Sunday, March 30, 2008

What I Had to Go Through to Meet Mr. B: Part One

On this day four years ago, I met Mr. B (in person) for the first time at Mad Hatter's in Durham. But, it was somewhat a long road to get there!

Most of you know by now that Mr. B and I met via eHarmony. I'd decided after I moved to Durham that I was tired of being the 5th wheel, and, more importantly, I was ready, really ready, to hook up with a decent man. Because my past practices of picking men to date and marry hadn't exactly worked out to my best interest, I elected to get help through eHarmony.
Not to belabor the eHarmony point, but, in my opinion, if a person is willing to put the time and effort into filling out a 400+ question survey, more than likely, they, too, are serious about getting serious. Unlike other on-line dating sites, eHarmony's mission is to hook folks up for long term relationships, hopefully, marriage.

So, as I've said before, I started the eHarmony process in, oh, early to mid-February. By the end of February, I'd been matched with a complete twit, Scott (OK, so not EVERYONE was completely serious or honest). After going through eHarmony's structured communication process, we decided to meet in person.

I met him at a bar (his choice; this should have been my first sign) where he'd (self-admittedly) already had three or four beers before I'd even arrived. I opted for Diet Coke and he continued to drink another two or three beers. He reminded me of a Bantam Rooster; short, red-haired, rough-faced (at about my age, his drinking was already showing signs on his face). About the only thing we had in common was that we both smoked (although I ended up quitting that coming June) and we'd both been to Italy (although he did not go to any of the cities I'd been to). I knew pretty much right off the bat that this guy was NOT the one for me, but, being polite, I thought I'd give him one more try (plus I didn't have any one else on the horizon). Finally, he had some really odd last name. Laughingfoot or something like that. OK, while not the most important thing in a relationship, one DOES think about what one's last name might become and, Amy Laughingfoot (or whatever it was) just didn't grab me.
Boy, did I come to regret my decision to meet him again. As we left the bar, I told him, sure, I'd see him again. From that point on, he became a real pest. He sent me emails and IMs constantly, and, even worse, started to call me. He tried to talk me into going to a hockey game with him and his young daughter; I didn't think it was a good idea to meet his kid before I'd figured out if I even wanted anything to do with him. We finally arranged to meet at the local mall to see a movie and have dinner. He wanted to see "The Passion of the Christ"; I really did NOT want to (what a rotten pick for a first date) but, I went along with his suggestion; dreading and dreading and dreading this first date. As the day approached, I really felt sick about it.

Oh, talk about fate intervening! He called me THE DAY of our date and told me he was sick. He went on and on about his symptoms (too much information, but, since this was the same guy who'd called me one afternoon and told me how horny he was, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised). Anyway, boy, was I HAPPY that he was calling to postpone our date.

Actually, I thought he was lying; that, perhaps, he'd been matched up with someone who was a bit more enthusiastic about his being horny, so, he was giving me a line about being sick. Who cared? I didn't, just so long as I didn't have to see him; even better that I didn't have to be the one to tell him, too.

Well, no such luck.

Maybe two or three days later, he started back up with the emails, IMs and phone calls.

I remember distinctly one day, a Thursday, his sending me an IM while I was also IMing with my brother. I sat there and really thought about it; I mean, REALLY thought about it, and realized I wasn't being honest or true to myself by continuing to try to avoid this guy. And, as much as a creep as I thought he was, I wasn't being fair to him, either. But, mostly, I was freaking tired of him catching me on-line and pestering me. So, I sent him an IM and told him as nicely as possible that I really didn't think this was going to work out, that I didn't feel any sort of connection with him.

There was a bit of on-line silence from him. Then, he came back with, "Well, I don't feel any sort of physical attraction to you, either, but I thought I should give you a second chance!"

WHATEVER!
At least this dude was finally out of my hair.

I IM'd my bro, elated. He and his (then) wife came over and we all went out to the James Joyce to celebrate the end of my short-lived relationship with this clown. Long live Strongbow Cider!
BTW, I must disclose that my brother didn't like the look or sound of Scott from the very beginning.

