometer.

Day 2 report, coming tomorrow, including crossing into the Central Time Zone, a winery, more outlets, and Michelle hitting her head on the car window. But right now, I'm too tired.

and thank you to all the random people who keep calling my cell phone to make sure we're ok. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

The pile grows larger

While I'm taking a short break, I thought you all should witness my packing progress. :)

Here's what the "box corner" looked like when Kelly left on Wednesday... She was an angel and helped with the kitchen stuff (my cabinets are empty!).... dishes, glasses, mugs, pots n pans, all packed! THANK YOU KELLY! I should have taken a picture of her knee-deep in bubble wrap and newspaper, but we were too busy for that! She also helped me to go Staples and get more boxes, a new tape gun (she, um, finished breaking the one I had already half-broken), and a huge roll of bubble wrap.

Thursday I was all on my own. I only left the apartment to take out the massive bags of garbage that have accumulated -- I am fighting my pack-rat genes as hard as I can! I am actually throwing things away!! It's incredible. (feels good, too!)

So, after dinner with Suzy (my former boss) at Carlyle -- yummy crabcakes and calamari!! -- I came back and boxed up some more stuff: the top bin is all my stuffed animals... believe me, there are less of them in there now than there used to be! But Sandy, the Cat in the Hat, and Fievel still didn't fit, so I'll have to bag them up some other way.

What is that odd little boat in the front of the picture, you ask? Well, that's the Viking Ship we had to build in our medieval history class in SEVENTH GRADE. Yes, I am that much of a pack rat. Actually, my parents kept it in their house for the longest time, but then decided that they didn't have room for it anymore, so I have had it, languishing on a shelf and collecting dust, for a few years. Well, no more.

First off, I have no idea how I'd wrap it so it wouldn't get all mangled. Second, really, do I need to keep it? It floated in 7th grade (that's how we passed the course, the boat had to float) -- of course, mine floated better because my dad helped me caulk the seams! Nobody else was that ingenious. I don't remember if I got in trouble for that or not... ;)

Anyway, here's a final close-up of the ship. You can see where the water level got to the middle of the shields and washed some of the color away... oh well. Take a good look, cuz it's going in the TRASH! It's so sad, somebody should play Taps or something. Or whatever the traditional Viking song would be. heh.

ok, back to packing!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

So much to blog, so little time...

Hm. Where to begin.

Saturday (the first of July... can you believe it's JULY already?) we had tickets to the 7pm Nats game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It started out pretty well, but it was so HOT! Our seats just don't get any kind of breeze at all. It was a 3-3 tie from the 7th inning on. But by then it was 10pm! As the game went into the bottom of the 10th inning, mom and Sally and I decided that we would like to go home when the inning ended. But Dad, being Dad, said we couldn't leave until the Nats won. And right then, whaddya know, Nick Johnson gets up and hits a solo homerun (a walk-off) to end the game!! Nats win, 4-3! Whew! Here's Sally and mom at the "Red Hot & Blue" service area in Sec 323.

Sunday was an even bigger day. I used my guest pass to visit the Regency Sport & Health club in McLean (thanks, mom!), and as long as it was early, I decided to go for a swim. I should do that more often, I apparently have no stamina! I maybe made 5 (round-trip) laps, and I was exhausted! Ugh. But I had to find energy, because I was off to Hannah's 3rd birthday!

Last year, everything was Dora Dora Dora (the Explorer). This year, we graduated to Care Bears. (They're back, apparently. I thought they had gone away years ago!) So Hannah and 20 of her friends (and cousins) went to the Little Gym to run, jump, swing, tumble, etc. Hannah really liked being spun around in the center of the giant tent. The little ones got pink-frosted cupcakes and juice. Then we went back to K&J's for munchies, pizza and Care Bear cake! Kevin and Amanda were there with Claire, who is now 3 months old. (and still withouth penguin... I'll have to work on that when I get settled in Austin.)

At 5:45 (when the rainstorm died down a little), I scurried away from one birthday party to change and head for another! Sunday was also Joan's [mumble-mumble] birthday, and we were celebrating at RiRa, with our gift cards. Eliz gave Joan an excellent birthday gift -- The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Girl Sex. We decided table readings were in order... which were much funnier with May's friend Kirk at the table. (He had to get up and leave a few times!) . E and J had also done a "pinky swear" the week before, to confirm that the normally non-drinking E would have at least a few potent potables at the birthday party. And she did! I have photographic evidence!! At any rate, people came out of the woodwork to come and help us celebrate Joan's birthday. I was so tired by midnight, I turned into a pumpkin and went home! In case you were wondering (after all these blog entries), here's a group photo of team Clueless in Clarendon! [I have to say, this picture reminds me of the "Beasts of Burden" photo in my high school yearbook...I told you there was a reason why Patrick loved us!] ;)