Mrs. B

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Grumbles and Rambles

OK, had one of THOSE afternoons. So, I'll bitch, I mean, blog about it and get it off my chest.
1. I decided to go do ALL of my grocery shopping, which meant going to BJs, then Lowes, then Food Lion. Got into the car; oops, almost out of gas, so, had to go to BJs gas station, too.
2. Got on my way to Brier Creek (where three of the four stops were). Along the way, a very small dog, perhaps a puppy, walks out in front of me. No, no, I didn't hit it, but, I got to worrying that SOMEONE might so, I turned around and went back to look for it, thinking I'd see if it was wearing a collar/tag. It took me forever to find a place to turn around (with people coming up fast behind me irritated because I wasn't going as fast as they thought I should be. I WAS going the speed limit, which is 45 through there). I finally get to turn around and head back to where the dog/puppy was. As I drove by, I saw it bounding around in the grass near the side of the road. No where to stop! So, I drove on and turned around AGAIN. The next time I drove past the dog/puppy had been (now headed in my original direction), I couldn't find it, which I hoped meant it had wandered away far from the road.
3. Got to BJs gas station (BJs gas is usually 15 cents or so cheaper than even some of the cheap stations). Well, it has to be to make it worth it because getting gas there is always a hassle for me. This time was no exception. First off, there were a ton of people trying to get to the pumps. One lady was just sitting there blocking the way; you guessed it, yakking away on her damn cell phone. Finally, I get up to the pump. I put my BJs card under the scanner, it lights up, I was good to go. I went through the process of inserting my credit card, etc., and, it wouldn't give me the member price. So, I hit cancel and tried again. By this time, there is a man in a huge SUV pulled up behind me giving me "the look"; you know, gals, the one that says, "You're just a stupid broad who can't figure out how to pump gas and now I have to sit here and wait for you to figure it out! JESUS!" Trying not to get pissed off, I went through the process again; same damn thing happened. Now, Mr. Impatient Know-It-All Man throws up his hands, backs out, and whips around to another pump, glaring at me as he went. I wanted to give him the finger, but, I refrained. I went over to the station to get the attendant, who informed me I'd have to wait until she finished her paperwork. What? I walked back, went through the process AGAIN and, just as she walked up, it worked. Doesn't that always happen? She gave me a look like, "Sure, sweetheart, it wasn't your fault at all" and walked away. I HATE HATE HATE getting gas at BJs, but, 15 cents a gallon is 15 cents a gallon and all those asshole men (and women) can just kiss my sweet grits.
4. You know those people that stand at the door at places like Cost Co and Bjs and Sam's Club and check your receipt on the way out? Worthless. You know why? Because, after I got home, I realized the cashier (usually pretty worthless, too), had not rung up two of my items. And, the dude and the door (who stood there counting and counting so I had thought perhaps something was wrong but he finally clipped my receipt and sent me on my way) had missed it. So, I got home with about $15 of free groceries.
5. On to Lowes which was fairly uneventful except for this one man who kept trying to run me over with his shopping cart and the idiot cashier there who held up the dog toy I'd decided to buy for The Goose (a replacement Kitty; Kitty #1 bit the dust) and said with a look of disgust on his face, "Is this YOURS?" I said in my most snotty voice, "It's a DOG TOY; what, do you think I carry stuffed animals around with me?" The bag lady (meaning the chick bagging my groceries, not a homeless woman) said, "You'd be surprised what we see around here" while nodding knowingly at me.
6. Nothing exciting at Food Lion except the psycho self-check out lane next to me screaming out "Remove all items from the scanner scale!" over and over and over again (no one was even standing there).
7. On my way home, I vacillated as to whether or not I should make the phone calls this afternoon that I'd planned; namely, to call and find out if our stupid timeshare resort fixed the problem we'd had with our deposit into the timeshare exchange company. I decided I was in too much of a pissed off mood to get even more pissed off, so, it can wait until Monday (which is my normal day to make "business" calls, anyway).
8. I got home, unloaded the car and pulled Kitty #2 out of the bag. I don't think I've seen Lucy quite so excited in a long time. I'd thrown Kitty #1 away a few days ago and she was probably trying to figure out what happened to it. Well, when she saw Kitty #2, she went ape-shit and grinned from ear to ear. So, I guess my crappy afternoon ended on a positive note!
Mrs. B

Cooking

Not just because Mr. B has been so busy at work of late but partly because of it, I've really started to get back into menu planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and cooking. In fact, I've started a new routine whereby, each Wednesday (which is the day the grocery store circulars come out for the week), I pour over them, see what's on sale where, devise my menu plan for the week (Thursday-Wednesday), pull together the shopping list (noting what store to get what item in some cases), look through my coupons, and gear up for shopping day (which is Thursday).
WHY I'm sticking to a schedule now is another Blog entry in and of itself, but, I have my mother-in-law and father-in-law to thank for putting the idea into my head.
Anyway, so, yesterday was supposed to be shopping day but I was otherwise occupied with appointments, so, I'll head out today. Schedules are meant to be flexible, of course!
But, back to my point.
Another thing that's been making these particular activities fun is that my mom game me a subscription for "Cooking Light" magazine for my b-day. Last month's issue was crammed full of recipes that I wanted to try (and so far, we've had a lot of them; including both the roasted vegetables and the chocolate mint brownies we had as part of our Easter dinner).
So, here's what's on the menu for this coming week:
Beer Boiled Brats with Sauerkraut and Vermont Maple Baked Beans (actually left-over beans; I made this as a side-dish (recipe from "Cooking Light") a few weeks ago and it made enough for two extra meals).
Beef and Leek Pot Pie (another left-over; I made this Wednesday ("Cooking Light") and it made a huge amount so we can have it twice more). This was my very first attempt at pie crust and, other than having some difficulty getting it rolled into the proper shape (rectangular), it turned out great. The filling was time consuming (lots of prep work of slicing and chopping and dicing plus an hour or more of simmering on the stove) but definitely worth the effort.
Ham and Spinach Hash with Fried Eggs; obviously, a nod to using up left-over Easter ham! This recipe is from one of Rachel Ray's cookbooks and her recipes are almost always fantastic.
Open-Faced Chicken Cordon-Blue with Sauteed Spinach; this came from "Gourmet" magazine. Another way to use ham, plus, Mr. B LOVES sauteed spinach. Hey, I'm doing my best to keep him motivated through his busy season (even if it is only through his stomach).
Monterrey Shrimp on Linguine; a recipe I got from my step-mom. It's an interesting concoction of sauteed shrimp, basil pesto, blue cheese, garlic and diced avocado over linguine.
Chicken Souvlaki in Pitas (a nod to The Kid since this is one of her favorites, but, it doesn't look as if we'll be seeing her until the busy season is over, so, we'll have to eat it in her honor). It's from "The Dinner Doctor" and it's sort of a Greek chicken salad. Yum.
So, the planning is fun, the prep work is OK and the cooking is a lot of fun. The clean-up, well, not so great, but, that's the way it goes.
While I was preparing the pot pie the other day, I realized that, over the years, I've sort of changed my technique. I used to do everything all at once (prep and cook) but now, I tend to prefer to do all of the prep work that I can perhaps hours before I actually start the cooking process, then, when the time comes to throw it all together, I don't feel so rushed. Also, if I do the prep work beforehand, I can also get a lot of the clean-up out of the way so that I don't have a bunch of dirty dishes sitting in my sink and/or all over my counters (obsessive Mrs. B can't stand that).
Not to mention, as in the other day when we had company for Easter dinner, it was much more enjoyable being able to visit with everyone and then throw the dinner together rather than trying to talk, prep, cook and get thoroughly confused!
Now, I'm hungry!
Mrs. B

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mom and Lucy's Travel Adventure: Conclusion

Back to Weeki Wachee and On to Home
3 March – 5 March

We left Sarasota around 10 am to head back to Weeki Wachee for a few days before leaving for home. Lucy settled right back into the routine at Father and Margot’s; in particular, she was happy to be back out by the pool (although she still showed absolutely no interest in going into the water; I’m not sure she’s really a Lab!)

After spending a nice afternoon out on the porch with Father, Margot and Lucy, we (excluding Lucy, who was baby-gated in my room grooving to music from Father’s radio) went out to dinner with our dear family friend, Jean. Jean’s in her 80s and still pretty much a fire cracker. She also appeared to be doing “ok” with the recent death of her eldest daughter, Beth (who succumbed to breast cancer (only in her early 50s) last November).
That evening, Margot and I stayed up late yakking. This meant it was a bit slow-going the next day, which, as it turned out, was okay, because we had a very relaxing day planned.
After hitting the ABC store (this is where people (that don’t live in California!) have to buy their liquor), Father finally was able to get me to his local watering hole, The Ramble Inn. BTW, the reason we went to the ABC store was the Bombay Sapphire gin in Florida is about $15 LESS a bottle than it is in NC! So, since I’d left Mr. B all home and lonely; busy working and, unfortunately, having to handle a dying cat, I figured he deserved a few bottles of his favorite gin.
So, The Ramble Inn. What a fun place. If you have ever seen the TV show, “Cheers”, that’s what this place reminded me of, to an extent. Meaning, when the door opens, everyone turns around to see who is coming in, and, if the person is known, a wave of welcomes are issued (it seemed to me that everyone that came in was known by someone already sitting in the bar). The interior, though, was nothing like Cheers in Boston (or all the ones that have now popped up in airports across the country), but, rather, sort of road house/biker/dive. But, as I was assured a few times by the local patrons, the food is good and, on occasion, free.

I met many of Father’s golfing and/or drinking buddies and they were all very nice and had a lot to say. They were also gung-ho on buying us beers; but, according to my Father, they all buy each other beers all the time and it all works out.
To commemorate this event, Father bought me a tank top that says “The Ramble Inn Highway 19 Weeki Wachee”. Cool!
While Father and I were goofing off at The Ramble Inn, Margot and Lucy went for a long walk. When Father and I got home, we played more Canasta (I didn’t do too bad but not too great, either). Margot prepared a fantastic standing rib roast and so our final night in Weeki Wachee ended with a celebratory air.
Lucy and I were up early the following morning to gear up for our long drive back to NC. Father helped us load up the car and we pulled out of the driveway around 7:15 am.
And, it was A LONG drive back to Durham; it took us 11 hours 15 minutes; I had to stop MANY times because I was so tired. Lucy didn’t do much but sleep. I have to admit that I sort of regretted not taking Jack and Roberta up on their offer to stay there one last night (that would have cut the drive to about 10 hours which really would have made a difference) BUT I was eager to get home to Mr. B.

It WAS great to be home, but, of course, it was also bittersweet because, for the first time in over 15 years, Clyde was not there to greet me.

So, it was a two martini night for the B’s; lots of tears, too, but, we’ll get through it together.

And, so ends my chronicle of our journey to Florida. All in all, I was very pleased with how Lucy did; she was a good little car rider and, for the most part, obeyed me (and everyone else). She got along well with all the folks she met, and, other than some barking at the RV park in Sarasota (and eating dad’s sandwich and attempting to run off with one of Grandma B’s teddy bears), she minded her P’s and Q’s fairly well.

So, yeah, I’d take her on another road trip. In fact, she’s going to go on one this coming April when mom and I drive to Springfield, MO to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum near there.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures!

Mrs. B (and Lucy!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Correct Answer

Source: "All Things Oz"

Now, those of you who REALLY know me probably should have figured this one out!

Mrs. B

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mom and Lucy's Travel Adventure: Part Four

Sarasota 27 February – 3 March

We had an uneventful drive from Weeki Wachee to the Fun and Sun RV Park in Sarasota (although it took longer than I thought it would). We arrived at the park and mom rode up on her bike from their site to help guide me back (it was a bit of a maze!) The wind was so strong that mom could barely peddle! Dad was off golfing; so, after we got settled in (basically, due to space limitations, I left most of my stuff in the car so there wasn’t much unpacking to do other than Lucy’s gear), mom and I took “the girls” for a long walk in the wind.
When we got back, we tethered the dogs outside on their little patio. Brook was apparently quite accustomed to this drill; Lucy, however, initially seemed to look on it as some sort of punishment. In fact, she became quite obstinate about climbing into one of the chairs that was sitting out on the patio. I must have gone out there five or six times to tell her to get down; towards the end of this drill, she was actually not even waiting for me to get back into the RV before she was back up on that chair! Needless to say, Lucy and I had some “words” over this behavior. Later, mom and I went out to sit with the dogs. After Lucy saw me in that chair, I guess she finally figured out it was a people chair, not a Lucy chair, because she never did get back up into it the remainder of our stay there!

We settled into our walking routine with dad and Brook; every night we'd go out for a stroll around the park, ditto, every morning (in between 7 and 7:30 am! Yikes!) This particular walk took us near the dog park (which was located sort of behind where mom and dad’s RV was parked). Boy, this usually got Lucy going! Mom and I took Lucy there one day (when there were not any other dogs in there; I didn’t feel like dealing with Lucy and other dogs). She ran around while Brook tried (fruitlessly) to catch her. Brook got tired, Lucy got bored, so, we left. So much for the dog park! However, every afternoon in the grassy area behind the RV, a man would come with his dog (off leash) and throw a tennis ball. The dog would retrieve it, carry back to the man, and drop it on top of the man’s tennis racquet. Lucy was extremely interested in this routine, but, alas, I doubt she learned anything.

The first few nights that we were there it was downright chilly. This, combined with the limited walking space, meant that I decided to allow Lucy to sleep up on the bed with me. I thought she’d jump for joy; but, she sort of settled down near the foot of the bed fairly far away from me. So much for her keeping me warm (she did, however, snore and lick her chops a lot, which meant the next night, I popped in my ear plugs!)

BTW, I was a bit worried that by giving her this “privilege”, she’d get it into her doggie head that this meant she could jump up on ANY bed and try to sleep with me. I’m happy to report that she hasn’t even attempted to do this once, so, I suppose she is smart enough to recognize special circumstances.

On our morning walk the next day, I made an icky discovery. The day before, Lucy had run around the RV seeking out all of the rawhide chewies that Brook left laying around. She then proceeded to chew them all. We thought it was sort of funny, but, let me tell you, her poop was quite disgusting “the morning after”, so, no more rawhide chewies for The Goose this trip!
That day, I met mom and dad’s friends from Maine, Al and Phyllis (Alfonso, AKA, “Fonsie”). They are a real nice couple. They came over for cocktails that evening; dad made his “killer margaritas”! That afternoon, mom and I went to Bealls; yes, I bought a few items for Mexico but very reasonable. And, I couldn’t resist a bright red Hawaiian type top! There were A LOT of old people in that store, though. Hell, FL is full of “old people” and I’m not referring to my parents (any of them) or their friends!
Later, we went to Old Venice for lunch at a pub (more old people there too; a lot of patience is required when you get stuck walking behind a gaggle of shuffling old farts) and stopped at a consignment store; I found some nice things but they didn’t fit right; either too big or too small. Figures.
That evening, I took Lucy for a walk and enjoyed looking at everyone’s “digs”; lots of people had cool neon/lighted signs of palm trees, flamingos and the like. Mom and dad’s is of a martini glass. Maybe I should get one of these for Mr. B!
The next day, Friday, was obviously a sad day for us (having to let Clyde go). We were occupied with this all morning; very difficult. Dad “supervised” “the girls” quite a bit during the day. At one point, Lucy ate his turkey sandwich (in two bites, no less). I guess since it was at her face level, she thought it was for her! Still, “her” mom was a bit aghast at her lack of manners.

Mom and I went to the pool for a few hours. All dressed, too; just like Japanese women protecting our skin, I guess.

We went to see “The Other Boleyn Girl” (pretty decent) and then out to a tapas restaurant (very good).
We came back and I wrote my farewell email regarding Clyde and Blog entry. Difficult. I talked to Mark; he was doing “ok”. He was, understandably, quite sad and lonely. Doc asked him over for dinner the next night; thank you, little bro.

While out on our evening stroll, dad and I almost got run over by some jerk in a golf cart going way too fast down a dark street in the RV park. I yelled at him to slow down, he yelled back to get out of the middle of the street. We weren’t; he probably was drunk and couldn’t see straight. I told mom he didn’t want to tangle with me; not in the mood I was in!

Saturday , March 1st, brought the end of February (thank God; February is such a crappy month) and a visit from Ann and the kids. As I expected, Lucy and Zack hit it off. She did well, in general.
Mom, Ann, Natalie and I went to Old Venice for lunch (different place; Nat likes carbs just like Cailyn does). We wandered around consignment stores, had some ice cream (tres RICH) and came back.
The kids had fun in the pool, as did Ann; after, Ann, the kids and I played Whoonu; lots of fun.
After a great dinner, Ann and I took the girls on a walk. It was pretty amusing to watch my “dog virgin” sister walk Brook!
The following day, dad took the boys fishing while the rest of us sat out in the sun, played Whoonu again and had hamburgers for lunch. At least I got a lot of reading in that afternoon; and, a bit of a nap (in between Lucy barking, that is; she was terribly distracted and agitated by all of the people that continually walked past the RV. I couldn't put her bark collar on (that would have stopped the behavior pretty much right away) because she had her other collar and a tether on; any sort of jingle-vibration movement will set off the collar).
We were going to head out somewhere for dinner on the water but that didn’t turn out too well as the water place was closed. We took a few pictures out on a pier. Then, went somewhere else for dinner which was fine; The Linger Lodge. It had real strange d├ęcor; road kill and the like hanging from the ceilings (apparently it has been named one of the top ten strangest places to eat in the US; I believe it!) The food was good enough; I had an excellent gumbo (hopefully NOT made from road kill!)
Dad took Ann et al back to the hotel around 9:30. Most of us were exhausted by that point.
It was a fun but also sad visit in the RV with dad, mom and Brook. Such is life. But, I am thankful that mom and dad were with me when Clyde died. And, being able to see Ann and the kids was an added bonus!
And, dad was great with Lucy (even though he did have to give her “the tongue” one day). Get your minds out of the gutter, “the tongue” is when dad gets irritated; he curls his tongue up and sticks it out. Growing up, all us kids knew what “the tongue” meant! BEHAVE or BEWARE! Lucy, apparently, has a lot to learn yet!
Back to Weeki Wachee!
Mrs. B

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

All Things Easter

I've received many Easter cartoons, web sites, pictures, etc. Here are some of the best ones.

Happy Easter, all!

Mrs. B







The Ultimate Peep Show!


And, my very favorite of all:

Our Nephew's First Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You Can Blame My Friend Kathleen For THIS On-Line Survey!

I do want to blog today but, it's been a LONG day what with this and that going on, so, I'll take advantage of yet another on-line survey sent to me by my pal Kathleen. So, Shannon, you can blame HER! :-)
I've got to admit, some of these questions are, uh, shall we say, "interesting" (and, in my opinion, designed for women since, it seems, we are the only ones that ever participate in them; guys, that is a challenge to Y'All!)
And, oh, BTW, some of the questions were missing (why is THAT?) so I added a few of my own. Guess which ones!

1. Are you afraid of someone hearing you pee? I think this used to bug me but as I've become older and wiser, I don't really give a rat's a$$.

2. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tough, really tough. Does red wine count? No? Ok, then, burritos.

3. Spell your name how it sounds: Miss-uhz BEE.

4. Name one word to describe your personality: Organized.

5. What are your top three turns ons in the opposite sex? Smart, funny, responsible.

6. Describe your significant other in two words: LOVE of my LIFE.

7. Where do you see yourself in six years? Approaching a huge b-day milestone and hopefully a hell of a lot better at my golf game.

8. What is your favorite piece of jewelry? Well, my wedding band, of course; a close 2nd being my engagement ring; followed by a bracelet my mom gave me that used to belong to my grandma and a ring my step-mom gave me that was made from her mother's engagement diamond. Ok, more than one, but, too hard to not mention the ones that I did.

9. What cell phone service do you have? Verizon.

10. What do you hate most about NY state (ok, this is a weird question)? Absolutely nothing but I prefer mid to upstate NY to NYC.

11. What kind of car is your dream car? Hmmm...I'd really like a BMW X3.

12. Can you leave the house without make-up? Can I? Yes, I can. Do I? Yep, all the time now.

13. What are your three favorite stores to shop at? Target, Barnes and Noble and Kohl's.

14. Do you consider yourself to be good looking? No one has ever run away, screaming, in the opposite direction from me!

15. What do you miss about being a kid? Being a kid! Heck, no worries other than what's for dinner, will mom make me eat onions, and when is the next time we're going to Disneyland.

16. What is your favorite animal? Uh, hmmm...I plead the fifth (Lucy is nearby).

17. Do you think you're going to have a good Valentine's Day? I don't know, I guess so. We don't go in much for these trappings; oh, wait; I should say, EVERYDAY is Valentine's Day with Mr. B!

18. Apple, Orange or Cranberry Juice? Cranberry, but, I actually now like Ruby Red Grapefruit, too.

19. Do you get enough sleep at night? Not lately it seems; I always need a nap in the afternoons. Damn that age thing again!

20. Favorite channel on T.V.? OFF!

21. Are you dating the person you text most (this question obviously designed for teenagers)? I guess, I'm married to him; does that count?

22. What's your favorite color? Green.

23. What do you want? It all, baby!

24. Who was the last person you shared a bed with? Mr. B (duh!)

25. Do you talk to yourself? Yep, because I always listen to myself.

26. Do you drink milk straight from the carton? I don't drink milk, period. But, if I did, I wouldn't drink it straight from the carton.

27. Who knows a dark secret or two about you? I don't HAVE secrets. I'm just too damn honest. Ok, well, a few people know a few things. That's all I'm saying.

28. What was the last song you heard on the radio that you liked? "Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road".

29. Do you like Batman? WHICH one? There are a ca-zillion of them. I think (of the "recent" movie versions), I like Christian Bale the best. Of course, I LOVE the campy T.V. one with Adam West!

30. Who did you last hug? Mr. B.

31. Do you swear at your parents (ok, another teenager question, I'm sure)? No way in hell.

32. Do you like anyone now? Yep, a lot of anyones.

33. When was the last time you lied? I honestly don't remember. I try hard not to lie, it's a thing with me.

34. Obama, Hillary or McCain? Again, I plead the fifth.

35. Is your b-day on a holiday? 8 days before Christmas and believe me, that's close enough.

36. What instant messaging service do you use?
I don't IM.

37. Last thing you cooked today? Present tense; I'm in the process of cooking via crock pot Cincinnati Chili.

38. Did you have a nap today? I tried, but, Lucy kept hogging the couch.

39. Who's house did you go to last? Other than mine (which is pretty much the only house I go to) was my in-laws in Ocala, my Father and step-mom's in Weeki Wachee and my mom and dad's "temporary" house in Sarasota. Oh, wait, I guess I went to mom and dad's real house last Sunday. Duh.

40. If you ran into someone who hadn't seen you in five years, what would be one thing different about you that they'd be sure to comment on? My short hair.

41. Why is the sky blue? HELLO? Actually, I used to know this but I don't remember. And, no, I'm not going to Google it to get the answer, either (remember that telling the truth kick I have?)

42. Do you like green beans? Sure.

43. Do you swear a lot? Yep, too much, a very unattractive habit.

44. Where did you get the shirt you are currently wearing? Target. AGES ago.

45. Have any regrets? Ah, but of course. But, not that many.

46. Do you use an alarm clock? Nope. If I DO need to get up at a certain time, I use my cell phone. I guess that counts.

47. Where are you? Sitting at the kitchen table in my usual "working on the computer" spot.

48. Do you ever snort when you laugh? Very rarely.

49. What's the first thing you notice in the opposite sex? Confidence.

50. Do you wear underwear? Well, it depends on what I am doing, yak yak yak!

51. Who/what would you like to see right now? Nigel and Clyde.

52. Are you social? Becoming less and less so.

53. Are you afraid of the dark? Not usually.

54. Do you miss someone today? Nigel and Clyde.

55. Who was the last person you kissed? Mr. B.

56. Are you happy with your life? Yes.

57. Last person who you told your problems to? My Father.

58. What are you doing tonight? Moving our freaking furniture back into the living room/dining room.

59. Do you have any dilemmas right now? Just whether or not to use our extra timeshare week this year or not and where to go. Awful, huh? Actually, it's nice to be a bit worry-free right now.

60. What is your favorite card game? Gin (followed closely by Hearts and Spades).

61. Who is your best friend? I don't like this question because I have several "best friends" and I don't want to name one person.

62. Do you think your best friend will always be there for you? God, I hope at least one of them will be! Yes, absolutely.

63. What is your My Space song right now? Say WHAT?

64. Do you prefer to text or IM?
Text.

65. Who did you get this from? Kathleen (one of my best friends!)

66. Do you believe the number 6 is the number of death? Now, how dumb.

67. What are your favorite magazines? More, Smart Money, Cooking Light.

68. ARE WE THERE YET? Yep, we're done!

Mrs. B


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Now Require the "Drop Down" Menu

Huh, you say?

Well, sometime ago, I joined something called My Points. Pretty cool; you get emails, click on a button, get 5 points each time (known as "click-thru"). Plus, if you buy something through vendors that subscribe to My Points, you get points. And, there's a lot of them. You'd be surprised. It's gotten to the point (ha ha), that, whenever I need to purchase something on-line, I check My Points, first. 8 out of 10 times, the vendor I want is there. Target, Red Envelop, Lands End, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Overstock.com, Kohl's, Bath and Body Works, Godiva, etc., etc., etc.

Over the course of six months or so, I've acquired a lot of points by both clicking-thru and shopping; enough, in fact, to purchase several $25 gift cards with my accumulated points to stores/restaurants we frequent. Just for spending some of my time clicking (and buying, but, I would have bought anyway, so, may as well get points).

Another thing My Points does is send you consumer surveys. You don't have to fill them out, but, if you do, you get 10 points if you don't qualify (this happens to me a lot; can't figure out why) or 50 points (sometimes more) if you qualify for and complete the survey. Some of the surveys have been pretty darn interesting.

So, these surveys; one way they determine if you qualify is to ask for your gender and age.

I realized the other day as I was filling one of them out that, now that I am the age I am, I have to use the "drop down" menu to get to my age!

Man, I'm getting OLD!

BTW, if anyone (I know) is interested in My Points, let me know. Obviously, you can sign up yourself but, if I refer you and you sign up, we'll both get bonus points.

Hey, why not get something for nothing (or, a very little amount of your time)?

Mrs. B

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Messages Received Via Special Delivery

Last year, I remember reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about an organization of people that believed loved ones who have passed on continue to send messages, most often, through our dreams. Whether this is true or not is beside the point since the belief is what is important to them, as well as the messages they are receiving. Perhaps the messages are simple greetings, or expressions of love; maybe they hold answers to long-sought questions or to a dilemma the individual is grappling with. In any case, I found the concept (and the fact that there is an organization supporting it) fascinating.

Frankly, I believe it; and, I believe it extends to the animals waiting for us at "The Rainbow Bridge", too.

I also think it isn't necessarily just images in dreams, but, things found all of a sudden during the course of a day. Say, for example, an old chewed up cat-toy mouse found in the bottom of a box of Christmas decorations. "Hi, Nigel, good to hear from you!" is what I thought when I found this last December! Nigel always did love climbing in and out of all of the boxes during decorating time.

The night before Clyde died, I had a dream where I very clearly and deliberately picked him up, cuddled him, petted him and kissed the top of his head. Although at that time he was still alive, I woke up knowing in my heart that he had come to say good-bye. So, when Mr. B called me that morning to tell me he was taking him to the vet, although sad, I wasn't surprised.

It was still rough, of course, especially the few hours of waiting in between Mr. B's first call and when he planned on calling me from the vet. I was out of sorts and restless; and, sitting in mom and dad's RV, all of a sudden felt extremely closed in and almost claustrophobic. I told my mom I was going to go out for a walk. Knowing I needed to be alone, she let me go.

Let me back-track here a second because this is important to my story.

One of the things Nigel and I used to do together is "sing". I know, it's silly, but, any of you who have had a pet know we do silly things with them. What was so cool was, Nigel would actually "sing" along, or, interject with a resounding "WANK!" at the appropriate time in the song.

One song we sang quite often was one I made up to the tune of "Daisy" (you know, the one about a bicycle built for two); like this,

"Buggy, Buggy (his nickname) give me your answer, do (WANK!). I'm quite crazy over my Bug-a-Boo (WANK!)...", etc.

I mean, we REALLY sang this a lot together.

So, back to a few weeks ago. I wandered around the park and decided to go up to the bathroom, which was next to a sort of meeting hall/assembly room or something. I went into the Ladies and was crying; coming to gripes with what was going to happen with Clyde. In the hall, there was a group of folks practicing their singing to the resounding bangs of a piano. They went on and on; I stood there sobbing (I guess I was lucky no one else was in there with me).

They finished their song, silence. Then, in the quietness that followed, came the first notes,

"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do..."

Nigel.

Nigel was there in that moment, I know that he was. I know he was telling me he was there, that he'd be there to greet Clyde, and, it would all be OK.

And, it was and is okay. Clyde went peacefully, he's with Nigel now, and we're all doing fine here on Planet Earth.



Yeah, I'm still sad at times. But, with a message like that, I cannot be too sad for too long. And, I'm open to receiving more of them, and, I'm pretty sure that I might hear from one or both of them from time to time; I just have to be paying attention.

So, y'all might be thinking Mrs. B's a tad off her rocker, but, that's jake by me. No one else has to believe it, just so long as I do.

Mrs. B







Friday, March 14, 2008

The "Best" Years of Our Lives


People usually can look back on their lives (even if they still have many years in front of them (hopefully)) and say, "Oh, the years of so and so and so and so were the BEST years of my life so far!" I remember doing this even when I was yet a kid; thinking back, wistfully on a particular summer season or school year and remembering them with extreme fondness.

I was thinking on this concept the other day.

At this point in my life, I would say that the years 2004-2005 were two of the best years of my life (so far).

Perhaps one reason why is that I was coming off a few of the WORST years of my life (or, at least, really difficult and challenging and exhausting) but, on their own, they stand out as "freaking awesome" times.

Here's why:

1. I was just 40 and moved into a really nice townhouse in Durham. Having done so, I was closer to my brothers and their wives AND enjoying the adventure of exploring/getting to know a new town/area. I had no idea what was going to happen next, so, the sky was truly the limit.

2. I had my boys, Nigel and Clyde, with me. At that point in time, they were still healthy, happy and chubby.

3. Soon into 2004, I signed up for eHarmony. After one "dud" (SCOTT); I was matched with Mr. B. The rest, of course, is history!

4. I signed up for and did many things I never thought I would; namely, I took some weird touchy-feely courses at Duke (Council) and joined a Council Group. I later enrolled in the ESL Teaching Certificate Program at Duke, and, although I'm not currently utilizing what I learned, it's not something I'll ever lose, either. And, it was FUN being back in school!

5. There were many family get-togethers/gatherings/experiences during both of those years. I had my first Indy 500 experience which was something else again ("Here's a pillow to put over your head if there is a tornado. Anyone want some meatloaf?")

6. Mr. B proposed!

7. Mr. B and I went on A LOT of trips together; namely, our first very memorable trip to Charleston, to the NC Wine Festival, to LA/San Diego, to New York, to Alabama, to the Food and Wine Festival in Orlando, to Ft. Wayne for the holidays, etc., etc., etc.

8. 2005 brought more of the same; lots more gatherings, vacations, etc., with the ultimate for me being our wedding in Charleston in May, our big shin-dig in June and, our fantastic honeymoon on the Queen Mary II and several days spent in London.

9. After spending Thanksgiving in San Diego with friends, the year ended with a big holiday celebration at our townhouse in Durham with just about our entire family there.

So, yeah, great times. GREAT times.

And, I suppose that it is times like these that one remembers when times aren't so hot; as reminders that life CAN be sweet AND will be again.
As I said, these two years came after a few fairly crappy ones.

And, as life often goes, while these years were near perfect for me, there were challenges, disappointments and heartbreaks for those close to me. I'm happy to report, though, that in at least two of those situations, things turned out for the ultimate best all around.

Enough philosophising! Time to suck down some more coffee and get a stick on!

Mrs. B

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Go Forth and Multiply BUT At Different Ages

I read in Sunday's "Parade" magazine an article which high lighted ways to live to be 100 (assuming one WANTS to live to be 100).

Most of what they talked about didn't surprise me, but, one item did.

It said that women who gave birth AFTER age 40 more than quadrupled their chances to live to be 100. I found that really fascinating and have been pondering it. WHY is it, do you think? Is it because, by the time a child/children reached their 40s, you'd be in your 80s and want to live long enough to see grandchildren so you'd stick around to 100? Or, because you'd be so busy running around like a chicken without its head on trying to keep up with a youngster when you're a bit, uh, long in the tooth that you simply don't have time to think about kicking the bucket?

I'm not sure I really understand the rationale (and the article did not go into any depth). But, what was even more strange was that it said men who have children also live longer, ESPECIALLY if they start having their families at a younger age.

Younger than WHAT? Or WHOM?

So, does all of this mean that us broads over 40 should be shacking up with young dudes and having kids by them so that we can all live to be 100? Except we'd be 100 and they might only be 80. And, what about how tough it is for women to get pregnant when they are over 40? Most of us are already starting the periomenapause process, for God's sake.

Well, it's all a moot point for me, of course; I've no intention of leaving my Mr. B for some young dude and I doubt we'll be having kids at this point but, it was worth blogging about. I don't think "Parade" did a great job researching this little factoid!

Mrs. B

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mom and Lucy's Travel Adventure: Part Three

Note: This is a tad long in the tooth but I decided to combine the rest of our journey by destination and not go day by day (otherwise, I'll never get this finished up!) Also, you can view pictures of the trip by clicking on the link under "Mrs. B's "Stuff"" to the right of the Blog. No sense in Mrs. B getting frustrated with inserting pictures into these entries (they muck up the alignment of the posting!)
Weeki Wachee (Friday 22 February – Wednesday 27 February 2008)
We left Jack and Roberta’s around 10. It took around an hour and a half to drive to Weeki Wachee from Ocala. No problems! According to Jack, Lucy exhibited interesting behavior while I was loading up the car to leave. She appeared to be quite anxious that I was going to leave without her! Jack had a bully of a time holding on to her.

We arrived at Father and Margot’s. I walked Lucy on the lawn to get a pee in. Since she seemed pretty calm, we went to the front door, with me praying it would all go ok! Margot greeted us; I walked Lucy around the house and outside (pool area). Lucy met Father; no big deal, all was fine (Father requested NOT to be called “Grandpa”, so, he’s Mr. Hayes to Lucy!)

Lucy settled in just fine. Margot and I took her on a nice walk around the neighborhood (something we did just about every afternoon) and the rest of us had a leisurely afternoon catching up and dinner in; shrimp curry. Later that night, Father and I watched an interesting flick, “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera”, which is a spoof of the terribly (and campy) B sci-fi horror movies of the 50s and 60s. Not bad at all!

The next morning, Lucy and I got right into our morning routine of getting up, mom getting coffee, and taking off for our walk. Father kindly left us the newspaper bags every morning for Lucy’s “business”. That particular morning, it was threatening rain so we didn’t go far, in fact, we just barely made it back to the house before it poured.

Our 2nd day in Weeki Wachee was also fairly leisurely. The big excitement was that Lucy went out into the backyard (fenced) and rolled around in grass that had recently been fertilized. She came into the house and I could smell her from a mile away. Yuck! Needless to say, she got an impromptu bath. We took her outside and Father hosed her down (she didn’t much care for that). I lathered her up with Father’s shampoo and we got her rinsed off. We all managed to get out of that exercise fairly dry (except Lucy, that is).

We sat outside by the pool and played a game I’d brought along (Whoonu) for an hour or so. Lucy behaved herself and was content lying next to us on a mat Father found for her.

We had dinner out at the Thai place that I’ve been to several times (excellent food). Lucy stayed home baby-gated in my room. We were gone about two hours; she did great. Whew!

That night, Lucy decided to start sleeping UNDER my bed. She did this the rest of the time we were there. Weird (and she didn’t attempt to do so anywhere else on our trip).

Sunday found us going out in the early afternoon in search of lunch dock-side. We went to one place that was very crowded and the waitresses (too few) looked completely lost. Father decided it would be wise to go somewhere else. We ended up at an Italian place called Argento’s. Father and I shared a “white garlic” pizza. Yum.

The Goose was alone 3 hours this time; again, no issues. I sure was proud of her!
That night, we watched The Academy Awards. It was LONG and BORING and Jon Stewart was not very funny at all.

Monday afternoon, we trooped off to the Tampa zoo. Fun! Although, there were many exhibits that were closed down/roped off due to renovations/new developments. We also stopped at a Post Office so I could mail off my passport renewal application (this was 25 February; I had it in hand in Durham 5 March; is that FAST or what?)

By the time we got home to Lucy, we were sort of tired so we decided not to go out to eat and stayed in. Margot made a cassolet with beans and kielbasa. She sure is a good cook and home cooked meals are such a joy (especially when someone else is doing the cooking for a change).

That night, I stayed up way too late drinking red wine and talking with Father. But, it was worth it.

I got up “early”; meaning, before 8, the following morning. On our walk, Lucy encountered her first person on a bike (at least as far as I know). She got pretty agitated.

After Lucy’s walk, the rest of us went to Emily’s for breakfast (a huge plate of sausage gravy and biscuits); very good (but not as good as Mr. B’s).

I started to get organized/pack up in preparation for leaving for Sarasota the following day. How did I manage to bring so much stuff?

I showed Father how to log onto my Blog. ARE YOU READING THIS ON-LINE, FATHER?

We played a few hands of Canasta before dinner. I’d played before (very similar to Hand and Foot). It all came back to me but it didn’t do me any good because I couldn’t get the right cards to meld/ get canastas! Oh well; fun to “learn” another 3-handed game to play. And, Margot gave me my own Canasta Jesus to pray to while playing (BTW, so far, as of this entry, he’s not helping me very much).

We had Cincinnati chili for dinner and red wine. Lots of it, again; but this time it was me and Margot up doing the talking after Father had gone to bed. It had rained the majority of the day and was still coming down while we were out there (luckily their patio/pool area is screened in). Lucy had a grand time chasing a little frog; until it jumped into the pool. Dilemma! She didn’t go in after it but she did track its progress by trotting continually around the pool.

The next morning, I was awoken to the sound of Lucy retching. Happy happy joy joy (not); I’m never going to understand why she throws up every twelve or so days; it makes no sense. Luckily there wasn’t much in her tum tum and I got it cleaned up easily enough.

We had a real quick walk; it was quite chilly that morning for FL. Plus, needed to get a stick on and get ready/load the car. How did Mr. B do it so efficiently when he loaded the car for me before I left? The big challenge was getting Lucy’s gate in there. Spatial relations has never been my bag!

Off to Sarasota!

Mrs. B

Monday, March 10, 2008

Remembering That Vets Grieve, Too

Yesterday I decided to write a note to our vet, Chuck and his staff, thanking them for their loving care of Clyde and acknowledging that I know it's hard on them, too, to lose their little patients. I did this when Nigel died, too; it helped me with my own grieving process.

Since Chuck et al had only known Clyde for a brief period of time (and therefore only seen him as an aged and sick little dude), I thought I'd put together a small collage of pictures of Clyde in happier times and include this with my note.

I've already posted one of these on my Blog, here are the others ones I sent.

Clyde as a kitten
Chubby Clyde (and Nigel)

My favorite artistic shot of Clyde

As I said, this is part of MY grieving process; so, I hope y'all don't mind lots of entries about Clyde for a while yet.

Mrs. B













Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rain Rain

Notice I didn't add to the title of this entry, "...go away, come again some other day" because, of course, us'uns in this neck of the woods are in desperate need of rain, and a lot of it. We're definitely getting that of late! I read in the paper yesterday that Durham's water supply is up to over 300 days now (considering that a month or so ago it was around 50, this is excellent progress). Of course, and rightfully so, the city officials are reminding all of us that we still must conserve water. In other words, the deluges we've had and delightful ground soakings that have ensued does not mean we can return to taking long hot showers, or, even, a shower every day. We must yet still remember and follow the advice from the little ditty, "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down"!
Fine by me. The B household hasn't really had too much trouble with water conservation. With a reasonable effort, we reduced our consumption about 30%, and that was even when we had company staying with us.
So, the rain. I welcome it for many reasons. The obvious one being our drought. But, it also fits my mood. Not necessarily dreary but not sunny, fresh and cleansing and really, really wet. Like tears.
Also, the fact that it is rainy means it is not sunny outside. It was decidedly sunny outside Thursday afternoon and that was hard on me emotionally because sunny afternoons were Clyde's favorite time of the day. He'd be out and about in the sitting room upstairs, either on his perch soaking up the rays or rolling around on the floor in a sunny patch he'd found. And, sunny afternoons were our time to be together and share a cat-nap. I'd say that we did this 5 out of 7 days per week in 2007 and into 2008.

So, walking up the stairs on Thursday to see all of that sun pouring in, warming up the entire sitting room, and not seeing Our Sweet Pal there basking in it, wrenched my heart a bit.

Clyde in happier times
I know this will pass at some point and I'll welcome the sun again. Probably sooner than later because that's the way it goes.




Clyde rolling in the sun
We move on, but, we never, ever forget.
Mrs. B